My family is . . . complicated. My food restrictions, for those who aren’t used to dealing with them, are complicated. My emotions around Thanksgiving are complicated, too. Thanksgiving isn’t always the best time of the year for me. Okay, honestly, it’s often one of the worst days, emotionally, and has been for a long time. This year, I decided by about February that my husband and I would celebrate differently this Thanksgiving, to see if we could remake it into something I can enjoy. Then, as the months passed, I wondered if I really had the guts to walk away from the family traditions for a year to reconfigure Thanksgiving for myself. Focusing on self-care will do some interesting things for you, though. I found a way to tell my mother and other family members that even though I would miss them (and I did), Dan and I would be alone this Thanksgiving.
And we stuck to it. We slept late, made fabulous chocolate-hazelnut waffles with raspberry sauce for brunch, hiked and took photos at a gorgeous state park (a new tradition), made my favorite tuna salad with homemade ‘cream’ of tomato soup for dinner, and walked down to the closest theater to see a movie. As it grew dark around us, I stopped walking and turned to Dan with happy tears in my eyes. I had realized that Thanksgiving had passed by with no drama or tears. A lovely day—peaceful and rejuvenating—that filled my heart with gratitude. It was just what I had wanted for the day to be.
I have to share the waffle recipe we created for our brunch. It is an over-the-top, indulgent kind of celebratory breakfast. We served ourselves two waffles each but could only eat one. . . . Waffle-making is an art in general, but when you remove gluten, eggs, and dairy from the ingredient options, it’s a much more complicated art. Fortunately, these turned out just beautiful—crisp outside, with soft insides that weren’t gooey (a common issue with gluten-free, egg-free waffles). They were heavenly. The raspberry sauce and toasted hazelnuts we put on top of the waffles were just right, too.
Gluten-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan
Adapted from Sheltie Girl’s hazelnut waffle recipe here
Makes 4-5 Belgian waffles
Those who’ve tasted the chocolate/hazelnut combination of Nutella know its lure—rich, smooth, luscious. But Nutella and other chocolate-hazelnut spreads typically contain dairy. This waffle recipe combines the flavors without the casein—or gluten or eggs.
3 T flax meal + 6 T very hot water (or 2 eggs + 1 T flax meal)
2/3 c. hazelnut meal
1 c. brown rice flour
1/3 c. cornstarch
1/3 c. sweet rice flour
3 T. unsweetened cocoa
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
4 T. cane sugar
1.5 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. milk alternative (I used hemp milk)
1/2 c. dark chocolate chips
1/4 c. vegetable shortening or ghee, melted
Oil spray to grease the waffle iron
In a small cup or ramekin, mix the flax meal with water, and allow to sit so that it gels.
In a large bowl, combine the hazelnut meal, flours, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir. Break up any lumps.
Combine the flax gel (or eggs and flax) with the sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk together well. Pour in the milk and melted oil. Stir until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredient bowl. Stir well to combine. Allow the mixture to rest for 15 minutes before pouring the waffles into the well-greased waffle iron.
Bake according to your waffle iron’s instructions.
Have you participated in the drawing on my Art Sale & Giveaway post? If not, be sure to look at that next!