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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Freezer Meals: First Up, Whole Wheat and Gluten Free Waffles

I'm starting freezer meal planning.  It's a bit overwhelming, but I think it's doable and will be easy once I have a routine down.

My plan is to have 22 meals prepped and ready in the freezer at the beginning of each month.  I'm also prepping breakfast foods.  Watch for my game plan in the next couple of weeks.

I started easy, with breakfast.  My plan is to have waffles, pancakes, and muffins baked and ready to reheat.

The first step is to soak my batters.  This can be done using kefir, apple cider vinegar, whey or buttermilk. (If using apple cider vinegar or whey, simply add 1-2 Tbs per cup of regular milk prior to mixing into flours.)

The trick to making both gf and regular waffles at the same time is to have a separate waffle iron for each, separate mixing bowls & utensils, and a separate prep/cooking areas (counters across the room from each other).  I get out the gf ingredients first, mix it first and then switch to the wheat mix.  Ideally, I'd man one waffle iron while my husband or teenager would man the other.  This doesn't always happen, so I have to wash my hands well between batters if cooking simultaneously.

Here are my waffle recipes (Makes about 16 waffles in my iron).  For freezing, this may need to be doubled (or more depending on your family size and consumption).

Whole Wheat Waffles (modified from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook)

1 3/4 cup whole white wheat flour (King Arthur)
1 3/4 cup unbleached wheat flour (King Arthur)
1/4 cup Sucanat (or agave or honey)
2 Tbs aluminum free baking powder
1/2 tsp Celtic Sea Salt
4 free range chicken eggs (or sub 3 Tbs applesauce for each egg)
1 cup liquefied coconut oil or melted pastured butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups kefir (or buttermilk)
If using applesauce, add 2 tsp cinnamon if desired

Gluten Free Waffles- change flours and add xanthan gum in above recipe

1 1/4 cups almond flour
1 1/4 cups coconut flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1 Tbs xanthan gum

Night before- Combine flours and kefir in a large mixing bowl.  Allow to sit for 12 hours.

In the morning-
Preheat your waffle iron.
Oil your waffle iron.
Whisk together eggs (or applesauce), vanilla, and coconut oil/butter.
Combine baking powder (and xanthan gum for gf), cinnamon if using, Celtic Sea Salt, and Sucanat (if using liquid sweetener, add to egg mixture instead).
Sprinkle baking powder/sugar mixture over soaked dough from last night. 
Add egg/oil mixture and combine well.  A wooden spoon should work because this will be a fairly liquid mixture.  If too dry, add a bit more kefir until desired consistency is reached. 
Pour onto waffle iron using a measuring cup or ladle (amount will depend on size of your iron).
Cook according to your iron, some have indicator lights... on mine, I just watch for the steam to taper.
Re-oil iron every few waffles as needed.

To freeze, allow to cool.  Place sheets of parchment paper between waffles and store several waffles in freezer bags or containers.  Label with date prior to freezing.  Reheat using toaster oven.

*My preference is to make the standard recipe (using eggs), sub honey for Sucanat, then fold in a cup of applesauce and a couple teaspoons of cinnamon (sometimes I also add diced apples).  If this is my plan, I usually reduce the initial amount of kefir when I soak so that I don't end up with too thin of a batter.

**Since kefir grains can often be found for free (like mine where) or inexpensively and used FOREVER, they are essentially a no cost ingredient... so a quart of kefir is equal to the milk used (coconut milk runs me about $3/half gallon as does non-homogenized milk, organic milk I can get for about $3/gallon).

***Sweetener can be pricey, a pound of Sucanat runs $4-$5.  It can be left out, but I've found that a little sweetener goes a long way and adds a great flavor.  Sucanat adds many vitamins & minerals versus regular sugar.

****Since the price of ingredients is variable, it's hard to put a price tag on these.  However, they are a nourishing way to start the day.

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