(Becky, the Mama.)
If there was one dish I loved more than any other as a child, it would be my mother’s homemade waffles. Life was good when that enormous waffle iron was plugged in and heating up. She used a recipe for “Oh Boy!” Waffles from her stained, yellowed, old copy of her red and white checked Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. I asked for them for my birthday and every special occasion I could find or make up.
I’ve tried dozens of other waffle recipes, and none compares to this very old standard. Today I substituted almond milk for a little more than half of the diary milk and used a light olive oil in place of the vegetable oil in the original recipe.
Insert me high five-ing myself right here. No kidding. The BEST WAFFLES I’VE HAD IN MY LIFE. Period.
Light as air, crispy…. Simply perfect. To me there is nothing worse than a heavy waffle, the kind where, if you take one bite you feel like you already ate the whole waffle and need to go lie down. If you, like me, prefer an airy, tender waffle, brown and crisp on the outside, a waffle that leaves you perfectly, lightly satisfied instead of feeling like you swallowed a ball of dough, prepare to fall in love.
We also love bacon with waffles, and I’ve found that cutting the bacon up before browning (I use kitchen shears) and then stacking the pieces atop the waffle to serve not only looks pretty, but allows you to easily get a little bite of bacon with each bite of waffle. Plus you get a little syrup (we indulge in pure maple syrup and close our eyes at the price), on the bacon: maple and bacon together make a very happy coupling in your mouth.
Airy, Crispy, Bacon Waffles
Make 5-6 Round Belgian Waffles
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I always give the flour in my canister a little stir, then lightly put the flour into the measuring cup, leveling off)
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups almond milk (I used 30 calorie per cup brand)
1 c. dairy milk (I used 1 percent)
3/4 cup light olive oil (plus oil for waffle iron)
8 slices bacon, cut in 1/3’s, cooked crisp and drained
Heat waffle iron to your desired temperature, putting a little olive oil on the bottom iron, closing the lid to let it distribute well and let the oil get hot. (I always use the Dark setting to get them extra crisp)
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour baking powder salt and sugar together. Make an indention in the middle of the dry ingredients and put eggs, almond and dairy milks and olive oil in the indention. Whisk the wet ingredients in the middle of the bowl and graduation pull in the dry ingredients around the sides until thoroughly whisked. Batter will be loose, and you make think it is a bit on the then side. Also as it sits it will begin to rise a bit in the bowl.
Using a long-handled measuring cup, put about 3/4 cup batter into hot iron. Cook to desired crispness.
Put waffle on a plate and pile up the bacon pieces in the middle, like a little bacon haystack.
Add butter and syrup and enjoy a little bite of bacon with every piece of waffle… (I also like a little squeeze of fresh orange atop my waffle, for a bright citrus taste.)
Leftovers: Since this recipe makes quite a bit of batter you can use leftovers in two ways: 1) go ahead and make more waffles, on the light side, put them in ziploc bags and refridgerate or freeze. When ready to heat, put them on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees until re-crisped and golden. 2) Save leftover batter in Tupperware container in fridge. Just before making waffles, add another 1/2 t. baking powder to batter to help revive the “lightness” and cook as above. This is my favorite method.
I’ve always loved a perfectly ripe banana for a quick snack. On hectic mornings, I’d often grab a banana, a spoonful of peanut butter, a swig of milk and call it breakfast. Once, when my four kids were young, we all headed in a crazed mass exit toward the car where I would drive them to school. Realizing I’d forgotten to eat, I instructed my then-thirteen year old son, Zach, to “run back in the house and grab me a banana.”
I watched, perplexed. as he ran to the front door of the house then took an odd pose, his head slightly to the right, his arms to his side, and then ran back to the car in this weird position. “What are you doing?” I asked. He answered in all seriousness, “I thought you told me to go to the house and then run like a banana.”
I swear, when puberty hits our children their hormones start eating their brain cells. But I digress.
Back to bananas for breakfast. As some of you know, I’m determined to eat my way to lower blood pressure. One of the ways to do this is to eat more potassium rich foods. And a banana is loaded with potassium. In fact, I read that a bite of a banana has more potassium than most potassium tablets. Almonds, too, are praised for all sorts of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure.
Another new food craze I love is salted caramel anything. So I combined a simple banana smoothie with almonds and unsweetened almond milk (only 35 calories a cup!) then added a touch of caramel and sea salt. (Sea salt does not raise blood pressure the way iodized chemically produced salt does, and you need less of it to flavor your food since it so rich in minerals.) There is only 2 teaspoons of caramel syrup (about 40 calories) in each shake, but because you use one of the teaspoons to rim the glass and as a decoration on top, you get the feeling that it is much sweeter as you get a tiny taste of the pure caramel with each sip.
This new smoothie/shake is the breakfast of my dreams. I’m hooked. It also makes a wonderful mid-afternoon snack or a bedtime treat, since the ingredients also relax you for a good night sleep. It could be a fluke, but I have noticed my blood pressure has lowered since having one of these banana and almond treats per day.
Served in a martini or margarita glass not only adds more elegance but allows you to rim the glass in a bit more caramel and sea salt, and gives you more surface area to garnish the top with the same.
Becky’s Salted Caramel Banana Nut Shake (Healthy)
1 rounded T. roasted almonds (salted or unsalted both work)
1 banana, peeled and chopped into 2 inch slices (preferably frozen)
1 ½ c. unsweetened almond milk
4 t. caramel syrup, divided (There are several non-dairy alternatives for vegans, including caramel agave nectar, or google recipes for vegan caramel. )
½ c. ice
Sea salt – couple of tiny pinches
Into a blender put almonds, banana, and almond milk, 2 t. caramel syrup, ice and small pinch sea salt. Blend until smooth and almonds are just specks.
Pour about a teaspoon of caramel syrup around a plate, approximately the size of the rim of a martini glass. Sprinkle this circle with a tiny pinch of sea salt, lightly. Dip the rim of the glass into the syrup and salt, twisting and turning to coat evenly. Do this twice to prepare two martini glasses.
Pour half the smoothie/shake into each glass. Squiggle a bit more of the syrup (about 1/2 t.) to garnish the top of the drink, and sprinkle with one more tiny pinch of sea salt. Prepare to fall in love.
Variations: Add protein powder to buff up the protein and drink the whole recipe to make a complete breakfast smoothie.
Add liquor (rum, coconut or vanilla vodka) to turn this into a yummy frozen cocktail.
Try it with coconut milk instead of almond milk.
In a hurry? Skip rimming the glass.