I’ve recently re-discovered the early morning run.
It’s something I did regularly—every day, even—before the kids came along. Before interrupted sleep, breakfast-making and all those pesky child-rearing responsibilities made it nearly impossible to sneak out the door for a 6 a.m. sweat session.
Don’t get me wrong; I do love the early morning cuddles and slobbery kisses, and the bright eyes staring into my bleary ones. I’ve been warned not to wish these years away, and so I relish them while I drink my cappuccino and secretly dream about the day my kids can pour themselves a bowl of cereal and turn on the cartoons.
But I’ve missed the running—that morning dose of endorphins that lifted my mood and kick-started my day.
So this spring I brought it back. Just a half hour, maybe once or twice a week, when the kids are still sleeping and Kiwi is readying himself for the day.
I had forgotten what the city was like at 6 a.m.—dogs out for their morning run-about, older couples holding hands, and gaggles of speed-walking women sharing neighbourhood gossip (or so I imagine; I promise I don’t listen in, even though I want to). The air is fresh and cool, and the grass is damp and dewy where I stop to do a few push ups or planks.
When I get home from the run, the kids are usually upstairs with Kiwi, apparently sitting on our bed watching him button his dress-shirt and pull on his socks. I can hear him telling them jokes, talking to them in that voice he never uses when I’m around (why is that?). I can hear my eldest blowing raspberries to make my little guy laugh. And now and again, I will hear the little one announce “BUM!”, followed by thunder of little feet into the next room, and the opening and closing of drawers, as Kiwi figures out how to maneuver him into a clean diaper.
And in those moments I make breakfast. Uninterrupted by cries of “I’m hungry” or “Cheerios, puh-leeease,” I tiptoe through the kitchen, quietly pulling ingredients off of the shelves: a scoop of flour, some milk, a sprinkle of cinnamon. If the kids didn’t get their morning cuddles, I ought to make it up with waffles. Seems reasonable, right?
I am lucky—or unlucky, depending on how you look at it—that I could probably make waffles in my sleep. There is an ingredient formula, I realized awhile back, and as long as you roughly follow it, you can just “freestyle” it and end up with passable waffles pretty much every single time.
Now and again, though, a particular recipe will stick, and this is one of them. I’ve repeated it so many times, that I finally wrote it down and vowed to share it here. And once you make it a few times yourself—which you must!—I’m guessing you will also find yourself doing the dump-and-stir kind of freestyle thing. A little of this, a lot of that, etc. It makes waffles just as much a Monday thing as a Saturday or Sunday thing.
These waffles use oatmeal flour, which I love for its versatility, nutty flavour and nutrition. I keep a big bag of it in the fridge, but if you don’t you can make it yourself by grinding dry oats (whether rolled or steel cut) to a powder using a blender or food processor.
The beauty of using oatmeal flour is that you can whisk everything up in one bowl—stirring the heck out if it if you like, or letting a kid do that—without over-developing the gluten (there isn’t any gluten!) and rubberizing your waffles. Just dump everything into the mixing bowl and stir. So simple.
I will add, as a final point, that a waffle maker is an essential part of any family kitchen, and a necessary part of this recipe of course. So if you find yourself without one, march right on over to the store (or to your computer, credit card in hand) and pick one up. I have this massive four-waffle iron, and it kills an entire bowl of this waffle batter in about 3 or 4 short rounds. Which leaves more time for morning cuddles. And running.
- 1½ cups oat flour (if you have gluten issues, look for a certified gluten free product)
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 2 heaping tablespoons ground flax seed
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 single-size container (or ½ cup) unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tablespoon real maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup plain yogurt (2% or higher)
- 1½ cups milk
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil or melted coconut oil
- Butter or coconut oil for the waffle iron
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, flax seed, cinnamon and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the apple sauce, maple syrup, vanilla, yogurt and milk and whisk until everything is well combined, then whisk in the oil.
- Let the batter stand for several minutes while you heat up your waffle iron. If the batter is too thick (you want it to be a pourable consistency similar to a cake batter), thin it out with a little extra milk.
- Bake the waffles in your waffle iron, following the manufacturer's directions, until they are dark brown, greasing the iron generously with butter or coconut oil between each batch.
- Serve the hot waffles immediately with maple syrup and fresh fruit.