Sunday, January 20, 2013

Books to Drool Over, Revived

I'd like to welcome back an old Worducopia series, Books to Drool Over, in which I write about the cookbooks that have caught my eye recently. Wow, it's been nearly two years since the last post in this series!

I used to say I liked to cook, but after sixteen years of feeding a family I now admit the truth: I like to eat, and I can't afford to eat out/buy take-out all the time. I also like to read cookbooks because they inspire me to be more creative in the kitchen and I get tired of my own cooking.

My 12 year old son isn't a picky eater but he's not enthralled with trying new recipes--he doesn't particularly enjoy going out to eat--it took me years to comprehend this--because he prefers to know what to expect when his plate arrives. He'd be happy with a regular rotation of grilled cheese and tomato soup, bean burritos, and spaghetti and meatballs, with a few fruits and vegetables thrown in for variety. My 16 year old doesn't much like beans and isn't crazy about tomato-based sauces. He'd survive quite well on a diet of Thai food and sushi, heavily supplemented with chips and salsa, Skittles, and Chewy Spree. Lunches are a challenge for this young man who will order a club sandwich in a restaurant but shuns a cold sandwich in his lunch bag.

I took Erin Chase's $5 Dinner Mom's Breakfast and Lunch Cookbook off the library shelf, hoping for some good ideas that would entice my family. The budget focus was an added bonus, although I soon realized that Erin's grocery price estimates aren't at all realistic for this century. (I don't care how many sales and coupons you use, unless you find a dead cow at the side of the road you will not bring home 3/4 pound of ground beef for $1.04! At least, not in Portland).

Will I use it? I immediately found recipes I wanted to try. For Christmas brunch I made an egg dish inspired by her Fiesta Breakfast Casserole, which was delicious. I also tried her Cream Cheese-Stuffed French Toast recipe that morning, which wasn't as successful. None of us really liked the combination of mashed bananas and cream cheese in the filling. I've rarely fixed a recipe that nobody in my family would finish off the next day, but this was definitely a throw-away-the-leftovers situation.

Ben requested waffles for his birthday breakfast last week, so I decided to try Erin's recipe for Buttermilk Waffles.

Buttermilk Waffles

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 Tbs. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk (I use Waco buttermilk powder, since it's easier to keep on hand)
Combine dry ingredients (I included the buttermilk powder with these). Add eggs, oil, and buttermilk (water in my case, since I used the buttermilk powder). Whisk until a smooth batter forms. Pour one cup of batter onto hot waffle iron and cook until done according to waffle iron instructions.

This one was definitely a hit. We loved the addition of cinnamon and brown sugar to the waffle batter, and they cooked up just right. 

Encore? Two out of the three recipes I tried were keepers, and there are plenty more that look good. I went back to the library for Erin's other cookbooks, so I am hoping to try some of her dinner ideas soon. Erin Chase blogs at and I look forward to trying some of the recipes on her website as well.

 Weekend Cooking, hosted by Beth Fish Reads is a weekly collection of food-related blog posts. If you have a blog and an interest in food, feel free to join in.


  1. My two sons are now in their 20s and they were not adventurous eaters when they were younger, but now they like to try new things. Hang in there!

  2. Our library has recently started offering ebooks for online check-out, and it has been fun to skim through some cookbooks. Library is definitely my choice now for sampling new cookbooks, if possible.

  3. Belated Happy Birthday to Ben, glad the waffles turned out good. Yeah, here in Wisconsin too, you're not getting too much ground beef for $1.04.

  4. I enjoyed reading about your culinary adventures. I am now craving waffles. Thankyouverymuch.

  5. I have this cookbook too and I agree that there are some great recipes in it. Can't wait to see more of your cookbooks.

  6. Thanks for the link to the recipe site. I'm always looking for good, easy ideas for my pretty picky kids. Only a few new recipes ever make it into the tried an true list.

  7. Great recipe - we are waffle fans here. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I love hte sound of this cookbook- and those waffles! :-)

  9. "I used to say I liked to cook, but after sixteen years of feeding a family I now admit the truth: I like to eat, and I can't afford to eat out/buy take-out all the time."<--This made me literally laugh out loud...because yes, I can relate all too well! :D Those waffles sound so darn good--I think we may just be trying out that recipe *very* soon.

  10. I've not given cookbooks their due over the years, but now that I try to cook at home FAR more, it's kind of necessary! This is one I'd like to try.