Things you can’t put in a waffle maker

A very, very good friend of mine bought Jeff and I a waffle maker for our engagement some time ago. This waffle maker instantly became MY waffle maker and mine only.

I love pancakes and I love waffles equally. But the hassle of getting out a fry-pan and having to flip pancakes always seemed to complicated for someone like me so well suited to instant gratification. Welcome to my life waffle maker.

Within 24 hours of owning this beautiful contraption, I had “cooked” three batches of different flavoured waffles – cinnamon and vanilla, blueberry and the ever popular – plain.

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What waffles should look like

It didn’t take long before I was experimenting with all things you could put in the waffle maker – omelette, bacon, french toast, tomatoes, potato hashbrowns, coconut pancakes and more recently – banana pancakes.

There are some things that you sensibly know you can’t put in a waffle maker but that doesn’t stop you.

Omelette is a great example. If you have any common sense at all, you’ll know that this is never going to work. So what does that say about me then?

The “omelette incident” – as it is now referred to in our house – was the first time I panicked a bit while using the waffle maker. I don’t think it was supposed to let off quite that much steam…. Or spit. It definitely wasn’t meant to spit. After the “omlette incident” I spent about 45 minutes scrubbing egg particles off the waffle maker. Never again.

I lost my nerve a wee bit after that. No delicious food mush was worth the exhaustive cleaning.

The problem with normal pancakes is that they have a lot of flour in them. Actually, it tends to be the main ingredient. So after a decent amount of time had past since my last waffle maker experiment, I started to investigate what delicious, healthy and flour-free waffles I could make.

One of the most delicious and perfect pancake/waffle hybrid recipes I found was with coconut flour. These coconut flour pancakes have become my go-to food if I’m too lazy too cook anything else. They’re absolutely delicious and I highly recommend trying them out. A word of warning though… I would suggest a fry-pan rather than a waffle maker. Despite their nomnomishness they turned out more like crepes than waffles or pancakes and there was a lot of frantic scraping before left an indelible mark on the waffle maker.

The other healthy pancake I’ve was curious about was the two ingredient pancake (note: mine did NOT look like the picture). This recipe has banana and egg in it. That is all. What could possibly go wrong?!

Well just about everything.

The first indication that banana and egg wasn’t going to work in a waffle maker should’ve been when I was mixing up the batter.

With no flour to bind to the egg and banana, and no rising agent to make it, well, rise, it should’ve been pretty obvious that an instant heat waffle maker was the wrong way to go.

The moment the mixture hit the hot waffle iron it spread like molten banana goo. Every inch of the surface was covered, and then over the side. And then in every crevice possible – including all the ones that you can never reach with normal cleaning items. And then all over the bench.

I didn’t think there could be much left to cook.

I was actually too scared to open the lid at first. What exactly was I going to find under there? A giant mess that’s what.

There was this lumpy, half cooked, slightly crepe/pancake looking, definitely not waffle looking, brown substance staring back at me.

All I could do was momentarily freeze on the spot with spatula in hand while it continued to oooze over the sides. Eventually I got up the courage to jab at it with the spatula.

This is a banana pancake/waffle.

This is a banana pancake/waffle.

What I ended up with was a plate of half cooked banana slop. Which I ate. And it was delicious.

Would I make it again in a waffle maker. No. Not immediately anyway. I can’t say that I definitely wouldn’t try it again in a waffle maker because eventually I will forget what a disaster it was.

So, my top three things that you shouldn’t put in a waffle maker are:

  1. Pancakes/waffles that only have two ingredients and neither are flour.
  2. Recipes that specifically say ‘Do not cook in waffle maker’.
  3. Omelettes. Any of them. It’s a terrible idea.

On the other hand, these are three of my favourite waffle/pancake recipes:

  1. Coconut Flour Pancakes (disclaimer – cook them in a frypan)
  2. Maple Peanut Banana Bread Waffles
  3. Healthy Whole Wheat Waffles

May you and your waffle maker have a long, happy life together. Enjoy the ride!

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Is that fresh air in my lungs?

One thing I failed to completely realise when I became the whole new healthy me, was that I actually had to leave the house once in a while.

I’m not completely adverse to exercise and fresh air, it’s just that I love TV. No, I mean I LOVE TV. I don’t really get people who say “I don’t own a TV” or “I only watch the news” (Dad). Come on people! You’re missing out on one of the greatest joys in modern life!

In truth, I watch more than my fair share and I’ll watch just about anything. At the moment, I’m watching not one, but two shows on the Documentary Channel about people who get naked and put themselves in dangerous situations on deserted islands. That’s two separate shows with a guy who tries to light a fire with his wang out. It’s unnecessary, but irresistible.

There comes a time though, when you can tell your TV watching has taken on a whole new level. And that level has gone too far. For me, it was when I found myself watching The Santa Claus 2 for the third time. On a Saturday. In the middle of January.

So when my long-suffering fiance (let’s call him “Jeff” – as that’s actually his name) suggested that we go for a hike into the hills, I couldn’t come up with a quick enough reason why it was a bad idea.

Are you sure this is a good idea lady?

Are you sure this is a good idea lady?

So I made us a delicious lunch. I baked special paleo, energy snacks (and also these non-paleo but nommy Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars that I added protein to). The sun was shining. The dog was excited. I was feeling pretty amped myself actually.

The first hour and a bit was pretty enjoyable. Even the second hour. The “hills” I’d been promised were more like judder bars in the clay. I was feeling confident, intrepid and even, some might say, a little smug at my natural levels of fitness.

After a bite of lunch and some appropriate comments about the beauty of nature, we crossed back over the harmless looking river and back to the sign post. “It’s this way” Jeff pointed – vertically, straight up the side of a mountain.

I think I hid my shock and despair pretty well, but I can’t be sure.

Not to worry. I’m an adventurer, I can do this. So in my shiny, neon pink running shoes I started to climb.

Initally I was determined. My thighs burnt, my calves ached, my teeth hurt from grinding my jaws together but I was feeling great. I recall even saying something ridiculous like “I’m really enjoying this. What a great walk!” Maybe I was hallucinating on chia seeds.

At some point I asked Jeff how long he thought it would be until we reached the top. “Ummm… Only about another 15 minutes” he replied. There’s one thing I forgot in that moment. Sometimes, Jeff softens the blow a bit to spare himself from my likely wrath. So I trusted him. We are getting married after all! 15 minutes seemed totally manageable.

Only it wasn’t 15 minutes. No siree. At close to two hours I realised I’d been had. I threatened all sorts of things – Divorce, death by stoning, silent treatment (he quite enjoyed that idea), you name it.

Once we reached the top, my fury turned into palpable relief. Fueled by adrenalin and thankful that I didn’t need to be evacuated off a mountain by helicopter, I let myself be fooled by another “all down hill from here and only about 20 more minutes”. Sucker.

Jeff wasn’t entirely lying, I mean, there was a lot of downhill. Like, the impossible-to-cross-but-go-on-i-dare-you slip that we came across, with the super handy WARNING sign on the wrong side of the slip. Or, the teeny, weeny, slippery, clay crevice that invited you to fall to your doom.

Thanks. That would've been good to know earlier.

Thanks. That would’ve been good to know earlier.

I spent a lot of the walk back to the car in silence. Mostly I was pondering my awesomeness, but I was also reflecting on how good it felt to be outside on a glorious day and not watching some naked guy brush his teeth with a used toothbrush he found on a beach.

Living a healthy life isn’t just about removing all the stuff you love and replacing it with weird sounding food and birdseed. It’s about trying new things, being open to change, admitting when sometimes there might be a better option and just loving life. Woah, that’s deep. Until next time, enjoy the ride.

Goodbye Giant Undies

Dear Giant Undies,

I’d like to wish you well for your retirement.

You’ve served me well over the years, but I’m no longer in need of your services.

We’ve been good friends you and I. You’ve hidden my muffin top and dealt with my butt cheeks admirably. I fondly remember the time you held it all together underneath the clingy green dress of doom.

You never complained when I asked so much of you. I stretched you too the brink at times but you took your job seriously and you concealed all the wobbly bits with a sense of pride and confidence.

I know you often compared yourself to Bridget Jones’s granny knickers, but to me you’ve been so much more than an unsightly undergarment. You’ve been a huge support, I could easily rely on you to be behind the scenes while I took the glory and you’ve backed me time and time again.

There have been so many times that we’ve laughed together, like that time Jeff saw you poking out from under my running shorts and wondered what you were! Oh the good times.

It’s not that I don’t still want you in my life (because I do), it’s just that I have running shoes in my life now and it has meant that I don’t have the same requirement of your services.

You will always hold a very special place in my memories, and I will be forever grateful for your contribution to my life.

I would love to say that I hope we’ll meet again, but I don’t think we will.

All the best, and thank you for your service.

With kindest regards,

Pia

Retiring giant undies thanks to fluro running shoes

Retiring giant undies thanks to fluro running shoes

Tips for new players from a new player

It can be ridiculously difficult to eat healthy when you’re unprepared. The temptation to snack overcomes you, what ever is closest to your reach “will do”, and the offer of a cream donut becomes impossible to resist.

This is why I’m always prepared in case of any food related emergencies that might occur (this planning has come in handy since we’ve just had our third severe earthquake in six months!)

So a few tips on preparation and planning from one new player to another:

  • Make lunch the night before. If you’re not a morning person, then what is the likelihood of you getting up early to make yourself a nice healthy salad before you head to work? About slim to none. Prepare your lunch the night before so that when you’re late again and about to miss the train, all you have to do is reach in the fridge. Voila!
  • Becoming a baking God/Goddess. I love baking. For me it’s relaxing. And now that i’m baking healthy food, it’s become even more satisfying. The added benefit is that I always have my own healthy snacks to munch on. There’s no temptation to grab one of those nasty packaged, processed, plastic snacks when I have my own delicious baking (check out these yumbo Apricot and Cashew Energy Bars from Nutitionist in the Kitch).
Homemade snacks

Paleo Chocolate Fudge and Apricot and Cashew Energy Bars

  • Substitutions aren’t as scary as you think. Before my rebirth as a health conscious vixen, my motto may as well have been ‘the more sugar the better’. As I’ve removed processed white sugar (actually, just about all sugar) from my diet, I’ve discovered that there are a ton of delicious sweetners you can use that won’t send your pancreas into overdrive. You just have to know how to use them properly. Maple syrup and honey are two great examples. Just don’t go overboard, you don’t need much!
  • Pick and choose the best bits. I like a lot of things about a lot of different diets. With whole food diets, I love that you can still eat everything you want, you just take out all the processed rubbish. I love the back to basics of paleo. I love the gluten free introduction of almond meal and coconut flour into my life. I love my new found dairy free appreciation (I’m learning to love almond milk). But… I also love a good sandwich. Pick and choose what feels good.
  • Put down that soft drink. Pick up your water. Along with my own snacks, I carry water everywhere I go. If you’ve already got a drink then you have no good reason to buy something to quench your thirst (it also helps you save the planet a one-use bottle at a time).

So there you go. Simple really. Until next time, enjoy the ride.