Thursday, September 27, 2012

"Smoothie"; Not Gritty


Once upon a time, smoothies were a daily staple in my diet. I've WAY slacked off in recent years. I'm not as physically fit as I was four years ago, but I do still try to take decent care of my body.

Although I don't have a smoothie everyday, I do still like for them to be a part of my general diet. I've tried many meal-replacement/protein powders over the past decade, and below is my current favorite.


I bought this at Whole Foods. The children talked me into getting "vanilla" the last time, but I prefer "plain".

Too often, smoothies have a gritty texture from the powder. I'm not terribly picky about texture, but grittiness tends to make my throat feel scratchy. A few years ago, I discovered the trick to making a smoothie smoother:

Avocado.

I've found that a couple of slices of avocado will smooth out the texture without altering the flavor. The bonus is that it's a "good fat".
(Don't take my word for it. Begin your search here or here.)

Here's what I had for breakfast yesterday:

clockwise from left: Yogi Tea's Woman's Energythis coffee, water, and my smoothie du jour.

Yesterday's Smoothie:
(approx. measurements)

3/4 C almond milk
1/4 C fresh homemade yoghurt
4 frozen strawberries
small chunk fresh ginger root
drizzle of Knudsen's juice
(either thisthisthis, or this)
(You may use your own favorite. I'm not a juice drinker, but my children LOVE these, and I prefer them for smoothies when I don't feel like pulling out my juicer - which is often.)
2-3 slices avocado
1 orange, rind removed
handful of ice

If you don't own a high-powered blender, you will need to make your bits of fruit, ginger, and ice smaller, and perhaps blend it in batches.

Aaaahhhh! 
It feels so nice to have written a non-waffle post.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Special Kitchen Helper


Craig's time in the Army was formative of my character, in that it made me addicted to change. When I started this blog, it was to be a BREAKFAST blog to encourage others to branch out beyond the ordinary - to step outside the [cereal] box and try different foods for breakfast.

In January, when we began our 52-week waffle venture, I didn't mean for that to become the guiding theme of this blog. I didn't consider the size of the "elephant" - in light of the entire pie chart of daily life - when I took the first bite. Still, I don't regret embarking on this waffle journey. Although time doesn't always permit a weekly update, the girls and I are committed to seeing it through to the end.

I do, however, intend to share some of our other breakfasts with our readers. I've been itching to share them!

Now, on to the subject of this post.

I awoke this morning with a breakfast plan. Our refrigerator was full of leftover toppings from our homemade pizza spread that we shared with guests a few nights ago, and I've been craving omelets. 
Eureka! 
I threw in some fresh spinach and herbs, because one can never have too much green.

I'm getting ahead of myself, though. 
Despite my frequent battle to accomplish all that I conceive in my mind, I do tend to be a planner. 
However, I live with six other variables. 
So, my plan of action was thwarted when I learned that the four older children would be spending the morning at the gym after dropping Gabriela off to spend a few hours with friends.

As I lamented the fact that my efforts seemed futile under the circumstances, my sweet husband reminded me that this meal would not go to waste and that he would help me to prepare it.

Uninterrupted time alone in the kitchen with My Man?! 
Sign me up!

Tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro, basil, rosemary, spinach, and black olives.

While I flipped omelets (Dave, I STILL can't do it your way), Craig multi-tasked between the waffle iron and the sink full of dishes.

Just writing this post is tempting me toward the leftovers...

And now for Waffle #35:

Cinnamon-Chip Applesauce Ezekiel Waffles
with fresh strawberries, ginger syrup, & homemade yoghurt.
We've made Ezekiel Waffles before, and the mix also makes excellent pancakes. 
(Don't worry. I have no plans for 52 Pancakes in 2013.)

This left me wanting more.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Banana is Not a Fruit...





  
The waffles were definitely Gab-approved. :-) We caught her just before she... made sure not to waste anything on her plate.

Banana is not a fruit. However, some may respond that denial ain't just a river in Egypt. But... if you forget anything else I have said to you, remember this: friends don't let friends eat fruit with chocolate. Their flavors match as well as the color black does with navy blue.

    We have been waffled out and the diverse engrossments of life took precedence over posting, as I shared in my last blog post. You'd think that we'd have a waffle high after so many waffle recipes; much like when you run and run and run you eventually feel that runner's high. I guess it just doesn't always work that way. (Plus, I have yet to even experience a runner's high.) 

Last night, before we discovered that our Nutella supply had been depleted (*cough* my brothers), Mom suggested making banana waffles and somehow incorporating Nutella into them. For those of you who know us well, it may come as a surprise that my mother- Dayna Whitlock- came up with this idea. She has an aversion to fruit and chocolate and actually becomes extremely nauseated. I don't know if it is the power of suggestion or not, but most of my siblings and I share that intolerance towards that combination. Gabbi doesn't mind eating it, but then again if the girl sees "sugar" on the ingredient list, she is sold. 

     If the validity of humans evolving from monkeys rested on our consumption of bananas, Graham and I would be reliable sources for evidence. I'm not a huge fan of fruits, in general, but I LOVE tropical fruits and especially *perfect* bananas. I fancy myself an authority on defining a perfect banana. It cannot be green and it absolutely may not have spots on it. Once it reaches the spotting stage on the peel, it is only useful for smoothies (maybe) or can be used in bread products. I love how one pastor made the point that bananas are so unique that he was once asked to describe its taste to someone who had never had one... He tried and tried but he couldn't come up with an accurate description. In my humble opinion, apples taste like apples, pears taste like... pears, and every other fruit tends to taste like its name. But bananas??? ... They belong in a category of their own.

My family graciously blesses Graham and me with bananas whenever they go to the store and recently brought a generous amount too great for us to consume by ourselves. I used about 4 of them in the waffles and Morgan made an excellent milk chocolate syrup recipe to drizzle on top. Instead of trading in one of our siblings for the exclusive food labels called for in that recipe, we used good ol' Nestle chocolate chips, Mexican vanilla, and our own water (or milk), thank you. 





Mom: "It's amazing! These are so good and I don't even feel nauseated." -This statement just validates my case against bananas being fruit.


Mo found a different syrup recipe than our usual. It was really good.


I liked all of the chocolate syrup photos that Mo took. Forgive me.


Gabbi is the new queen of photo-bombing. Love that girl. 

   




Long Time. No Blog.




We are quite behind on our posting,which means that we have a lot of catching up to do. Our family has had an awesome summer, by God's goodness. Words cannot accurately express how incredible it was, but thankfully, God has equipped man with the mind to invent cameras, which often capture best valuable moments such as these.

I don't know if many of you follow my mom's dog blog, but our yorkie-poo, Menina, had two puppies at the end of July. They have been such a joy to play with:


They just ooze preciousness!! I never thought our family could become such dog lovers. This is when they were a few weeks old. As I type this, I can hear the two growling and wrestling. Too cute!


In the middle of August, our family had the phenomenal privilege of visiting Pine Cove The Bluffs in Tyler, Texas. *HIGHLY* recommend going there as a family. Our good friends, the Sherrods, have been directing it for the past 5 years or so. Here are some photos from that week:




We were enthusiastically greeted by the servant-hearted, joyful Bluffs staff upon our arrival.



They stopped us, greeted, took some photos, and gave us further directions as we drove towards the camp grounds.




The Sherrod family, plus a few. As Mr. Sherrod says, "I have half a dozen children, plus half of that." 
They are currently fostering 3 siblings. "G-ma" (the young lady towards the center) was the camp nanny for the summer. They are such an incredible witness and passionate about family and, most importantly, the Lord.




This was supposed to be a silly photo, but as you see, only some of us got the memo.
As we do well, we invited and unofficially "adopted" a couple extra people for our family photo. :-) 



There were LOADS of outdoor activities. Down at The Shores, some young men ran the banana boats, jet skis, wake boarding, adult "cruises", tubing, etc. 



We had many group Bible studies as families, and as guys or girls. This was one of my favorite times.




Craig and a few of his buddies. Great young men!



The teenagers/young adults had an "Amazing Race" where we were split into teams. This shaving cream fight was epic.




The day after we got home from a refreshing time at Pine Cove, our family was blessed by a visit from some of our favorite people. The Butler family came to visit us on their way back home from California.


Here are six of the nine Butler children and one of their cousins eating lunch.


Isabella, Abigail, and their cousin, Chloe.


Ethan, the oldest, took such excellent care of his youngest brother, William.


Isabella has such a beautiful smile! Here she is eating our vanilla latte waffle sundae. Unfortunately, we never got a photo of the finished product. :-/


Prepare yourselves... This is the radiant mother of the nine precious children. Christa has such a gentle and quiet spirit! Love her. 


Philip, the second to last, is such a little cutie! 


Here is the father, Jason, who also looks very young for being a father of 9. Mom refers to him as her "pesky little brother". :-)


This photo depicts the first stages of a sugar high. 



For Memorial Day weekend, we had a military family that we met at The Bluffs, visit. They prepared a FABULOUS Korean meal that we are all still recovering from... It was superb, to say the least. Bear with me as I tease your taste buds:


The Sheridan and Whitlock Families


Dad and Mr. Sheridan making the noodles.


Mrs. Sheridan showing Dad how to marinate the chicken.


The best rice maker on the face of the earth... And it speaks Hangul. Dad entertained us by "translating" what she was saying. 0.o


Behold. An INCREDIBLE (and incredibly unique) dessert. Ohmygoodness, people! I mean, anything with sweet condensed milk is going to be the bomb.
(I ordered 7 large cups of ice from Sonic for this. The girl who served me said she had never had an order like that before.)


The Whitlocks felt pretty important as we assisted the master chefs: Mr. and Mrs. Sheridan.



 If you have never had dried, pressed seaweed for your rice and korean steaks... You need to as soon as possible. I lost track of how many of those I ate. 





Dad did an excellent job grilling the meats.


This is a bit anti-climactic, but during their visit we had a smorgasbord waffle breakfast. The freezer had been filling up over time and we decided to eat all of those instead of making a new one.


Later that week, we had breakfast dinner with a guest and made citrus waffles. 


























Saturday, August 11, 2012

Banana-Millet and Fall's Finest: Sweet-Potato-Pie

-Morgan

The Spartans went down in history more for their brevity than for their grand maxims; and more for their deeds than their words. In fact, it was after their homeland, Laconia or Lacedaemon, that the term 'laconic' was coined. ... And this all has very much to do with waffles because, rather than bore you with description, after tutorial, after monologue, I have determined to take from their great example and let the following images (deeds) 'speak' for themselves. I will delay only long enough to tell you that the two waffles represented are Banana-Millet, and Sweet-Potato-Pie. (And to apologize for the blurry photos) ... (I wouldn't make a good Spartan. I always have a P.S. or disclaimer)


...But some photos require captions.  This may look like philo-dough, or the Dead Sea Scrolls, but it's actually just our 10 year-old cookbook. I always say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.


Ol' Faithful




For the Banana-Millet Waffles, I used millet flour and banana :) I also added ginger, because it goes with everything


I'm assuming there is such thing as shelf-life sweet potato. If so, that would naturally (but not really) be an option. However, I've always been told, and am, therefore, telling you that even GMO tastes better than outright radiation.


Furthermore, it is imperative to ensure that the potato is, in fact, dead - completely, utterly dead.
... actually, we just punch some ventilation holes so it doesn't explode.


I baked the sweet potatoes at 450F for an hour.


To make the Sweet-Potato-Pie waffle truly Fall-ly, I used the spices ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, galangal, and allspice. Each 'to taste'.


I am a firm believer in pulverizing all the liquid ingredients. It makes them blend better in both texture and flavour. I include bananas and potatoes in this liquid category because when I'm finished with them, they, too, are liquid. But in all seriousness, who likes chunks in their breakfast?? That's just offensive. (And I think that is a point that even Leonidas would deem noteworthy)


Thick. Smooth. It should sound something like 'blooop. bloop. bloop-bloop.' when you pour it, as opposed to 'pdddddtttttddddddttttttthhhsss' This means the waffle will be more like cake, and less like crackers. :)



Voila! It may look like an ordinary waffle. But the fact that I said 'Tada!' in French proves that it's not.