Pear Spice Gingerbread Waffles… without Syrup

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Hello readers,

You may or may not know that lent has begun. I would have prepared you to expect lots of yummy recipes coming your way, but I was in boyfriend-land at the time and could not make it to my computer to blog. My apologies. Don’t worry. Boyfriend-land now has a computer.

What is Lent all about?

Lent is a season of preparation. Christians prepare for Easter (or the death and resurrection of Christ) in different ways. One possible way to prepare is to fast for the 40 days of lent.

I grew up inside of a family that made fasting seem very normal. Every year, I would watch my dad choose to eat only bread and water for forty days (excluding Sundays – where we ate like pigs). So, at 6 years old I started by giving up small things like chocolate – but eventually that gets pretty easy and I knew I would have to step it up. I moved from one fast to another until I felt like I was challenging myself appropriately. I think I have made it to that point.

I’m on an alternate day fast schedule. That means I only eat every other day until Easter (excluding Sundays).

As you can imagine, this creates quite an appetite for breakfast. (Any of you struggling to eat breakfast and make it a full meal – one possible solution is to join me in my fast. It’s guaranteed to work.)

On the day after my fast, I might wake up 2-3 times in the middle of the night to check and see if it’s time for breakfast yet. Nope, it’s not. Okay, go back to bed. Once the clock reads 5am, I’m released from my bed to get up and make a delicious breakfast.

Starving really works well for providing incentive to produce delicious, nutritious, and exciting food. Trust me, if a starving girl thinks it up, it’s sure to be tasty.

My Breakfast

Most of my normal blog readers know that I am a diabetes educator and dietitian by day. One thing I’m always encouraging my patients to do is to eat their pancakes and waffles without syrup. It’s just too high in carbohydrate to justify for most people.

So, you will not see me putting any syrup on my waffles or pancakes. I will always provide you with a yummy (and more nutritious) alternative.

The Story Behind… Pear Spice GIngerbread Waffles

This all started because I was in the mood for waffles and I had pears to use up before they got too soft to eat. Pears are in season right now, so they’re relatively cheap and ripe in the stores.

I was flipping through my breakfast cookbook for my waffle recipe when I came across a recipe for gingerbread waffles. I couldn’t resist. I love gingerbread. Especially non-dessert gingerbread. I felt like it was a win-win.

Recipe: Pear Spice Gingerbread Waffles… without Syrup

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Recipe: Gingerbread Waffles

Makes 6 Mickey Waffles

Ingredients

  • 3/4 C White Flour
  • 1/4 C Wheat Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Cloves
  • 1/4 tsp Cardamom (optional)
  • 1 whole egg+ 1 egg white
  • 3/4 C milk
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter

Directions:

  1. Combine flour, baking soda, brown sugar, and spices in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Combine molasses, butter, milk and eggs in a separate small mixing bowl.
  3. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
  4. Pour 3/4 C batter onto hot waffle iron.

Recipe: Spiced Pear, Honey, and Blue Cheese Topping 

Makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 Pears, sliced thin
  • 1/4 C Blue Cheese Crumbles
  • 1/2 tsp Honey, drizzled
  • 1/4 C english walnuts
  • Sprinkle of freshly ground cloves

Directions

  1. Place pears in a baking dish and bake alone for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F.
  2. Remove from oven and add toppings. Return to oven for 7 more minutes.
  3. Use to top favorite gingerbread or regular waffles.

A Note to the Diabetics: The waffles end up being 25g carbohydrate each with 15g carbohydrate topping if you divide the pears into four servings. Pair this with some eggs and you would have a complete meal. 

Theoretically, you should just eat one waffle. Unfortunately, I ate 5… I think that defeats the purpose of not using syrup.

A very small victory today… perhaps defeat. Although, I have to admit, I feel quite satisfied. ;)

Love,

Sarah

Trying to be Perfect? Try again.

I like to tell people about the mistakes I make….

…because I want them to know I’m not perfect. And, they don’t have to be perfect either. 

If you ask me, there are too many pretenders out there. That’s the hard part about growing up. At some point we realize we’ll never have it together – not completely. But that doesn’t mean we don’t try to make it SEEM like we’ve got it all together.

We pretend like we have…

The Perfect Faith.

A lot of people struggle with the idea of God or Christianity because they see all of the destructive things people do under the “direction/guise” of God or religion. The important thing to note is that these are people calling themselves Christians, they are not Christ. We can try to imitate God, but humans are imperfect. We’ll never get it all the way right.

They’re making mistakes.

The trouble comes when we start thinking we don’t make mistakes. That’s when we start looking down at people around us and start thinking we’re better than them. In some aspects we might be “better” but some aspects are worse. We’ve all got a mess to be working on.

A Perfect Example.

I know my sisters look up to me.

I know that in conscious and unconscious ways they are emulating me and my behavior. I don’t want them to think I have it all together. I want them to be able to see the areas I’ve failed and then I want them to see me working to make it right. They should never have to wonder if a mistake or bad choice would cause me to love them less.

I do not ask them to be perfect.

I ask them to be real.

I ask them to be trying. 

In my work and my personal life, I see hundreds of people trying to pretend like “nothing is wrong” or that they can handle it on their own. They’re hurting themselves and they’re hurting the people that look up to them.

In Perfect health.

My patients ask me what’s wrong with my generation? Why don’t they care about their health and the health of their children?

I ask them if they’ve talked to their children and grandchildren about their diabetes or congestive heart failure. I ask if they share how hard it is to recover from a stroke.

No. They don’t want to scare their grandchildren. They’d rather act like everything is normal.

I think people have a casual attitude about disease and health problems because no one is talking about how hard it is to have a body that’s breaking. They don’t talk to you about how stressful it is to take over the job of some of their different organs and bodily processes. They don’t tell you how humiliating it is to have to go from being independent to handicapped.

I think our kids are making mistakes because we don’t talk to them about the mistakes we made and why we shouldn’t have made them. We’ve stopped sharing lessons.

The Perfect People.

We’ve starting acting like “nothing is wrong.”

The more we try act like the mess doesn’t exist, the more we fool each other into thinking there is something wrong with us if we don’t have it all right. We try to hide our shortcomings because we’re ashamed of them – and by doing this, we never get help.

We need to know it’s okay to be human.

Let’s be real instead of perfect.

Things are wrong, but not everything is wrong. I think it’s important to have a balance. I think it’s important to let people see you trying to be better instead of having it all together.

I encourage you to share. I encourage you to let people see your weaknesses. Let them know you’re not perfect, but you’re trying to be better – and that’s the best any of us can hope for…

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, our faith life is forced into the open and shows it’s true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. James 1: 2-4

Snow days and Steak Omelets

My boss text me this morning telling me I didn’t have to come into work. 

I looked outside and saw nothing. I was confused. I texted her back saying, “There is no snow…?” 

Apparently, it was on it’s way.

That was at 7am this morning. It is now 7:45am and pouring down with snow. She was right.

In honor of my snow day (and the fact that I can eat today… more about that later), I made a very delicious breakfast. Steak Omelet!

There’s a reason why I’m hungry for omelets…

Sometime last month, I went out to eat brunch with my boyfriend. I don’t typically go out to eat where I live, mostly because I’m snobby and I think I can make everything better. Also because they don’t believe in using vegetables. Not only that, but I also despise spending extra money on a service that I think is not worth the hard work I did to obtain the money.

^^ As you can see, I was disappointed with my experience eating breakfast out.

You might be thinking, “Well, maybe you didn’t order their best thing…” Nope. I ordered a little bit of everything. I had french toast, biscuit and gravy, and vegetable omelet. They had three chances to show me what they could do.

Every single time they let me down.

In fact, I was so upset that I didn’t hardly eat any of the food. That’s unusual for me. Especially when you consider that I am the same little girl my grandma encouraged everyone to applaud (literal clapping) when I accomplished a “happy plate.” Not so, that morning.

Omelets have been on my mind ever since; and this morning, I set out to make it right.

The Trick to Making a Good Steak Omelet

There is one tricky part about making steak omelet – not overcooking the steak. Anytime you subject a nice piece of steak to a skillet, you’re likely to get overcooked/tough meat. I have figured out the trick to avoiding this is to have your steak PARTIALLY FROZEN. If any of us were detectives we would have figured this out a long time ago when we went to any Mongolian BBQ or HuHot where we picked up some frozen meat to add to our bowl of vegetables and sauce. They know the secret.

So, in preparation for my omelet this morning, I took some steaks out of the freezer and placed them in the fridge last night. They don’t have enough time to completely defrost, but they’re not rock solid at that point either. That’s right where you want them.

Cut your partially frozen meat into strips, sprinkle them with grill seasoning and cook in a skillet over medium high heat. The outside will be done and looking nice, but the inside will be less cooked for that perfect medium rare/medium finish.

Remove your steak from the pan to let it rest and start cooking the eggs.

Now, let’s talk about heart health. I always like to add one full egg, two egg whites, and a splash of milk to make my omelet. This way they are nice and fluffy, but still appropriate for your body’s dietary cholesterol requirements because you used less yolks.

The tricky part on the eggs is to take your spatula and move the cooked eggs in towards the middle while you tilt the pan to get the runny egg over to the side. This is exactly how your professional omelet cooker will do it at the restaurant – employ the same tactic at home. Then when the omelet is cooked and sliding around in the pan, you can flip it! Add your toppings and you’re done.

For my omelet this morning, I added a light sprinkle of mozzerella cheese, green bell pepper and a little portabella mushroom I had hanging out in my kitchen by himself.

I also try to pair eggs and steak (two things high in cholesterol) with something that has soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is nice because it helps reduce your cholesterol by binding with the things you use to make cholesterol and all of it bound up together passing through you without being absorbed.

Short Lesson on Soluble Fiber – The Gel Effect

Most things that are a source of soluble fiber will have this “gel effect.” Anything that gels or thickens when you cook it is usually a good source of soluble fiber.

Oats… turn into oatmeal… a gelatinous mixture.

Beans… thicken a soup.

Pears and Apples… can thicken into a sauce (a.k.a. applesauce) that doesn’t run off your spoon.

Metamucil (psyllium)… slightly thickens your drink.

And so… I paired my omelet with an apple. Ta Da! Breakfast is served.

omelet

A Note to the Diabetics: Steak Omelets are considered a “non-carbohydrate” food. My apple served as the carbohydrate in this case. It was a large apple so it counted for 30 grams of carbohydrate. I also added one small glass of milk for 12 grams of carbohydrate. I am now at 42 grams and I can stop for the meal. Anyone on a 60 gram carbohydrate mealplan could easily skip the milk and add a serving of oatmeal instead for 30g carbohydrate. 

  • Steak – 0
  • Eggs – 0
  • Pepper, Mushroom – 0
  • Cheese – 0
  • Apple – 30
  • 8 ounces 1% milk – 12

Mysterious Food…What Are You?

Food has become a mystery.

I would argue that most people have no idea what they’re eating. I know this because one way to consider whether a food is healthy or not is to consider the ingredients that make it up. I ask my patients to do this and they look at me as if I’m crazy. 

The root of the problem: We’ve stopped cooking.

We’ve been disconnected from our food source. Instead of manipulating it ourselves, we allow the store or factory to do it for us and remain blissfully ignorant.

I have an example: Crackers

Little things like crackers make us feel good about life because we’ve never made them ourselves. We’ve never understood how little they had to offer us (nutritionally) with their white flour, lard/butter, and salt. I think we consider them healthy because they’re missing the sugar that would make them a cookie. Everything else is the same, though. 

List of ingredients (actual recipe for ritz crackers):

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp + another 1/2 tsp salt for topping
  • 6 tbsp cold unsalted butter + 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup water

Add more sugar and we’ve got a sugar cookie. These are not the ingredients your body is lacking in order to become healthy. These are what we would call an “empty calories.”

But, enough about crackers!

There are more foods you should consider.

For instance, how many of you readers have actually tried making your own bagels? (Eh? Any of you? See, I’m looking and I don’t see any hands raised.) Or a pretzel? Did you know they’re amazingly similar? The only major difference is what you add to the boiling water. Both start with a yeast bread recipe that’s kneaded and set out to rise. Then, pretzels boil in baking soda water and bagels boil in sugar water. After this crucial step, both of them get baked in the oven. Tada! Major difference explained.  

I act pretty confident about this stuff – but the truth is, I’m learning too. A week ago, I had never made a bagel. I had no idea that I would need to boil it in sugar water before baking it. The only difference is: I decided I had been ignorant for long enough. It was time to learn the mystery behind our beloved bagel. 

So, I invited over my boyfriend’s mom and we got busy. In fact, she did such a great job helping me, I’m going to name these in her honor…

Recipe: Joan’s Whole Wheat Bagels

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 C warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 4 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 C bread flour
  • 1 1/2 – 2 C whole wheat flour
  • 1 egg white + 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp each: Poppy Seeds, kosher salt, corn meal, oat bran

Directions:

  1. Add sugar, yeast, and water to a small bowl and let sit 10 minutes until froth collects on top (this means your yeast has been activated). 
  2. In a separate large bowl sift bread flour, add wheat flour and salt. Make a well and add yeast mixture. Stir to combine. 
  3. Knead 5 minutes with 1/2 C wheat flour to mix in if needed. 
  4. Place in large greased bowl. Cover and let sit for one hour. 
  5. Divide dough and shape into a ball. let relax for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Flatten each round ball with palm of hand. Press thumb into center of bagel. Pull hole open. Cover with towel and let sit for 10 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  8. Bring 2 qt water to boil and add 1 Tbsp (not listed above) sugar to water. Reduce heat and simmer.  
  9. Boil bagels 30 seconds on each side. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet. 
  10. Brush with egg white mixture and sprinkle with topping mixture. 
  11. Bake 20-30 minutes or until bagels golden brown. 

A Note to the Diabetics: Bagels are a dense carbohydrate which means they add up quick. These bagels are handy because they can be easily made into mini bagels if you prefer. You’re the one making them. All you have to do is make them smaller. Tada! Mini bagels! A regular size bagel is going to be around 50 grams of carbohydrate and a mini bagel will be around 25 grams. Take this into consideration when you’re planning the rest of your meal. 

Easy balanced breakfast idea: Add ham, egg, and cheese to your bagel for a homemade breakfast sandwich. If you have more carbohydrates to spend, consider adding a piece of fruit to complete the meal. 

Bagels… mystery uncovered.

Chicken Hummus Salad

I live in Mid-Missouri. A lot of my readers live in Mid-Missouri.

Chances are, some of you have no idea what the word “hummus” means. No one’s judging you… yet. But before people from the East/West Coast find out you’re so “uncultured,” allow me to educate you.

Let me make it simple.

Hummus is a type of bean dip that’s made of the following ingredients:

  • Garbanzo beans or “Chick Peas”
  • Tahini – ground up sesame seeds
  • Lemon Juice
  • Olive Oil
  • Spices: Garlic, Cumin, Salt

Hummus is “good for you” because it’s made out of beans. Beans have a high fiber content that helps to regulate your bowels, lower your cholesterol, and slow down the absorption of your food – which attributes to better post-meal blood sugars for diabetics. Not to mention, olive oil and sesame seeds (tahini) provide an additional benefit by adding heart healthy fat. You might as well just call this “Keep-me-away-from-the-doctor Dip.” (<–Too long?)

Making Hummus

Hummus has one other benefit – a happy boyfriend. Yesterday, I came straight home from work and started on a mission. My boyfriend loves hummus and chicken salad. I intended to make him these things in hope that he would extend this love to me – his hummus and chicken salad provider – as well. Let me tell you, the mess was worth it because it WORKED. He loved this meal.

Leftover Chicken + Boiled Eggs + Hummus + Celery + Grapes = One Happy Couple.

Recipe: Chicken Hummus SaladHealthy Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • 2-3 C Chopped Chicken
  • 2 Stalks of Celery, sliced
  • 3 Boiled Eggs, diced
  • 1/3 C Raisins (or you can also substitute grapes)
  • 1/4 C Miracle Whip Lite
  • 1/4 C Hummus (I used this recipe)
  • Toasted Pecans

Directions

  1. Note – How to Boil Eggs: Place eggs in pot and cover with water. Heat over medium high heat until water comes to a boil. Boil eggs for 10 minutes. After that time, remove pot from heat. Rinse with cold water for 2-3 minutes. Peel should come off very easily.
  2. Chop ingredients and mix together.
  3. Top with toasted pecans. I toasted mine in a skillet over high heat on the stove. Watch for the toasted smell and then remove quickly. These can burn very easily.
  4. Serve over lettuce or on a sandwich.

A Note to the Diabetics: This would be about 15 grams of carbohydrate per 1 C serving. The carbohydrates are coming from the beans in the hummus and the raisins. If you want less carbohydrates, you can always leave the raisins out – but then it wouldn’t be NEARLY as yummy. So, I suggest you just budget 15 grams and move on with the rest of your meal. 

A couple of months after meeting my boyfriend, I’ve finally decided to start making things HE likes. Why didn’t I think of this idea before??? ;-)