Everyday this week we have had waffles. Waffles, at our home, however are not limited to breakfast.
Normally, Saturday mornings we have waffles for breakfast (a tradition which started as a ruse to get my son up and moving.) For variety, we will have pancakes sometimes, since the recipes are pretty much interchangeable. And there are many recipes I rotate through: buckwheat, overnight yeast (pancakes), oatmeal, cornmeal, coconut, pumpkin, banana…never a dull waffle.
I also use the waffle maker to ‘bake’ quick bread waffles. I simply use the recipe for a tried and well-liked quick bread, favourites are zucchini, banana and a millet molasses quick bread. The xanthan gum (or other binder) can be reduced in the waffle – usually by half, if not more. There is the option of adding extra liquid, to thin the batter. I have had success adding 1/4 cup of additional water to the wet ingredients, this allows the waffles to spread more. One other change I make is the amount of batter I use per waffle. With a waffle recipe, my maker takes 1/3 cup per waffle, but when I make a quick bread waffle I use a 1/4 cup scoop instead.
Once you start making quick breads in the waffle maker, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t tried it sooner. This method puts the ‘quick’ in quick bread; it gives a nice variety to the gluten-free diet. And they freeze well, but don’t be surprised at how quickly they disappear from the freezer!
I have been thinking a lot about patterns this summer. Perhaps it is something which happens when one quilts; I see patterns in windows and brickwork and think of patchwork. Lately, it has been circular shapes catching my attention.
Just a quick glance around the kitchen and all the circles, spheres and round objects jump out. Plates, bowls, pots, pans, lids, the curve of the teapot, mixing bowls, tomatoes, a colander, the light fixture, coasters, oranges and an old baking powder tin. Even things we don’t think of as round, become round when sliced, a zucchini, a cucumber or a banana for instance; all of these elongated shapes slice into nice rounds.
“Running around in circles” isn’t necessarily the best thing…unless you are a dog chasing your own tail – he seems to get enjoyment out of it! But many of our routines do have a roundness to them. Groceries (at our home, for example) begin with the delivery of the weekly flyers, followed by the shopping a couple of days later. The fridge is filled for a day or two, and then the list starts again and before I know it the flyers are sitting in the mailbox. Full circle…
Of all the rounds I have noticed this week, I’d have to say the best rounds have nicely domed tops, bake in multiples and come in a variety of flavours. Did you guess cupcakes? I was thinking cupcakes…and then one cake in particular came to mind (and it is just as good as a 9″ round, or as 12 cupcakes).
1/2 c sugar, granulated
1/4 c canola oil
1 large egg
1 tbsn grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 c white rice flour
3 tbsn tapioca starch
3 tbsn potato starch (not potato flour)
1/4 c sweet rice flour (also called glutinous rice flour)
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
3/4 c buttermilk (can make own by adding tbsn lemon juice to milk)
Prep pan, line bottom of 9″ cake tin with parchment paper. Or line muffin tin with liners for cupcakes. Preheat oven 350F.
In medium bowl combine and whisk together flours, starches, baking powder, baking soda and xanthan gum.
In stand mixer bowl, cream together sugar and oil. Add egg and combine. Add lemon zest and vanilla to creamed mixture and combine together.
Add flour mixture to creamed mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk (2 additions). Mixing well after each addition.
Pour into prepped tin. Tap on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in 350F oven, or until toothpick/tester comes out clean. (Adjust time if making cupcakes.)
Allow to rest for 10 minutes, before removing from tin and allowing to cool completely on rack. Remove parchment paper while still warm.
Waste not, want not…use the fresh lemon juice instead of milk in the buttercream for a double shot of lemon.
Quick Buttercream…1/4 cup softened butter, 2 cups confectioner’s sugar, dash of vanilla extract. Add sugar 1 cup at a time and lemon juice by tbsn, as needed, until spreadable, or piping consistency. Buttercream can be doubled or halved as needed.
There is a rhythm which all of our lives follow. A to and fro motion which sends us out into the world and brings us back to ourselves, like the ebb and flow of the tide. It is said that prior to entering a labyrinth, the walker should frame a question they wish to have answered. The motion of turning and bending within the labyrinth allows the walker’s mind to formulate the answer. By the time the centre is reached, the answer is known.
Knitting, has its own meditative quality. Two basic stitches, the knit and the purl, interlock and form a structure which can be shaped by adding or decreasing the number of stitches until a finished article emerges. The rhythm of life comes down to the basics too, put these together and we have the complexities we live daily. If our lives could be laid out before us, think of it as a piece of knitting being blocked, we would see the changes in tension, the delicate strips which are more vulnerable to pulls, the heavier sections to handle daily wear, bright colours, dark colours, differing fibres and contrasting designs. (The description reminds me of an afghan made out of scraps and practice squares.) We would see our questions and discern where and when our answers came.
There are shawls which are knit so fine they can be pulled through a wedding band. Fishermen at sea wear heavy wool knits, strengthened with cables to protect against the winds and storms. And tiny knits wrap our most cherished newborns; we mustn’t forget the well-worn and darned pair of knit socks to keep our toes toasty and warm in the winter months. All of these articles stem from the same two stitches, interlocked and interwoven – knit and purl.
A handknit gift means the knitter thought of you while making the item; they thought of you when picking the pattern, the yarn – its colour and texture, while knitting and while wrapping it up. And when we put it on, we think of the person who knit it. Interlocking and interweaving.
Knitting is a skill originating out of necessity, and for some it continues to be so, for others it has been elevated to an art form. Whichever form it takes, it remains the same – to and fro, back and forth, row upon row, knit and purl. Just as life continues on with the simplest acts and simplest pleasures interlocking and interweaving to answer the questions we all pose.
The weather has continued to be hot and humid this past week. There are only so many desserts one can make in the toaster oven and cupcakes haven’t been one of them…I’m missing cupcakes. We have had donuts, they are somewhat cakey, but still not quite the same. Maybe it is really the buttercream I have been missing…but enough about cake (at least for today.)
One easy dessert to pull together on a hot day is a parfait. I picked up strawberries at the grocery store this week, too good of a deal to pass up, but they were rather firm (the berries are always better from the farmer’s market). I cut them into quarters, tossed in a little sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice and stewed them, mashing them with a fork once the juices were released. The stewed strawberries became the sauce over some ice cream and defrosted coconut flour cupcakes (I try to keep plain cupcakes in the freezer for emergencies…the weather better break soon, as I am down to my final one!)
Why stop at dessert? Parfaits make great breakfasts too. They require less work and equipment than a smoothie bowl. And pulling together some breakfast ingredients is as easy as a walk around the kitchen, with a peek in the fridge. Initially, I was going to use leftover plum crumble with Greek yogurt, but the leftover plums were gone by morning.
I always dress up my (plain) morning yogurt with one or more of: shredded coconut, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, raisins, granola, preserves or nuts and seeds. A parfait is much prettier to look at and only takes a few extra minutes. It doesn’t require a fancy dish, a plain glass works just fine, or a piece of stemware if you want to make an impression.
Here are some other parfait (dessert) ideas to try:
leftover apple crisp with cream poured over top
sliced vanilla cupcakes (or gingerbread cake) with rhubarb curd and custard
banana split parfait
sauteed apple with cinnamon and brown sugar with cinnamon Chex cereal
pudding and cream
broken up ginger cookies with cream cheese and whipped cream, topped with crystallized ginger
chocolate cake, peanut butter whipped cream and peanuts
I know you have some, probably stashed away in your closet under another stash (maybe of yarn or fabric, scrapbooks?). I’m talking about UFOs.
Every industry has its own jargon with abbreviations and short forms known only to those in the industry. Our own cottage industrialists (I’m including anyone who makes anything by hand, at home) are not to be left behind, we have our own acronyms and jargon too.
When I first came across “UFO” in conversation, I didn’t want to show my ignorance. I nodded in agreement and tried to figure out what was meant by it, we were definitely not talking about aliens. I did finally figure it out (and in case you haven’t come across the term in usage) – UnFinished Object.
The acronym has always bothered me though. I don’t use it when speaking, because I don’t think of my projects as objects. Maybe I don’t think of my unfinished projects as unfinished, rather “waiting to be finished”…to put a positive spin on it. Accordingly, that would make them my WTFs – Waiting To-be Finished. Perhaps not the best shorthand to use in polite society. Then again, if the society was that polite, they wouldn’t be shocked, rather they’d nod their heads in agreement and try to figure it out too. I would hope they would come up with the correct meaning?!?!
So what do you name those projects waiting in the wings? If a project hasn’t been started, can it be considered unfinished? There could be a basket labeled NOP (next on project), or ARS (attention required soon), the basket labels could be endless. All we need are enough people using the term to make it the next ‘word’ in projects.
And while you are pondering that…here’s another from the world of knitting to add to your vocabulary. If your knits and purls are making good garters, but you notice a mistake, you can frog it. Yup, FROG, as in the green amphibian which hops. Because, frogs say ribbit, which can sound like rip-it, which you’d do to your knitting if you made a mistake. That’s one shared by sewers and knitters alike, so maybe I’ll start calling my seam-ripper Kermit!