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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A-paleo-gy

See how I did that? Clever huh. No? Yeah my fiancé thought it was naff too.

But in all seriousness, I owe an apology to one of my amazing workmates.

This may be hard to believe, but before my born-again, reincarnation as a healthy person, I was a total sceptic of eating plans that shunned having eight teaspoons of sugar in your coffee and eating ice cream for breakfast. Live by the cronut, die by the cronut.

When my amazing workmate told me about her paleo way of eating, the amount of scorn I heaped on her now makes me hang my head in shame. At the time (and this was not that long ago) it was completely beyond me why anyone would want to eat like the cavemen did. Great, all you get to eat is nuts and seeds and then a sabertooth tiger goes and eats you. How wildly unsatisfying.

Like most uninformed people who like to have an opinion, I would jest, eye-roll, mock, scoff and generally act like an ass every time my amazing workmate bought out her lunch.

My stash of paleo food for one night away from home.

My stash of paleo food for one night away from home.

Well shut me up.

Just about everything I’ve been baking lately is a paleo recipe. It wasn’t initially intentional but turns out paleo baking recipes are awesome! I made this paleo chocolate fudge and it rocked my world. It has quite an unusual texture (I think that may be user error) but it is absolutely delicious.  My amazing workmate has even been sharing her paleo baking with me, and without the slightest “I told you so”. I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy!

As I said in an earlier post, there are bits and pieces of different meal plans (‘diet’ is such a nasty word isn’t it??) that I really dig so I incorporate bits of lots of them. I will never be able to give up grains (quinoa and I are in love) but actually, the premise of paleo is pretty smart.

There are a billion different resources on paleo and they all have a slightly different message depending on what they’re trying to spin. The page on paleo on Wikipedia provides a pretty balanced argument but a simple Google search will provide you with more than enough resources. I particularly like The Beginner’s Guide to the Paleo Diet by the awesomely geeky Nerd Fitness. Do some research and see if it, or parts of it, are right for you.

So amazing workmate out there, you know who you are, I a-paleo-gise. Please except my a-paleo-gy. A thousand a-paleo-gies. See?! It never gets old 🙂 Enjoy the ride.

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.