Thursday, July 29, 2010

How To Make Gluten-Free Waffles: A Beginner's Guide

I looked at the calendar today and saw a note I'd written months ago on today's date: July 29th, 2010. One year gluten-free. This is not actually a year from the day I first started eating gluten-free. Rather, it was a year ago today that I stopped eating gluten for the second time, this time with the knowledge that it was a necessary and permanent life change for me. I just reread my post from that day...well, skimmed it really. Reading old posts feels like reading old diary entries; it's somewhat embarrassing and not something I do if I can avoid it. But I was struck by what I wrote. During the three weeks I stuffed gluten into my body in order to get tested for Celiac Disease, I became increasingly despondent and felt unable to handle even the smallest hurdles. On July 29th of last year, I wrote that I was depressed and had cried already once that day. But I also wrote of my hope for myself going forward. I knew by then the effect gluten had on me, and I couldn't wait to get it out of my system. I was ready, I wrote, for my gluten-free life.

Jump ahead a year, and I find my life has changed in ways I never expected. I can't attribute them all to eating gluten-free of course, but I know I would not be here today if I hadn't made that change. Be where? On my way to starting my MS in nutrition at Bastyr University. Preparing to move across the country. Finishing the last of my seven needed science courses (this is a huge one for me, since I was always convinced I could not handle science). Singing to myself in the car, smiling for no reason other than the sight of the bright blue sky, learning to let go, bit by tiny bit. And making waffles. Always, there are waffles. 

Coconut Waffles
Apple Cinnamon Waffles
Quinoa Zucchini Waffles
Savory Potato Waffles


Learning to bake gluten-free can be so trying sometimes that once I discovered how easy waffles were, I began making them regularly and freezing them for a quick breakfast or snack. When I want my bread fix, but don't have the time or energy to make it, waffles are my answer. I have a basic template that I follow, and I've found that within those guidelines, I can play around all I want, and still always come up with a tasty treat. 

(UPDATE 11/26/11: Click here for my updated and improved vegan pancake and waffle guide.)

Here are my rules for making gluten-free waffles: 
  1. Start with 1 cup of a mediumweight flour, such as amaranth, sorghum, or millet. You can use all one type of flour or mix two or more together. For a heartier waffle, try replacing some of the flour with a heavyweight flour such as almond flour or buckwheat.
  2. Add in 3/4 cup of starch, such as tapioca or potato starch. Again, you can use all one kind or do a mix. If you want a lighter waffle, you can increase the starch and decrease the mediumweight flour. For a healthier, whole-grain waffle, increase the flour and decrease the starch. Either way, you should end up with 1 3/4 cups total of flour and starch. 
  3. Add 2 tsp. baking powder and 1/2-1 tsp. salt. Whisk the dry ingredients together. 
  4. For your wet ingredients, you have a lot of options. You want to start with 1/4 cup of pureed fruit, applesauce, oil, or melted butter/Earth Balance. I'm pretty sure yogurt would work well here too, although I haven't tried it myself. If I'm thinking healthy, I go with applesauce or pureed fruit. For savory waffles, I use canola oil. For a richer taste, I would go with melted Earth Balance. 
  5. Next, eggs. I've tried the same recipes with and without an egg, and I barely notice a difference. In fact, in some cases, they taste better without the egg. I add one in for extra protein, but if you want to skip it, go ahead. 
  6. Liquid. You'll need 1 3/4 cup of liquid, although you may need more or less depending on the types of flour you use. You can use water, any type of milk including coconut milk, even fruit juice in some cases. You can use all one or a combination, although if you're using fruit juice, I recommend mixing it with water or coconut milk to dilute the flavor. 
  7. Optional add-ins: If you're planning on drizzling your waffles with maple syrup, they don't need to be that sweet, so 1 Tbsp. of honey/agave nectar/maple syrup should be plenty. You can also skip that and chop up some fresh or dried fruit to add in. Chopped walnuts and pecans, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, even sesame seeds (in a savory waffle) add a nice texture. Play around with spices and herbs: cinnamon is wonderful in a sweet waffle. Fresh dill, basil and garlic powder go well in savory waffles.  
  8. This should make 4-6 servings (2 squares each).

Because that was long, I'll summarize: 
1 cup medium weight flour
3/4 cup starch
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2-1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup applesauce, melted butter, oil, etc.
1 egg (optional)
1 3/4 cup water, milk, fruit juice, etc. (update: start with 1/2 cup liquid and increase by the quarter cup until you reach the consistency you want)
optional: chopped nuts, fruit, seeds, spices, and herbs

Whisk dry ingredients. Whisk wet ingredients into dry. Pour onto (greased) waffle iron. Take off waffle iron. Don't burn your fingers doing so. Enjoy.

Cinnamon Mochi Waffles 

I'm calling these Mochi Waffles because the pureed banana gives them a chewiness that reminds me of mochi, despite the fact that there is no rice flour in this recipe. I was sent a case of POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice to try (thank you!), and I think it adds flavor and depth to the waffles, but if you don't have that, a different juice, such as cranberry or apple juice, would probably work as well.

Mochi Waffles
Print-Friendly Option

1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup amaranth flour
3/4 cup tapioca starch
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup mashed or pureed very ripe banana (about 1/2 large banana)
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice

  1. Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. 
  2. Whisk wet ingredients in a separate bowl. 
  3. Whisk wet ingredients into dry. 
  4. Spoon evenly onto waffle iron and cook, in batches, according to the iron's instructions. Be sure to grease your waffle iron first because the banana makes it more likely to stick than other waffles.
Serves 4
(2 squares each)

Best of The Blogosphere: Favorite Gluten-Free Waffle Recipes
Coconut Waffles
Apple Cinnamon Waffles
Quinoa Zucchini Waffles 
Savory Potato Waffles
Quinoa Flake Waffles from Celiac Teen  
Dairy-Free Waffles at The Mommy Bowl  
Belgian Waffles at The Gluten-Free Homemaker 
Dairy-Free Belgian Waffles at Giddy Up Gluten Free

If you have a waffle recipe you love, or if you use these guidelines to make a waffle recipe, you can leave the url for the post in the comments and I'll add your link here.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Food on Fridays, Foodie Friday, Vegetarian Foodie Friday, and Wholesome Whole Foods.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Does Passion Trump Skill?

I am not a particularly good baker. What I am is an enthusiastic and passionate baker. And I am inclined to believe that those two ingredients can make up for a lack of natural skill or ability to mix and measure with precision. I like to think that with my zeal for baking, I'm making lots of mistakes so that you don't have to. But really I'm just satisfying my own need to play in the kitchen. Of course I could just get all of my recipes from tried and true sites like The Gluten Free Goddess or Gluten Free Girl and the Chef. But that really takes the fun out of it, doesn't it?

It's sort of like a game this way. I mix and beat and whisk. I put a decadently creamy concoction into the oven and then I wait. And wait. And usually wait some more because my gluten free treats always seem to take twice as much time to bake as they should. Finally, with anticipation, I take my cookies, cake, bars, out of the oven and take a bite. I should wait for them to cool, but I never learned the art of delayed gratification. And then? Nine times out of ten I'm disappointed in my creation. Nine times out of ten it does not live up to my expectations. But on that ninth try I get something that makes me happy. Maple cinnamon snickerdoodles or pizza crustApple pie and banana muffins. Blueberry cobbler. The rest of the time? At least I get to practice taking photos.

Okay, eating the failed attempts is not exactly a hardship. 

Gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free whoopie pies. It's like the holy grail. These were good. But my whoopie pie judge has very high standards. When my mom decrees them worthy, you'll be the first to know.

Was this a cookie? A scone? Who knows. It was supposed to be a cookie, but with gluten-free baking...nothing ever turns out quite the way I expect it to.

Luckily, I've discovered one thing I can make that works every time. Stay tuned...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Quinoa Banana Muffins (Gluten/Dairy/Nut/Refined Sugar-Free)

I've been contemplating muffin tins. More specifically, I've been thinking about the size of muffin tins. I always worried that my muffin recipes might be off because the cups were too small. When I moved home, I took out my mom's muffin pans and realized that they were the same size. Recently, I found a muffin tin that looked how I expect muffins to appear; it was labeled "jumbo." Yet when I go to any store or cafe to buy muffins, they're always the size of the "jumbo" muffins. Makes you think, doesn't it?

When I make muffins, I always tell myself, "Well, they're small. I can have two (or three)." Now I'm trying to get it into my head that they're not small; "normal" muffins are just really big. Jumbo sized if you will.

Although, since I went to Tufts and Jumbo was our mascot, maybe that means I should be making jumbo sized muffins?

Maybe not.

Normal Sized Quinoa Banana Muffins
Print-Friendly Option

3/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup teff flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1 1/3 cups soy milk (or your favorite milk alternative)
2 large eggs
4 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
3 Tbsp. canola oil (substitution: grapeseed oil)
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 medium to large banana, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Whisk together flours, baking powder, cinnamon, and sea salt. 
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk milk, eggs, applesauce, oil, and maple syrup. 
  4. Stir wet ingredients into dry until just mixed. 
  5. Fold in quinoa and banana. 
  6. Pour into greased muffin tins and bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean. 

Refrigerate leftover muffins and microwave or toast to reheat them. 

Makes 12-14 muffins.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Gluten-Free Wednesdays

P.s. I picked the winners for my Snikiddy snack giveaway. You can check here to see who won.

Snikiddy Giveaway Winner

Thank you to everyone who entered to win the Snikiddy giveaway, and a big thanks to and Snikiddy for having the giveaway! Our winners are: 

My So Called Health Life
Cheercfa07 (Meagan)

Congrats! E-mail me with your address at so we can send your sample to you!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Snikiddy Gluten-Free Cheese Fries Review And Giveaway

One of the best things about spending the summer with my parents is that my mom is a family daycare provider. This means that five days a week, I get to play with toddlers. Of course, after years away, I'm not as used to the cacophony of noise as I used to be. A part of me secretly relishes my Chem II class because it gets me out of the house for a few hours every day. Trips to the library to study are like a haven of golden silence. But for the most part, I love having little children running around and yelling my name whenever I come home.

Toddlers are also great taste testers. They know what they like and what they don't like, and they're pretty clear about it. It was for this reason that when I was contacted by to review a sample of Snikiddy Cheddar Cheese Fries, I was happy to say yes. Snikiddy offers healthy gluten-free snacks, and I had noticed their products many times during shopping trips. I had yet to try them, and since I've been eating dairy-free recently, I knew that they wouldn't be right for me. But my mom was happy to let the kids try them and see if they liked them.

And did they?

Of course! I had to take this shot quickly before they were all eaten. The kids gathered around me for more, and one little girl, who has special needs and will normally only eat about three different foods, gobbled them up as fast as I could hand them out. That in itself was somewhat of a miracle. Of course they couldn't tell me what they tasted like, but my mom said they were like, "really cheesey cheese curls." Sounds good to me. Wish I could have eaten them too!

Snikiddy and have also offered to send two of my readers a sample to try. If you're interested in receiving a sample of their cheese fries, leave a comment here to enter. Of course, you can also post about the giveaway on twitter, facebook, your own blog, etc. for extra entries. Just let me know if you did so. I'll pick two winners randomly on Friday night, so the giveaway will be open until then. *This giveaway is now closed.

In the meantime, Happy Sunday!

Monday, July 12, 2010

What I Learned From Jenny Craig

(Update: My views have changed immensely since I wrote this. You can read my apology to my clients  over here at my new website.)

Yes, you heard me right. I'm talking about that Jenny Craig. The Jenny Craig of Valerie Bertinelli fame, of Jason Alexander fame, of Sara Rue fame (and yes, I knew who she was before she joined the program), of Kirstie Alley...well...infamy. Jenny Craig, the most effective weight loss company in the U.S., at least according to the ads Weight Watchers sued them over. Jenny Craig, my employer for the last three years.

I never wrote about Jenny Craig here (or JC, as we call it), other than to note that I worked as a weight loss consultant. I know many of my readers knew where I worked, but for a number of reasons, I felt it was better to keep JC and The Daily Dietribe separate. Foremost was the fact that this is a gluten-free blog, and I haven't had a bite of JC food since I stopped eating gluten. Second was the fact that I promote eating fresh, whole foods, and JC is based on eating packaged, frozen meals. Not that I don't eat frozen meals for convenience on occasion, but an eating plan where breakfast, lunch, and dinner come out of the freezer is not one that I wanted to follow myself. Truth be told, working at Jenny Craig was always somewhat of a conflict of interest for me. I loved the work I did with my clients, but hoped that they would see the program as I did: as a stepping stone for learning correct portion sizes, how to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their diet, and of course losing those extra pounds. If I could help them to lose weight, I felt good. If I could help them to eventually transition off the packaged food, start eating their own homecooked meals, and keep the weight off, I felt I had succeeded.

Now that I've left Jenny Craig and am getting ready to start school again in the fall (for my MS in nutrition at Bastyr), I often think back on my years at Jenny Craig as my own stepping stone. It might not have been the career I ultimately wanted, but it taught me many of the tools I'll need in my career. It also taught me more about weight loss, weight maintenance, and the emotions involved than I think I could ever learn in school. Here's what I learned at Jenny Craig that I'll take with me when I'm doing my own nutritional counseling:

  • You have to be ready to change, and you have to be willing to do the work. You can pay for a trainer, therapist, weight loss consultant, etc. but you're the only one who can do the actual work. It's sort of like being back in school. If you show up for classes, but don't do the homework, you're not likely to get anywhere. But if you do a little every day, you'll find it much easier to get where you're going. 
  • Quick weight loss schemes don't work. They never have. They never will. You'll only end up gaining the weight back, plus some. 
  • The best way to lose weight is to find a healthy way of eating that you can stick with longterm. Think about it this way. Whatever you do to lose weight, you're going to need to keep doing to keep it off. So it better be something that feels right to you. 
  • You may not feel like you're doing much when you're walking, but the more you walk, the more weight you'll lose. So if you don't have the energy to go for a run, don't think a walk isn't worth the time. It's just as valuable. And besides, it gets you away from the TV and the kitchen!
  • Variety is key to exercise. Don't let your body get used to what you're doing. Try switching it up between yoga, running, walking, dancing... You can read my post on exercise here for more ideas.
  • All of those tips on what to do when you want to eat but know you aren't hungry? They work! But only if you do them. Taking a walk helps; so does calling a friend; so does brushing your teeth. I keep my list of things to do when I want to binge on my fridge. And every time I use it, it works. But sometimes I pretend it's not there and ignore it. Make your own list and put it somewhere that you can't ignore it!
  • Portion control is key...except with vegetables. Eat as many non-starchy veggies as you want. That's pretty much all of them except potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, and peas. You'll never gain weight from eating too much broccoli. Here are some tips on how to liven up your veggies.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast. It will start your day off right and keep you from having sugar lows later in the day. Here are some healthy, gluten-free breakfast ideas. 
  • Finally, don't let yourself get too hungry. When are you most likely to overeat? When it's been too long since your last meal. Everyone has a different amount of time they can go without eat before they go overboard at their next meal. For me, the limit is about three hours. Keep track for a couple of days and you might notice that every time you overeat, it's because you went X amount of time without a meal/snack.
I can go on like this forever but I'll stop here. I often saw over twenty clients a day at Jenny Craig, so eventually these little pieces of "weight loss wisdom" started sprouting out of my ears. Do you have any weight loss wisdom tips of your own? Questions? Thoughts? Disagreements? Have any of you tried Jenny yourself? What was your experience like? (And don't worry... I won't be offended by positive or negative ideas on this subject.)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Chickpea Tomato Sauce

Today I'm sharing my chickpea tomato sauce over at Ginger Lemon Girl. Carrie's blog was one of the first gluten-free blogs I found over a year ago, and I've been reading her posts ever since. My guest post is at the tail-end of 30 days of easy recipes that can be made in 20 minutes or less. I actually timed mine to make sure it fit the bill! Stop by and check it out, and don't forget to look back at all of the recipes from the last 30 days!


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