I'm reading Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist very slowly. Slowly because I honestly don't read for pleasure that often, and I like to savor the self-help/spiritual sort of books instead of plow through them. I know it's not new, but a friend lent it to me and I can't really think of a better time to read it than the beginning of summer. I'm just shy of halfway through and while I am not exactly Shauna as she describes herself (busy, extroverted, over booked), a lot of what she writes feel familiar to what goes on in my own head. I get overwhelmed easily, so I'm learning how to respect my own pace. I'm trying to ask my mom for help and book baby sitters a week in advance so I can work, I need at least a 30 minute walk around the neighborhood for my sanity but more time to exercise is ideal. I know that one play date in a day is usually enough for my introverted self, that I don't like taking both kids to a grocery store, and NO ONE accompanies me to a mall. I am quieter in groups and feel most connected relationally in a more vulnerable, one on one conversation. I have learned most of these things by not having them and missing them. It sounds high maintenance written out, but I'd like to think of it as figuring out who I am and what I need and just owning it. She describes it as learning when to say "no." She has these few paragraphs that made all those feelings feel permissible:
"What's changing everything for me is a new understanding that we get to decide how we want to live. We get to shape our days and our weeks, and if we don't, they'll get shaped by the wide catch-all of "normal" and "typical," and who wants that?
"You can live on a farm or out of a backpack. You can work from your kitchen or in a high-rise. You can worship in your living room or a cathedral. Isn't that beautiful? And exciting? And so full of freedom? ...You get to make your life. In fact, you have to. And not only can you make it, you can remake it."
And then a few chapters later she says, "and I know that should is one of my warning signs - that frequently I pay more attention to how I should feel about something than how I actually do feel about it." That all seems related and familiar to me. Anyway. Perhaps I'll have more nuggets for you when I get to finishing it, but I like sharing things I need reminding of myself in the meantime.
I book marked these waffles from Nicole's new book that focuses on poetry inspired by food and cooking and eating and all things involved with that. She shares poems, her notes and a collection of recipes that are tied to the writing for her. This house is an easy sell on waffles of all kinds. The kids prefer sweet and I insist that an egg in the morning helps me stay full so I made a savory version for myself and Hugh. You don't have to complicate anything, they are perfectly fine with butter and maple or plain yogurt. To wake up to them halfway done, I'll make the strawberry sauce the night before and then mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl so all I have to do in the morning is mix in the wet ingredients. Spoken from someone who gets the request for waffles often.
SWEET + SAVORY CORNMEAL WAFFLES // Serves 4
Waffle recipe adapted from Eat this Poem by Nicole Gulotta
You could keep these gluten free by using a gluten free all purpose flour. To make them dairy free, you could replace the buttermilk with a dairy free version - generally 1 cup plant based milk with 1 Tbsp. vinegar or lemon juice. The waffles' texture is sort of dry, as cornmeal sucks up moisture, making them perfect for a generous amount of toppings. To get ahead, make the waffles and keep them warm in a 250' oven while you cook the rest. The strawberry sauce can be made in advance and rewarmed in a small pot.
3/4 cup cornmeal, medium or fine ground
3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup maple syrup
3 Tbsp. melted butter or neutral oil, plus more for the waffle iron
*If you are making the strawberry sauce, start there, as that is hands off once you get them in the oven.
Whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. In a glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, maple, eggs and butter or oil together. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and gently stir until just combined. Let the mixture hydrate for 5 minutes or so while your waffle iron heats up.
Once hot, grease your waffle iron with butter or coconut oil. Pour about 1/3 cup batter into the center and cook according to the waffle irons instructions.
Top your waffle with strawberry sauce, or dress it up savory with arugula, vinaigrette, a fried egg and a generous sprinkle of feta cheese.
/roasted strawberry sauce/
2 cups halved strawberries
1 tsp. olive oil or other oil
2 tbsp. maple syrup
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 350'. On a parchment lined baking sheet, toss the strawberries with the oil, maple and salt and spread in an even layer. Roast for 20 minutes until the strawberries breakdown. Remove to cool slightly. Transfer the strawberries and all their juices to a bowl for serving.
/ savory waffle /