Gingerbread Waffles with Maple Butter

I know.

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I know what you’re thinking. Seriously, Kaylie? Gingerbread in March? Well, first of all, it does NOT feel like March. It feels somewhere between the end of April (for a half a second) and the middle of January (for too many days in a row). And now it’s all windy – basically, the weather can’t make up its mind and it’s kind of annoying.

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Actually, my friend picked this out. Every month, my friends and I have a ‘girls night.’ And the other night went from standing in the kitchen having a couple margs and talking about life to us all squished into the couch next to each other getting head scratches. It was a success, to say the least.

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Then, the next morning, I handed my friend a waffle cookbook and she picked out this one. “Fall is my favorite time of year,” was her response. I guess that’s valid. And I took one look at that maple butter and was on board.

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I’m not sure why I’ve never made my own butter concoctions. The only time I use butter is for baking and maybe the occasional quesadilla (butter > Pam for quesadillas, in case you were wondering). I never stick it on pancakes or waffles, or spread it onto bread unless I’m treating myself at a restaurant. But that is about to change folks. Butter is the new black.

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She whipped up the maple syrup + butter magic while I sleepily combined the waffle ingredients. This was my first time using the waffle maker – my boyfriend has made the waffles every other time we’ve had them – and I was terrified it was going to open while I was flipping it or something. But. It didn’t. And it was a delicious success, and I am officially naming butter as ingredient of the year.

Gingerbread Waffles with Maple Butter
Recipe from Waffles: Sweet and SavoryRecipes for Every Meal

Maple Butter:
3 tbsp butter, slightly softened
3/4 tbsp maple syrup
Pinch of cinnamon

3/4 c plain almond milk
1 egg
1/4 c butter, melted
1 tbsp molasses
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 c white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tbsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of gloves

1. Whisk together butter, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Refrigerate until waffles are ready.
2. In a small bowl, combine egg, milk, melted butter (wait until it’s cool!), molasses, and vanilla. Whisk together.
3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Create a well in the bowl, then add in the milk mixture. Stir until mostly smooth with just a few lumps.
4. Pour batter into waffle maker. Depending on your waffle maker, it should make 1 1/2 – 2 waffles.
5. Top with maple butter. Nom.


Protein Waffles

Let’s talk leg day.

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Now, I’m sure you’ve seen all the funny leg day pictures and if you workout, you’ve probably experienced them. Simple tasks like driving (switching from gas to brake – OUCH), walking up stairs, putting on pants… you know. It’s painful.

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Well, I am seriously trying to get my booty in shape, literally, as well as my triceps and my abs. I mean, less than 30 days until spring, people! I go to Planet Fitness, and even though they don’t have yoga classes, they DO have Smith Machines, which are those fancy little machines that have the bar and the free weights and the automatic lock. Aka. Squats without assistance. Or benching or whatever you want to do – Smith Machine has your back. Unless you drop it and it doesn’t catch immediately – then you’re a lunk. But that’s another story [that luckily hasn’t happened to me].

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So I had been doing the norm – leg extensions, hamstring curls, calf raises, adductors, abductors, squats… but now I am adding lunges with the Smith Machine. And MAN OH MAN are my gluteals sore. For real, though. If you don’t know what a Smith Machine is, check it out. That bad boy is your friend when it comes to bikinis. I’ve started doing higher reps/lower weight to try to “tone” rather than “bulk,” and those last few reps are tough.

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THE POINT is – do your leg day. Do your squats. Earn your protein. That was literally what I was repeating to myself (“Earn your protein, earn your protein.”) as I cycled ridiculously fast and was panting like a 100-year-old sedentary person. I’ve started in on the whole protein powder thing (chocolate, of course) and I like to earn it. Deserve it, if you will.

You deserve these waffles. You do 4 sets of 15-20 reps on squats AND lunges on the Smith Machine ( + the other leg machines + cycling or some cardio), you definitely earn your chocolate protein.

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These waffles are actually not chocolate… the boyfriend prefers his fancy protein over my cheap protein (I’m still having to be persuaded into this whole protein thing), so he added his to the waffles. So, in the end, all I’m driving at is – earn your protein. Earn your waffles.

Protein Waffles
From Tone It Up; makes 2 waffles

1 banana
4 egg whites + 1 egg
2 scoops vanilla (or chocolate!) protein (about 20g each, so 40g protein)
1 tbsp milk
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp peanut butter
Toppings (optional): sliced bananas and strawberries, maple syrup

1. Mash banana, then blend all ingredients.
2. Make waffles in a waffle maker.

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Butternut Squash

I have decided something.

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My mom used to comment about people looking like “Nanook of the North” when it really wasn’t that cold outside. They would be wearing massive jackets and gloves and scarves wrapped tight when it was 35°F, not 1°F.

I’ve decided that in North Carolina, you take what you can get. We don’t ever get snow (and if we do, it’s a flurry that doesn’t stick or get you out of school..) so we have to make do with what we have, which means if you have a favorite winter coat, you’re gonna have to pull it out when it’s above freezing.

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A couple nights ago I made a “late” night (6pm – my bedtime is pretty early these days. I’m officially an old woman) trip to the grocery store and wore my big-girl-big-snow jacket. It’s actually not a snow jacket. It’s more of a … fashionable winter jacket. It’s fuzzy on the inside and has a massive hood. I’ve had it for years and only worn it a handful of times because I didn’t understand this concept until right now.

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I also wore this jacket yesterday. It was about 22°F, so I decided it was definitely appropriate. I also wore my snow boots. That’s, sadly, probably the only time I will get to use them this year. But my toesies were warm! And my boyfriend got a kick out of it. It was a win all around.

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What I’m trying to say is: wear your jackets. Who CARES if you look ridiculous. I also saw some dude walking around in a short sleeve shirt yesterday. HE looks ridiculous. So wear it, own it, flaunt that massive winter coat. Do yo thang. And make some butternut squash, too. These spicy bad boys will definitely keep you warm.

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Butternut Squash

1 bag of cubed butternut squash
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, depending on how spicy you want it

1. Set oven to 400°F.
2. In a bowl, toss together ingredients.
3. Spread squash onto greased baking pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Fruit and Cream Cheese Breakfast Quesadilla

Look at that glorious sun shining in. Gotta say there’s nothing like eating breakfast in the sunlight.

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And this breakfast is quite yummy. Now, it’s not quite as filling as oatmeal or pancakes, but it is just sweet enough to fix any sweet tooth.

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When it comes to breakfast, you have to think outside the box. Or the bowl. I mean, oatmeal or cereal everyday? For [most] people, that’s a snore [for me, that’s amazing]. But I thought I would shake it up.

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Fruit and Cream Cheese Breakfast Quesadilla

Whole wheat tortilla
Cream cheese

1. Assemble.
2. Nom.

Spiced Candied Nuts

Have I talked about how it’s crunch time? [And I don’t mean the leaves…]

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How my eyeballs are glued somewhere between my computer screen and my textbooks? How I have consumed a near-unhealthy amount of hot tea, and my nose probably won’t be able to smell anything by December due to the insane amount of candles I have been burning?

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Okay. Well. Yes, all of this is happening. Only TWO AND A HALF more weeks of school until I am DONE with my first semester of grad school. Hello, accomplishment.

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These nuts are the perfect snack while studying. They are crispy and crunchy and sweet and delicious. I see lots of spiced nuts in the future. Ones with cayenne, ones with dried basil and oregano. Could we make this TOTALLY epic and make like…. pumpkin or peppermint nuts?? So. Many. Options.

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Spiced Candied Nuts
Adapted slightly from McCormick

3 cups mixed nuts (I used almonds and pecans)
1 egg white
1/4 c brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
Pinch of salt

1. Whisk egg white until frothy, then add brown sugar and spices. Stir to combine.
2. In a separate bowl, add nuts. Pour sugar mixture over nuts and stir to combine.
3. Spread nuts onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour at 250°F. Stir once.
4. After baking, break the nuts apart and serve to parties or snack while studying!