Can you believe we're about to turn the calendar and be into February?? Yeah, I sure can't. Just seems as if it's going too fast.
But, with each one of these calendar page flips, I take a moment to reassess where I'm at and where I'm going. I do look forward to my assessment time, because I get a chance to shift and realign my goals for the next month.
This end of the month reflection has stemmed around this blog. Specifically, its focus.
I've been referencing feeling scattered both on my IG feed and here on this blog. I've been feeling disconnected from myself and my heart.
And one of the ways I've been scattered is in trying to choose the variety of recipes to prepare for the blog. Going back and forth between dinner and breakfast blog worthy recipes put some incredible pressure on me. I constantly felt like I wasn't good enough in anything I was doing. My words felt flat. Not sure if you could feel it, but it was suffocating me.
And suffocation isn't a feeling I enjoy at all. Who does though right? I've lived with that feeling for most of my teens, 20's, and early 30's. I vowed once I got diagnosed with chronic fatigue that I'd not feel said feeling again...or at least recognize it immediately and do something different.
And so, I am.
Starting today, I'll be focusing my blog on exploring and creating amazing, gluten free waffles for you and yours.
We will delve into a myriad of gluten free flours, binders, and even how to use vegan replacers! We will explore both sweet and savory creations. We'll also explore #funsauce Friday, where I look into some amazing compliments to the waffles I create--jams, jellies, chutneys, and syrups just to name a few.
I look forward to sharing with you all of my knowledge and learning together through the ups and downs of my culinary experiments (I'm sure there will be downs, though I'm hopeful they will be few and far between).
Now, onto today's waffles and an introduction to coconut flour? Sure, we've all heard of it, but what exactly is it? And how do we use it in our baking?
Coconut flour is made from drying out the white meat of the coconut and pulverizing it into a flour like texture.
It has amazing health benefits: from being high in fiber and trace minerals (keeping you regular and giving you critical nutrients people are typically low in), to being gluten free, hypoallergenic, and not as detrimental to blood sugar (not like regular gluten flour which can cause crazy blood sugar spikes). It's got a completely different make up than other gluten free grain and nut flours, so it needs a bit more tlc than other flours.
Okay, how do we use it?
First off, the recipes you make with coconut flour will need more eggs as a binder. Why? Because of its high fiber and the way the nutrients make up the flour, it's a bit more delicate than other grains and nut flours. It doesn't have the elastic like texture of gluten when liquid is added. So, it needs more of the binders which eggs have to create a stronger finished product. Otherwise, your waffles will fall apart (trust me on this one) ;)
Also, coconut flour recipes need to be followed very closely in regards to the liquids you add. Coconut flour is super moist, so it absorbs a lot more than other types of flour.
There isn't really a lot of room for getting creative by adding and subtracting your liquids. Coconut flour seems to act a bit different from what you think it will. Adding a bit more flour in an effort to absorb liquid will make your final product super dry. Adding more liquid to loosen the consistency of the batter will make the batter too thick.
It's also helpful to sift your coconut flour if your flour is super clumpy. It will give you a more consistent texture.
How do you store coconut flour?
It's preferable to store this type of flour in an airtight container. If not, coconut flour can absorb a lot of moisture, get clumpy, and spoil very fast. You can store it in a dark pantry at room temperature for a few months. You can also store it in the fridge for about 6 months to a year! And a good rule of thumb--your nose is your guide. Give it the smell test, and when in doubt, throw it out!!
These waffles were delicate, even with adding multiple eggs to the batter. So, let them cook a tad longer than you normally would....which is real tough for me to do!! I'm usually right there trying to take waffles off of the iron as soon as my green light dings. This is what happens when you pull it off as soon as your "done" light cuts on....
Whoops lol.....I had much better luck the second time around after letting the waffles cook longer and get a deep golden brown. The result: they were so delicious!! Super caramely, with a hint of almonds. Yummy!! Again, you know me and my no syrup with my waffles thing....I ate these with shredded coconut, pitted dates, and almond butter. My dad ate his with butter and syrup and gave rave reviews for you syrup lovers out there :)
Let me know what you think about this new focus for the blog AND if you've got a gluten free waffle recipe idea you want me to try. I'm looking forward to working for you and taking on this amazing journey!!
adapted from The Beautiful Balance
Hi! Happy Friday! How was your week?
One of my favorite things I used to do when I taught a course in college was going through each day and checking in with my students, and asking them to give me the highlights and then the lowlights of their week. It was how I got a sense of what was going on in each of their lives and how I could gear my lessons to be more relevant to their lives.
Yep, I taught college in one of my former jobs and I totally loved teaching!! I think I could've gotten used to being called Professor on a daily basis. Maybe I'll go back one day....who knows?
Back to this week....
*It was my birthday on Wednesday!! I used to be freaked out about getting older, but now I say bring it on. I'm learning so much and doing nothing but getting wiser, so when I have the opportunity to rewrite patterns I didn't quite have a grasp on the first time, I welcome them. Let's start anew!
*Birthday Cake Waffles with Chocolate Drizzle--need I say more?
*Uhhh, how about being sick on your birthday? Yeah, that wasn't fun. In fact, tummy viruses are NEVER fun, no matter what day they fall on.
*I'm feeling a tad emotional this week. I feel disconnected from my body and my spirit. I feel lost and have been questioning my path, wondering where I go from here. I'm looking at how I can stretch myself and grow, not only in my blog, but in my business/career path. And it's confused the hell out of me.
But, what I can say is I'm emotionally and physically exhausted from this week. So, I don't need a lot of time in the kitchen...because I want to snuggle in my bed and just be for a while.
Is anyone else with me???
Good. Let's welcome the weekend then.
So, I've been dreaming about creating these for quite a long time.
And why not? Everyone wants to have a fun cake to celebrate their birthday. And you should go all out for your birthday. It's just a fact. Calories don't count on your birthday (I don't count calories any day but especially not today!)
Why create a waffle like this today Brooke? I mean, I'm glad you've been dreaming of birthday cake....but why now?
Well, you see, it IS my birthday today. And it fell directly on a waffle Wednesday. Coincidence? I think not!
So, with some help from my amazing friends at Simple Mills and a blogger I truly admire for her work/creativity/ahhhmazing photos, Minimalist Baker, I created my own birthday cake waffles.
I just didn't start my birthday today the way I wanted to....being up sick all night. Yeah, I know, classy right? What a way to turn 37.
But, I'm looking forward to this year more than ever before. Last year was just plain hard. With the focus on so much of my physical health (it's understandable--I have chronic fatigue syndrome caused by chronic Epstein Barr infection), I neglected just about every other part of my life--my friends, my family, my finances, my emotional health, and my spiritual awakening. I neglected some of the essential things which made me, well me.
This year, I'm back in the kitchen creating meals for myself (and by default, you too!). I am back on my yoga mat (just got a new one today from Manduka, I'll be sharing more about them, stay tuned!). I am actively making an effort to get myself back out in the friend world--doing things and making plans. I'm working on launching my own side work too...helping you with meal planning, prep, and grocery shopping, amongst other offerings.
This is my year to shine. I've had to hibernate so much during the past year. I want to break free. I want to start anew. This year holds such hope and promise for me. My only complaint....it's going by to dang fast! Can someone slow it down please? How can we be at the end of January already? Seems like I was just snoozing....I mean watching...the ball drop to symbolize changing to 2017.
But, I digress. Back to the waffles. I topped these yummy waffles with frozen raspberries, drizzled with the chocolate drizzle, and sprinkled with shredded coconut.
My stomach may hate me for it later (if you're sick it may be too much)...but woah it was so good going down. And who can blame me? It's my birthday. And I'll eat waffles if I want to.
When's your birthday? Let's celebrate it by making these shall we??
Make a wish......
Drizzle adapted from Minimalist Baker
Have you ever stopped to think about this quote: "How you do one thing is how you do ALL things?"
I'm not quite sure who said that, but it's so true. How I do one thing in my life is how I do all things. And recently I've woken up to seeing how I actually do things. I've gotta admit....I don't love it ALL of the time.
I can admittedly be an intense, lost, unconnected, emotional woman one minute and then an inspired, connected, passionate, funny, intelligent, intuitive, lit up being the next. It's quite a conundrum and it's quite beautiful at the same time.
So, I know I am working in my creative, passionate brain when I get in the kitchen. And this Sunday meal was no exception.
A simple lentil pasta sauce served with black olives over sautéed squash & zucchini made a wonderful, filling, and flavorful meal for football viewing.
Might not be traditional game day food....but when have I ever been traditional??
Don't answer that. ;)
On second thought, I'll answer it. Sure, I've done a lot of the so called "typical" things---graduation from college & law school, got a dog, a desk job, and bought a home.
But, I've done a lot of "non typical" things too--left the desk job in my early 30's for culinary school, changed careers again in my mid 30's, and moved back in with my parents as a single gal with her pup when I got sick with chronic fatigue syndrome.
And while I've had some major struggles and heartbreak (who hasn't if we are all being honest here), I'm glad I've not been traditional. I'm glad I've tried new things. I'm glad I've taken & chosen to follow different paths. I may not be writing here for you if I hadn't have.
So, if I'm going to keep doing things one certain way from now on, let it be this: live creatively, heartily, non traditionally, and in the case of this recipe here, super lentil-ly.
Because doing things this way will yield yummy, fun, adventurous, joyous, and delicious results. No need for an emotional, intense, unconnected being when the kitchen calls.....
How's that for breaking my own tradition? :)
Things are warming up weather wise around these parts. We had close to 70 degrees one day and a string of mid 60's, one week after we got 9 inches of snow.
No wonder everyone around my world has had the sniffles.
But, as the weather turns warmer, my thoughts turn to....pizza and avocados? Yes pizza. And avocados. I mean, don't you? I think of warm spring and summer evenings, sitting around a large pie while chatting loudly with my girlfriends. I also think of sharing margaritas and chips/guacamole on a patio with my girlfriends catching up on life.
Warm weather and guacamole? Sign me up!
My next thought centered around combining pizza and avocados.....ahhh a pesto pizza. Perfect way to channel those yummy, soul nourishing meals. All that was missing here were my girlfriends. Well, Ginger was there and we chatted.
Okay okay....I chatted....she just looked at me while tearing the fuzz off her tennis ball. So much for interaction ;)
This pesto was so versatile. I paired one of avocado's fave ingredients (cilantro) with one of my faves (lemon).
This pesto can be the star of the show, as I've shown with my Simple Mills flatbread and sliced tomatoes. Or, it can be just a side item. I topped rice dishes with this for extra flavor. I dipped crackers in it. Heck, even apples got a big boost from this yummy jar.
And I'm admitting right now I've never made pesto from scratch before this creation. Sure, I've opened plenty of jars of pesto, but to make my own? Yeah...that was for my fave tv chefs.
Well, I did it. And only opening jars of pesto is a thing of the past.
Expect an invite this spring and summer ladies....we've got some major gabbing to do. :)
I don't know if you know this, but I have an official waffle taste tester. Yes, that's totally her title.
It's a foodie friend of mine. We bounce a lot of ideas off one another when it comes to creating delicious veggie meals and making fun waffles. She's given me quite a few ideas for upcoming posts...so when they make their debut, you've got her to thank for them.
And last night, as I was putting a stack of waffles in our freezer at work for her, I was stopped by another employee who asked me, "Why make your own when you can go the freezer section at any grocery store and get frozen waffles for less than $5?"
Ummm I'm sorry what??
Could you imagine the look on her face if I handed her frozen waffles, lovingly wrapped up in parchment paper, claiming them to be my own?? Yeah, I can.....a look of sheer and abject horror would come over her. And she'd quizzically ask me where were my fluffy, light, stupendous, delicious, homemade creations?
Okay so mayyyybe I'm being a bit dramatic. She'd have maybe only used one of those words....not all 5 to describe my creations. ;)
But, she would be horrified....at least I hope so.
Nothing wrong with store bought frozen waffles. They have their place. But, when you make your own, any leftovers can be wrapped up to become frozen waffles. Then, you get to taste your own creations from the freezer again and again. Now that's a huge win in my book. What about you?
I adapted this recipe from the Huffington Post. I subbed in coconut flour and added more almond milk, as coconut flour is super absorbent. I thought this blend created a nice palette to make a bunch of different flavors. You want chocolate chip waffles? Add in some of your fave chips. You want lemon poppyseed? Throw those items in there. Customize it to your own liking.
I made mine as written, but topped them with warmed berries, flaxseed, andSo Delicious coconut milk yogurt. It was hearty but light, and kept me fueled for hours! Soooo ready to eat these again.....bummer I don't have any more.
Oh wait! I do have some. In the freezer. Perhaps that's the reason why my coworker asked me about why I was freezing some for my taste tester. They wanted to apply for the job! ;)
My apologies, but, the position has been filled.
Nothing is stopping you though from making your own batch. Then, you've got your own freezer creations. Can't wait to see what you create using #wafflewednesday and tagging me on IG (@brooke_langford_)
So good to me,
It was all I hoped it could be."
Oh wait...the Mamas and the Papas were singing that song about Monday right? And they didn't sing that song about a dinner did they? Hmmmm....
Well, maybe I'll just sing this dinner's praises instead and leave that iconic song intact.
Do you have a Sunday supper tradition in your family? I know growing up, we didn't have a traditional Sunday supper per se, but we did have our own little things which made us unique.
It was only when I was in my early 30's I experienced Sunday suppers after church during a couple of long term, serious relationships. I enjoyed lingering over a big meal, which was full of laughter, family dramas, and catching up on current events. Then, I REALLY enjoyed the sounds of the post meal tradition---the Sunday afternoon naps!
And while it's just me these days (I'm no longer with these guys), I still love the tradition. And replicate it for myself whenever I'm off work.
I had a wonderful meal last week which required a bit more time and culinary steps, but was perfect for lingering over the Sunday paper and perusing the ads. It still was only a one pot meal, which made for easy clean up!
Does anyone else love to read the Sunday paper in it's entirety? During the week, I only check sports scores, horoscopes, and the daily weather report. But, on Sundays, seems all of the sections have interesting articles, and eye catching ads. And I love to look at them all...even things I know I'd not usually be interested in purchasing.
This combination of sweet, salty, nutty, and dill-y was so delicious. It just really made me swoon.
And I don't swoon over a lot these days. Except waffles on Wednesday. And Miranda Lambert. And When Calls the Heart. And brainstorming recipes with friends. And the used book store. And puppy butts. And babies. And yoga. And coconut yogurt. And penguins. And Taylor Swift. And Jackson's Honest purple heirloom potato chips (seriously, have you had those???). And The Nutcracker. And hoodie sweatshirts. And winter beanies. Lots and lots of winter beanies.
But that's it. I'm a simple gal. Not much to me. ;)
How I got the raisins so plump and juicy is because I actually let them soak in boiling water for the entire time the rice was cooking (who knew that trick? I didn't until now.)
The pine nuts can be toasted in a skillet prior to adding them, but I was super hungry and I just couldn't wait any longer.
You can substitute any rice in here you'd prefer. I've seen black rice, red rice (what I used here), pink rice, and even jade rice. The color just gives a cool contrast....but if all you've got is brown rice...go for it! The dish won't disappoint.
So grab a spoon, a bowl, the paper, your family, or all of the above and dig in. I bet you'll find something interesting in that Marketplace section. Before you get engrossed in it though, can you please pass me the Sports????
My chronic fatigue flared up this week like woah.
I knew it was coming after last Friday. I worked myself into quite the tizzy that day, bringing a level of intensity I'd not seen in myself since probably 2008. I was stalking around at work, not smiling, and being incredibly short with coworkers and was very detrimental to myself.
By the time I left work, my stomach was in knots and I'd lost all connection to my heart. I couldn't hear my inner guidance. I couldn't feel hunger or pain. I was numb. And all I thought I wanted was to open a pint of ice cream...and stuff myself silly. But, as I shoved the first spoonful in my mouth, I was overcome with sickness. I spit out the ice cream (horrible I know), and went to bed without dinner.
And this yucky, numb, not hungry feeling has permeated my meal prepping all this week. No elaborate meals. All Fast Fix ones. Thank goodness for Kite Hill almond milk cream cheese. You've given me flavor I couldn't provide myself.
What did I do did you ask? Well, I just mixed it in with roasted veggies, chickpeas, and quinoa pasta. Ever tried it? Because I'd highly suggest it.
Plus....I gotta say...this cream cheese though is just so.damn.good. Even dairy eaters couldn't tell this cheese was from almond milk. The process they use creates such a superb quality of product, I just want to try them all (I miss ricotta cheese and they have an almond milk ricotta.....ahhh baked pastas ARE back in my future.)
I cooked the pasta and roasted my veggies separately, then combined them and added rinsed and drained chickpeas.
While you can dollop and mix all the cream cheese into your large skillet with all the pasta and veggies, I much prefer the loveliness of mixing the cheese fresh with each reheat of my servings. It keeps all the chive-y flavor intact and keeps it fresh.
It may not look pretty, but it sure does taste good.
And it was quite a comfort knowing I had food leftover in my fridge I could mix up when my energy has been so low.
This is will definitely make an appearance again in my lineup. So wonderfully filling and flavorful....even if it's not the most photogenic.
Hope you have a yummy #fastfix to your weekend!! I know I sure did :)
I've been deep in thought this week. Not for me but for you, my loving, loyal readers.
I usually spend a lot of time during the beginning of the year pondering the direction of my life. I think about my one word (this year it's COURAGE), and refocus my Core Desired Feelings (thanks to Danielle LaPorte) to my current station in life. This year, its taken more time though because I've also been thinking about my blog.
I get a lot of emails asking me, "What is a mirepoix exactly? What does a mirepoix have to do with me?" Well, pondering answer usually leaves me silent.....because I'm not sure exactly what it means to you.....
So, I do what I always do when I want some insight....I go to my journal. I just started writing about why I started this blog....and why I wanted to share my food in the first place.
And you know what I came up with? I wanted to share my food and my ideas for a couple of reasons:
1. I wanted to share how plant based foods have helped to heal my gut/body/mind/spirit.
2. I wanted to inspire you to get in your kitchen to experiment and create meals for yourself and your family.
Of course, you don't have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to yummy food...l've done some of that legwork for you.
Food has always been an intrical part of my life. However, there was a time where my food was heavily misused....well, scratch that....I didn't eat food at all. I starved myself into a depleted, weak, and sickly state.
Then, there was another time where I'd become numb to food and just shoveled it in with no real regard to what I was eating. I didn't care if it came from a drive through, a frozen meal, or a cereal box.
But, getting sick this past year woke me up to the physical abuse I placed on my body. And made me want to treat myself better. Good thing about my age....I've got smarter as I've gotten older. ;)
And getting back into my kitchen has rekindled the love for food I had as a kid. I remember my grandma making toast in her gas oven (so freaking delish!). I remember watching her make biscuits and peach cobblers. I loved helping out shelling beans. Before she passed, she even showed me how to make her peach cobbler. I just wish I'd have learned how to make her fried pies.
I watched my mom cook Thanksgiving meals, Christmas dinners, and our nightly eats. We gathered as a family every night to talk, laugh, cry, and discuss our days.
It's what holidays are centered around; what people bring during times of grief; and what nourishes our souls.
That's what I want to share with you. The love of the kitchen. The love of creating new meals. The desire to make food which used to be "off limits" healthy and fun. Also, the desire to make meals budget friendly but high quality. Plus, I want you to spend time together chatting and lingering over meals...making memories you'll have forever.
So, MY Healing Mirepoix (aka, the three things which have formed the basis of my healing) might not be YOUR Healing Mirepoix.
In fact, it's more than likely it won't be exactly my path. Because we're all different. And that is totally wonderful. But, from what I have heard, we all love to eat. So, that's what we bond over.....we start with food....and then our connection deepens the more meals we share.
What's it gonna take to deepen that connection....to take that first step away from the car and back towards our respective ovens?
Well, COURAGE (of course!) plus a pinch of cinnamon, because life is better when it's warm and spicy. And apples. Lots and lots of apples.
adapted from Rachl Mansfield
This Scrumptious Sunday is all about celebrating one more festive occasion--New Years Day. Well, let's be honest, I can eat this meal any time of the year. Especially the fried plantains.
But, back to how this became my New Years Day meal. I had to work on said holiday, which was rather slow. So, I spent most of my work day cleaning shelving and coming up with a recipe to make when I got home.
Do you guys do that? When you're doing a rather repetitive task, do you go somewhere else in your head and plan your dinner/grocery list/month/week/year/insert your fave planning idea here? I happily admit I do. And it usually revolves around my dinner ideas, blogging ideas, and weekly grocery list.
I do my best thinking during these times. And it was during this time I created this recipe.
It's definitely a different spin on the whole cabbage, black eyed peas for New Years thing. But it's really yummy. And makes great leftovers for the next day.
Now, it still has some cabbage in it, so there's my green....and black...beans for the peas?!?! Yes, black beans my friend. That's good luck to me. They are a "magical fruit" after all. ;)
How did I do it? Well, I started with steamed cabbage, steamed with just water, salt, and pepper. Then, added my ingredients in an unorthodox order. I started with cabbage and beans, then my aromatics, then my seasonings. Lastly, I mixed in my plantains, the piece de resistance. And topped it all with hemp seeds. My bean bowl just went from fabulous to off the charts.
Yes, I know. It's different. Not the typical pork roast and cornbread meal by any means. But I've decided this year, I'll be more adventurous and willing to try new things.
Consider this my first change then for the new year. See, 2017 is getting off to a good start already. Variety is the spice of life.
Can we talk about these fried plantains? I bought the ripest plantain I could find.
How do you tell if a plantain ripe? Know how your regular bananas turn brown and get much sweeter? Same deal with a plantain. The darker the plantains are, the riper they are.
How to fry them? I mean, if you have an air fryer or even a fry daddy, then by all means use those like their instructions suggest. But, I don't have any of those gadgets, so I'm going old fashioned: large skillet, coconut oil, and plantain slices. Melt coconut oil in large skillet over medium heat. Slice plantain into thin rounds. Place plantains in a single layer in skillet and fry for 3-5 minutes until golden. Flip and fry on other side, 1-3 minutes. Remove and drain on a towel. Repeat with remaining slices.
So. Darn. Good.
So, bring it on 2017. Let's see what you got. I'm ready.....are you??
Happy New Year!!