As one who spends a lot of time crafting visual stories, it’s all too easy to straddle (read: dive over) that pencil-thin line between collector and hoarder. It becomes all too easy to elevate the potential of each and every object. “I could make that into…” or “that would be perfect for a post about…” or “what if I have an event and need that..?” Truth be told, I’ve had these mental dialogues since I was young. I clung to old drawings, old toys, old clothing because of the associated stories and potential future uses. I found plastic containers, boxes, pieces of paper and saw endless art projects, parcels, etc. Then one day you wake up and feel SURROUNDED- surrounded by stuff, by clutter, by stress.
I’m no neat freak, and I’m no minimalist, but when stress strikes and procrastination whispers in my ear, I am prone to cleaning and purging, purging and cleaning. I recently hit one of these spells. Not quite ready to face the more difficult issues at hand, I dove into sorting my life, ie: my home. I filled bag after bag for Goodwill and bade farewell to the superfluous. Does this object have meaning? Does it represent a truly personal story? Have I used this object recently? Essentially, does this object exist in my life intentionally?
I still have a long way to go, but at the end of this purge session, I was able to breathe a little easier and welcome dear guests into my home for the holidays. What they saw were the more meaningful pieces, the more intentional stories and the most updated version of me. Much like cleaning out the cobwebs of my space, I’ve been reevaluating myself and considering what my true mission(s) is/are, what pieces of past me I should safeguard, what bad habits of current me need to go, what needs to change or improve, what needs to be rearranged, etc.
Gleaning the most meaningful objects from my collections meant making room for a splendid surprise from the Urban Farmer- a new-to-us waffle maker! A score from our friends at the Pittsburgh Vintage Mixer, we plugged in our new toy with a healthy dose of skepticism and anticipation, and before long, we had a plate full of lovely waffles. So long pancakes! So long waiting in line for waffles from crowded brunch scenes! A vestige of a different era in quality and longevity, this baby may outlive us all, and we’re looking forward to several slow mornings of syrup-filled nooks and crannies.
Rather than start with a basic waffle recipe, we went BIG! We went boozy. We went grain rich and flavor-FULL. After all the reflecting, questioning, purging and aspiring, starting big is a wonderfully delicious place to start. As you hunker down to review the last year and settle on what is important for the coming year, I hope you reward yourself with a beautiful scene, a confidant, hot coffee, a well deserved dose of laziness, and the type of brunch to make you savor every single bite.
Pumpkin Cranberry Buckwheat Waffles + Cranberry Apple Topping + Landlocked Spiced Whipped Cream
When creating a recipe, I often look to weave a thread throughout the various elements of the dish. In this case, this over-the-top waffle breakfast features Wigle Whiskey’s Landlocked Spiced in each component. Made from scratch and pot-distilled from Pennsylvania buckwheat honey, this distilled mead is Wigle Whiskey’s uniquely inland approach to island spirits- landing somewhere between a rum and a brandy. Infused with whole, organic botanicals–roasted orange peel, cocoa nibs, whole vanilla beans and cinnamon, the result is a spirit with a vanilla nose and a complex body of pepper, cocoa and fig. It’s delicious, and I recommend a bottle, but if you’re closer to the sea and sunny skies, you can substitute the rum of your choice.
Happy New Year’s Eve!
Pumpkin Cranberry Buckwheat Waffles
3/4 cup local buckwheat flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
2 Tablespoons organic raw cane sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
dash of cardamom
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 organic/cage-free eggs, whisked
1 cup organic heavy cream
3/4 cup organic pumpkin puree
3 Tablespoons organic, unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus more for waffle iron
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon Wigle Landlocked Spiced
~1 inch chunk fresh organic ginger, peeled & grated
1 cup organic cranberries, chopped
1/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans (plus more for garnishing if that appeals to you)
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, almond milk, pumpkin puree, butter, and vanilla extract.
Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry, mixing thoroughly to combine.
Gently fold in the ginger, cranberries and pecans.
Let the batter sit for five minutes while you heat your waffle iron. Once warm, grease the waffle iron with melted butter.
Measure 1/2 cup of the batter and pour into the center of the iron. Close and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Remove the waffle from the heat and place on a plate in your warmed oven. Repeat with the remaining batter. Add more butter to the waffle iron as necessary.
While the waffles cook, sauté the apples. In a large skillet, warm the butter over medium heat. When the butter is melty and bubbling, add the apples and toss to coat. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft and a little browned, about 4 minutes or so.
To serve, plate the waffle, top with a spoonful or two of apple slices, a smattering of pecan pieces, a dollop of whipped cream, and a generous pour of maple syrup.
Landlocked Spiced Whipped Topping
1 1/2 cups organic heavy whipping cream, chilled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-3 Tablespoons Wigle Landlocked Spiced, to taste (or the rum of your choice)
In the chilled bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cream and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks begin to form. Add the Landlocked Spice, and continue to beat until incorporated, being careful not to over-mix, or you’ll end up with Landlocked butter (not a terrible idea). Keep chilled until ready to serve.
2-3 Tablespoons organic, unsalted butter
4 small, local apples, cored & sliced (peeling is optional)
1/2 cup chopped cranberries
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
2-3 Tablespoons unsulphured molasses
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the apples, cranberries and spices, stirring frequently.
As the apples begin to soften, add the molasses, and continue to stir, until the apples caramelize.
Remove from heat, and serve warm.
May All Your Nooks & Crannies Be Syrupy Sweet!
Disclosure: I received product for this post, but all opinions are my own.