Gluten Free?

If you’re in the food world much, which you probably are since you are reading this, (and, well, we all have to eat.) you may have noticed the huge gluten-free revolution is making quite the impact. I would venture to say that every single one of you knows someone who is gluten intolerant, or going the gluten-free route. I’ve done a bit of studying on this and am even trying it out to see if it’s all that people say it is.

Wheat has been a staple for hundreds of years, so I find it hard to believe that wheat is the enemy here. However, what people have done to wheat could very well be the problem. Hybridizing, growing it with pesticides and chemicals, and removing all nutrients definitely never does the consumer any good.

I don’t believe it was meant to be eaten in the volume that it is today (thanks to the USDA’s faulty food pyramid). Too much of anything is, well… just too much.

The other argument out there is that wheat and other grains were traditionally soaked, sprouted and/or fermented before eating. Our fast paced society removed that “hassle” to our own detriment.  Faster is rarely better when it comes to our food. I don’t think the FDA got that memo. Could someone tell them please?

One thing I would suggest to those going gluten-free is don’t go hog-wild in the gluten-free aisle. Commercially, they are doing to gluten-free what they did with sugar-free.

Oh, people don’t want to junk their bodies with sugar? Got it! We’ll replace sugar with chemicals and unnatural substances that will give them the food they love without the guilt.

And you know what? People bit that! (No pun intended.)

If I could tell you one thing about healthy eating it would be this – if the FDA says it’s safe and it’s all over in commercials and on grocery store shelves – BEWARE! Government and big business can’t make money off of pure and natural foods. That’s why genetically modified foods and dangerous chemicals are rampant.

I’m not trying to scare you when I tell you our food sources are being trashed (really! :P), but we do need to take this seriously and think about what we buy and who we are supporting when we do buy.

Wow! Okay, I’ll get off my soap box now and share my naturally gluten-free waffle recipe with you. I adapted this recipe from whole foods pioneer, Rebecca Wood’s, website. She has a recipe for Millet and Buckwheat Waffles as well as many other interesting recipes and healthy living articles.

This is a mixture of 3 cups millet and 1 cup quinoa that has been soaked in water overnight.

Both millet and quinoa are high in protein, minerals and vitamins. If you are interested in learning the other many benefits of these amazing grains, check out the links I provided above.

Back to the recipe!

Drain the soaked grain and pour into a blender. Cover just to the top of the grain with raw milk or water.

Blend on high until it looks like pancake batter – nice and smooth.

Now the fun part – you can get as fancy as you like with the ingredients. The recipe I give here is pretty basic.

Add 4 heaping T. coconut oil

This reminds me of snow. *sniff* I miss snow. I miss winter too.

4 heaping T. coconut, shredded – optional

3 eggs

1 t. cinnamon (optional)

1 t. sea salt

1 T. maple syrup

Blend on high until smooth again.

Pour 1/2-3/4 cup of batter onto a hot, greased waffle iron. Sprinkle with coconut shreds or sunflower seeds and cook.

Toppings are limitless, but you probably already know that. Maple syrup, butter, strawberries, apple sauce…or go savory with fried eggs, sautéed spinach and hollandaise sauce.

Millet and Quinoa Waffles

12 waffles

4 c. millet and quinoa, mixed, soaked overnight

milk

4 T. coconut oil or butter

4t. shredded, unsweetened coconut

1 T. maple syrup

3 eggs

1 t. sea salt

1 t. cinnamon

 There were only 3 of us for breakfast this morning, so I made a quarter of the recipe. With the remaining grain batter, I made some gluten-free and naturally sugar-free orange date muffins.

Just let me know if you would like this recipe as well.

Morning light on muffins.

Taste of Europe Series: Bruge – Belgian Waffles

Evening stroll along the river – Bruge

Of all the foods to try, waffles were the top of the list for our Bruge experience. People all over the web world absolutely rave about real Belgium waffles. I was skeptical. I mean, com’on, I make the best waffles ever, right? Just kidding… :P

There were waffle shops all over Bruge, so we just picked one that we happened to be walking by. A small cafe style place, sandwiched between two other stone buildings and crowded with people.

Bird’s eye view of Bruge from the bell tower.

We ordered one waffle, to split between the two of us, with strawberries and cream and sat down to…pick it apart. Literally. :D

Oh my! The first bite was the only one I needed to know that Belgium waffles indeed beat the socks off our American versions.
Problem #1 – I couldn’t figure out how they made the texture like they did.
Problem #2 – One waffle between two people just doesn’t cut it! :D

I left that cafe determined to make a waffle just like it once we arrived home.

After doing some Internet searching for the right recipe that I thought might be a good start for re-creation, I launched the first try.

Yeast was the key, or so I read. To some extent, I agree. Yeast… and lots of sugar. Unlike the American counterparts, these waffles are like desert and, in my opinion, too sweet (not to mention unhealthy) for breakfast.

#1Try number one, was close but not close enough. After describing the texture to Mom, she mentioned using vanilla pudding in the batter.

#2Try two, plus the pudding, was close enough. So that’s the recipe I’ll share here. be prepared for updates though, if I hit upon THE one!

Once again we have to start off with a recipe to get to the recipe. Here’s one for the best and easiest Vanilla Pudding I’ve ever had.

Vanilla Pudding

2/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/4 t. salt
2 1/2 c. milk
4 lg. egg yolks
2 T. butter
1 t. vanilla
In a medium sauce pan, off heat, whisk together sugar, starch, and salt.
Very gradually (a few Tablespoons at a time) whisk in milk, taking care to dissolve starch.
Whisk in egg yolks.
Whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until the first large bubble forms and sputters.
Reduce heat to low and cook 1 minute, stirring.
Strain through sieve into bowl (or not – I didn’t and it was fine, especially if you’re making it for waffles).
Stir butter and vanilla into hot pudding.
Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding (to prevent skin from forming).
Chill at least 3 hours and up to three days.
Before serving, whisk until smooth.
Serves four – or makes about 3 cups.

Now for what we’ve all been waiting for – the waffle recipe!

1 c. milk
2 t. yeast
1 stick butter, melted
4 eggs, separated
3 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1 c. vanilla sugar
2 c. Vanilla pudding


Heat milk to lukewarm. Add yeast and let stand.
Separate egg yolks from whites. Beat whites until firm peaks form.

Combine yeast mixture, melted butter, egg yolks, salt and flour. Beat well. Fold in egg whites.

Oooo… Small bowl! You think I can do it?

Let dough rest at room temperature for one hour or refrigerate overnight. (Be sure to use a bowl that is at least 3 times bigger than the volume of the dough! I didn’t… and had a mess to clean up! :P)

Whew! Made it! :D What a mess!

                       Just before cooking, fold in pudding and sugar. Make sure griddle is well oiled and very hot. My griddles tend to brown these waffles faster than the ones I usually make.

 Serve with Whipped cream and strawberries. In Bruge they also served them with plain powdered sugar, or chocolate sauce. Nutella was a huge thing there – even on waffles!

For more about our adventures in Bruge click this link.