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Dave Schroeder of Grayson went through lots of experimentation to come up with this perfect low-fat, highly nutritious pancake recipe to replace one of his high-calorie, high-fat favorites. The secret ingredient ended up being diet ginger ale, which helped make the batter lighter but didn't add any calories.

"I was pleased to see that these were every bit as good as the high-fat kind," Schroeder said.

As a variation, Schroeder says you can replace the oatmeal with different cereals or grains. The oatmeal yields a smooth and silky pancake, while Ralston, Malt-O-Meal and Wheetena are more nutty in flavor and Cream of Wheat is mild and a bit chewy.

- Compiled by staff writer

Shelley Mann

Low-fat Oatmeal

Whole Wheat Pancakes

1 cup oatmeal (old-fashioned is best)

2 cups water

1 cup whole wheat flour

1⁄2 cup sugar or Splenda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg

1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves

4 beaten eggs or egg substitute

1⁄2 cup applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 to 11⁄2 cups of diet ginger ale or milk

Spray the surface of your griddle with cooking spray and preheat it to 400 F, as for normal pancakes. Combine the oatmeal and water in a medium-size bowl or 2-quart glass measuring cup and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Sift the powdered spices with the whole wheat flour and add them to the oatmeal mixture along with the Splenda.

In a smaller bowl or 2-cup glass measure, combine the eggs, applesauce, vanilla and one cup of diet ginger ale. Stir the liquids into the dry ingredients then beat until smooth, adding more ginger ale if necessary to get a batter-like consistency. Don't worry too much about lumps. Pour the batter on to the hot griddle and cook like traditional pancakes.

Makes 18-24 pancakes and serves four hungry people.