Tag Archives: waffles

Weekly Menus: Week of 4/7/2013 (with actual meal plans!)

Gentle Readers, what a long strange trip it has been. By that, I mean business and vacation were back to back in the last couple of weeks, and I’ve eaten my way along both coasts of these United States. Strangely, I now have intense cravings for Malaysian food, perhaps because BestieForce has been in both places. Yes, those are unicorn chopsticks.

BestieForce! Just add unicorn chopsticks.

BestieForce! Just add unicorn chopsticks.

And yes, I woke up in the middle of the night, jetlagged and craving this, Roti. Reviews of the two Malaysian restaurants are pending, and rumor has it I may learn to cook the sticky dessert rice I kept eating as well. Stay tuned.

Roti from Banana Leaf in San Jose, CA

Roti from Banana Leaf in San Jose, CA

But back in realityville, I came home to a reasonably clean kitchen and a fairly blank slate. You can see I’m not done globetrotting from the menus though. There’s an international festival at school this week, but we tend to eat that way all the time.

Sticky Rice with Mango from Banana Leaf

Sticky Rice with Mango from Banana Leaf

Without further delay, here are our weekly menus:

Weekly Menus: 4/7/2013

Weekly Menus: 4/7/2013

The Four-Square Grocery List:

The Four-Square Grocery List: 4/7/2013

The Four-Square Grocery List: 4/7/2013

Which all means:

Sunday: Salad!
I’ve been craving this for days. Though I managed a few of them over the last couple of weeks, it was not as often as it should have been.

Monday: Indian
I have some cauliflower that needs roasting, and I may try my hand at the sauce that goes with the roti pictured above. Plus chickpeas. Though my recent trip to Roti Boti has spoiled me on this front. Sigh, food memories . . .

The largest, fluffiest naan I've ever seen. You can ignore the adage to not fill up on bread at Roti Boti.

The largest, fluffiest naan I’ve ever seen. You can ignore the adage to not fill up on bread at Roti Boti.

Tuesday: Stir fry OR Breakfast for dinner
Depending on time and leftover supplies, I’ll make the call. I feel certain I know which the Jrs will choose. I have a half gallon of milk that needs to be consumed quickly, and eggs too. I’m thinking it’s time to make Waffles in bulk. Perhaps to be served with chicken?

36 Waffles

36 Waffles

Wednesday: Dine Out (Germany!)
We’re celebrating someone cranky’s birthday (cough cough Wadorf), and the Jrs have decided to go German on this one. Our tradition is to visit a new “country” (via food) and then ask a lot of trivia questions about that country during dinner. It’s great fun, give it a try.

Spinach Quesadilla and Ranchero Beans

Spinach Quesadilla and Ranchero Beans

Thursday: Mexican
It’s been too long since we have had our simple and traditional spinach quesadillas at home. Perhaps I’ll make sopapillas to go with. Mmmm. Dessert.

Carbonara from NYC!

Carbonara from NYC!

Friday: Pasta and Salad
Clean up hitter for the week. I may attempt carbonara again to polish off the last of the eggs. The Jrs are big fans, especially now that they are eating bacon again.

Saturday: Dine Out!
Looking forward to this one.

Questions, comments, topics? Email me at practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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Top 3 Reasons to Eat Breakfast

Gentle Readers, as long-time readers and close friends know, The Practical Cook is at war with her cholesterol (see For the Love of Grapefruit for the whole scoop). I am happy to say I am still winning this battle of the ages. It is possible to eat Fried and love it, and still maintain one’s health. There is a secret, do lean in and I’ll tell you. I eat.

Recovery Cereal

Recovery Cereal

Yes, I am not a meal skipper. As my London traveling companion will tell you, there is a reason for this. I get a smidge touchy when I don’t eat. In my experience, skipping meals always backfires. I mention the cholesterol because I had to fast for the test. The second I knew I couldn’t eat, I was starving.

Neal's Deli Biscuit with Egg, Swiss Cheese, and Garlicky Spinach: It's a Health Food Really

Neal's Deli Biscuit with Egg, Swiss Cheese, and Garlicky Spinach: It's a Health Food Really

At the same time, Crescent Dragonwagon (author of The Cornbread Gospels and the upcoming Bean by Bean <awesome!> cookbooks) shared this article on Facebook about the benefits of dessert with breakfast. Exactly. Just eat.

Oatmeal with Fig Preserves

Oatmeal with Fig Preserves

So this one goes out to the myriad readers who I know are drinking coffee instead of eating, grabbing a Little Debbie snack cake, or calling a lone banana breakfast. You know who you are, I shall not name names.

For the Love of Lattes

For the Love of Lattes: But It's Not a Breakfast Substitute!

Breakfast rocks, and here’s 3 reasons why.

1. Energy. It is the most important meal of the day. Did you learn nothing from the PSA’s of the 1980′s?? But really, coming from a farming family, breakfast is meant to fuel you through the majority of your heavy lifting. You’re getting kids to school, thinking, working out, why starve yourself?

Prepping Waffles for the Freezer

Prepping Waffles for the Freezer

2. Bacon. Need I say more? Morning is a good time to have some. I couldn’t resist sharing this picture I just found of a colleague hedging his bets, balancing his oatmeal and whole wheat toast with a side of Fried. Good work Virtually Cooking.

A working breakfast, with all the major food groups and some technology present!

A working breakfast, with all the major food groups and some technology present!

3. Cereal. Again, why miss a cereal eating opportunity? I’m a well-documented fan, but you can eat it dry or with milk. I sometimes have to take the bowl with me to the car to get The Eldest Practical Cook Junior to school on time, but don’t try to pry it from my hands. You’ll pull back a nub. Point is, it’s fast, easy, and varied. Find one you like and keep it on hand.

The Practical Cook's Cereal Warehouse

The Practical Cook's Cereal Warehouse

You have time to eat something of substance in the morning. Let yourself be hungry then, and answer the call. Cereal, yogurt, oatmeal, eggs, fruit, leftover pizza, even pie on occasion (assuming you balance it with protein), whatever floats your boat. Just don’t skip. I will be watching. (And if you ever hear I’ve missed breakfast, do not come near me without a bagel, muffin, or omelet in hand as a peace offering.)

40 All-Purpose Blueberry Muffins

40 All-Purpose Blueberry Muffins

Confession time. Do you eat breakfast? If so, what’s your favorite thing to eat in the morning? If not, why? Post a comment and share your thoughts! There is no judgment, but I won’t promise not to gently persuade. :)

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Tomorrow, Kitchen Tool Talk!

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Fried Chicken Friday: Dame’s Chicken and Waffles Review (with video)

Gentle Readers, never has The Practical Cook been so please with an ongoing research project. The quest for delicious fried chicken now promises to take her from coast to coast. So if you’re not in Durham, NC, take comfort. If you are, get in your car and go immediately to Dame’s Chicken and Waffles.

Dame's Chicken & Waffles in Durham, NC: Do not miss it!

Dame's Chicken & Waffles in Durham, NC: Do not miss it!

So how was it? Let’s roll the tape, shall we?

The chicken was off the charts good, and the waffle was quite delicious, too. Since I’m a dark-meat fan, I went for the chicken legs, on the bone, and they were seriously fantastic. Crispy, juicy, well seasoned, and hot to the table.I would put this on the list of things I might want to eat for my last meal. Not kidding. That good. Great plain, with syrup, or with hot sauce!

Fried chicken and waffles at Dame's. Wow.

Fried chicken and waffles at Dame's. Wow.

There were no green veggies available the day we went, so it was a carb-fest, but with a twist. The cheese grits also rank amongst the best I’ve ever eaten, and believe you me, I’ve made a life study out of cheese grits, in my kitchen and beyond. Delightfully herby and cheese, these grits never stood a chance, even after I polished off the waffle.

Cheese Grits from Dame's Chicken & Waffles: Possibly the 8th wonder of the Southern Culinary World.

Cheese Grits from Dame's Chicken & Waffles: Possibly the 8th wonder of the Southern Culinary World.

If you’re in the mood for something different, or boneless, that’s covered to. Please see the chicken breast and sweet potato waffle ordered by my friend in fried, who I shall call RockStar, because it fits. Her meal was a bit easier to eat as a unit, while mine was more a study in components, going back and forth between the tastes and textures. The mac and cheese was also herby and cheesy, good to the last drop.

Sweet potato waffle and fried chicken breast from Dame's Chicken & Waffle.

Sweet potato waffle and fried chicken breast from Dame's Chicken & Waffle.

Big thumbs up, I’ll be returning soon. For the people who asked me if chicken and waffles actually go together, my answer is this: are you kidding me? Eat them separately if you must, but I dare the non-vegetarian (and I see some of you eyeing that chicken, let’s not lie) reader to tell me those two things aren’t delicious. Why not try them together? Just go to Dame’s, then thank me later. I won’t say I told you so, pinkie swear.

The story of Dame's Chicken & Waffles

The story of Dame's Chicken & Waffles

Where do you stand in the chicken and waffle debate? Post a comment below!

Send field research options, maple syrup, and napkins to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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An Ode to Pancakes for Supper

The Practical Cook adores going on location, to professional and home settings. There is one stark difference however. I have never been asked into the kitchen at a restaurant. If I’m at your house for dinner, well, I just can’t help myself, sorry. In fact, 9 times out of 10, I come packing ingredients.

So it was that Team Practical Cook landed at Blended Familia‘s house. She could write a book on excellent hostessing, which has clearly been read in draft form already by her youngest daughter, who greeted us by throwing open the door, hugging The Practical Cooks Junior, and shouting my name. That is the way to start a party.

Whole Wheat Waffles Transformed into Pancakes!

Whole Wheat Waffles Transformed into Pancakes!

We had pancakes, sausage, and eggs, and it was fantastic. I’m proud to say that I’ve maintained my baby-holding while cooking skills (thank you push-ups!), and I was inspired by the ease and speed with which a meal for a lot of hungry people came together. The pancakes were the Whole Wheat Waffles Recipe simply made as pancakes. If you’re feeling seasonal, swap the applesauce for pumpkin puree and add a smidge of pumpkin pie spice.

36 Waffles

36 Waffles

Don’t be fussy, take the leap and invite someone over (don’t by shy, I’ll say yes), and turn pancakes into a party. If you give The Practical Cook a Pancake . . .

What’s your favorite quick dinner for friends meal? Post a comment here, or Tweet with #pancakes as the hashtag.

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Tomorrow, once more brings us Weekly Menus (during the most wonderful week of the year, Thanksgiving).

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It’s a Small Culinary World: Disney Food Review

Gentle Readers, though The Practical Cook rarely goes negative, in this case, a gentle reminder is most necessary. This past weekend was spent inside the Disney compound, where one is practically forced to consume Disney food in order to survive. Having visited Disney years ago, as a child and as a teenager, I remember the food getting better. The general consensus from the native Floridians I spoke with was that effort was being made.

Made to order Mouse Waffles were a hit!

Made to order Mouse Waffles were a hit!

I will say, backed by The Practical Cooks Junior and my most Practical Parents, it is very much a work in progress, and to coin a corporate phrase, there’s a lot of opportunity here.

For the good people of Disney:

1. You are located in Florida, fruits and vegetables are plentiful there.Though I applaud the efforts at healthy eating, you have to fight for your right to be vegetarian. I had to send back fries, fend off electric yellow cheese sauce (determined to be “nasty” by the Eldest), and actively request grapes, apple slices, and carrot sticks. However, these options are not advertised or available for adults. Um, I like vegetables, too. A lot in fact.

The world's nastiest hot dog. No mustard could save it.

The world's nastiest hot dog. No mustard could save it.

2. The dining plan should not be more complicated than Google’s search algorithm. You know things are overpriced, and they sell this hard as a way to save money (and for me, to not truly think about paying a premium for swill). However, one false move and you’ve got 2 snacks and 1 table service gone. Multiple times I had to firmly insist that I had punches left on the card and a manager was brought in. Thirty minutes spent when you’re hungry and tired: not acceptable.

The Chicken "Caesar" salad I goat wasn't bad--just small and as rare as a short line on a nice day.

The Chicken "Caesar" salad I got wasn't bad--just small and as rare as a short line on a nice day.

3. Other chains do it better and faster. Why should the commercially produced food at Disney be less palatable than Cracker Barrel or Chik-fil-A? I found the service to be slow, the food to be overpriced, and just barely edible overall. Because I don’t drink soda and avoid less than perfect fries, I was hungry a lot of the time, resorting to my fail-safe trail mix. If it’s a profit center, make it more of one: Disney, please consult with companies who are doing it right.

Salmon and veggies weren't bad, I just didn't get to eat much of it. My kids chose this over the hot dog from the kids menu.

Salmon and veggies weren't bad, I just didn't get to eat much of it. My kids chose this over the hot dog from the kids menu.

4. Kids can smell a rat in the shape of a mouse. The Youngest took one look at the Smucker’s Crustable and said, “I want real food.” She lived on grapes, carrot sticks, and yogurt, with dessert as her entree of choice. Both Jrs. left their fries, ordered hot dogs exactly once (just say no to cheese sauce), and tried to doctor their food. I don’t force them to finish their plates, and they chose hunger over gross as well. They loved Fried at the fair, they’re not snobs, they’re just in touch with their taste buds.

Peanut Butter and Jelly just isn't that hard. Crustables, I mock you.

Peanut Butter and Jelly just isn't that hard. Crustables, I mock you.

5. Coffee is not optional. I found actual coffee in EPCOT, which I’ll cover in more detail tomorrow, but in this day and age, 7-11 has gourmet coffee options. There’s no lattes in sight, and the drip coffee was pretty awful. Tired cranky parents plus bad coffee, not a winning combo. It would be an easy and welcome addition, iced in the summer and hot year-round, on coffee carts.

The oatmeal was tasty, at the proper temperature, and cheap.

The oatmeal was tasty, at the proper temperature, and cheap.

TIPS:

  • Breakfast isn’t bad. The kids enjoyed the waffles immensely, and the prices are more reasonable. I had oatmeal most days, which counted as a snack.
  • Pack snacks, like granola, trail mix, and fruit.
  • Skip the sit-down meals unless you’re looking for a character moment. Choose breakfast for that.
  • Consider eating sandwiches in your room as a mid-day break.
  • Accept dessert as necessary calories. I had a chocolate chip cookie for dinner the first night, and the carrot cakes saved the day more than once.
Carrot cakes are easy to identify, and desserts are pushed as part of the meal plan.

Carrot cakes are easy to identify, and desserts are pushed as part of the meal plan.

What did you think of Disney food? Share your experiences or tips and tricks in the comments line below. Or Tweet!

Send your blog ideas, challenges, and queries to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Tomorrow, Food of the Future: EPCOT Food Review!

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Can these waffles be saved?

Can a die-hard fluffy buttermilk pancake loving family be converted to the magically delicious Whole Wheat Waffles Recipe? What if the waffle batter is too runny? Never fear, the Practical Cook is here. (Assuming she avoids electrocution during this rather powerful storm that just kicked up.)

Today’s “Can this supper (or breakfast) be saved” comes to us from Blended Familia, who makes a mean pancake, and has a tried and true family recipe she’s used for years. But always willing to try something new, she quadrupled the Whole Wheat Waffles Recipe as suggested, and soldiered forth. Except, possibly distracted by the youngest member of her staff, BF Jr., there is some doubt about the quantity of milk added. Oops. But the cute factor is off the charts, so one can see how this happened.

You Are Never to Young to Make Waffles

You Are Never to Young to Make Waffles

This is a great recipe to make with the kids (or to have them make for you, perhaps in a few years). Because the whole wheat batter can take more abuse than a fluffy white flour recipe can, young helpers can stir to their delight.

But back to the issue at hand, runny batter. What to do? Wisely, Blended Familia simply added a bit more of the dry ingredients to absorb the extra liquid, without worrying too much about precise measurements.

Bonus Tip: Whole wheats are “thirstier” than whites. They also take some time to absorb. The Practical Cook often adds 3/4 of the milk required at the beginning, letting the batter sit while the waffle iron heats. After a couple of rounds of waffles, if the batter looks too thick, add a little more milk, and so on.

Bonus Tip 2: If you can’t make the batter thicken up enough for your waffle iron, consider making the batter as pancakes. No need to toss it out!

The thickening of the batter worked, the waffles were saved!

Blueberries atop Whole Wheat Waffles

Blueberries atop Whole Wheat Waffles

But how do they compare tastewise to the much-beloved recipe? While BF is still a fan of the sentimental recipe, the rest of the familia voted for the Whole Wheat Waffles Recipe as actually tasting better. Yes, better than white flour. Whole wheats and grains have flavor on their own, whereas traditional recipes are delish, but take on the flavor of butter and syrup.

With the bonus of this being such a forgiving recipe (no egg whites separated here), Blended Familia is making Whole Wheat Waffles her staple, with the fancy ones saved for holidays or other special occasions. Great job, and thanks for sharing those pictures!

Have you tried cooking from the Practical Cook files? If so, or if you have a question, a story, or a recipe to share, email practical cook at gmail dot com.

Tomorrow it’s time for Weekly Menus. The Practical Cook is on the road, so you’ll see a weekly menu that is customized for simple meals delivered to the table fast.

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Whole Wheat Waffles Recipe: Recipe Update and Renovation

Growing up, we ate waffles most Saturday mornings. I have wonderful memories of the PCM (that’s the Practical Cook’s Mom) separating eggs and beating the whites into fluffy submission. Because Mr. Rogers told us to top them with peanut butter and syrup, we did so, with a song in our hearts.

36 Waffles

36 Waffles

Fast forward some 30 years, and now there are schedules, practices, and general wildness on Saturday mornings. Not a time to be separating eggs and creating a huge mess. Along with PCM’s love of food, the Practical Cook inherited her cholesterol profile. Thanks PCM! The time had come for an easier, healthier waffle.

iCook to the rescue! A casual conversation about food landed this fantastic recipe. Once you collect the ingredients, these waffles are a snap. I quadruple the recipe and freeze them, thus letting go of Eggo more permanently. If you feel lucky and have a non-stick/well-oiled waffle iron, add blueberries, wild if you can. (They are smaller and will give you less trouble in the waffle iron.)

Whole Wheat Waffles Recipe

Note: The Practical Cook prefers the non-Belgian waffle. If you quadruple the recipe below, you’ll get approximately 36 waffles. Highly suggest at least doubling the recipe if you have hungry eaters. Also suggest maxing out the milk (though the thirstiness of the batter can depend on the day, the humidity, etc.). But if you max out the milk, you wind up with more waffles.

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed meal
2 Tablespoons wheat germ
2 Tablespoons all-purpose white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

These are the dry ingredients, mix them up. Then add the wet:

1 egg
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
2 Tablespoons of unsweetened applesauce
2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil (I use a mixture of canola or grapeseed and walnut)
between 3/4 and 1 cup of milk

Mix wet into dry until smooth and let sit for at least as long as it takes your waffle iron to heat up, then make waffles.

Bonus Waffle Tips:

  • If the waffles stick, oil or butter your waffle iron, and add a dash more oil to the batter.
  • The waffle iron shown here takes a healthy 1/2 cup of batter to fill it. Find out what your waffle iron demands, and use that size measuring cup to dip and pour the batter.
  • Set your waffle iron on the lighter setting for waffles you plan to freeze. That way, when you reheat them they won’t be overdone.
  • The Practical Cook’s preferred method of waffle reheating: zap in the microwave for a few seconds, then finish in the toaster or toaster oven.

Now the waffle instructions, blueberry option, graphic form:

Gently Mix Blueberries into Waffle Batter

Gently Mix Blueberries into Waffle Batter

Spread the Batter Carefully on the Waffle Iron

Spread the Batter Carefully on the Waffle Iron

Lightly Browned Waffles

Lightly Browned Waffles

36 Waffles Less the Ones Consumed During the Making of the 36 Waffles

36 Waffles Less the Ones Consumed During the Making of the 36 Waffles

Prepping Waffles for the Freezer

Prepping Waffles for the Freezer

These are truly magically delicious whole wheat waffles. For the record, the Practical Cook still prefers peanut butter and maple syrup on her waffles. The peanut butter is just natural now, and the maple syrup from an actual tree. That said, she would also eat a waffle with fried chicken, or anything else. Waffles are good for all occasions.

Coming up next time, a long-time love, first-time cooking experience: quinoa. There will be a recipe for quinoa, beets, and chickpeas, which blew the family away at Sunday night’s dinner. Score! Keep those questions coming in to Facebook, Twitter, and/or practicalcook at gmail dot com.

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