Vanilla Coconut Whole Wheat Waffles

waffles

Transporting your waffles to a warm, happy place.

 

I love when Recipe Redux time rolls around each month. It gives me inspiration for creative time in the kitchen, which I love. This month’s theme is “stop being wasteful and use the stuff that’s been sitting in your pantry!” Ok, that’s just my summation of the theme. It was put more eloquently of course, but that’s basically it. Pick something that’s been in the pantry for awhile and put it to good use. Great idea!

So off I went to my pantry, on the hunt for something inspiring. I opened the door and immediately (and embarrassingly) noted its “fullness.” Ugh, there was plenty of food in there that was simply begging to be used. So I acknowledged my pantry with a quick “noted” comment and promised to cook and use that food before it went to waste. Then it was back to my original task…finding the one thing that’s been in there for far too long. After a quick inventory, it came down to three things: brown rice, canned diced chiles and light coconut milk. A glance at the packages revealed that the light coconut milk would be heading to the trash can soon if I didn’t use it, so the light coconut milk was the winner. Now, just what was I going to do with it?

I immediately thought of Thai food. So many delicious dishes use coconut milk and I had a million (ok, maybe just two or three) ideas running through my head. But then something struck me. Maybe it was the delicious scent coming from the apartment next door, but I swear I smelled waffles. It smelled so amazing, that my thoughts of Thai food were immediately replaced with thoughts of waffles. Then, the light bulb went off and my Vanilla Coconut Whole Wheat Waffles were born.

I adore waffles which made this recipe even more fun to create! They are a great breakfast option, especially when all-purpose white flour gets replaced with whole wheat flour and when a simple topping of fresh fruit is the perfect finishing touch. Coconut milk and a little toasted coconut add a fun tropical twist and the vanilla bean paste add just the right of balance and “sweetness.” These are a perfect treat for breakfast or a handy snack. Try these waffles and I promise you’ll fall in love.

Ok, so my part is done…now it’s time to take a look at what’s in your pantry!

 

Delicious vanilla bean paste. A pantry must-have!

Delicious vanilla bean paste. A pantry must-have!

 

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Coconut Vanilla Whole Wheat Waffles


  • Author: Sara Haas

Description

Yields about 10 Belgian-style waffles, 4-inches by 4 1/2-inches


Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter (or canola oil)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla paste
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons flaked coconut, toasted
  • 1 mango, peeled, seeded and diced

Instructions

  1. Preheat the waffle iron.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon and flax seed.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, milks, butter, vanilla and brown sugar.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Note that the batter will be slightly lumpy. Gently stir in the coconut.
  5. Cook waffles following waffle iron manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. Serve garnished with freshly chopped mango and toasted coconut.

Notes

  • These waffles freeze well. Place them in a freezer bag, separated by pieces of parchment and freeze until ready to eat!

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 5
  • Calories: 502
  • Sugar: 14
  • Sodium: 368
  • Fat: 25
  • Saturated Fat: 17
  • Unsaturated Fat: 7
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 59
  • Protein: 12
  • Cholesterol: 88


It’s Redux Time: Whole Wheat Crackers with Currants and Granola

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In my house, we eat a lot of crackers. It’s almost slightly embarrassing the number of boxes of crackers we go through in a month. After buying a box at a time, I finally succumbed to buying in bulk. Ironically, even though we chow-down on them, I hadn’t thought much about the crackers themselves until this month’s Recipe Redux challenge. This month’s theme is to take a recipe that we have already made and essentially “re-purpose” it. I was excited and decided my first step should include a quick trip through my blog.

You know where that landed me? Right on the granola recipe I use and make at least once a month. It’s a great one, adapted from a recipe I found on Martha Stewart’s website for Honey-Pecan Granola. At that moment, all I could think was, “wouldn’t this be a yummy base for a cracker?” Which got me thinking even more which led me to wonder why I am buying all of these silly crackers at the store when I can make them at home?

Making crackers is super simple and requires very few ingredients. After a little tinkering, I came up with a recipe that has now become a household favorite. The best part about it is that it’s a perfect way to get your kids involved in the kitchen. They can help roll out the dough and if they’re old enough, they can help cut (using a pizza cutter with an adult close by!) the dough into crackers.

Use my recipe as a base, but feel free to experiment with your own additions. I topped mine with a little dusting of cinnamon and sugar, but you can also add spices and fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary. This is my gentle push, encouraging you to put that box of crackers down and make your own!
 

And here are some pics to guide you along the way!

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Simple ingredients!

 

Cracker food processor

Using a food processor makes the task even easier!

 

Process until it comes into a ball.

Process until it comes into a ball.

 

Beautiful cracker dough ball.

Beautiful cracker dough ball.

Now roll it out.

Now roll it out.

Then cut them out and bake!

Then cut them out and bake!

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Whole Wheat Crackers with Currants and Granola


  • Author: Sara Haas
  • Yield: 12

Description

A simple, homemade cracker recipe filled with plenty of flavor.


Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
  • 2/3 cup + 2 tablespoons homemade granola
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup currants

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a food processor combine the whole wheat flour, salt and the butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand. Add 2/3 cup of the granola and pulse 1-2 times. Add the water a little at a time and pulse until ingredients come together in a ball.
  2. Remove the dough from the food processor and place on a lightly floured work surface. Gently knead in the currants and the 2 tablespoons granola and shape dough into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400’F. Cut three large sheets of parchment paper, big enough so that each piece will fit on a large sheet pan.
  4. Unwrap the dough and cut into quarters. Take one quarter of the dough and on a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out into a circle, about 1/8″ thick. Transfer the circle to a piece of parchment and using a knife or a pizza wheel, cut into squares or other desired shape (I like 1 1/2 inch by 1 inch rectangles myself!). Continue the same process with the other 3 pieces of dough.
  5. Move the parchment with crackers onto a large sheet pan and place in the oven. Cook 6-8 minutes or until browned.
  6. Remove crackers from the pan and place them on a cooling rack. Continue the process with the remaining crackers.

Notes

  • These crackers are tasty by themselves, but also wonderful when sprinkled with a little cinnamon and sugar before baking. The recipe is a good base for trying other flavors too. Add a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg or cayenne. Or try adding more dried fruit or topping with parmesan cheese just before baking.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 1550
  • Sugar: 44
  • Sodium: 631
  • Fat: 71
  • Saturated Fat: 33
  • Unsaturated Fat: 33
  • Trans Fat: 2
  • Carbohydrates: 197
  • Protein: 32
  • Cholesterol: 122


Ramps, A Spring Vegetable Worth Trying!

I remember my first encounter with ramps (no, not the kind you drive or walk on, that wouldn’t be a very nutritious topic), it was during my culinary externship. Everyone in the kitchen was out-of-their minds excited about a shipment of ramps that were arriving shortly. I, of course, pretended to be “in” on the ramp excitement. Nodding my head and grinning, acting like I was a ramp expert. No way was I going to let these guys know I didn’t know what a ramp was! The buzzing in the kitchen was escalating and pens and notepads were taken out and millions of ramp recipes were created. The whole time I kept thinking, “all of this excitement for a vegetable!?” I couldn’t wait to see what this stuff was! It had to be amazing. When it arrived, I have to admit I was a little disappointed. All of that clamoring over this thing that looked like a lost cousin to a green onion? Seemed crazy to me. Well, then I got a lesson. Because one of those chefs figured me out and immediately gave me a solid education on ramps. Then, because he was a good guy, he showed me how to cook it and then, magically, I got it! Thank goodness!

With my new appreciation of ramps, I can now say that I look forward to their arrival at the local farmer’s market. That’s because they are the indication that Spring has officially arrived. These delicious little vegetables are members of the allium family (along with onions, garlic, scallions, etc) and are wild-harvested, meaning they aren’t cultivated like most crops. Magnifying their desirability is the fact that they are only available for a short window of time during April and early May. This is why you’ll see them scooped up as soon as they’re set on the table at the market. They look a little bit like green onions, but you’ll know they’re ramps because of their distinctive flat leaves and burgundy stems. As for taste, these little guys pack a strong flavor. It’s a bold, almost wild taste of onion and garlic. While they can be eaten raw, many people prefer it cooked, which eliminates some of that piquant taste. My favorite way to eat them is to toss them lightly with olive oil, salt and black pepper and then grill them. Easy and delicious! Serve them as a side dish to any meal or chop and add to salads or pasta.

Oh yes, you are wondering about the nutritional value, aren’t you? Of course! Well, let’s just say they are loaded with Vitamin A (eat the leaves to get this powerful antioxidant) as well as Vitamin K, folate, iron and manganese. And you can be sure there are other disease-fighting phytochemicals in there too.

You’ve got a few more weeks until ramps arrive, so get your recipes ready!

Celebrate National Nutrition Month! Bite Into A Healthy Lifestyle!

It’s that time of year again, National Nutrition Month! For dietitians around the world, it’s a time to celebrate and encourage you to enjoy the amazingly, nutritious world around you! We feel like every month is National Nutrition Month, but we know it’s not practical to suggest celebrating 12 months a year, so we have designated March as the official month-of-honor. This makes perfect sense to me, considering March is the time of year that you start to feel the hope of Spring. With that hope comes the desire to do a little “Spring cleaning.”

This year I encourage you to take your Spring cleaning to another level. Sure, it’s great to tidy up your home, but why not tidy up your lifestyle as well? Take a moment this month to reflect on your health. Ask yourself how you’re feeling. Really take a close look at the ways you could “clean-up” the way you eat and the way you participate in life. Pick one or two things that you know you can “clean” and make a pact with yourself to do it.

For example, look in your refrigerator. Do you see a bunch of food going to waste in there? Take the time to remove things that have expired and give your refrigerator (and freezer!) a good scrub. Re-organize the food so that you can SEE everything and try to eat those foods that expire quickly, first. You’ll be amazed at how good you feel once you open the door to a clean, organized refrigerator! (It feels amazingly similar to a clean closet!)

Or maybe take a look at your activity level. Do you find yourself making excuses for not moving more? How about instead of making excuses, come up with reasons why you should be moving more? Maybe you should move more because you want to stay healthy to play with your grandkids. Or maybe you want to move more so that you aren’t winded after one flight of stairs. Or maybe you want to move more because you want to run your first 5K this summer! Find inspiration and it will motivate you to move more!

March is the month to “Bite into a healthier lifestyle!” Why not celebrate by Spring-ing into action by tidying up your diet and lifestyle! Carpe Diem!

Mexican Shredded Chicken on The Cutting Board Blog

Mexican-Shredded-Chicken

There is something magical about the slow cooker. The idea that you can simply place ingredients in a vessel, touch a button and hours later you have an entire meal is mind-blowing. I love it! For anyone that’s time-strapped (OK, that’s everyone, right!?), the slow cooker is your savior. With a little forethought, you can create beautiful, almost effortless meals that your family will love.

 

In need of a new slow cooker recipe? Try my version of Mexican Shredded Chicken. It’s a flavorful dish that can feed a crowd…

 

 

Click here to read more from The Cutting Board Blog and to get the recipe.

Beautiful and Simple: A Recipe for the Lovely Apple Crostata

crostata-3

It’s cold here in Chicago and I am happy to report that I have not lost my sense of humor about this cold blast we are having. Instead of being angry, I have chosen to celebrate this cold by baking and cooking…and baking and cooking! Luckily the lovely Cutting Board Blog must have known this, as they are currently featuring my recipe for the beautiful Apple Crostata.

Hurry, go turn on your oven and be prepared to “warm up” with this lovely dessert.

A Perfect Pairing: Almonds and Chocolate

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I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Somewhere, hidden deep in the recesses of my pantry is my special stash of chocolate. It’s a secret because, well, I don’t feel like sharing it. No offense to other members of the household, but I just don’t think they would appreciate this little treasure like I do. I hold that stash near and dear to my heart. And thinking about it now, it seems rather ironic that I store it in an old trick-or-treating bucket that looks like a jack-o-lantern…totally classy and mature, I know.

I love chocolate and I have since I was little. Lots of good food memories come to mind when I think of chocolate. Because I love it so much, I suppose that could mean trouble for my waistline. But the good news is, I can control myself because I appreciate chocolate. I see chocolate as a fun indulgence or as a very lovely treat. Because of that, I try to enjoy it and savor it. That means I need less of it!

The ladies over at the Recipe Redux must have channeled my inner choco-holic when they came up with this month’s theme – our favorite pairing for chocolate. My mind of course went crazy with ideas. How about a mole? Or what about a twist on a ‘smore? When it came down to it, I decided upon a recipe that I felt would honor both the dietitian as well as the chocolate-lover in me. Reaching for almonds and my secret stash of chocolate, I bee-lined to the kitchen and got to work. I came up with a recipe that is the perfect snack or treat and one that highlights one of my favorite pairings: nuts and chocolate! Yum!
 
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Spiced Almonds with Dark Chocolate Drizzle


  • Author: Sara Haas
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 3

Description

These roasted almonds are a delightful blend of sweet and savory.


Ingredients

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 3 cups whole almonds
  • 2 ounces 60% dark chocolate
  • Kosher salt for finishing

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300’F and line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the cayenne, cinnamon, brown sugar and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg white and water together just until foamy. Add the almonds and toss to coat. Spread the almonds out onto the sheet pan and sprinkle with the spice mixture. Stir and toss to coat.
  4. Place nuts in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the nuts cool on the sheet pan.
  5. To a small sauce pot add the chocolate and set over low heat. Stir constantly until chocolate is completely melted. Using a small spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate over the almonds. Sprinkle with additional salt as desired (Kosher or sea salt).
  6. Allow chocolate to cool and harden before serving.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 2919
  • Sugar: 68
  • Sodium: 826
  • Fat: 237
  • Saturated Fat: 29
  • Unsaturated Fat: 195
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 146
  • Protein: 94
  • Cholesterol: 3

 


A New Form of Art

When I was much younger I firmly believed I was a gifted artist. Looking back at my art projects from school it’s evident that I was giving myself quite a bit of credit. Enter my mom. God bless her. She is an extremely talented artist and was (and still is) one of my biggest supporters, always complimenting my work and hanging it everywhere.  I knew from a young age that she was talented and I suppose I wanted to believe her when it came to my s0-called “talent.” I also wanted to be more like her; carefree, able to express myself and open to coloring “outside the lines.” 

My mom is talented and creative and I love seeing what she can build on a blank canvas. For her, paints and other materials are her tools for expression. When I was a teenager I remember looking at all of the paints and those canvases feeling slightly intimidated. As soon as I would lay a color down, I would regret it. Or I would start painting one thing only to be disappointed in how it looked. Let’s just say I gave up on it for awhile.

It hasn’t been until recently that I’ve picked up “art” again. This time, in a medium that seems more true to who I am. A medium that excites me and elicits my creativity. That medium is food. With food, I can create beautiful, thought-provoking works of art just like you would with acrylics or paint or pencils. I love that you can turn a pepper into a million different dishes or cut it a different way it and it almost tastes different. For me, food is my passion and being able to express myself this way is a true treasure.

I tell you this story because maybe it’s time you looked at food differently. Maybe, right now, you look at food as just a way to get energy, shoveling it in without much care. Or maybe you’ve spent too much time eating out, letting other people have all of the fun in the creativity of making your meal. Or maybe you’ve been depriving yourself, looking at food as the enemy, counting calories and not receiving the benefit of composing and enjoying it. I encourage you to reflect on this. What is your relationship with food? Would it be better if you appreciated it more? Or if you took the time to nurture your creative side and explore food as your new “art” form? You may find it will do your soul a world of good to gain a new perspective.

 

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