{Waffle Wednesday} Candied Pecan Waffles

The fall flavor fun continues! This is not just adding pecans to waffle batter, no no. Read the method thoroughly and save the sugary candy coating so you can kick the waffles up a notch…candiedpecan1Candied Pecan Waffles
Prepared waffle batter for four waffles (from a mix or homemade)
1 egg white
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 cup pecan halves
3 tablespoons of butter, melted

-Preheat oven to 350
-Combine egg white, brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl, whisking to combine
-Stir in the pecan halves; use the spatula God gave you and use your hands for this. You’ll get better coverage, and your hands will get messy on the next two steps anyway!
-Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and pour the melted butter over the foil. Use your hands to evenly spread the butter across the foil.
-Place the pecans on the buttered foil, making sure they are in one layer and more or less evenly spaced. Again, use your hands for this rather than just pouring the entire contents of your bowl across the foil. Reserve the leftover candy coating for later.
-Bake for 10-12 minutes, giving them a little toss at the 7 minute mark. Don’t bake them any longer than this, because they burn very easily! Allow them to cool a bit before use.
-Pour the remaining candy coating mixture into the prepared waffle batter, stirring to combine. (Yaaassss!)
-Scoop waffle batter into waffle iron, and add the candied pecan halves on top. Press till golden brown.
-Serve with butter and syrup, BUT, the sweetness in these waffles make it an extra delicious vehicle for fried chicken!

{Waffle Wednesday} Caramel-Apple Waffles

This week we welcomed Fall, and tomorrow is October. Praise the Lord. Summer sucks, and hot weather is the worst. I know these might be fighting words, but remember this is the season that gives us flavors like cinnamon, brown sugar, apple, caramel, and pumpkin. So welcome, best season of the year, and I’m celebrating with these caramel-apple waffles!

A quick notes about these: I went full-on homemade with every part of these waffles, but know that you can sub in the from-scratch applesauce, cooked caramel, and homemade batter with store-bought, and they will still be delicious! I wanted the batter to be a little sweeter than the usual waffle batter I use, and I also wanted the chunky apple texture. And have you ever had caramel made from sweetened condensed milk? You’ll never want store-bought again!

Caramel Apple Waffles
1/2 cup softened butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup applesauce
Course sea salt (optional)

Homemade Applesauce
2 apples
water or apple juice

Caramel Sauce
1 can of sweetened condensed milk

To make caramel:
-Remove label from sweetened condensed milk and place the can sideways in a sauce pan. Fill the pot with water, making sure the can is fully immersed and that there’s an extra two inches of water covering the can. Simmer over medium heat for two and half hours, checking on it every 20 minutes or so to make sure the water is still covering the can.

To make applesauce:
-Peel, core, and slice apples into large pieces and add them to sauce pan. Fill the pan with enough water to just cover the apples, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the apples are soft. Drain any excess water and use an immersion hand blender or food processor to puree to an applesauce consistency, BUT, don’t puree it all the way, leave a few chunks of apple to later be incorporated into the batter.

To make waffle batter:
-Prepare the batter by first creaming together the butter and sugar in mixer.
-Add in eggs one at a time until incorporated
-In a separate bowl, sift or whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
-Combine the dry ingredients with the sugar/butter mixture.
-Fold in applesauce, about one cup (more or less depending on consistency)
-Press till golden brown; serve warm with caramel drizzled over the top.
-Finish with a sprinkle of course sea salt, if desired.


{Waffle Wednesday} Croque Madame Waffles

I’m back this Wednesday for one of my favorite foods translated into waffle form. When my mom and I went to Paris together a few years ago, the very first meal I sought out and devoured was a Croque Madame, and it’s my favorite thing on the menu at Birmingham’s beloved Chez Fonfon. I’ve seen a lot of people use their waffle irons as sandwich presses to make things like this, but we can do better than that here. I thought it’d translate just as well to an actual waffle, with the gruyere and ham pressed inside. So…

Let me be the first say that while you can be all fancy and make your waffle batter from scratch, but as someone who has made as many homemade waffles as I have box-mix waffles…there is no basically difference! So use whatever you prefer. I have an insane preschooler, so for this phase of life, the mix is my go-to.

Croque Madame Waffles
Prepared waffle batter (from scratch, or a mix)
Best quality deli ham, sliced (I used black forest ham)
Gruyere cheese, sliced
Eggs, poached

Mustard Sauce
A couple tablespoons of dijon or whole grain mustard (I LOVE this whole grain mustard from Try The World, but dijon is the norm for a croque madame/monsieur)
A couple tablespoons of butter, melted
Half a clove of diced garlic
Dashes of salt and pepper

-Poach as many eggs as waffles you plan to make; set aside and keep warm
-Prepare the Mustard Sauce by combining all ingredients in a small bowl
-Scoop half of the normal amount of waffle batter onto your waffle iron, and working quickly, add a layer of Gruyere cheese and a slice of ham.
-Add another scoop of waffle batter on top
-Press till golden brown and cooked through, and the cheese is melted
-Plate the waffle, add the poached on top, and spoon warm mustard sauce on top



{Morocco} Jardin Majorelle

Our last full day we headed back out of the Medina to see the Jardin Majorelle, famous for its electric blue walls and infinite varieties of succulents and cacti. It has been open to public since the 1940s, but it has become especially famous in the last couple of decades for being the Moroccan getaway for Yves Saint Laurent.

The first time I remember hearing anyone talk about visiting Morocco was when I interned at Cottage Living magazine back in college; the decorating editor said Marrakesh was “the Paris of Africa.” I had spent several days here before we went to the Jardin, and up until this point, though I loved Marrakesh, I had trouble understanding her conclusion. But then we went to the Jardin…and I got it. 

I’ll let these photos speak where my words will fail…

Maroc3aRequisite Travel Blogger/Travel Instagrammer photo I forced my poor husband to take 100 versions of…
Maroc4a Maroc5a
Maroc1aMaroc6a Maroc7a Maroc8a YSL created these collage posters each year, and the Jardin has a gallery that displays every one of ’em. So inspiring. Maroc9a Maroc10a


After spending the morning in this little oasis, we grabbed an amazing lunch next door at Kaowa, and did some shopping at 33 Rue Majorelle. Everything at the shop is made by Moroccan artisans; I had this gorgeous place on my Marrakesh to-do list for a while, because I had seen other Instagrammers post photos of their loot. I picked up the sweetest little handmade stuffed camel for Evie. Kaowa does a great burger, but they’re famous for their juices and smoothies. They also have a gelato cart waiting for you just outside the Jardin!


And this, friends, concludes our time in Marrakesh! I have one post left for this trip, which will be a short one about the few hours we spent in Madrid before heading back across the Atlantic. Thanks for following along for our first trip to Africa; we had an incredible time in this beautiful country, I can’t wait to have the chance to return one day!

{Waffle Wednesday} Trader Joe’s Ginger Snap Waffles

It seems like I’m constantly looking at food and ingredients and thinking, “I bet I could stick that in my waffle iron and make a waffle version of that.” Our family loves carbs and breakfast food like it’s our job, after all. So I’ve decided to channel those thoughts into a series called Waffle Wednesday, and I can’t think of a better way to kick it off than with a recipe using some of the most popular items from Trader Joe’s! Here in Birmingham, we are all counting down the days till our town gets its first island-themed grocery store; when AL.com broke the story exactly a year ago, I thought it was going to break the internet around here…it was shared over 200,000 times, and the opening event on Facebook has 4,000 RSVPs already!

The new location will be located in the old Banana Republic at The Summit Birmingham and currently slated to open October 13. Go ahead and follow The Summit on Instagram to stay up to date on the latest, and also because I have it on good authority that there might be some ways you can get your hands on Trader Joe’s famous Cookie Butter before opening ;)

Without further ado friends, let’s kick of Waffle Wednesday! (And comment below if there is you have any ideas of your own that you’d like to see in waffle form!)


Trader Joe’s Gingersnap Waffles
3/4 cup Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Pancake and Waffle Mix
1/2 cup water (the box calls for 1/4 cup, but since you’ll be adding extra ingredients, you’ll need a little more)
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg
A handful of Trader Joe’s Ginger Snap Cookies (I used about 8; the more you add the more flavor you’ll have!)
Extras: Trader Joe’s Maple Syrup, Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter (I used the Cocoa Swirl flavor…oh my!), and a few more cookies for crumbling

-Add the Ginger Snaps into your food processor, and whiz them till they are finely ground.
-Whisk egg, water, and melted butter till combined, then add Waffle Mix and ground Ginger Snaps
-Spray waffle iron with non-stick spray and scoop about 1/2 cup onto the center.
-Press till golden brown, and serve warm, topped with Cookie Butter, Maple Syrup, and extra Ginger Snaps. Also delicious served with Trader Joe’s Cold Brew Coffee!




I recently took a work-related trip to Nepal. While I was away, my husband wanted to reassure me that he and our daughter were having a great time and doing productive things together. I had no idea he had cooked up this idea in his head…though I’m not totally sure he knew either. Once it got rolling, everyone got such a kick out of their daily adventures. Since they only live on his Facebook page, I wanted to make sure they were corralled together in one place before they got lost in his Timeline.

And don’t worry friends who enjoyed this series, I’m going on a trip with my mom in January, and I’m sure these will resume!


August 31: Evie and I had so much fun playing at the power plant today. She’s such a camera hog. #ThingsToDoWhileMalindasAway


September 1: I took Evie to her first UFC event. She had fun, but was a little bummed she didn’t get to see any good submission holds. #ThingsToDoWhileMalindasAway


September 2: Evie and I tested our sea legs and dove with sharks. I started to get a little sea sick on the way out, but she smacked me on my back and said “Man up pansy.” #ThingsToDoWhileMalindasAway


September 3: Took Evie to the outdoor range. She no-scoped a bullseye at 100 yards….twice. #ThingsToDoWhileMalindasAway


September 4: Evie and I went skydiving. I told her I would only do it tandem – I was too scared to go solo. She said, “Would you like some cheese with that whine?” #ThingsToDoWhileMalindasAway


September 5: Evie got some ink yesterday. I asked her to maybe put down the donut and she responded, “Silence. Let Trevor do his work.” #ThingsToDoWhileMalindasAway


September 6: Evie said she wanted to hang out with her new friends. I’d never met them before, but Victor and Stephen seemed incredibly nice. #ThingsToDoWhileMalindasAway


September 7: Evie asked if we could go bowling. While I was reserving a lane, she b-lined it to the bar. I kept asking when we were actually going to bowl and she just said “I’ll be right there Dad.” I got the feeling she wasn’t being truthful with me, because every time I turned away I heard her snickering with these guys. #ThingsToDoWhileMalindasAway


September 8: Things have really gotten out of hand. We stopped at a convenience store to pick up some snacks. Evie picked up a candy bar and started to walk out. I said, “Aren’t you gonna pay for that?” She responded, “No. But we’re gonna…RUN!!!!!” We might have to lay low for a while. #ThingsToDoWhileMalindasAway

The adventures will resume January 14th, 2016…

{Morocco} Journey in the High Atlas Mountains + Ourika Valley

The Marrakesh Medina can be a dizzying place, so taking a day to visit the Ourika Valley in the High Atlas Mountains was a no-brainer for us. Our hotel made the arrangements, and we had a private car pick us up right at our Riad the morning we went. I think it was about $50 or $60 for the entire day, not including what we paid our Berber guide to help us up and down the mountain. (Which you can’t get up there by yourself, so definitely hire one of the locals!)

Maroc7 Maroc8Tourism is their biggest industry, and you will stop at an Argan oil maker/shop. But don’t worry, the oil is amazing and really expensive back home, so just enjoy your 20 or 30 minutes in a traditional Berber village, eat the samples, and enjoy the mint tea they’ll make for you. This sweet girl let me try my hand at cracking open the Argan nuts, which I was hilariously inept at doing.
Maroc9 Maroc11As touristic as it is, there are no big commercial kitchens making your tea here.
IMG_8772Maroc12 Dozens of restaurants dot the banks of the river en route. Work with your driver to make sure you eat a safe place; there are few refrigerators here :)Maroc13 Maroc14A small glimpse into traditional Berber life.
IMG_8777Maroc15The hike up to the waterfalls is beautiful and rewarding, but not easy! I wish I had packed some better shoes, but with the help of your local guide, they’ll literally carry you if you’re worried about making a misstep and twisting your ankle!Maroc17 It takes about 30 or 40 minutes to go up the mountain and see the largest of the Ouzoud Falls, but you’ll be rewarded with mint tea, beautiful scenery, and break from the heat! Maroc18 Maroc20 Maroc21 Me and our local Berber guide. This guy was awesome, I wish we were Facebook friends!Maroc22 Maroc23 Maroc24He was also our personal photographer all day, and had a knack for pointing and clicking at random times along the trail.
Maroc25 We enjoyed a traditional lunch on the riverbank, and it was a delicious and this picture is terrible. Maroc26

Final Morocco post coming up soon: my favorite place, the Jardin Majorelle!