You’re going to want waffles in 12 hours, right?


I ate a Liege Waffle from a food truck at a festival a few weeks ago. Oh my gosh! Rich, and sweet, with little nuggets of pearled sugar. I only had enough tickets to get a plain one (By the way, I hate the tickets at a festival thing- you have to stand in line for tickets, then stand in line for food, then you have either too many, or not enough.) But even the plain one was delicious.
It made me want to research the whole Belgian Yeast-raised waffle deal. I went to Smitten Kitchen  and the scary thing was just how much fat these things have. I’m not against fat, if you can take it, but we’ve got some health issues around here. Pancreas don’t care if it’s butter, or coconut oil, or crude oil, too much is too much. These recipes call for (full stick?) of butter. Ummmm…that winds up being more than Kate’s allotment for the whole day in one waffle.

mmmm...waffles

mmmm…waffles

Now, I have played with fat reduction and replacements in baked goods- apple sauce makes waffles a bit too sticky, so I decided to try pumpkin. And as long as the waffles are orange…why not add pumpkin pie spice? The pumpkin adds moisture and replaces some of the fat- notice that these are low fat, not non. You could use egg whites, and no butter at all. We tried one batch that way with apple sauce, and they were disappointing. I mean, we still ate them, but if you are standing over a waffle iron, you want something worth your time.
The ingredient that has me stumped in these recipes is the pearled sugar- it was in the festival waffles from the waffle truck, but it is not a pantry staple for me. Maybe it should be… anyone know where to get it?
So, the set up the night before, is to make a sour dough, essentially. I have done sourdough before, with a jar on the counter, then in the fridge, then you periodically make a loaf of bread…I have gotten off the sourdough treadmill, honestly. My kids don’t like sourdough bread much, and I don’t like it enough to have a loaf every week. But a facebook comment from a friend who makes sourdough waffles made me think about getting back on the treadmill- I wouldn’t have to make bread every week, I could do waffles, or pancakes… that’s another blog post.

Lowfat Pumpkin Waffles
1/4 cup warm water
packet yeast
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted, then cooled
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
1/4 cup canned pumpkin ( I used the kind with pie spice mixed in already)
2 teaspoons baking powder
Bloom the yeast in the warm water, stir in the milk, butter and the flour. Let rise overnight (or during the day- brinner, am I right?)  When ready to make waffles, beat an egg, add the baking powder, egg and pumpkin to the flour, yeast and milk mixture. The batter will be pretty runny. Cook according to your waffle iron directions. I love these topped with peanut butter and apricot preserves, the kids eat with syrup, obviously.

(does anyone know where to get the pearled sugar? the interwebs tell me Ikea has it, but I really don’t want to go all the way to Ikea for sugar?)

Edited to add: scouts report (no, really, actual scouts, like they have uniforms and everything) that the Ikea south of Denver (is it technically the town of Superior?) does not have pearled sugar. Any ideas?

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The Blizzard Bag


We have had some flooding in our area- my house is presently dry, and on high enough ground that we are likely to be fine, but it made me think again about being prepared.Image

Several years ago, there was a blizzard, and one of DH’s colleagues stayed over with us, so she didn’t have to drive all the way home.  I was scrounging for a new toothbrush for her, and she told me she didn’t need it, she always had an overnight bag in her car, just for situations like this.  At the time, I thought it was crazy, but honestly, it is just smart.

Last winter, we had some health problems entailing ovenights at Children’s Hospital.  The first time, there were frenzied phone calls, requesting contact solution, and clean socks.  I remember DH walking into the room proudly, after a trip to the neighborhood drugstore, with a travel sized bottle of “extra volume” shampoo.  Anyone who knows Kate or me IRL knows that the last thing we need is “extra volume.”

So,  I pushed down my sense of denial, and when we got home, I bought a small messenger’s bag at the thrift store, put in a change of clothes, filled a ziplock bag with toiletries, and packed the whole thing into the car.  Now, I’m  ready for blizzard, an flood, or another trip to the hospital.

Pancreas don’t care


We have had a rough fall with health problems for Kate, my baby girl, who resents it highly when I call her my baby girl.
She had a severe stomach ache back in October, with vomiting that wound her up in the hospital. She was diagnosed with pancreatitis, which is unheard of in 12 year olds. They sent her home, and she trick-or-treated on Halloween, but didn’t feel 100%.
A virus bounced her back into the hospital- not the pancreas this time, but dehydration. They chalked it up to her immune system being worn out from the pancreatitis, and an overreaction. When her brother got the same virus, but milder, we felt oddly reassured.
She was better, still not 100%, but we went into Thanksgiving break feeling good- she could catch up on missed schoolwork, sleep in and get better. Then the Saturday after thanksgiving, she got another stomach ache, started puking, and was generally miserable. When we took her to her pediatrician, he told us to get in the car and drive to the Children’s Hospital in Aurora, about an hour away. Our pediatrician didn’t have the authority to admit her, but he had been talking to a GI specialist, and they would be expecting her.
A week of driving back and forth, rating pain on a scale of 1-10 and watching cable TV. She was better, but still not well. x-rays, ultrasounds and an MRI followed, then a procedure scheduled. ERCP (huh?) a tube to look down and remove a stone from her pancreatic duct, turns out it wasn’t a stone, just a stricture, a narrowing, that was preventing the digestive enzyme from draining into her small intestine. Essentially, her pancreas was digesting itself. No wonder she had tummy aches.
The pancreas does 2 main things, I have recently learned. It makes insulin, so the body can use glucose, and it makes lipase, so the body can use fat. All that stuff you know about saturated fat versus unsaturated? Pancreas don’t care- fat is fat, and when fat goes through the stomach, pancreas releases lipase.

Before thanksgiving she had chicken fried steak and onion rings. Thanksgiving day, rolls and butter and
pie with whipped cream. Black Friday, a McDonald’s hashbrown and hot cocoa with whipped cream. Saturday, chicken Parmesan and shiny breadsticks.  So delicious. But agony for her almost-maybe-healed pancreas.

So, they placed a stent, and for the first time in months, she is pain-free.

And, on doctor’s recommendation, on a low fat diet- less than 15 grams of fat per day.

All these years I have been keeping sugar out of the house, we hardly ever drink pop, we eat plain, unsweetened cereal. It turns out I have been fighting the wrong demon. It was the fat that was hurting her.

So, how do we change our diets, lifestyles, to have much less fat than we were previously, much less than most people in the US eat? I am not cutting fat out of my diet entirely- my hair would fall out, for one thing. But to show solidarity, we are switching to skim milk, and nonfat cheese, and I don’t know what else, yet. The puzzle is, how to keep a girl going through her growth spurts healthy and happy on 15 grams of  fat a day.  Most advice on low-fat cooking is also low-calorie cooking. She needs to learn to love fruits and veggies, I know that much.

So, I will have to experiment with low fat stuff- some I can just substitute out, but some I will need to work on.

I was going to post a lowfat meatball recipe…but it needs work. A lot of work. Like…I’m not even going to put the pictures in.  Any tips? America’s Test Kitchen has a “healthy” cookbook, so I’ll try that. What else?