clean waffles

Post-workout breakfast from this morning: healthy coconut waffles with banana slices, a drizzle of honey and an extra sprinkle of desiccated coconut.

Most people probably don’t have the time to cook waffles every morning, but you can do what I do, cook big batches to keep you going. It make life so much easier that way. :)

Waffle Iron Hash Browns

When I was home visiting my parents for the holidays, we were watching The Kitchen on Food Network and they made waffle iron hash browns. So since we had nothing else to do, we broke out the dusty waffle iron and gave it a go. I love the holidays.

Makes 4 hash brown waffles

Ingredients:

  • 2 potatoes
  • ¼ cup melted buttery spread (I use Earth Balance)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley (chives would work too)

Steps:

  1. Peel the potatoes, then shred them. I used a cheese grater, but a julienne peeler would probably also work.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, soak potatoes in water for 5 minutes to help remove the starch. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Mix potatoes with melted buttery spread, salt, garlic and herbs.
  4. Scoop ½ cup portions onto a fully-heated, greased waffle iron. Don’t spread them out, because if the layer is too thin they won’t cook on top.
  5. Cook 6-7 minutes, until crispy.

Note: Recipe also works with sweet potatoes!

OH MY GOD GUYS. So this morning I made the best freakin low carb, low fat, high protein waffles EVER. 225 calories for this entire (and adorable) plate, including cooking spray and sugar free syrup, with pretty sweet macros 👉🏼44p/10c/1f. The recipe? 2 scoops Six Star Lean protein, ½ cup liquid eggs, and some water for consistency. It’s really that simple for literally the best protein waffles ever.

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I found this Paleo pancake/waffle mix at Fresh Thyme and I love it! The best part about the mix (besides being Paleo), is that the eggs are already in the mix so all you need is oil and water to make.

I don’t know why, but I have always have so much more luck cooking and baking Paleo than regular gluten free. The waffles are no exception- they’re fluffy, light, and hold up well. Give them a try!

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A couple no-context Carton faces…

Momma made it all better - Pack mom

The day just couldn’t get any worse for Liam. It was only second period and he wanted to crawl into a hole wishing the day could be over as quickly and painlessly as possible. It was Tuesday, the day he’d been dreading all weekend because it was test day and even though he had studied really hard, he had only managed to scrape a C- which put a downer on his mood for the rest of the day. Usually he looked forward to lunch because he got to see everyone but today there were only a few of them scattered around the table since the others left to do important research. Including the one person Liam was scanning the table for. He was hoping Scott would be at the table and pick up the negative vibes hoping he could get it off his chest but he didn’t so he just bottled up his feelings and got on with his day praying it would end soon. Lacrosse practice didn’t get any better. Liam was usually one of the best players on the team but today he couldn’t make a single shot which resulted in coach benching him and then telling him to run laps. He’d had enough and just wanted the day to be over so he could go home.

Liam felt like 3pm would never come. His walk home was quiet and she slowly trudge into the Hale loft where he now stayed with Derek and his mate, the pack mom but most importantly she was the mom Liam had always wanted. He threw his bag on the floor and slumping down on the sofa relieved he was finally at home.
“Hi honey, I didn’t hear you come in. How was your day?”, I asked him walking into the kitchen with the empty basket that I had just finished putting clothes away. He shrugged and shrunk down in his seat. I placed the basket in the kitchen and walked in to the living room and sat next to him on the couch. Just looking at him, I could tell something was wrong.
“Do you want to talk about it, baby?” I asked him wrapping my arms around him. He brought his knees up and hid his face in his arms. I scooped him up and set him on my lap holding him close and gently running my fingers through his hair.
“Hey, it’s ok. I’m right here. You can talk to me, baby”, I reassured him before pressing a kiss to his head. “Tell momma what’s wrong?”, I encouraged him. He sighed and lifted his head up. I brushed his hair away from his face so I could look into his baby blue eyes that were now tear glazed and had lost some of their shine because of the sadness he was feeling.
“It’s just been a horrible day, nothing has gone right all day for me”, he finally told me.
“What happened today, honey?”, I asked.
“I studied really hard for the test in biology and all I got was a stupid C-, half the pack including Scott were all missing doing research at lunch so I had no one to vent to and and…lacrosse practice sucked too because I didn’t make a single shot so coached benched me”, He rambled finally getting everything off his chest. He buried his face into my shoulder and let out a sigh.
“I just want to stay here”, he mumbled against me. I couldn’t help but smile and press another kiss to his crown.
“I’m always here for you, baby. You know that”, I told him rocking him in my arms and gently running my fingers through his hair, a familiar gesture that would calm him down.

After a few minutes of him sitting on my lap, I came up with an idea that I knew would cheer him up.
I picked him up and set him on the couch before pressing a kiss to his forehead and telling him I’d be right back causing him to look at me slightly confused. I went into the kitchen and set out ingredients to make waffles because I knew they were Liam’s favourite and usually a treat made by Derek on the weekend either as breakfast first thing or a dessert loaded with ice cream for after dinner. Today, it was definitely an after dinner kind of treat. Derek had been out running errands in the afternoon so I had texted him to pick up Liam’s favourite pizza on the way home but in the mean time, I was determined to put a smile on my baby’s face.

“Liam, baby. Could you come in here for a minute?”, I called out to him grabbing some aprons from the draw.
“What is i…”, he didn’t get to finish his sentence because he looked over at the counter and saw that the waffle machine was set up.
“What’re you doing, mom?”, he asked confused.
“We’re going to make waffles for dessert”, I smiled at him grabbing one of the aprons and putting it on him.
“How come? It’s only Tuesday”, He continued to question.
“It’s my attempt of making you feel better after a crappy day of school, so what do you think? Do you wanna help momma make waffles?”, I replied and it took him less than 10 seconds to answer as he nodded at me a smile appearing on his face.

We spent over an hour making waffles. I had Liam mix up the ingredients into a velvety smooth batter as I snapped a few pictures of him covered in flour.
“Does this look good?”, asked Liam still whisking the batter. I stood behind him and held onto the whisk with my hand lightly over his as I peered over his shoulder to check.
“Yeah it’s looking great. Good job, baby”, I praised him and pressed a kiss to his head. I swiped some of the batter from the side of the bowl and put a small spot of it on Liam’s nose giggling looking at the seriousness of his face.
“It looks good, especially on you”, I couldn’t help but giggle at how he scrunched up his nose adorably.
“Moooooom!”, Liam laughed and wiped his nose on his sleeve and laughed. In return, he did the same and couldn’t stop laughing at silly I looked.
“Ok ok, let’s actually make some waffles”, I laughed and took the bowl from him pouring the batter into the waffle machine and leaving it to cook.

Derek had walked into the chaos that erupted from the kitchen to see his mate and his pup covered in flour and batter and couldn’t help but smile at the silly scene.
“What the hell happened in here?” Asked Derek looking at the counter almost covered in batter and flour before deciding to place the pizza on the coffee table in the living room.
“We’re making waffles”, Liam told smiling at him like an excited toddler. “I can see that”, he replied and chuckled shaking his head.

Derek took plates and glasses into the living room so he could start dishing up dinner and I had Liam go clean himself up so I could finish up the rest of the waffles and clean the kitchen before joining them for dinner.
“So how was school, pup?”, asked Derek digging into his slice of pizza.
“It wasn’t great but mom made it better”, he replied smiling at me with pizza sauce around his mouth.
“You know, pizza sauce is also a good look for you”, I smiled at him grabbing a napkin and wiping his mouth. He blushed at the gesture causing Derek and I to laugh.

Liam practically wolfed down his pizza and couldn’t wait for dessert. I plated up a waffle for each of us and had him put on whatever delicious sweet treats he wanted ranging from a variety of yummy ice creams flavours, several thick oozing sauces from caramel to raspberry sauce and left it to his imagination how he’d want to decorate it usually ending with whipped cream, colourful sprinkles and a glacé cherry on top. Whereas I would go for chocolate everything but Derek usually resulted in the slightly healthier option of throwing on some fresh berries, a chopped banana and maybe a little vanilla ice cream. Derek looked at our plates wide eyes at the horror of so much sugar.
“You’re both asking to get diabetes, jeez”, he stated horrified.
“Wow and you’re boring”, I replied bluntly which made Liam giggle and Derek to open his mouth to argue but didn’t get a chance to even though funnily enough, he’d swipe a forkful of the sugary goodness both of our plates. By the end of the night, Liam had a smile (and chocolate) on his face.

Beginner’s Guide to Going Gluten Free

So, just discovered you have a sensitivity or allergy? Want to see if you might be gluten or wheat intolerant? Just found out you have a thyroid issue, or your doctor wants you to try going off gluten for the two-week test? Been there, and yeah, it’s super confusing and really intimidating.

My mom had a gluten sensitivity, so I was lucky to have lived a few years in a household that navigated the gluten-free world. It really helped me out when my wheat allergy developed, but I still had to learn a lot as I went, and you don’t need me to tell you that trial and error isn’t a good way to go when health is involved. So here are some basics and tips for if you need to go gluten free.

1. Don’t do it unless you need to. Not only does it make it harder for people who need gluten-free products, people who go gluten free as a fad generally have no health benefit from it, or, at worst, get malnourished from doing it wrong. Not only that, but it’s wicked expensive. (But seriously, it makes it so hard for those of us who need it, because then food service industries see it as just a fad and cut corners, which could literally kill some of us. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen something labeled “gluten free” and then also read a “made in a facility with wheat” warning. That’s kind of mutually exclusive.) If you are wondering if you have a sensitivity, by all means, try it out. But don’t think that gluten free is inherently healthier, because it’s not.

2. Basic Flour Blend. Yes, GF baking is really hard and it doesn’t taste the same, but I’ve found that a 2:2:1 blend of White Rice:Tapioca:Corn Starch works pretty well. 1tsp of xanthan gum per cup of blend and you’re good to go. (It’s all going to be dense, sorry, no getting around it. Dense and crumbly and dries out easily, but at least it’s a baked good. Makes a tasty pancake and crepe, tho.)

2.5, regarding flour: Don’t scoop directly from the flour into the measuring cup. Pour it (with another scoop if needed) into the measuring cup. GF flour, particularly ‘starch’ flours like tapioca and corn starch, pack down ridiculously, and it will ruin the dry/water ratio.

3. Do not knead bread made with gluten free flour. Kneading is to exercise the gluten and make it rise more. No gluten, no knead. You’ll make it turn into a dense brick.

4. Find a bulk food store and buy your flours there. Good stores for finding bulk barrels are places like WinCo or Sprouts. Pre-mixed flours are expensive, so make your own to save money. (Though if you want to splurge for a dedicated gf bread flour, go ahead, it’s worth it.) Make sure the barrels of gluten free flour are all near each other in one area. If they are spread out in and amongst gluteny flours, don’t touch it. Not everyone will use the proper scoops in the proper barrels. If your GF flours are near each other, who cares if a little rice gets in with a bit of garbanzo. On that note:

5. Don’t let anyone trick you into thinking garbanzo bean flour is a suitable substitute for wheat. You can taste the beans even after it’s cooked. It is an abomination and should only be used for things like falafel.

6. DO NOT EAT RAW GF DOUGHS OR BATTERS. It won’t hurt you or anything, they just nasty as all heck. They taste like feet, sand, and regret. That Betty Crocker GF Cookie Dough may look tempting, but it’s the actual devil in disguise.

7. Learn to read labels. Avoid Wheat (all varieties, including spelt, semolina, kamut, etc), Rye, Triticale, and Barley. Look for the bold warnings at the end of the ingredients list first. But don’t take it at face-value. Scan through that list, too. They don’t always list allergens. EX: Kit-Kat doesn’t list any allergens in bold at the bottom of the list, but a main listed ingredient is wheat flour.

7.5 ALWAYS read the label. Even if it says gluten free, scan that label. Even if you can’t see a way for gluten to be in there, scan that label. Twizzlers have wheat as a main ingredient, and idk about you, but I would never have guessed. A lot of canned foods have added wheat as filler. Not necessarily a bad thing, but bad if you can’t have it.

8. Do your research before eating out. Never trust a verbal statement in a restaurant without a dedicated menu or breakdown being shown to you, or having looked at it beforehand. Ask sit-down restaurants for an allergen menu, or ask if they have a gluten-free menu. As for fast-food, you can find allergen menus online. Personal recommendation: Chic-fil-a is a good, safe place to eat, as long as you let them know when ordering grilled chicken anything that it’s an allergy, not preference.

9. Udi’s Bagels are totally worth the cost. Treat yo self. Same with the muffins.

10. hmu for recipes if you’re stuck, but a generally good way to go is a protein, a veg, and a starch for each meal (except breakfast if you just want something like cereal or yogurt. I get it.). Frozen veggies are a amazing and easy. Beans and chicken are good, cheap protein. Rice, potatoes, and gluten free pastas are my go-to starches. Just mix and match for mealtimes until you find some good recipes. You’ll probably have to start cooking for yourself a lot more, so just buy up lots of veggies you enjoy and freeze the ones you don’t use immediately if you get fresh. Also, snack on fruit. I found when I went GF that I wasn’t as full between meals, so I gained weight at first from eating chips to fill the corners. Fruit has a lot of fiber and will help you stay full.

11. Take a multivitamin, if you don’t already. Wheat flour has a ton of added minerals and vitamins, which is great for keeping down rates of malnutrition. But it also means that if you’re not getting vitamins and minerals from the other parts of your food, you’re going to start getting low on them once you cut out wheat.

12. Eat more fiber. Not to be gross, but a lot of people get constipated when they first go gluten free. The American diet in particular relies heavily on wheat products, which also contain a lot of fiber, so cutting that out cuts out a lot of dietary fiber. Add something like Metamucil if you’re really having trouble, but adding more foods like carrots, leafy greens, corn, beans, and apples can usually get it taken care of.

13. Throw out everything that has gluten as soon as you know you’re going gluten free for good. Don’t learn the hard way that you can cross-contaminate yourself.

14. Get a new toaster. I know you can super-deep clean toasters, but it’s so difficult and you might still leave remnants behind.

15. If you live with anyone who isn’t gluten free, label everything. You do not want to be scrounging at 3am and grab the wrong toaster waffle.

16. Clean your oven and microwave, too. Spilled remnants can still get in the air and bake into your food. Plus it’s always good to have a clean oven.

17. Always ask somebody if you have questions. You can always come ask me, I’m more than happy to help! Seriously, you have no idea how much I love to cook.