Friday, February 12, 2016

Heart-shaped Waffles


This buttermilk waffle recipe is the best! Since going gluten-free in April of 2014, I've missed having waffles for breakfast on occasion. However, after recently discovering that I can tolerate organic flour -- and finding the waffle iron that I had hidden away -- I suggested to my husband (our resident waffle maker) that we have waffles for Sunday breakfast. I prepared the batter, he handled the cooking process. 

Our heart-shaped waffle maker -- perfect for Valentine's Day -- is by Black & Decker, but we've had it many years. I visited their website and it looks like they don't sell heart-shaped waffle irons any longer, but you can find them other places, such as Amazon

This is the best waffle recipe we've tried, a favorite that dates back to 2010 when we first made them. The flavor and texture are outstanding. Our waffle iron produces a thinner waffle, but I'm sure this recipe would fantastic as a thick Belgian waffle. Enjoy!  

Wishing you and those you love a very happy Valentine's Day!

Buttermilk Waffles

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs

Directions:
1) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

2) In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, melted butter and eggs. Add the flour mixture to the buttermilk mixture and stir just until batter is combined. For the most tender waffles, do not overmix the batter. There should still be some lumps remaining.

3) Heat your waffle iron, oil the surface if needed, pour the appropriate amount of batter onto the iron, and cook according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer waffles to a plate and keep warm in an oven set on low heat. Serve with butter, maple syrup, nuts or your favorite toppings.

Take a peek at some more great Valentine's Day ideas on my Pinterest board here.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Chocolate-Orange Cookie Cups and a Visitor


Yesterday I awoke with a terrible sinus headache which plagued me most of the day (I've been dealing with sinus issues a few weeks, but a visit to the doctor confirmed I don't have a sinus infection, thank goodness). As the afternoon progressed and the headache finally subsided, I felt well enough to do some baking. In light of our upcoming Valentine's Day holiday, I made these little chocolate-orange cookie cups. They are gluten free and are baked in a muffin tin. They come out like a thin brownie-cookie, flavored with orange zest and studded with chopped almonds. I adore the combination of chocolate and orange. They're moist, chewy and delightful!


Switching topics, we had a houseguest yesterday. It was this handsome boy. Isn't he something! He and three other adult dogs (beagles/beagle mixes) were abandoned in a crate in the parking lot of our neighborhood park. Passersby called the authorities and the dogs were picked up by animal control. They were tested for heartworms and unfortunately two of the dogs tested positive -- this guy being one of them -- and are now in the shelter's medical foster program to begin treatment. The other two dogs, a male and a female, are up for adoption.

 
Our friends across the street (who already have three dogs) agreed to foster this boy, who they're calling Scout, and asked if we'd be willing to watch him occasionally when they have to be out of town. Yesterday was his first visit at our house. They estimate his age to be five years, but he's a very timid, skittish dog. It appears he's never lived inside a house. He's so curious about everything, but also so very frightened. He was a lovely houseguest with very good manners. He spent much of the day exploring our house and sleeping on a spare dog bed in the sun (it seems all dogs love to nap in the sun!). When I needed to put him in his crate, he went in nicely and didn't whine or bark. He's very sweet-natured. He has long legs and a long body and is much larger than a beagle. To me, he resembles a harrier, which is a hound that looks like a beagle, only larger. The harrier is a very rare breed though, so it's more likely Scout is some sort of beagle mix -- and a very handsome one indeed! 

It was fun having a new dog in the house yesterday. Henry seemed happy to have the company of another boy. Ella ... well, she was less enthusiastic. For the most part she ignored him, but she did snap at him twice when he sniffed around her face. She put him in his place, by golly! Poor Scout, he's nearly three times Ella's size, but he took off like a shot!


For those of you who have dogs and are not familiar with heartworms, or those who are considering adopting a dog for the first time, I would like to share some information. Dogs cannot get heartworms through contact with other dogs. Heartworms are transmitted through mosquitoes. At one time, heartworms were mainly a problem in areas where mosquitoes are prevalent, like in the South, where we live. But heartworms are now a concern nationwide.

Heartworms are easy to prevent with a monthly pill, but difficult and expensive to treat once a dog is infected. If you're a dog owner or thinking about becoming one, it's important to understand prevention of this deadly parasite. Please read this WebMD site for more information about heartworms. 

And remember, "Adopt, don't shop" for your next pet! There are thousands and thousands of wonderful dogs like Scout (and our dogs Henry and Ella) in shelters across the country waiting for their forever homes. You can find puppies, adults and seniors, mixed breeds and pure breeds. Every single day too many dogs and cats are euthanized -- I can't even bear to think of the numbers! Spaying and neutering your dog or cat is very important to control the number of unwanted pets who end up on the streets and in shelters. So please, when you're ready to take in a new pet or add to your pack, please visit your local shelter and adopt your next best friend.

Saving one dog may not change the world, but for that dog, the world will be changed forever.

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