Healthy Eating: Anytime is waffle time

I love this time of year when I have lots of fresh fruits and veggies from the market and from my garden. The bounty is overwhelming and I enjoy sharing my extras with friends and neighbors. Despite the hot weather (although this is a debatable statement…I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and that is where REAL HOT weather lives), my crop of lettuce has been over the top. Yes, some of it is bolting but I still enjoy picking what I can and sharing the rest. Even the bitterness from the parts that have bolted are refreshing. All the abundance makes eating healthy seem easier, although there are always temptations.

One of my favorite ways to use fresh fruits is with delicious waffles. They are quick and easy to make and are perfect for ANY meal. You can make sweet or savory waffles. They can be gluten-free and vegan if you prefer. You can use any fruit that is in season. You can make them savory by adding meats, veggies and cheese if you want. Experimenting is part of the fun.

I have fond memories of renting a room from someone when I was an undergraduate.  Every Sunday she invited family and friends to dinner.  Guess what was served?  WAFFLES!  Each week Dorothy came up with a different recipe and the surprise was whether they would be savory or sweet! It was always a delight.

Making waffles does require a waffle iron. These days you can pick one up at a thrift store for very little cash. I prefer the older, heavy-duty models. I have one that took a fair amount of elbow grease to clean up, but it was worth the effort as it cranks out tasty waffles quickly and perfectly.

Another bonus: Waffles are easy to freeze. Make a big batch of these homemade waffles, and keep them in your freezer! They freeze beautifully, and make busy mornings so much easier. As the waffles come out of the waffle maker, cool them on a wire rack. Freeze them (in a single layer) until hard, then slip them into a plastic bag and stash them for several weeks in the freezer. When you’re ready to serve, just reheat them gently in the toaster or oven.

Here is a delicious recipe that you can modify if you are on a special diet Right now I am using blueberries and raspberries for my toppings along with plain yogurt and real maple syrup.

INGREDIENTS

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • cups buttermilk*
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat your waffle maker.
  2. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl, and whisk to combine.
  3. Place the buttermilk, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla in smaller bowl, and whisk to combine.
  4. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry, and fold together until mostly blended but still a little lumpy. Do NOT over-mix.
  5. Place about 1/2 cup of waffle batter into the hot waffle maker and cook until golden brown (about 2 to 3 minutes). (IMPORTANT: Read the directions on your waffle iron, as the amount of batter and cooking time will vary.)
  6. Serve warm.

RECIPE NOTES

1.  If you don’t have buttermilk, you can substitute.  Stir 3 tablespoons of lemon juice or white vinegar into three cups of milk.  Allow the mixture to stand for 5 minutes or until thickened and slightly curdled.

2.  You can also make a gluten-free version! Just substitute the flour for a gluten-free flour blend. Look for one that that subs 1:1 for regular flour.

3.  For a dairy-free option, use any plant based milk, along with your favorite vegan butter substitute.

— By Deborah Binder

Deborah Binder is “dancing with N.E.D.” (no evidence of disease) after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009. She is a foodie who loves to cook from scratch and share her experiments with her family and friends. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and freelances around town for local chefs. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at [email protected].

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