Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pumpkin Waffles With Maple-Cream Cheese Sauce

One of the things I love about cooking is changing with the seasons. Even though we don't get much change in the weather here in Florida, I find that my cooking style definitely changes!

Fall has definitely come to Florida - I'm sitting on my couch, watching the Gator game, while a breeze from outside tickles my toes. When the weather reaches this point, I get the urge to make everything pumpkin. When I checked out How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (a great book by the way) from the library back in June, I just had to set this recipe aside to try when it cools off! I made breakfast for dinner recently, and these Pumpkin Waffles were the main dish - they were light and fluffy and WONDERFUL! They were definitely different from the traditional waffle recipe I usually go for, but they were a nice change. And they came out such a beautiful, golden-orange color!

The recipe was a little fussy - you have to prepare the dry and wet ingredients seperately, which is par for the course, but you also have to whip egg whites (below) to add to the batter at the last minute. This really makes them fluffy, but it's also an extra step. But with my Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender, it was no problem.

The last step - making the cream cheese-maple sauce! I let the cream cheese sit on the counter while I made the waffles so it could get to room temperature, then used the tiny food processor attachment on my Smart Stick to whip it up in a jiffy. By the way, I'm not getting paid to advertise for Cuisinart or anything - I just love my hand blender!! The maple-cream cheese sauce really completes the waffles. Yummy!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I Still Cook....

But not as much as I used to. Now that I work full-time as a first-grade teacher, my cooking has changed a lot. I use my crock-pot a lot more now:

This is a really good chicken recipe, and it couldn't be easier! All you do is take a whole chicken, dump it in the crock pot, and pour some Hoisin sauce on top*. You can get more complicated if you'd like by marinating it overnight and pouring some of the sauce in the cavity, along with a few garlic cloves, but that's optional. Then let it cook all day on low in your crock pot, and when you walk in the door exhausted (or is that just me?!?), dinner's done! Lately, that's the type of dinners I like!!

My cooking style has definitely changed, and it's taken some getting used to. I used to almost never buy convenience foods, but now I buy things like refrigerated pasta and frozen skillet meals. At first I felt guilty buying those things...but then I realized that something had to give. As a first-year teacher, I just plain don't have time to make bread from scratch anymore or spend hours crafting a meal. Yeah, the bread from the tube isn't quite as good, but it's better than eating out every night - which is what we were doing until I realized we needed to change. I still like to cook when I can, but I had to make some allowances! Mike has been great helping out with cooking - I have a list of meal options on the side of the fridge, and there have been nights when I'm pulling out of the school at dinnertime, and he's glad to step up and help out. Lucky me!

*Hoisin can be found in the Asian section of your local supermarket. I really like Soy Vay's Hoisin Garlic sauce.