Whole Grain Waffles with Baked in Fruit

Whole Grain Waffles with Baked-in Fruit

Though I am the queen of the sweet tooth, when it comes to breakfast I am not a fan of maple syrup dripping pancakes and waffles. I need something more wholesome and sustaining (all that sugar makes me hungry by 11am- am I alone in this??). These nutty whole grain waffles have just a hint of sweetness, tons of fiber, and who doesn’t love the taste of roasted caramelized fruits? All that goodness can keep me going for a good long time.

Like a lot of us I am up and out the door to exercise in the morning. My appetite doesn’t really kick in until I am well into my workout, and often by then feeling faded and struggling to ramp up. So my game plan is to have foods in the fridge or freezer that I can grab and eat between home and the gym, or tennis court. And that is the beauty of these waffles. Either made full sized and divided, or hand sized minis, I can be toasting them as I suit up, and grab them in a napkin as I head out the door to my workout.

Whole Grain Waffles- A Stack of Dishes

Whole Grain Waffles with Grated Apple- A Stack of Dishes

Whole Grain waffles- A Stack of Dishes

When I set to making whole grain waffles I usually make at least a double batch. In this case I did just that, and created several different versions using different fruits and nuts I had in the kitchen. The batter is made with coconut oil, which gives it a beautiful scent to begin with, but grated and sliced apples made their way in, along with blueberries, walnuts, pear slices, coconut, poppy seeds and lemon zest. It was great fun! And always a moment of surprise and delight when I lifted the waffle iron top. [Read more…]

Amaranth Breakfast Bowl with Seeds and Warm Maple Apples

It’s another gray stormy weekend here in the Northeast. It’s an insular overcast morning of warm breakfasts and lingering coffee. A porridge morning.

Bored with the idea of oatmeal, I decided to make my morning cereal bowl with a lesser known whole grain, Amaranth. To add some depth and character, I found on my fruit plate an apple, which had reached its peak and did not promise good out of hand eating. A fine dice and a quick sautee in some butter and maple syrup added the sweetness and richness that rounded out my porridge. A sprinkle of Chia seeds and pepitas provided some crunch, and a quick toss of some dried cranberries provided more color. At the last some warm milk floated around the edges and coddled it all together.

You don’t hear about Amaranth very often. It is a seed, indigenous to Central and South America. Like quinoa, it is high in protein and fiber and quite good for you. For those who are refraining from gluten, this is another great alternative. Amaranth seeds are much tinier than quinoa, I would say at least half the size, which makes these babies quite petite. They cook up the same, and have a much milder flavor, sort of mellow and neutral. If you find quinoa too crunchy and grainy for you, I invite you to try this.

Because the seeds are so teeny, the texture similar to that of farina, which to me is very satisfying and comforting. It’s less stick-to-your-ribs hearty as compared to steel cut oats. It’s not nearly as gummy and chewy, but rather a silkier  mush with a refined character.

Amaranth Porridge with Warm Maple Apples
As with any hot cereal the possibilities are endless. Pears, dried apricots or fresh berries would be divine, and feel free to let any spare nuts tumble into your bowl too.
serves 2
.66c Amaranth seeds
2c water
pinch of salt
1 small apple cut into small dice
1T unsalted butter
2T maple syrup
4T warmed milk
A few tablespoons of assorted nuts and seeds
In a medium sized saucepan over medium/low heat, combine seeds, water and salt. Bring to the boil and gently simmer until the water is absorbed and the seeds are tender. About 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter and then toss in the apples. Saute gently for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the syrup and cook together for another 2-3 minutes until the sauce is bubbly and slightly thickened.
When the porridge is cooked, divide between two bowls. Spoon the warm apples and sauce over each and sprinkle with nuts and seeds of your choosing.
Stay warm and cozy!

Healthy Labneh with Honeycomb and Seeded Crackers

Homemade fat free labneh served with honeycomb and pistachios.

Homemade labneh has become a salvation. September has come barreling in with its usual madness. The days are whirlwinds of new routines, the sorrow as Summer fades, and the scramble to make sense of the new feel and rhythm of the season.

I am back to graduate school and this semester is packed. I’m only taking 3 classes, but they are all reading and writing heavy. This week alone was approx 400 pages of books and articles. It’s all wonderful stuff, and I am not the least bit unhappy about the subjects- it’s just well… whew! The tomes and pages are lined up at the end of my desk and they just haunt me. Reeeead meeeee. Reaaaad meee nooooooooow!

In another week or so I will get into my groove. I always do. Patterns will develop and a cadence and pace will fall in line and soon all will be in lock step. But for now- it’s more like organized chaos and that just freaks me out. Sometimes a lot, sometimes only a teeeny bit.

Cooking always brings me solace, and though it’s time away from demanding pages- it’s also a break from my thinking mind. There is quiet in my kitchen, and satisfaction in seeing something come to life in my hands as a result of time spent. There is something to that right? This is one of the reasons we like to cook, isn’t it? After putting in time and energy and your own particular flair into your food, there it is. On a plate. Looking all yummy and lovely. Look what I made!

And then, of course, you get to eat it.

Every day is theater. Every go round is a creation. Sure, not every day is award worthy, but hey, that’s okay- but I find it so soul satisfying. Sort of like coasting on a bike after long uphill climbs. What a blessing.

Homemade Labneh is a wonderful snack to have around. Making your own Labneh requires little more than time. Somewhere along the line I acquired a yogurt strainer (which I also use to make homemade ricotta btw). I dumped in a carton of Greek yogurt, covered it, and forgot it over the weekend. After 2 days I had lovely thick “cheese”. A very similar consistency to cream cheese with 0% saturated fat. Awesomeness. Nibble on it for your breakfast, or dress it up, like here, when you want to impress.

Rosemary fig seeded crackers

For now it’s the perfect snack for me to nibble on while I read. The Seeded Fig Rosemary Crackers above are the perfect accompaniment. I made these for a post earlier this year. I keep an unsliced loaf in the freezer and then defrost, slice and bake off when needed. There recipe is here. The beauty of that? I can slice off just as much or little as I need. (just a nice little aside).

The honeycomb I brought back from Thailand. Yes, it did ooze a bit into my luggage. Yes, I did have it wrapped up, but what can I say? It’s worth it. I am a bit excited about honey these days. I’m falling in love with it the way a sommelier can fall in love with Pinot Noirs. They are all so different tasting and aromatic. Sort of like golden jewels of deliciousness. My friend Gail Dosick has a friend who started a bee colony not too long ago (Thank you! the world needs people like you!) and I’m hoping I might get a bit of a taste of her first harvest. I hear it’s floral and divine. {fingers crossed}

Here come the holidays. This is a great go to. Lovely and rich tasting- but healthy and wonderful.

So no real recipe- like I said, strain a container of 0% Greek yogurt through a fine sieve or cheesecloth in the fridge for a day or so and you’re good to go. If you can’t find honeycomb regular honey is just fine.

Happy early Fall my darlings!