Baby Shower + Gluten Free Dairy Free Waffles

Last weekend I hosted a baby shower for my sister, Caroline, and another childhood friend, Hannah.  Sadly, the few photos I took of guests turned out a hot blurry mess (trying to juggle too many tasks, methinks) and I don’t have one of Hannah.  So, Hannah, or the moms, if you have one of the three of us, I’d love to see it!  I don’t even have a photo of my sister, mom, and myself.  I failed miserably on photographing once people arrived.  😦

Due to my undying, pregnancy love of waffles, I opted for a waffle bar at this brunch.  This is a naked waffle, however for this brunch, a wide array of toppings were available.  These waffles are gluten-free due to the use of Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose baking flour and dairy-free due to my dairy-free buttermilk recipe.  

The first batch I made, the weekend before, had 1/4 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut thrown in.  I personally really liked the subtle coconut flavor and think that perhaps baby boy likes coconut, as I am not usually a coconut fanatic, but seem to be leaning that way these past few months.  I left the coconut out for the baby shower, instead using it as a topping.

The topping bar consisted of: sliced strawberries, sliced bananas, mixed berries, jam, honey, maple syrup, almond butter, Nutella, sliced almonds, sliced pecans, cinnamon, unsweetened shredded coconut, chocolate chips, and whipped cream.  I had every intention of making this topping bar look prettier, but alas better judgement of overdoing things outweighed my nagging sense of Pinterest style.

We set up a couple of extra tables and chairs to accommodate 12 guests.  Each table was dressed with vintage linens, china, silverware, and a floral centerpiece.
I made a delicious punch from juice and coconut ice cream – more on that later.  The glasses were a mismatched set – a thrift store find.

I sewed simple garlands of strips of paper and hung them from the chandelier as decor.

One grandmother-to-be, Katie, created these fun and funky paper flowers as decor.  They are so bright and cheery!  The cupcakes were gluten-free spice cake and oh so tasty!

This grandmother and grandmother-to-be enjoyed nabbing my on the go child for a quick and blurred photo.  Greta enjoyed the guests giving her gift to her future cousin.

Caroline and two of her childhood friends, Sami and Hailey, are pictured here.

I ate my fair share of topping drenched waffles at this brunch before we retired to the living room for a couple of shower games

whats.inside.your.purse.game

This game I prepared for the shower.  One thing I forgot to specify before beginning this game, and we ended up flipping a coin for: highest or lowest points win?  As Eric pointed out, have a trash can ready for the people like me who carry their entire life in their bags!  You buy a digital download of in my Etsy shop.

 Our friend, Hailey had a nursery rhyme trivia game and an old wives tale trivia game prepared with cute children’s picture books as prizes.

Greta slept through the gifts, but ended up enjoying the wrapping and filling of the gifts upon awakening.  We are still finding these lovely bits of crimped paper all over the house.

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Buttermilk Waffles – makes 6 – 8 waffles, adapted from The Joy of Cooking, 1975

1. Sift: 2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour1/4 teaspoon baking soda1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder1 tablespoon honey1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon gluten-free xantham gum. Add 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, if desired.  

2. Beat in a separate bowl until light: 2 egg yolks.  Add and beat 1-3/4 cup buttermilk replacement6 tablespoons melted margarine

3. Combine the liquid and dry ingredients with a few swift strokes.  Allow to sit while preparing egg whites.  Beat until stiff peaks form, but not dry: 2 egg whites.  Fold egg whites into batter.  Cook according to waffle iron and preferences. 

Cranberry-Orange Cinnamon Rolls

We recently celebrated my dad’s birthday and I was instructed not to make anything for after his birthday dinner and he instead picked out cupcakes from The Bake Shoppe.  Everyone was pleased at this choice.  The morning after his birthday, my parents hosted a brunch at their house for the whole family and a family friend who happened to be in town.  For my dad’s birthday, I made him one of his favorite – cinnamon rolls.  I made the classic raisin version and this more Christmas-like version, cranberry-orange cinnamon rolls.  Scroll all the way down to the bottom for this recipe.

1. In a mixing stand combine: 2-1/4 cups flour and the yeast.  In a saucepan heat and stir milk, 1/3 cup butter, granulated sugar, and salt just until warm (120 to 130 degrees) and butter almost melts; add to flour mixture along with the eggs.

Here the butter is just barely visible.  It is important not to overheat this mixture, as it will kill the yeast.  

Beat with dough hook on low for 30 seconds, scraping bowl.  Beat on high speed for 3 minutes.  Stir, or beat in as much of the remaining flour as possible.

I used a dough hook and was able to mix in most of the flour, though my mixer looked like this. 

2. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead in enough of remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (should not be too sticky – 3 to 5 minutes total).

Dough before kneading – sticks to your hands and is not smooth.  

Shape dough into ball.  Place in a greased bowl, turning once.  Cover; let rise in a warm place until double (about 1 hour).

Dough after kneading – smooth, elastic, and should not stick to hands easily.  

If your house is cold, turn the oven on for 1 minute at 350 degrees, then turn off.  Place covered dough in oven to rise.  

3.  Punch down dough.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface.  Divide in half.  Cover; let rest for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, lightly grease two 9×1-1/2 inch round baking pans or two baking sheets: set aside.  For filling, stir together the brown sugar, orange zest, 1/4 cup flour, cinnamon; cut in 1/3 cup butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

4. Roll each half of dough into a 12×8 inch rectangle.  Sprinkle filling over dough rectangles.  Sprinkle with dried cranberries.  Roll up each rectangle starting from the long side.  Seal seams.

Slice each roll into 12 pieces.  Place cut sides down in prepared pans or baking sheets.

Take care when sprinkling filling and slicing, otherwise you may end up with a couple of rolls lacking filling.  They are still good, just not as gooey.  

5. Cover dough loosely with plastic wrap, leaving room for rolls to rise.  Chill for 2 to 24 hours.  Uncover, let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.  (Or to bake right away, don’t chill the dough.  Instead cover loosely; let dough rise in a warm place until nearly double, about 30 minutes.)

6. Break any surface bubbles in the dough with a toothpick.  Brush tops of rolls with milk.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until light brown (if necessary, cover rolls loosely with aluminum foil for the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking).  Remove from oven.  Brush again with milk.  Cool for 1 minute.  Carefully invert rolls onto a wire rack.  Cool slightly.  Invert again onto serving platter.  Drizzle with orange glaze.

These rolls were a hit – we demolished all but a few by the end of brunch.

Greta and Eric sitting at the set table, eagerly awaiting rolls, eggs, bacon, and fruit.  It was a beautiful sunny and cold morning for a family brunch.

I particularly enjoyed the pineapple and pomegranate fruit salad.


Cranberry-Orange Cinnamon Rolls – adapted from Better Homes & Gardens 

Prep: 45 minutes  Rise: 1 hour  Chill: 2 to 24 hours  Stand: 30 minutes  Bake: 20 minutes  Oven: 375 degrees  Makes: 24 rolls

Ingredients:
4-3/4 – 5-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup milk
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter or margarine
2 tablespoons orange zest
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 recipe orange glaze

1. In a mixing stand combine: 2-1/4 cups flour and the yeast.  In a saucepan heat and stir milk, 1/3 cup butter, granulated sugar, and salt just until warm (120 to 130 degrees) and butter almost melts; add to flour mixture along with the eggs.  Beat with dough hook on low for 30 seconds, scraping bowl.  Beat on high speed for 3 minutes.  Stir, or beat in as much of the remaining flour as possible.

2. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead in enough of remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (should not be too sticky – 3 to 5 minutes total).  Shape dough into ball.  Place in a greased bowl, turning once.  Cover; let rise in a warm place until double (about 1 hour).

3.  Punch down dough.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface.  Divide in half.  Cover; let rest for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, lightly grease two 9×1-1/2 inch round baking pans or two baking sheets: set aside.  For filling, stir together the brown sugar, orange zest, 1/4 cup flour, cinnamon; cut in 1/3 cup butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

4. Roll each half of dough into a 12×8 inch rectangle.  Sprinkle filling over dough rectangles.  Sprinkle with dried cranberries.  Roll up each rectangle starting from the long side.  Seal seams.  Slice each roll into 12 pieces.  Place cut sides down in prepared pans or baking sheets.

5. Cover dough loosely with plastic wrap, leaving room for rolls to rise.  Chill for 2 to 24 hours.  Uncover, let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.  (Or to bake right away, don’t chill the dough.  Instead cover loosely; let dough rise in a warm place until nearly double, about 30 minutes.)

6. Break any surface bubbles in the dough with a toothpick.  Brush tops of rolls with milk.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until light brown (if necessary, cover rolls loosely with aluminum foil for the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking).  Remove from oven.  Brush again with milk.  Cool for 1 minute.  Carefully invert rolls onto a wire rack.  Cool slightly.  Invert again onto serving platter.  Drizzle with orange glaze.

Orange Glaze

In a small bowl, stir together 1-1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar and orange zest.  Slowly add enough orange juice (1-2 tablespoons) to reach a drizzling consistency.

Asparagus & Gruyere Quiche

Quiche is easily one of the most satisfying and tasty any time of the day meals, if you ask me.  Everyone in my family loves it – well except my sister.  Poor thing hates eggs and my parents have raised chickens specifically for eggs since we were middle school students. 
 Anyway, I adapted this recipe slightly from a Martha Stewart recipe I had torn out of Everyday Food from 2009.  I am absolutely terrible about magazine pages, images, and clippings.  Eric hates finding my little magazine nests.  I attribute this to my love of making collage art.  
I started with my vodka and ice water crust, using a half and half ratio of water and vodka.  I finally ran out of the Ciroc vodka and have moved on to Belvedere.  

4 ingredients only for this quiche!

Prepare the crust using recipe below.  Then, add a double layer of foil and dried beans.  This will protect the crust from over baking and prevent it from puffing up. 
Chop 1 bunch of asparagus into sections.  Discard lower, white ends.  These will be woody, you should be able to feel the difference in texture with your knife.  Saute over medium-low heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil until asparagus is tender. 

The baked pie crust, golden and ready for the quiche filling.
Instead of cream, I opted for coconut creamer.  It is an excellent creamy alternative for dairy and does not have the coconut flavor!

Whisk together 4 eggs, 1 cup coconut creamer, chopped asparagus, and 4 oz of grated Gruyere cheese.

Pour filling into prepared and baked crust.  Use a spatula to spread out asparagus evenly.

Bake quiche at 325 degrees for 60 to 65 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  The top should be a nice golden color.  Allow to cool on rack for 10 minutes. 

Slice and serve.  I actually prefer to make quiche and allow it to cool and then reheat it – I feel that it sets up better this way.
This quiche won’t last long!

Single Pie Crust Recipe – from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

1. Cut 1/3 cup butter into 1-1/4 cups flour with a pastry cutter.  Pieces should be pea-sized.
2. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cold vodka over part of flour and butter mixture.  Toss gently with fork.  Push moistened dough to one side of bowl.  Repeat using 1 tablespoon at a time (4-5 tablespoons vodka/ice water total) until all flour is moistened.  Form into 1 disk.  
3.  On a lightly floured surface, use hands to slightly flatten dough.  Roll into a circle approximately a 12 inches in diameter. 
4.  Wrap pastry dough around rolling pin and carefully transfer to pie pan.  Do not stretch the dough, this will cause shrinking during baking.  Trim excess dough off, if needed.  Line with double lining of aluminum foil and fill with baking beans.  Bake at 450 degrees for 8 minutes.  Remove pie crust, remove foil set aside. 
Asparagus & Gruyere Quiche Filling – adapted from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food
1. Chop 1 bunch of asparagus into sections. Discard lower, white ends. These will be woody, you should be able to feel the difference in texture with your knife. Saute over medium-low heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil until asparagus is tender. 
2. Whisk together 4 eggs, 1 cup coconut creamer, 1 bunch chopped &sauteed  asparagus, and 4 oz of grated Gruyere cheese.  Pour filling into prepared and baked crust. Use a spatula to spread out asparagus evenly.

3. Bake quiche at 325 degrees for 60 to 65 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool on rack for 10 minutes.

French Toast Waffle Sandwiches

French Toast Waffle Sandwiches are this households’ favorite brinner food – they are easy, filling, and fun to make.  The best part is that each person can tailor this meal to his or her flavors.  
First, start with dry bread.  You can dry it in the oven for a few minutes, if need be.  
Next, choose your schmears.  These were our options for this brinner. 

Greta got peanut butter and pear butter.  
Eric and I both had almond butter and pumpkin butter.  Spread your toppings on your bread, then put your sandwich together.  

In a bowl, beat 1 egg plus a couple tablespoons of milk, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a splash of vanilla, per sandwich.  Soak the sandwich, flipping to allow both sides adequate egg mixture.  

Place soaked sandwich on a preheated waffle iron.  

Close, press down once to smash sandwich a bit, and cook until done.  On my waffle iron there is a light that turns from red to green when the waffles are done.  This is the perfect amount of time and even allows the edges of the bread to cook fully. 
Your waffle sandwich should be golden.  

Serve as is or with toppings.  
Eric opted for a Nutella spread on the top of his waffle sandwich. 

Greta’s happy little feet kicked all through dinner.  This is crowd pleasing meal and so easy to tailor to specific palates.  Next time I am going to try a more savory combination of goat cheese and figs on the inside.