Thursday, November 21, 2013

Surprisingly not awful "awffles"

Strawberries are out of season right now. So if you use strawberries
on your waffles, they better be from the freezer! If they aren't, I'll
 hunt you down and yell at you!
My son loves all manner of breakfast foods. "Cancakes" are his absolute favorite, followed closely by "awffles". Then "yohgert". When he's all grown up and can say words properly, I know I'm going to miss the way he speaks now. Anyway...back to awffles. I've had some pretty great waffles in my life, but have had a tough time getting them just right when making them at home. I finally found a recipe a few years ago that beats any other that I've ever tried. Then I played around with it and found that I could make 2 different kinds of waffles with 2 simple ingredient switches. The first kind (and my personal favorite) is the light, crisp, airy waffle. The second (and equally delicious) is the slightly dense, moist waffle that is crisp just around the edges. Please don't mistake that for meaning soggy. It's just not as feathery as the original recipe. Without much more ado, here you go!

Affles! (recipe adapted from Fine Cooking)

3/4 C. AP Flour
1/4 C. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 C. milk
1/4 C. buttermilk
6 Tbsp. veg oil (coconut oil works well, too)
1 large egg, separated
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 150 degrees. Take a cooling rack and put it on a sheet pan. Place this in the oven to stay warm as well. Or, if your oven happens to be spotless, you can place the cooked waffles straight on the rack. The point of this is to keep them warm AND crisp until they are ready to serve. You should also go ahead and preheat your waffle iron while you're mixing up the batter.

In a bowl, mix the flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together well. In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, mix the milks, egg yolk, and oil together. Set aside. In yet another bowl, beat the egg white with the sugar and vanilla until the firm peak stage. Gather up all your bowls, make sure you've given your dishwasher a little pep talk, and you can finally make your batter. Mix the milk mixture into the flour, just until the ingredients start to come together. Next, gently fold in the egg white.

Cook the waffles according to the way your temperamental machine will allow you to without scorching the suckers. The recipe suggests about 1/2 C. batter per waffle in a standard waffle iron. I like my waffles about the same color as a pancake- nice and golden. Once each waffle is done, place it in the warm oven on the prepared pan or straight on the rack.

For the more dense and moist version, skip the cornstarch. Use 1 C. of AP flour instead. You should also interchange the milk measurements. Use 3/4 C. of buttermilk and 1/4 C. regular milk.

I've been absent the last few weeks. I swear I'm not trying to abandon anyone, I just got busy. Life happens. I am already back to writing and have those posts I've been promising nearly ready to go. So please, watch this space!

I would like to thank/blame my friend J**** for this post. While this actually all started during a Facebook conversation, it's so much easier to type out a recipe here than it is with the limited formatting options of a Facebook comment.

Photo credit:

Sunday, November 3, 2013

TL;DR- A birthday, a thank you, and a meal plan

My baby boy isn't much of a baby anymore. Life happens so quickly! I can hardly believe it; he turned 2 years old on Friday. From the time we learned we were going to be parents, my husband and I have been put to the test in a thousand ways we never dreamed of. To say Calvin was a surprise is an understatement and it's been a whirlwind experience from the start. But we've made it, so far. While we all still have our struggles, we are all mostly happy. And we're a family with a very strong bond and large, loving support system. We are forever grateful for the advice, love, help, and support we've been given. I don't think I'll personally be able to say "Thank you!" enough or show just how much you have all meant to me; and to Charlie and Calvin. Though, if you doubted us or turned your back on us because our situation didn't fit your ideals, thanks for that too. You've given me the ability to muster up strength I didn't know I had and get through the day. You've taught me a lesson that I can pass on to my son, and maybe one day he'll know to avoid people like you. He may not be able to keep people like you out of his life completely, but he will know to seek people who care for him and will help him, no matter the circumstances. Because that's what children need. They need help, care, and unconditional love. Of course they need shelter, food, and water, but they need to be protected and loved in order to thrive. And that's exactly what I try to do. I try to love, care for, respect, and protect my son. I also strive to do the same for my family, my friends, and anyone I may come into contact with.

Recently, a few people have said that I am an inspiration to them; that I'm a role model. To them I'm someone to look up to or admire. These are probably some of the greatest compliments I've ever received and I am very thankful for them. So please don't let what I'm about to say lead you to think I'm belittling those compliments. I'm glad that these wonderful things are thought of me, but I have a hard time believing them. I'm also terrified I'll do something to let those people down, as they are dear friends who I count as family. Yes, I've been through a lot in the past few years. Yes, there are days when I don't know how we'll make it to bed time, but we do. I do often find myself with a "To Do" list a mile long and there is never enough time to get it all done. However, once a week, I usually manage to pull it off. I don't go to work or go to school, but my job is to run my household and care for my family. I keep quite a busy schedule, despite being a "stay at home mom". I actually consider myself a "stay on the go mom". But I do NOT do it alone.

I have a wonderful husband who works ridiculous hours putting up with truly snotty college kids to pay the bills. He's a fantastic father, and most days he isn't aware. He loves his son and he loves me to the ends of the earth and he makes sure we know it. He takes pictures with passion and care so that we will always have memories of the days that we're living right now. I have parents who give unending support in more ways than I can count. You know, they dealt with a lot when we first found out about my pregnancy and no one really asked them how they were doing. I'm fairly certain it wasn't all rainbows and sunshine for them. There were many concerns, but they gave Charlie and I the space we needed while still being there waiting just in case we needed them. And boy did we ever. Charlie's parents have also been extremely supportive from the very beginning (after the shock wore off some). They have helped us in more ways than I can really say and I don't know that I will ever be able to repay them. We've gotten immeasurable support from our extended families, dear friends from all over the globe, a few members of my church, and even some kind strangers. Chances are, if you're reading this, you've helped me or us in some way. If you're reading this, there is a good possibility your kindness has helped me get through the day.

I guess what I'm ultimately trying to say is thank you. Just...thank you.

On a lighter note, here's our menu for the week. As usual, I don't assign a meal to a day or a day to a meal because I'd rather not set myself up for failure.

BBQ Beef (This will get made this week, by golly!)
sweet potato fries

Grandma H's Spaghetti Sauce
side salads
cheesy bread

Sausage and Lentil Stew
dutch oven bread

Monte Cristos
home fries/roasted veggies
apple sauce

Buffalo Chicken Dip
veggie sticks
tortilla chips
fresh fruit

sauteed veg
side salads

Other things to make this week:
bread (both plain and cinnamon raisin)
pumpkin pies (for the freezer)
Calvin's birthday cake

Tuesday night we're having Calvin's little family party at my parents since it's the only night we're all off. My mom is making lasagna and salad. I'm contributing the cheesy bread and the dude's birthday cake. On Saturday we are leaving for a little weekend away. As a family. Like, all of us. Charlie included! I can't tell you how excited I am! Due to these events, one or more of the planned meals may not get made. But I have everything I need to make all of them, just in case.

What are you having this week?