Mini-Review: Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea, Ben Clanton (2016)

Monday, December 12th, 2016

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Come for the narwhals, stay for the under-the-sea waffle parties.

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Library Thing’s Early Reviewers program.)

Good thing that waffle is a kung fu master!

Every time I pick up Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea, I picture Season Eight Leslie Knope reading it to her triplets before bed.

I mean, there are waffles! With a strawberry sidekick! Fighting robots! And they also know how to party!

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I’m 99.9998% certain that Narwhal the narwhal is Leslie Knope’s daemon in an alternate universe. (That pinprick of doubt? Stems from the shocking lack of waffle toppings. Like, where’s the whipped cream? The chocolate sauce? The gorram sprinkles?!)

So, like, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect of a graphic novel for kids. As it turns out, it feels a lot like a picture book, but with panels like a comic book. It’s definitely meant for younger readers, but that’s okay! Adults can still enjoy it too. It’s silly and weird, but also hecka cute and kind of a fun distraction. And don’t we all deserve a little escapism after the dumpster fire that has been 2016?

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The book’s comprised of five short stories that follow a narwhal named Narwhal who’s found himself in strange waters. He befriends a perplexed little jellyfish; forms his own pod, with the help of shark, blowfish, and octopus; shares his favorite book (don’t get the pages wet!); throws a super-awesome party; and celebrates all things waffle-related.

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In summary:

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(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

Waffle Wednesday: ‘Christmas in September’ Gingerbread Waffles with Butter Rum Sauce

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

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So today is officially Christmas in September as we observe this Waffle Wednesday with a heaping stack o’ Gingerbread Waffles from Vegan Brunch!

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Actually, I write this post from the sweltering heat of July, back when I thought that VeganMoFo would fall in August; and while Christmas in July does sound better, it is what it is. A waffle by another other name is just as sweet. No really! I nearly passed out not ten minutes in to dinner. I don’t even think I made it through the first commercial break of The Americans.

Leslie Knopes what I’m talking ’bout.

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These waffles are true to their name – they taste just like warm, cozy gingerbread, and are so yummy that you could probably eat ’em undecorated with no regrets.

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Waffle Wednesday: Chick’ N’ Waffles Party

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

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It’s Wednesday, y’all! You know what that means!

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So Imma change things up this week with a savory waffle treat. Weirdly enough, I don’t think we’ve ever seen Leslie eat a waffle that wasn’t sweet. Usually – arguably – overly so. (Waffle sundaes, anyone?)

Instead of syrup and whipped cream, this one’s got meat and gravy.

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Waffle Wednesday: Banana Split Waffle Sundaes!

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

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Leslie Knope likes her waffles like she likes her Ben*: served in a short stack and smothered in whipped cream.

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For this year’s MoFo, I really wanted to recreate the gorgeous tower of whipped cream that always seems to find its way onto Leslie’s waffles. Unfortunately, none of the alternative food stores in my area carry the cans of SoyaToo whipped topping that would help me pull it off. (Or any vegan whipped cream, for that matter. Boo!) Instead I opted for the next best thing – making my own using coconut cream.

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Waffle Wednesday: Chocolate Beer Waffles with a Sweet Cashew Cream & Chocolate Drizzle

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

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“We have to remember what’s important in life: friends, waffles, and work. Or waffles, friends, work. But work has to come in third.”
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It’s no secret that Our Lady of Breakfast Food Leslie Knope has an especially ooey, gooey spot for waffles. And why not? Crispy on the outside, soft and pillowy on the inside, waffles kinda sorta rock.

Consider the evidence:

– They’re a breakfast food – and why would anyone ever want to eat anything other than a breakfast food? (Idiots.)

– Roll them up, stuff them with your favorite tofu scramble, tempeh bacon, and hash browns, and voila! Breakfast tacos!

– The teeny weeny squares make the perfect tiny traps for your syrup, margarine, whipped cream, and/or icing. Take that, pancakes!

– Who needs bread when you’ve got waffles? Open-faced Tofurky and gravy sammie, anyone?

– Breakfast food for dinner is objectively the best.

– After you’ve finished your waffle dinner, chase it with a waffle sundae. Vanilla ice cream, coconut whipped cream, dried cherries, chopped walnuts, sliced bananas, maybe an insanely good brownie or two – go crazy. Knope you can!

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In honor of the lady who puts the “carbs” in Carbs & Rec, I’m dedicating each and every Wednesday to waffles. Maybe with a bonus day thrown in here and there because WAFFLES! Seriously, I found so many amazing waffle recipes that it was hard to whittle it down to just four. Plus Shane is on waffle duty, so a dinner of waffles means a night off for me. Score!

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O is for Old-Fashioned Chelsea Waffles

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

O is for Old-Fashioned Chelsea Waffles [Vegan Brunch] (0004)

So these waffles from Vegan Brunch were inspired by a certain (unnamed) NYC diner’s Chelsea waffles that Isa and her brother enjoyed as kids. Since she’s not privy to the chef’s secrets, Isa decided to recreate them her own bad self.

The magic ingredient? Barley malt syrup, which gives the waffles a wonderful malty taste. I had to special order a bottle from Amazon, which is now occupying valuable real estate in the fridge, but you know what? Totally worth it. Barley malt is the same thing I use to flavor the cream in vegan Twinkies (but in powdered form), so that should give you an idea of how awesome these waffles really are.

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I topped mine with maple syrup and fresh strawberries, which was tasty enough; next time around, though, I think I’ll stick with strawberry syrup or perhaps make my own berry sauce. The maple syrup and barley malt seemed to compete with each other for top billing in a way that the strawberries and barley malt did not.

In lieu of barley malt syrup, you can use maple syrup as a sweetener – in which case, methinks maple syrup would be the perfect choice of topping!

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Cornbread Waffles with Strawberry Sauce

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

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Cornbread Waffles from Vegan Brunch with homemade strawberry sauce (leftovers from the Banana Flapjacks, also from VB). A little dry but otherwise good – and the whole house smelled of popcorn while they were cooking!

Also we scored a “new” waffle maker during our last trip to Goodwill. It bakes a whopping FOUR waffles at a time instead of just two, making it twice as likely that Shane will cook waffles the next time I ask him!

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Bananas Foster Waffles

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

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Technically Bananas Foster is a dessert made of rich, sugary sauce mixed with fresh bananas and served atop a bowl of vanilla ice cream. Waffles fill in for the ice cream in this dish from Betty Goes Vegan, though I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t throw a scoop of ice cream on there for good measure. For extra shiny bonus points, make it banana ice cream!

Not that these waffles aren’t already diabetes on a plate, nosiree. In other words, delish. Just don’t plan on doing any math afterwards.

Pro tip: this recipe only makes six waffles, leaving quite a bit of sauce left over. I saved it for use on pancakes, but I bet it’d also make for a great banana ice cream flavoring. NOTE TO SELF.

Spiced Apple Waffles

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

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Slowly working my way through all the breakfast items in Betty Goes Vegan. idk why, but I’m super-into pancakes and waffles lately. Maybe because Shane always volunteers to make them for me?

The Spiced Apple Waffles (page 39) are pretty tasty on their own, but I bet my apple pie insides would really take these bad girls to the next level. Fresh apple slices, maple syrup, and margarine works in a pinch though!

…because a bachelorette party isn’t complete without waffles!*

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

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In honor of the return of Parks and Recreation last week, Shane and I made waffles. Actually, he made waffles while I supervised from the couch. Mostly this consisted of me pointing out the gross amount of batter spillage coming out the rear of the waffle iron and spit-balling ideas for a leak-proof waffle maker. He may have had his headphones on at the time, so it’s quite possible that I was talking to myself. Whatever, managing is hard work!

Also, the timing of waffles and DVRed Parks and Rec was totally coincidental, but the post title struck my fancy so there you go.

So anywho, these are the Summer Waffles with Lemon Sauce from American Vegan Kitchen.

(“Summer” waffles served on autumnal dinnerware and photographed on a table decorated for Christmas – yup, that about sums it up. Quite fittingly, the only season that’s missing is spring, whose arrival seems an impossibility come January. Curse you Midwestern winters!)

The waffle recipe is pretty basic I guess; it’s hard to say, since we don’t make waffles all that often. (See: our crappy waffle gadget.) But the sauce is different! Basically just lemon juice mixed with powdered sugar, it seems like it’d be just as at home on a plate of sugar cookies as a stack of breakfast foods! It’s very similar to icing, is what I’m saying. Unlike traditional syrups, it sits on top of the waffles instead of soaking into them. If you like your waffles crunchy, you should totally give it a try.

* Penis-shaped, of course.

Eat to the Beat: Maple Pecan Waffles with Smothered, Covered Hashbrowns & Bloodhound Gang

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

 

The song: “The Bad Touch” by Bloodhound Gang (lyrics)

The foodstuff: Maple Pecan Waffles with Smothered, Covered Hash Browns

The connection: “I want you smothered want you covered like my Waffle House hashbrowns”

 

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Sunday brunch, Waffle House styley!
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With a name like “Waffle House,” you’d expect the restaurant’s menu to include all sorts of weird and wacky waffle dishes, right? Kind of like IHOP and its ridic pancake selection. I can just picture it: Seasonal pumpkin waffles with a creamy cream cheese sauce. Chocolate chip waffles buried in a mountain of whipped cream. Blueberry waffles drowning in berry syrup. Stacks of waffles of all shapes and flavors and sizes. Sweet and savory and everything in between. A veritable cornucopia of crispy breakfast goodness!

(Is your stomach growling yet, or is it just me and mine?)

Except, not so much. If the online menu is any indication (and having never been, I wouldn’t know – so correct me if I’m wrong!), the Waffle House only serves two kinds of waffles: plain and pecan. BOO-RING!

But the hash browns? They’re a whole ‘nother story! Considering the infinite ways a Waffle Housian may enjoy her grilled shredded potatoes, the Waffle House should really be called “Captain Cholesterol’s Hash Brown & Heart Attack Emporium.” Get ’em in a regular, large, or triple (!) serving. Smother them with sauteed onions. Cover them with cheese. Enjoy them “chunked” (laced with ham – thanks but no!), “diced” (tomatoes), “peppered” (jalapenos), “capped” (mushrooms), “topped” (chili!), or “country” (gravy). Or any combination of the above. Country topped and peppered, you say? Surely someone’s been there, done that.

 

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Exhibit A: Hash browns “smothered” with onions.
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I know all this because – and only because – of today’s soundtrack, the Bloodhound Gang’s “The Bad Touch,” which never fails to make me crave breakfast food like a mofo. Amid all the sexual innuendo, the band drops in a reference to the Waffle House menu: “I want you smothered want you covered like my Waffle House hash browns.” I always assumed that the toppings alluded to were of the usual suspects: ketchup and hot sauce, maybe some onions or peppers. Never did I imagine the oral delights dreamed up by mad geniuses on the Waffle House R&D team.

 

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Example #2: Hash browns “covered” in cheese sauce.
(Technically these hash browns are smothered AND covered, but you get the idea!)
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And so for our menu today, a brunch inspired by the Bloodhound Gang and pulled straight from the pages of the Waffle House menu: Pecan Waffles (topped with maple syrup, bananas, and chopped pecans for that extra-special touch), served with Smothered, Covered Hash Browns.

And I have recipes for each! The hash browns are all my own (the cheese sauce? it’s what I normally use to make mac & cheese – so good I could drink it from a mug!), but I based the waffles on a recipe found in Vegan Junk Food. fwiw, Land Gold includes a epic-looking recipe for Creamy Maple Sauce to accompany her waffles, but I decided to skip it since I ran out of burners. It sounds amazing though. A sugar coma in liquid form.

By the way, the smothered and covered hash browns? WILL MAKE YOU MOAN. Eat them in understanding company, mkay.

 

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The bananas really class this junk food up.
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