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.

Biggest Loser… And pizza

Going back to work after three weeks of holiday was not the drag I expected it to be. This is because I have amazing workmates and I love my job. Pretty lucky right.

The week before I went back to work I received an email from one of my amazing workmates announcing that the post Christmas situation was Code Red and she was implementing our own HR Biggest Loser. Stat. I had a week to come to terms with the fact I was going to have to step on a scale every week as proof of either my eating success or failure the week before.

Turns out I’m more competitive than I thought. In that week, I got prepared. I put down Game of Thrones. I lunged (sort of). I ate rice cakes. I even went for a walk up a hill and discovered that my muscles had atrophied after three weeks of lying on the couch reading Game of Thrones.

By the time I went back to work I was feeling pretty good. I was already two weeks into the new and improved healthy me and I was determined that the scales would play nice and reflect that. Wrong. Two weeks after cutting anything that resembled unhealthy and putting chia seed into everything I ate, it seemed I was heavier than on the 1st January 2014. Whaaaaaa??!?!

Once we’d all finished negotiating with the Guardian of the Scales (“It’s definitely broken. Are you sure it’s been calibrated recently?”), it was time to take our workmate out to celebrate his birthday. At the pizza place next door no less.

I love pizza. I love cheese. I love crispy crusts and streaky bacon and barbecue sauce and extra cheese and extra toppings and ARGGGGHHH!

I hadn’t expected to be tested so quickly. And by the very people with whom moments before we had committed to ditching the white bread to take up making our own whole food, wholemeal, gluten free bread rolls! Traitors!

I had a salad. It was delicious. While my amazing workmates sat next to me, opposite me and diagonally from me eating the Shawshank – roast lamb with pumpkin, mozzarella and red onion – and Melicious – chicken, chorizo and caramelized onion – I had a salad. And it WAS delicious.

IMG_20140119_202639My blue cheese, spinach, apple, walnut and bacon salad was everything it needed to be. Munching into my salad made me feel pretty good about myself. Turns out I found some discipline somewhere!

I’ve since made it at home and it was equally tasty. I made a few small alterations – like rocket instead of spinach because the supermarket was severely lacking in it’s vegetable department – but it was still yum. You can find the recipe here.

The next weigh in is looming. I’m hoping the scales and I can come to some arrangement. Wish me luck!

This time next year…

On the 1st January 2014, I was the heaviest I’ve ever been. Now, I know what you’re thinking:

  1. Why would you weigh yourself on New Years Day? and;
  2. Big deal.

You see the scales were right in front of me and since I didn’t own any at home I was curious. Well, curiousity quickly turned in to depression. Staring at the scales in front of me was the heaviest weight I had ever been. Turns out that last bit of cheese at midnight may have been one slice too many… of many.

Anyway, for me it was a big deal and the reason this caused me so much anguish in this particular moment was actually, more than one reason.

I’ve always been quite small. I’m 5 foot 3 inches on a good day and I come from a family of small Swiss and New Zealand people. So most of my earlier life was trying to put weight on! Being at my heaviest meant that according to my Body Mass Index (which, let me add I don’t usually care about, EXCEPT for in this instance), I was now classed as ‘overweight’.

‘Overweight’ was not exactly what I wanted to hear when I had a wedding to plan. Granted, at the writing of this post, I still have 10 months until my actual wedding so panicking my have been a teeny overreaction. But if I’m honest, I knew things had been going South for a wee while.

You see, only a couple of months ago, I was the heaviest I have ever been. So you’re starting to dig my vibe now right?

What exactly about the 1st January 2014 triggered the catalyst for change, I’m kind of unsure about. Whatever it was, it sparked off something in me that WANTED to change. It actually wasn’t even about weight. It was about realising the amount of processed food and rubbish that I fed myself on a daily basis and wanting to stop.

So here I am. At the beginning of my journey to put away the Burger Rings, chocolate biscuits, sausages and white bread, cream donuts, white sugar, iced tea, milk in coffee and chocolate crepes, and pick up a cup of quinoa.

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