Breakfasts are a problem for me. No...let me put that a different way: breakfasts are a minefield for me. Between needing to avoid gluten, dairy, eggs, nut butters and sugar, and just wanting something warm and comforting, I end up with depressingly few choices. Just think about it: what do you eat for breakfast that avoids all those things?
The obvious choice is oatmeal, maybe served with some fresh or stewed fruit. But I don't even want fruit in the morning, on a regular basis - I seem to do better if I can avoid any kind of sugar at the start of the day. For a few weeks I was stuck on toasted gluten-free bagels, topped with home-made veggie pate, but I was getting more bored - and even more congested - the longer that rut went on. My reliable, good-for-me standby is rice and steamed veggies, but after a few mornings even that lovely feeling of being virtuous starts to fade.
And then, through some kind of serendipity (or maybe it's just a food fad) I started seeing recipes for waffles everywhere. Gluten-free waffles. Waffles that can be made with egg-replacer instead of eggs, and soy milk instead of cow milk. Waffles that have virtually no sugar in them. Waffles that have vegetables in them. Waffles that are hot and comforting and easy to freeze and reheat.
So yesterday I bit the bullet and bought an inexpensive waffle iron. I thought about this hard for a week or so, because I have been carefully avoiding acquiring more kitchen appliances for the last couple of years . But I decided that the benefits outweighed the downside: a nutritious breakfast option, the convenience of being able to make a big batch and freeze them for instant re-toasting, and the fact that given the outrageous cost of gluten-free bagels, a waffle iron would pay for itself in about a month of breakfasts. Plus, I could make waffles with vegetables in them. (Have I said that already?)
This morning was the inauguration of the new waffle iron, and the recipe I chose came from Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood. It uses extra-nutritious quinoa flour as the base, with pumpkin puree and all the right spices: cinnamon, ginger and allspice. The waffles turned out tender and tasty, even without any maple syrup, and even though I made a big batch I'm not sure there will be any left by the end of the day to freeze.
I'm thinking that a different recipe, with more neutral or even savoury flavours, would give me a nice alternative to gluten-free bread. Because even though I've tried about every gluten-free bread on the market, I have yet to find one that has a decent texture and doesn't cost six or seven dollars a loaf. (Actually I did find one I liked enough to pay that much for, but then the company stopped making it.) I have tried baking my own, and found one or two recipes that are okay, but they are very starchy, and the texture is still not great.
So I'm trying not to think that waffles are going to save my life, but can I be forgiven if I'm just a little bit excited about having a cheap, nutritious, bread-like option for breakfast?