This week, I've just been....tired.
My boss has been out for a couple weeks and I've stepped into her role until she gets back.
During my first week as her (which was just last week I might add), I walked around shell shocked. It was like playing whack a mole--I just spent my time whacking down fires as they popped up. I had no idea what I was doing. I just kept working hard (ever have the moment where you realize there's never enough time to get everything done??); trying to fill her role as best I could; and the time just flew by.
Sunday night, as I laid sprawled out on the couch unable to move, I realized all the work of being someone else has worn me out & left me in a true state of depletion. It's a state of fatigue I unfortunately know well---nodding off while driving (scary I know!); sleeping any spare moment I can; not being hungry; not being thirsty; and, not being able to handle any of the supplement protocol I'm supposed to be taking.
All because I'm trying to be something I'm not---someone else.
And isn't that a crappy feeling? I mean, it is for me.
Being someone else is admittedly something I've gotten used to in my life. I've played roles for many people--parents, friends, lovers, bosses, counselors, sports coaches, and teachers.
It even got to the point where I looked into the mirror and didn't even recognize who I was. The suffocation I was feeling in my external world was nothing compared to my internal world. I lost all connection to my inner wise woman. My connections were to all things outside of me--people I hung out with, clothes I wore, places I went, things I said....nothing which made me feel whole.
I must say, luckily, I haven't felt suffocated by these past couple of weeks. Yes, I'm depleted and utterly exhausted. It's going to take me a while to physically get my strength back (funny how I used to take recovery time for granted...now I crave it). But, for the first time, I'm aware of the depletion before I actually completely bottom out (hello chronic fatigue relapse!!)
So, this whole being aware thing gives me a chance to really figure out what to do when this depleted feeling strikes. Before opening my eyes to this pattern, I'd just dive deeper into the role...thinking somehow I wasn't doing enough/being enough/convincing everyone else enough.
Now, I have the opportunity to figure out how to get out of the role and dive right into what makes me....well, me.
Where do I go you ask?
My journal is usually the first place. The second....you get one guess....
You're right....I get in the kitchen. Sounds cheesy but it's true. It's my magic. It's my happy place. So, no matter what city/apartment/loft/home I am led toward, please let there be a huge kitchen with lots of light (meh, the rest of the house can be small...just give me all the kitchen!)
So, now that I'm in my happy place....let's talk about the waffles shall we?
These are gingerbread. Classic spicy flavor remade gluten free from one of my all time favorite blogs, Against All Grain. When I was diagnosed with a gluten allergy in 2014, Danielle's cookbook was the first one I downloaded. I had no idea about going gluten free, so she opened up a lot of new baking ingredients and lifestyle options.
Fun fact: I didn't make a lot of homemade gingerbread growing up. Despite the fact I loved it so much. Because my mom hates gingerbread--everything about gingerbread or gingerbread related. She says her mom ate too much of it when she was pregnant with my mom.
Can there actually be too much gingerbread? I mean, are there to many kitchen gadgets?? No way. So bring on the spice. Mom, you're just gonna have to watch.
This waffle is a blender recipe--dump all your ingredients into the blender & just whir it on up! So easy...so gratifying...so satisfying.
So, when my world spins into a place of fatigue & depletion, I step into the kitchen; cut on a podcast; and, remember who I am. Then, I move from that place---the grounded, calm, warm, and quite gingerbready place. That's who I am.....what about you?
What makes you remember yourself when you find yourself depleted, tired, and utterly spent. Have you ever played roles & gotten lost in the world external to yourself? Let me know how you reconnect. Let's remember who you are....whole, free, and full of peace.
adapted from Against All Grain
Last week, while I was cleaning out my room, I found my old journals.
No, these weren't the angsty journals of my youth, where I wrote on and on about what my crush was doing or if he even noticed my existence (side note: the crushes I had never did notice me....heck, most of the time they didn't even know I liked them!)
These were the old journals from my dieting days, a period of time which covered my senior year of high school through my years in law school. It was quite painful to go through them. I actually could feel the emotions oozing out of the faded, bleeding ink.
You see, I used to be dogmatic in my diets. In fact, I was downright militant.
There was no room for so called "fun" foods at all. I strictly measured, portioned, and counted each piece of food, right down the the number of kernels of corn I consumed. I kept astonishingly thorough records. There was even a time in my life when I didn't have a potato chip or a french fry for almost 2 years. I now see how deprived I was--of both food and the enjoyment in life. I mean, have you ever had thick cut tortilla chips sprinkled generously with sea salt, dipped in guacamole while laughing with a group of friends sitting outside on the patio of a restaurant on a warm summer night drinking margaritas? Those memories, my friends, are truly heaven sent.
But, there were plenty of times when these memories never really happened. In fact, I spent most nights dreaming of those moments. I didn't really allow myself to share in them. Honestly, I did all I could to avoid situations where foods would be offered which were outside of my given "plan" at the moment.
You name the diet.....I've tried it. You name the event...I avoided it. I've even turned down dates, stunting my romantic development as much as these restrictions limited my physical development. All in the name of sticking to my "diet."
I told people it was because I wanted to be a fitness model. I trained like I was going to be on the cover of Muscle & Fitness Hers every.single.day. I was always cycling carbs, worrying about macros, figuring out fat grams, and carrying around gallon jugs of water.
The truth? I was too scared to enjoy life. I was afraid once I began getting away from the serious routine I'd created, I'd lose track of everything I'd worked for....including my weight. Oh...and side note here...never EVER did I get buff like those fitness models. In fact, I stayed very waif like and never gained an ounce of muscle, especially in my arms. Little did I know, the daily extreme dieting and exercise regimen limited my ability to really do things like gain muscle physically and even logically reason/assess situations mentally.
So, what does all of this have to do with the waffle for today? Well, I have quite a sordid past with protein powder.
Most of the days after class, you'd catch me drinking TONS of protein shakes, and fixing protein pancakes. I'd have protein bars as a snack. I'd have protein bars for dessert. I'd even have protein bars for a meal if in a pinch. Part of me is surprised I have no kidney problems with as much protein as I consumed. The other part of me is just dang grateful to have survived protein overload and the extreme flavor distress.
Flavor distress? Yes, flavor distress. Lets be real with each other for a minute--have you tasted some of these protein powders out on the market? Blech. I KNOW cookies and cream are not supposed to taste like THAT (insert whatever explicative you'd like to use to describe the flavor). Nor is that tropical paradise/pineapple/strawberry/mango chalky concoction gonna magically take me away to a lounge chair by the clear blue ocean. Its just not.
But, I've faithfully stuck with protein powders (if that is not the definition of loyalty, I don't know what is) until last summer. I just gave them up and figured I'd be off of the powders forever. Gee, can you tell I'm an "all or nothing" type thinker???? But, I woke up last weekend oddly craving protein pancakes and had some leftover plant based protein powder, so I figured I'd turn them into protein waffles instead.
I followed this recipe here and I was surprised at how easy it was. Mix it all in the blender; whir it up; and, pour into your waffle iron. That's my kinda recipe--short, sweet, and, hearty. I mean, isn't that what little girls are made of? Maybe a few years ago I'd not have liked the whole "hearty" piece as a description of myself (or the short part), but, I am fully okay with both now.
I am also okay with talking about my disordered eating past. It is a part of me and the part I clung to when everything else in my world was spinning in disarray. In fact, I still notice when times get tough around me, I want to run back to that default setting. But, I realize by sticking so closely to a super strict routine/plan/regimen, I deprived myself of the things which make life great--family gatherings, friend meals, dates, sporting tailgates, parties, coffee chats, etc.
Now, I really listen to what my body wants each day, realizing some days it is gonna want waffles more than it does veggies. And that is completely, 100%, without a doubt OK. I know right now meat isn't appealing to me, but that is not to say I won't wake up one day in the future and want meat again. Rather than stick to a strictly crafted plan out of a magazine which takes NONE of my personal preferences into account, I'm gonna make sure to listen to my body and feed it exactly what it wants--no deprivation allowed these days!
So, as for the recipe, sub in whatever protein powder you have on hand--hemp, whey, soy, vegan, rice, pea, egg white, etc. You can't go wrong. The plantains add a nice texture to the batter and they are incredibly filling. I'll give it to you protein powder....you do keep me full for many hours. I topped with hemp seeds, cranberries, raspberries, and cinnamon. Great option if you're on the go. I bet my younger, gym rat self would have approved of this recipe. She would have grabbed these as a sandwich, made with scrambled egg whites & turkey bacon with her protein mocha on the way to class. While that's a tempting idea, I'm glad those stomaching those faux mocha (fauxcha?) days are over....and so are my kidneys!
adapted from Purely Twins
I am so excited to share this post with you guys today. First, its #wafflewednesday and I'm always excited to share the waffle of the day. Second, this starts a new series for the blog, my "Box Breakers."
This series is about the people in my life whom I admire for their bravery, courage, tenacity, outlook on life, emotional intelligence, and overall badassness. I thought it would be fun to create a waffle (with their assistance & ideas) to highlight these individuals; their accomplishments; and, the values they represent.
I mean, if that's not true admiration, to get a waffle made in your honor, I don't know what is.
The first recipient of this honor is a current coworker and all around genuine person. I met her almost a year ago. I remember her warm smile and welcoming attitude. Truth--I had no idea what I was doing, and she was super helpful at getting me acclimated to our work environment.
The more I got to know her, the cooler she got. Yes, she is totally into art and is very creative. Yes, she is super friendly and super hilarious. Yes, she is very smart, organized, and entrepreneurial. Yes, she inspires me to be a better person. And she is a roller derby gal--that description just immediately took her to full on badass doesn't it? Yes, yes it does.
See, I loved to roller skate as a wee young kiddo. I loved the lights at the rink; the music which was played; the arcade games. Heck, I even tried my had at Rollerblading (remember when that was super popular in the early 90's? Yes I was obsessed with all of that neon.) I mean, I wanted to be hell on wheels back then, with the wind in my hair (short as it was), and athleticism as my calling card. But, there was one problem......
I only skated on carpet. Both at my house and at the roller rink. And I have to say my old school Rainbow Brite skates aren't quite flying through the wind on thick, plush carpet. Little Miss Rainbow just couldn't get off to a good start. And at the roller rink, while Rainbow shined in the bright lights, holding onto the wall while moving in a circle was just not the speed demon way to be.
Secretly, I've always wanted to get out on that roller rink floor and move. Plus, it would be even cooler if I kept my balance and really flexed my muscles while scoring points for my team. Right now, I'll just let my friend do it for me. I'll cheer her and her team on while I sit in the stands. I'm totally fan-girling right now, so without further ado, let me introduce you to Kelsey Hausler!
Q: Tell us about yourself Kelsey. Where are you from? Favorite hobbies? Any pets? Fave waffle?
My name's Kelsey, and I'm from GSO. I like creating art, and I love to roller skate! I play roller derby for Greensboro Roller Derby, but I also have started going to the local indoor skate park on my quad skates. I don't currently have a pet, but I do have a neighborhood cat that hangs out in the lawn sometimes! My favorite waffle is a classic Belgian!
Q: How did you get involved in roller derby?
I had a friend who I'd learned had joined, and I found out that the league she practiced with met up a few miles from my house. She told me that anyone could join. I didn't know anything about derby or how to skate, but I had the free time and I wanted to give it a try, so I bought a cheap pair of quad skates and showed up to their first practice of the season. I was addicted to everything about the grassroots sport and the people involved from day one.
Q: Do you have a roller derby nickname? If so, what is it? How did you get it?
Traditionally, you get a derby name once you pass assessments, declaring you skilled and safe to play roller derby. Most women decide their names on their own, and lots of people use their legal names now, but my derby name is Xena! I chose it for myself. The character and fight scenes had their own meaning for me as a preteen, because she was this woman who didn't fit into gender roles and was an all around badass who stood up for people in need.
Q: Let's get into roller derby a bit more. What does a typical practice look like?
A practice lasts two to three hours. On a typical day, we spend about thirty minutes doing endurance or specific strength training on foot, and then we get skates and gear on to practice drills we'd like to execute during gameplay. Most skaters have routines they do on their off-time to meet their individual goals, like jogging, yoga, climbing, or Cross Fit. The fun of derby is that it's a sport that uses your entire body, so most anything that engages a core group of muscles is great cross-training!
Q: What does a competition actually look like?
There's a great video for this here! WFTDA, the Women's Flat Track Roller Derby Association, has a youtube channel and they post fantastic quality videos of games usually a month or so after they've occurred. It's a dream. Games are two thirty minutes periods, with a fifteen minute halftime.
Q: Where can people come and see you if they want to check out your bouts?
We'll be having our first home game of the season at the Greensboro Coliseum on April 8th!! You can watch me play for the Gate City All-Stars in the first game, and then the Mad Dollies in the second game!
Q: Any accomplishment you're particularly proud of?
This is my first season skating for the Gate City All-Stars!! And I'm captain of the Mad Dollies with my super awesome teammate, Commander Cupcake!
Q: Who or what inspires you to be your best self?
My teammates! I love my teammates and I admire the work they have put into this league and our community. On top of seeing these sweaty, persevering women on the track, we all do our part to keep the league running.
Q: Anything else you'd like to add?
Brooke Roper is a wonderful being and I'm glad to know her! And she makes a damn fine waffle!
And, if anyone wants to learn more about derby, please reach out to us on FB, or better yet, come to one of our games!
this is our next home game event page:
Now, onto Kelsey's waffle. For her waffle, I did a grain free blueberry waffle with a walnut praline sauce.
Come again? Walnut praline? I mean, is there such a thing? I thought pralines were always made with pecans Brooke?
Well, technically, pralines are at their core just nuts and sugar. And by "nuts", I mean any type of nut. So, if you've got almonds? Make almond pralines. If you've got cashews? Cashew praline. And so forth and so on.
So, on the day you get ready to make the waffles and realize you only have walnuts, not pecans like you thought you had? You make walnut praline sauce.
How did you make the praline sauce?
Well, I took a few tablespoons of vanilla bean ghee and heated that up in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Once the ghee has melted, I took a couple of handfuls of chopped walnuts, about 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, cinnamon, coconut sugar, and lemon juice. I just let all of those flavors meld together and poured them on top of the waffle. Instant classic. Instant fanciness. Instant yums.
So, here's to you Kelsey! For following your dreams.....for doing what lights you up....for being so awesome....and for whisking outside the box and creating a life you call your own. You inspire me.
This weekend, I've really been thinking about the concept of self care. Specifically, I want to know how can I incorporate it into my everyday so I won't always be waiting for complete days/weeks off from work/family/job/daily reality.
See, I've had the house all to myself these past 4 days. My parents were out of town. And to be honest, its been wonderful.
And my parents didn't even have to worry about me throwing a wild party--ahh, the blessings of having an adult house sit!
Not that I don't like living with my parents (no offense Mom & Dad!), but after living on your own for so long....its just nice to be in your own space. I've been looking forward to this weekend in particular for as long as they've had the trip scheduled. Because I knew it would just be me, myself, and I. And it was just what this combo introvert/extrovert needed to recharge her batteries.
I took the entire weekend off from my job and have spent the past couple of days staying in my pjs; making waffles for brunch; roasting veggies for dinner; and, catching up on my fave soap opera storylines.
This morning when I woke though, a fog of sadness fell over my head. In fact, after writing about it, I realize it was a visit from the dreaded "Sunday Blues." Have you ever had those? Unfortunately, its a feeling all too familiar to me.
My version of the blues on this day? "My total self care weekend is over. What do I do now?" blues. I eagerly awaited this time off for almost a month. I spent time dreaming of all I could get done, and all I was going to do in my kitchen, my blog, and my life.
You should see my to do list for the weekend. Let's just say it was a tad adventurous. ;)
So, my first question to myself was: what exactly is self care?
I'll admit, up until now, I've always believed one need to carve out massive amounts of time in order to care for one's self. And when no major time was able to be carved out for self care, then it simply didn't get done.
Yep, those thoughts comprised my old mindset. I truly believed to my core one needed to keep on working and not stop to recharge/renew/refresh. I realize now (after alot of deep diving) said mindset actually was a combination of old stories I absorbed from my childhood and the culture I grew up in--that "gotta have more/do more/be more" mindset.
Luckily, I've had the chance to open my eyes and realize there is life outside of the "all work no play" mentality. Reason number 165,432 I am thankful I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. The mentality and mindsets I've held so dear for the 37 years I've been on the planet is completely shifting. And its so damn wonderful.
So, let me ask again: what is self care?
Would it be okay to admit I honestly don't know what that really looks like?
Back in my old mindset days, I thought self care just meant lots of massages, bubble baths, candles, and pedicures.
Well, guess what? This gal doesn't really like alot of those things. And I felt something was wrong with me because I didn't like them.
Except for the massages. Now those I can get behind.
But, in this new mindset I'm cultivating, I realize self care can be anything I want it to be. It is anything you want it to be. Its anything which makes us all feel loved, renewed, and cared for. And that really isn't going to look the same for everyone. Because we are all different.
Yes, there may be some overlap between folks. In fact, there is guaranteed to be overlap. That's why we have friends who share our same interests.
One of my interests......I'm sure you'll be surprised by this one....is cooking. Any and all things. In fact, I'd like to think in a former life, I was a frontier woman, because I'd be all about learning how to churn my own butter & whip things up completely from scratch.
Now, these waffles didn't require me to churn my own butter (that whole dairy allergy thing gets in the way with that one), but I did make them from scratch. Well, our 2017 idea of from scratch. Not the 1800's version.
I used a new flour in this recipe (well, new to me): brown rice flour. Have you ever tried it? Of course, its gluten free, which is great for all types of gluten intolerance and celiac disease. But, its also higher in fiber, b vitamins, calcium, and zinc than its sibling white rice. The only difference between these two is the appearance of the husk. In brown rice, the husk is left intact, keeping the nutty, rich flavor and heartier texture. In white rice, the husk is stripped, leaving the rice bare and nutrient deficient.
The rest of the ingredients, well, I've used them before but not in this combination. Lemon and lavender meld together to provide flowery, springy goodness. Perfect for a fun brunch with friends or a quick weeknight meal. Hey, I'm not judging if you eat waffles for dinner. Because I do. A lot.
So, what do these waffles have to do with my self care weekend? Well, I don't have to always take off long weekends from work to hibernate from my life to nourish my soul. In fact, I can just step into the kitchen and go into a whole other world. Whether for 15 minutes or an hour. Or for reheating leftovers or whipping something new. I have the choice to decide what self care is for me. I have the choice to do said activity any time my soul desires some "me" time. And, it may not always be cooking which is my care. It may be lounging in pjs or watching my soaps. It may be a day off or three weeks off. The point is its up to me. Not the stories I've absorbed from others.
And isn't choosing for ourselves the most nourishing activity anyway? Because when we decide on our own terms, we automatically are choosing from a place of love, nourishment, and respect. And those feelings are some of my major goals of practicing self care. Eating these yummy waffles.....well, that's just a side benefit!
What are your self care goals? Share with me in the comments. I'd love to hear what nourishes you.
Mega props to Minimalist Baker for inspiring this recipe.
adapted from Minimalist Baker
So, I posted this week on Instagram inspiration can come from anywhere.
It can can come from other people---the words they say or the thoughts they express.
It can come from art---music/dance/paintings/sculpture/theatre/ballet---anything which makes you feel.
It can come from the books we read; the podcasts we listen to; or, even the products we buy.
In my case, the inspiration for today's waffle comes from a sauce.
But, not just any sauce. A tahini apricot sauce.
Yes, the majority of my food inspiration comes from......you guessed it...food.
I know. A food blogger who gets her inspiration from looking at other people's food. So original Brooke. So original. ;)
Usually, I see what others are doing, and I think, "Would that work as a waffle combo?"
Most of the time, the answer is maybe. After all, with so many different people in the world, some sweet and even savory waffles appeal to at least one person. And, over time, exposure to various combos of flavors may actually increase a person's desire for it. That's my super scientific observation right there. How do I know about this theory?
You see, this happened to me with tahini.
Yes, that tahini...the main building block of hummus. A component of baba ganoush. A part of tons of dressings.
Ground up sesame seeds.
I know...I can hardly believe it myself. Me disliking tahini?
See, I ate hummus as a college student without knowing exactly what was in the dip.
All I knew was hummus was healthy. It was a good way to eat beans if you didn't like actually eating beans themselves. And it made me feel so grown up to eat in that little cafe with what my parents called my "nuts & berries food." Each Sunday, I'd walk up to the cafe after church; grab a hummus sammie on sprouted whole wheat; listen to NPR on my Sony Walkman (oh I'm dating myself there!); and, feel so utterly grown up and adult.
I was informed & I was well fed.
Until I tried tahini by itself for the first time. Do you remember your first time eating plain tahini? My response was, "Uhhhh that's not hummus. That's gross." And with those words, I set tahini and hummus aside.
Oh sure, I went back to hummus. Many times. I even would have it for weeks straight.
But, I'd always try plain tahini. And each time I did, I'd declare to hummus it was over. I couldn't do this again. It just wasn't the same. Old feelings of insecurity crept in and ruined the present moment.
I'd always go back though. Because I kept thinking maybe this time, things will be different.
Finally, after about oh....7 years....things began to change.
I ate tahini drizzled over falafel. Not bad.
Hummus in a salad dressing. Getting warmer.
Fresh roasted eggplant & red onion with tahini. Breathtaking.
My piece de resistance? Tahini and medjool dates: TOTAL GAME CHANGER.
The combo of sweet & salty blew my mind. The depth of flavor was outstanding. And ever since then, we've been quite happy in savory dishes. In fact, savory dishes were the only places I felt tahini's importance.
But, I kept seeing recipes for tahini baked goods--brownies, cakes, and pancakes to name a few. And then this sauce from The Roasted Root helped bring my combo to light.
To make this more waffle like, I did use traditional flavors in here like cinnamon & vanilla extract.
But, you can totally leave them out if you want a savory waffle. I dressed mine up a few ways with a few different combos:
1. The one you see here--just some simple blueberries, sesame seeds, and apricot jam.
2. Avocado, apricot jam, and sesame seeds---a cool take on the smashed avocado toast.
3. Cream cheese (in my case, dairy free), sesame seeds, and you guessed it....apricot jam.
I loved each way to prep these---they're incredibly versatile. And to think, this marriage may not have even come into fruition if I'd been too stubborn to never try it again! Lesson learned. I hope you've learned something too. After all, doesn't the saying go something like---"you're just one taste away from changing your flavor life?????"
Oh, it's not?
Well, it completely should be. Because, taste changing IS changing all areas of one's self in my humble opinion.
And flavor changing does a body/mind/spirit good. You never know who you'll inspire with your creations.
My journey with maca began with Pinterest.
Really, it did.
Back a few years ago, I was a pinning fool. I mean, I was pinning more than any other form of social media. Pinterest was where I stored all of my dreams & vision boards. I had so many boards. For example, I had boards for fall fashions; spring fashions; country music lyrics; projects to do with children; diy home projects; job tips; dream home ideas; things you can make with pallets; sports teams; and even accessories to name just a few.
Well, wait, we didn't cover recipes. So.many.recipes. Especially recipes with this new food I began seeing about, maca. Maca brownies, Maca cake, Maca pancakes, Maca muffins, Maca smoothies......I mean I was fascinated by this thing called Maca. I always said one day I'd try this ancient food......
But, life happened. A unexpected break up occurred and I just gave up dreaming. Dreaming of all kinds. I chucked my plans; left my Pinterest boards to the side; and, began living life with no plan. While I appeared happy in some areas of my life, looking ahead with a hopeful eye to the future was very much abandoned. Insecurity began to creep in....or shall I say, I allowed my insecurities to take come front & center. I compared myself to everyone who was married & had kids. I focused on what I didn't have: a mate or children. I felt totally rejected; incapable of holding down a relationship/having a mate; and, being unworthy for life success in general. Geez, that paints quite a bleak future doesn't it?
Well, yes it was bleak. I felt there was nowhere for me to go. This negative attitude helped propel me right towards my chronic fatigue diagnosis. Yes, my body had been fighting the Epstein Barr virus (EBV) for many years prior to my diagnosis; but, my mindset (I believe) was the gasoline to the EBV match. Having spent the entire year of 2016 beginning my treatment protocol (my treatment is still ongoing just in case you were curious), my eyes were opened to how uncomfortable I'd become dreaming/envisioning my future. And how negative my mindset wore my spirit & my body down.
As I've gained some strength, clarity, and time around my illness, my outlook has changed. How it's changed you may ask?
Well, I started pinning again. I consider that a victory on the way to finding my dreaming again. I went back onto that platform, deleted most of my boards, and started over again.
But, the biggest victory? Why, cooking of course! Actually, it's the return to embrace the things I'd denied myself out of a need for self punishment; specifically my waffle making skills. And in releasing the need for self punishment, I have allowed myself to embrace the kitchen, plant based recipes, new ingredients, and my health.
Enter the maca connection.
What is maca you may ask?
Its an adaptogenic superfood which is super rich in minerals, protein, fiber, and antioxidants. An adaptogen is an herb/root which helps the body adapt to everyday stressors. And we all need assistance adapting to stress, right? I do anyway.....
Maca is a member of the cruciferous veggie family (think broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage). It's also a root found in the Andes Mountains region of South America. The people indigenous to this region have been using maca for many many years, either ground up as a powder or as a root itself.
What does maca do?
Maca is first and foremost an energy root, which is believed to boost energy and mood levels for both men and women. There are three types of maca--black, red, and yellow. Black maca is typically used in men and is believed to help increase testosterone and sperm levels. Women have used maca believing it helps to control estrogen levels, especially in women experiencing PMS/menopause/PCOS. It can also boost libido for both sexes and reduce levels of depression & anxiety.
Labelling maca a superfood means it has higher amounts of nutrients than all of the members of its veggie family. It's super high in amino acids (over 20!), essential fatty acids (over 8!), calcium (has more calcium than a glass of milk), magnesium, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, and manganese just to list a few minerals.
Maca is also high in glutathione and SOD, otherwise known as superoxide dismutase. SOD is an enzyme which sweeps out free radicals/toxins/other yucky stuff out of the cells. Glutathione is also an free radical destroyer and helps to clear out toxins/heavy metals/yuck stuff. So, these make maca super fun and super nutritious for men & women.
I will say; however, those with high blood pressure; women who are pregnant/nursing; and people taking hormone related drugs for major illnesses (think breast & prostate cancers) should NOT take maca without consulting a doctor.
Always start gradually. Most people start out supplementing with 1 tbsp a day, and possibly increasing to 2 or 3 tbsp a day.
I started (and have continued to stay) at 1 tsp of maca. That's the amount my body likes. It varies for everyone :)
Back to this recipe at hand......I used 2 tbsp maca powder, along with all the traditional spices which make pumpkin pie so darn pumpkin-y (cinnamon, cloves, & nutmeg). Don't forget the canned pumpkin!
I also used homemade Brazil nut meal & vanilla bean ghee to top them, and homemade Brazil nut milk in the batter. Of course you can use any nut milk you'd prefer (I've also made these with almond and coconut milks). Make it work for you. I truly believe that.
If you've made it down here, thanks for reading! I appreciate your love and support. Please check me out on Pinterest and if you make this recipe in your own kitchen, tag me #whiskingoutsidethebox so we can celebrate all things maca. Also if you have any maca recipes to send me, send those pins my way (I'm @whiskoutsidebox on Pinterest)
adapted from Nutritionist in the Kitch
When I closed on my house back in 2009, wanna know the first thing I made in my kitchen?
Irish Soda Bread.
Sure it was the end of June. Sure, it was sweltering outside. Sure, I definitely did NOT need to turn on my oven. But, I made it anyway. A gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do to satisfy a craving.
It was hands down my fave quick bread to make whenever I had a brunch/breakfast/dinner/crock pot chili get together to attend.
Yes. It WAS my go to, until 2014 when the gluten train had to abruptly end after my diagnosis of gluten sensitivity. Since then, soda bread was only lusted after in pictures of Irish themed meals.
Side note: I just recently deleted a secret Pinterest board I'd created strictly to look at neatly styled pics of soda bread. Obsess much B? ;)
Its been a few years since that diagnosis. I've had a few other diagnoses since 2014--chronic fatigue syndrome caused by a chronic Epstein Barr infection being the most debilitating one. In these three years, I've tried so many different lifestyles to restore my health--gluten free, autoimmune protocol, paleo, vegan, vegetarian, anti-Candida, and even the famed raw diet. (Notice I said "lifestyle" instead of "diet." I just believe whatever plan you're on must fit your whole life for it to be sustainable. And, I really dislike the word diet. Like ALOT.)
Have you ever tried making raw Irish soda bread? That result, while incredibly edible, just personally didn't satisfy me. With the first bite, I immediately got this image of myself asking a house guest, "Would you like some homemade bread fresh out of the dehydrator??" I didn't envision this person's response, but the question alone made me want to go back to my lifestyle drawing board.
I mean, there's a time and place for all lifestyles/diets/gadgets/eating plans IF it's right for you. But, I knew my lifestyle would be needing some oven lovin'. And, as it pertains to my life here, using my fave waffle iron.
I'm happy to say I've found that I've found my health returning by following an anti-inflammatory, plant based lifestyle (with eggs too!). As my strength has returned, so has my creativity & courage to try to make a gluten free breakfast waffle out of my old fave, Irish soda bread. Thus, my research began.
So, I came across a recipe from Satisfying Eats, which I modified to fit my breakfast tastebuds.
Traditionally, soda bread recipes call for caraway seeds; but, for breakfast I wanted something more warm & versatile. Naturally, I turned to cinnamon & vanilla extract to fit the bill. Caraway seeds are delish and there IS a waffle in the works celebrating the flavors of rye bread, but in this recipe I wasn't feeling it.
However, this recipe can be adapted in numerous ways. Don't want cinnamon & vanilla? Omit them. Add in honey or maple syrup with lavender instead of coconut sugar. Add in chopped nuts...or not. Want orange zest in there? Raisins? Even a more savory batter? Great!! I plan on using this recipe many more times in many different ways. Because as we all know...tastebuds change, lifestyles change, and people change. Luckily, I've found Soda bread which can change as we do. Bonus!
Back to my waffles. The texture is spot on, just like one I used to make....moist, fluffy, and chewy. The flavors get even better the next day. Oh black currants, you delish tart jewels you. I'm glad I've begun to add you into many of sweet & savory recipes. Your flavor is quite complex.
And to think I avoided you in my original recipe because you were different & strange. So glad I've gotten older & wiser!
Tradition says soda bread is best slathered with butter and some of honey or thick jam. As for me, I'll slather these with vanilla bean ghee, almond butter, more currants, and shredded coconut. Don't forget the banana & blueberries!
Now thats celebrating Irish tradition. Sláinte! (aka, Cheers!)
adapted from Satisfying Eats
I love when the seasons change. Seriously, I do.
Of course, I'd love for the weather to be warm all the time, but that's not the way it works in this state. Especially not in March. That whole "in like a lion & out like a lamb" thing? Yeah....so true.
It's 70 degrees one day...then 45 degrees with 30mph sustained winds.
Makes my waffle making go back & forth as well. Key lime waffle testing one day.....then back to making fall flavors the next. It's kinda maddening and so incredibly creative at the same time. Don't worry, key lime WILL make an appearance when the weather gets warmer; but, for now I'm going back to the warming spices of fall.
Coriander, delicious coriander is the star in this waffle show.
Know what coriander is?
Did you know that?
This is like a culinary tale of 2 spices: coriander is found in the cilantro plant's seeds & cilantro is found as the cilantro plant's leaves. Two very different flavors in one plant. Coriander's mellow, even citrusy undertones is quite a stark contrast to the bold, unique flavor of cilantro. More often than not, coriander takes a back seat to other spices like cumin. So, it was time for the tables to turn in this spice's favor.
Say hello to freshly squeezed navel oranges and orange zest. And ground cloves. Gotta have cloves with oranges. Remember the clove studded oranges you'd see simmering away on the stove tops of your friends & neighbors homes during the fall? Well those aromas signal comfort to me & these waffles triggered memories of crunching leaves, corn mazes, roaring fires, and big oversized hoodies.
The flours I used in this creation were buckwheat flour & chickpea flour...2 new flours in my gluten free baking arsenal.
Buckwheat flour isn't actually wheat at all. In fact, it's a seed. And it's a cousin of rhubarb. I definitely didn't know that one. But, buckwheat is packed with minerals like iron, amino acids, and whole grains. A definite nutrition powerhouse in my book.
Chickpea flour is from....you guessed it, chickpeas. There are different varieties of chickpeas used to make this flour. It's used all over the world in a variety of dishes from India to Africa to Italy. This flour is gluten free, full of protein, and fiber rich. I'm a fan of using it in waffles, pancakes, and even flatbreads which make a killer pizza crust.
You know me though...even as I get nostalgic for college football and holiday prepping....I have to have my yogurt to dip my waffles into. The more seasons change, the more my habits admittedly stay the same. ;)
This recipe makes a lot of waffles (about 10 based on my waffle maker) so there are many many ways to prep these waffles in your kitchen.
I started by topping my waffles with chopped bananas, vanilla ghee, and red raspberries. What do you want to top these with?? Tag me at #whiskingoutsidethebox and let's share our ideas!!
adapted from Inhabited Kitchen
When I was a little girl, about 8ish or so, I'd spend hours digging in our backyard.
I'd pretend I was a famous archaeologist digging at an ancient burial site. I'd uncover these artifacts from the ground (in my case, it was usually Quartz rocks) and pretend they were rare items from an undiscovered civilization.
On the rare occasion I'd maybe stumble upon pieces of chipped porcelain plates (at least they reminded me of my grandmother's blue edged porcelain plates) and feel I'd made the discovery of a lifetime. These plate pieces really were key to telling this civilization's story--how they worked & ate & cooked & raised their families.
I would always collect these pieces & try to put them together like a huge puzzle. I'd sit there staring at the pieces in amazement and feel so proud.
Secretly, I'm still hoping these pieces really are the key to some group we've not yet fully uncovered. And with these discoveries, I'd end up being a gazillionaire.
Except for the fact I lost those pieces a long time ago in one of my many moves. Epic fail Brooke...epic fail ;)
This is kind of how I feel about these 2 flours which make up my waffle today--Almond & Coconut flour.
I've spoken about the flour of the coconut before here, so I won't go on & extol the benefits anymore. But, I will dive into the benefits of the flour of the almond. We've not yet chatted about this yummy food.
First, almond flour is simply ground up almonds (I know...I know...duh Brooke! But it's worth saying for definition purposes). It can be found in two different forms: meal or flour.
Almond meal is usually made from ground up whole almonds with the skins ON. This makes the flour more coarse.
Almond flour is made from blanched almonds (no skins here!), so the texture is much finer.
Almonds are full of both vitamins and minerals. In fact, this tree nut is full of Vitamin E, folate, and niacin, 2 key B vitamins. Vitamin E is good for immune function and is a mighty sweeper of free radicals from the body. These 2 B vitamins are good for cellular metabolism and nerve function. They are also high in calcium, zinc, and iron...so good for bone health!!
They are high in hunger killing protein. Now, let's get into fat. Almonds have a good amount of the good fat (monounsaturated). This type of fat is good for heart health, and lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.
It is a grain free flour, which makes it an optimal choice for paleo and gluten free baking. The protein and fat content make it a great choice for keeping you full for hours! One thing to note--this flour needs to live in the fridge or freezer after you open it. It will help prolong the freshness of the nut oils and keep them from going rancid. One other way to keep the flour from going bad is by using it up quickly....which is what I plan on doing!!
So in this recipe, adapted from Paleomg, I wanted to keep things simple. I used this coconut flour, almond flour, vanilla extract, and coconut milk (my fave coconut milk ever!). As for spices, I wanted to highlight cinnamon and cloves for their warmth and depth of flavor.
Don't let this freak you out---as soon as you add the moisture to your batter, the flours just soak it right up. Now, I LOVE me a hearty waffle so it was great to me. I don't like runny waffle batter.
I need something to stick to my ribs, ya know?
If you prefer a runnier, more liquid batter, then you'll increase the coconut milk by a teaspoon at a time until it's a consistency you like. I ended up using more like 1/3 cup instead of the 1/4 cup the recipe called for.
I think this is the perfect idea for a working breakfast....don't you?
Tag #whiskingoutsidethebox to show me how you recreated these waffles! Enjoy!
adapted from Paleomg