Monthly Archives: April 2016

Let the Games Begin…

Buckle up, Buttercup.  It’s time to get started.

The weather is warming.  We have intermittent sunshine and rain with some longer stretches of warm sunshine.  That means garden.  However, I don’t have my garden plot from the last two years.

Our landlord is consolidating her garden plots into one area, so my plot (actually my old plot) is a part of that.  So, this year we needed to find new place for our garden.  It ends up that this will be the rather oddly shaped southern border to the property that runs alongside the driveway.

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For now things look a bit… shall we say… odd.  Last October I already knew that I’d be losing my plot, but needed to be able to plant my garlic.  I was allowed to plant my glorious garlic (I’ll share the garlic story in a future post) in the raspberry patch that will separate the area with my old plot from my new plot.  This is the only time that you will ever (I hope) see me combine garlic with raspberries.  Just the thought gives me chills.

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What you see here is the beginning of the desodding process.  The one good side to the unbroken months of rain that we’ve had (I have to keep reminding myself that we live in a rain forest and therefore that requires copious amounts of rain) is that the sod is really lose and relatively easy to remove (as far as desodding goes).  I did a few rows on my own, but Dave did most of the heavy lifting (literally).  I did do most of the sod cutting, however.

I’ll show more of the changes to this brave new plot as gardening seasons progresses.  For now everything that has been moved from the old plot is in complete shock.  The sad looking limp chives will hopefully rebound soon.  Only one kale plant made the move well, and I’m hoping that the parsley comes along too.

Other than that on the back deck I have two containers struggling through the wetness.  One is my standard bin of mixed lettuces, and the other is half arugula and half of something that I’ve completely forgotten what it is.  It might be chives.  It might be that I actually only put seeds in half of the container with plans on putting something (of indeterminate origins) else in the other half.  Time will tell.  I hope.

In the meantime Dave and I spent a well deserved day post-desodding on the couch.  Little Man didn’t mind too badly since he got more TV than normal, but he did object to the amount of Mommy and Daddy TV rather than cartoons.  Such is life.  🙂
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A Waffle Kind of Morning

I think I’ve mentioned before that I might love breakfast just a little.  Or maybe a whole bunch.  I L-O-V-E breakfast, and will eat it for any meal of the day. While pancakes are a part of our regular weekend rotation of deliciousness, waffles are Little Man’s second favorite and frankly his preference could be bought depending on which one contains chocolate chips.  Those we save for super special days, however.

Like pancakes, when we first made the switch to gluten free-ish (Little Man’s issue is actually with not with gluten but with wheat, so we can use spelt flour that is low in gluten but not gluten free) I initially struggled with making a healthy-ish version that was also delicious.  One of the tricks I’ve found is that when dealing with low gluten or gluten free flours, a little bit of chia-meal or flax-meal goes a long way to creating the fluffy, bendable breakfast foods that we love.  Otherwise sometimes these gluten free or low gluten flours can be a bit friable or shatteringly powdery.  If you’ve eaten many things with straight up gf flour, hopefully you understand what I mean.  Not only does the chia or flax help make things bendable (gluten-like) It doesn’t hurt that they also add a great healthy boost to our beloved foods.  A boost that helps me think of these things as being healthy-ish… even with a healthy-ish dousing of maple syrup (the real deal please).

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Spelt Belgian Waffles

While this is “Belgian” in the North American style, these are not the waffles you’d find on the streets of Brussels. Beyond that, they are delicious! I make the entire batch at once, keeping them warm in the oven while cooking the rest. They are also great reheated from frozen. See the notes at the end for these instructions.

Ingredients:
2 cups spelt flour
¼ cup chia meal (see note)
4 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2 cups milk (almond, coconut, cow, etc.)
½ cup canola oil
2 eggs, separated

Directions:

  1. Plug in and heat your Belgian style waffle maker. Turn your oven on to low.
  2. In a large bowl combine the spelt flour, chia meal, baking powder and salt. Whisk the dry ingredients together to blend well.

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    The chia meal looks like a lovely pile of black pepper here, but it will all blend in I promise.

  3. In a large mixing cup or medium bowl combine the milk (almond milk is my favorite for these) and oil.

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    I like to use a glass mixing cup large enough to hold all of my wet ingredients.  This one is a four cup measuring cup, so it’s perfect for this recipe.

  4. Get a small bowl for separating the eggs. Carefully break the eggs one at a time, dropping the whites into the clean bowl and the yolks into the milk and oil mixture. Set the whites aside for the moment.

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    It’s hard to make a bowl of unbeaten egg whites look interesting.  Sigh…

  5. Use a fork or whisk to mix the wet ingredients together. Pour the wet into the dry and stir to combine. Set this aside.
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    This doesn’t have to be a perfect emulsion, it just needs to be combined enough that there aren’t whole egg yolks floating around.

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    Yup, the chia meal is still there peaking out at you, but these are whole grain waffles AND they taste fantastic.

  6. Using a hand mixer beat the egg whites to firm peaks. Fold the whipped egg whites gently into your waffle batter. There should still be a few streaks of white in your batter. This is what makes your waffles fluffy.
  7. Cook your waffles according to your waffle maker’s directions. For my waffle maker I use a ½ cup measuring cup to fill the griddle, close the lid and then flip the maker over. As the waffles finish cooking, I remove them from the waffle maker and put them in a single layer directly onto the rack of the oven. This recipe tends to make a total of 8 waffles that fills my oven in two rows of four.
  8. Any waffles that you don’t eat you can freeze. To reheat what I do is take one of the waffles out of the freezer bag, place it on a plate and drizzle about 1 tsp. of water over the waffle. Then I put this in the microwave for 10 seconds, and finally slide the waffle off of the plate into my toaster oven and toast it lightly. This gives me a warm, fluffy waffle that is crisply on the outside. If you don’t have a toaster oven, you can do the same thing with the broiler of your oven, but watch that waffle like a hawk. It can go from toasty to carbonized (aka burnt) in a second.

Note: Chia seeds lose their awesome oils quickly once ground, so try not to buy them pre-ground as chia meal. Instead, make your own by blitzing chia seeds in a coffee grinder or food processor. You can do the same with flax seeds to create a flax meal. Store any extra chia (or flax) meal in the freezer to keep it fresh. I generally use the black chia seeds since I can find a good organic version. There is also a white chia version that would work just as well.

P.S.

Yes, I just posted a photo of the inside of my oven on the internet.  Please don’t judge.  If you are my mother or mother-in-law, avert your eyes.

Click here for a printable version of the  Spelt Belgian Waffles recipe.