Other People’s Recipes: Almost-Paleo, Almost-Waffles


In December 2018, I will have owned my waffle iron for 50 years. Yes, it still works as well as it did in 1968. Made in America. But already I digress.

For the last 25 years or so, I’ve made an overnight yeasted waffle that is to die for.  My print copy of the recipe is stained yellow with age and spilled ingredients. If you’re still using wheat, Google Overnight Yeast Waffle. Many different versions. Most are good.

Although take a tip from my hard drive copy, which includes this note: DON’T ADD BAKING SODA BEFORE COOKING. Many of the newer versions give the dough an added pop with last-minute baking soda. Not necessary.

But …

I’ve given up grains for the duration. I’m eating like a caveperson. Almost. But I really, really wanted waffles for breakfast, necessitating a different kind of Google search.

Paleo waffles.

Again, I found many different versions. Some made with coconut flour, almond flour, tapioca flour or plantains. Some made with coconut oil and coconut milk. Or water. Or ghee. Two, three or six eggs. What to do?

Here’s the list of ingredients I ended up with:

  • 1 cup fine ground almond flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 2 TBSP ground flax and chia mixed
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 whole eggs (do not separate)
  • 4 TBSP or ¼ cup melted butter
  • 1 cup Lactaid 2 percent milk
  • 1 TBSP cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

A lot of recipes call for the addition of honey or maple syrup. Since I like pure maple syrup or jam or fruit ON the waffles, I didn’t add sweetener to the dough.

The method is what you’d expect. Mix all the dry ingredients together. Mix all the wet ingredients together. Be careful to cool the melted butter before adding it to the eggs.  Then mix dry and wet ingredients together until incorporated. Don’t overmix.

Follow your usual process for using the waffle iron. I used a bit more than 1/2 cup of dough per waffle, ending up with a thick waffle that didn’t quite make a perfect round.

The recipe is ALMOST Paleo because it contains dairy. For the Paleo purists among you, replace the milk with coconut or almond milk, although I have my doubts that Paleolithic humans had access to these substances.

And why do I call these ALMOST waffles? Jim called them ‘light and fluffy’ and scarfed them down. I found them somewhat dry and not-to-be-compared with my yeast waffles. But they did satisfy that I-need-a-waffle craving.

I may have to try Einkorn wheat—the wild wheat cultivated about 30,000 years ago—with yeast and see what happens. Definitely not Paleo, but genetically different—better?—than modern wheat.


What Things Cost: Fire Alarms

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We received an invitation to a free-dinner-talk, sent from what we thought was the local fire department. Turns out, it was a guy trying to sell us smoke alarms.

Sitting through the somewhat dreadful dinner of pulled pork, beans, and coleslaw, I whispered to Jim, “Bet it costs $5000 to put smoke alarms in the house.” And sure enough, the cost, as we learned on a subsequent evening, was $4900.

For smoke alarms? Really?

Now we already have wired-in smoke alarms in the house. They were here in 2000 when we moved in and, other than change the batteries, we’ve done nothing to them. But. What we learned the night of the dinner was this: our smoke alarms operate via ionization, detecting electrically charged particles. According to the salesman at the dinner, these fail in 55 percent of house fires.

Instead, the salesman showed us photoelectric devices, which detect smoke via a beam of light. He suggested we buy 6 photoelectric devices, together with alarms for the kitchen and attic that measure rate of rise in heat—when the kitchen temperature rises more than 15 degrees in less than a minute, an alarm sounds. Plus two fire extinguishers. Plus a fire blanket. All installed in the house for $4900.

Long story short, Amazon sells a variety of photoelectric smoke alarms for $35-$65. We bought four of the $35 variety, installed them ourselves. Cost? Less than $200. We can purchase the rest of the equipment for about another $200.

Total? $400. Of course, we have to install everything ourselves (thank you, Jim) and our products are made in Mexico rather than California. But is the supposed quality difference worth $4500?

Hmm …

Sunny Sunday


First Sunday of fall. The sun is shining and the weather is cool. A perfect late September day.

Time to put the ‘working tools’ garden to bed for winter. Daylilies divided. Hose and gutter drains in place, mulch down.

This is part of the frog garden, thus the dancing frogs.

The hack?  A thick–more than four inches–layer of mulch under the hose cart to prevent weeds.



Other People’s Recipes: Paleo Halibut


Yesterday, Jim celebrated his 81st birthday. We don’t eat out much anymore, but I wanted him to have a special dinner. That meant halibut.

I don’t know what halibut costs where you live, but here, it runs about $30 a pound. Calling for a no-fail recipe. A no-fail Paleo recipe.

I scoured the Internet looking for one that would work for us, and finally did what I do. Put four recipes together, adding and subtracting ingredients, threw in a few of my own touches, and came up with an almond-meal crusted fish that didn’t disappoint.

I added mashed cauliflower as the side. The fish came out moist and tender, and lemony with a touch of crunch from the almond meal. If only I could’ve figured out how to remove the skin before cooking …

  • 2 halibut filets, not too thick
  • 2-3 TBSP almond meal
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp dry parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP butter (thank goodness butter’s back) plus 1/2 tsp butter for sauce
  • 1/3-1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • juice of 1-2 lemons depending on how much ‘sauce’ you want

Combine the almond meal, lemon zest, parsley, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Pat the halibut filets dry and dredge them in the almond meal mixture. Using a large frying pan, heat the oil and butter together until they bubble, then add the filets, making sure they aren’t touching.

How long you cook them on each side depends on the thickness of your filet. Mine were about an inch thick, and I cooked them 3 minutes per side. When the fish is opaque, remove the filets from the pan and keep warm. I put mine in the microwave–don’t turn it on–which seems to keep things warm without overcooking.

Add the lemon juice to the pan–watch out for splatter–and then the vegetable broth. Cook, stirring pretty much constantly, until reduced by half, then add the remaining tsp of butter. When it melts, plate your fish and veg, with the sauce poured over the plate. The sauce is a bit syrupy rather than thick. 




What Things Cost: Healthcare


Back in July, I had a sudden, severe headache and thinking I was having or about to have a stroke, I went to my local, rural emergency room. Thankfully, not a stroke, but very high blood pressure, now resolved with a combination of mainstream and alternative medical intervention.

My bill for that emergency room visit was $4300. Ouch.

But when my insurance explanation of benefits arrived, I saw that the discount to my insurance was more than 75 percent. Actual payment for the visit was less than $1,000.

So I was dismayed when I read a financial agreement at a new-to-me medical practice. I’m paraphrasing, but it basically said, if your insurance doesn’t pay within 60 days, you pay in full.

Yes, the IN FULL was the kicker. Why am I–a not-rich individual–expected to pay full-bore? Why don’t I get a discount?

Consistent with my resolution to complain when things seem wrong, I added an objection to the financial agreement and only then signed it.  Hopefully, my insurance will pay within 60 days …


Fall Clean-up


It’s time.  We have seven flower and nine veggie raised beds that need clean-up for winter. Starting in the bed closest to the road, we weeded, pruned, divided, and mulched.

Anchored by two giant pin oaks, this bed has changed from mostly sun to mostly shade. That’s how much the oaks have grown in the past ten years. I’ve been moving the hostas from the north side–where I’ll plant more ferns this coming spring–to circle the trees.

But the sedum autumn joy and pink chrysanthemum don’t seem to mind the diminished sunshine. Next spring, before the oaks leaf out, the bed will be a riot of daffodils and tulips.

Meanwhile, the mulch is spread and, while we’ll have to keep an eagle eye out for newly emerging weeds, this bed is ready for what will hopefully be a snowy winter. One down. Six to go.