Now playing: “California Dreamin’,” the Mamas & the Papas

Once upon a time, my friends and I found ourselves in San Diego over Labor Day weekend. We’re the sort of people who like to lounge around, sleep in a bit, and then find a mouth-watering brunch spot, preferably a new-to-us kind of place, but the hitch to this particular weekend is that one of my best girlfriends is not only vegan, but recently gluten-free as well. (It wasn’t her choice, but she’s handling it.) For our first meal, I found a fantastic place that offered gluten-free pizza and pasta, and we were happy. Brunch, however, might have proved to be much more difficult…enter Snooze. Thanks to a quick Yelp search, we were able to find this haven of unbelievably delicious brunch and breakfast delights, including gluten-free pancakes! Sadly, the wait was over two hours, and my very pregnant sister couldn’t wait that long, so I had to postpone what would become the beginning of a beautiful friendship until later.

Fast forward several months, and I happily stumbled upon something delicious I could share with my food-challenged foodie friend: Surprisingly Vegan‘s seriously surprising, delicious gluten-free, vegan waffle mix. I first had a couple boxes sent to me to try, and then as soon as they turned out to be as fantastic as I’d hoped, I shipped one down to Bryn as a little Christmas treat to enjoy! (She doesn’t have a waffle maker, but now has an excuse to need one – I explained that they recommend a “real” waffler, not the Belgian kind. Her response? “Of course – more holes!” Let’s assume she meant for syrupy goodness, yes?)

just add water = instant gluten-free deliciousness!

just add water = instant gluten-free deliciousness!

this mix calls for a more "old school" (non-belgian) waffle maker

this mix calls for a more “old school” (non-belgian) waffle maker

The day I tried these yummy waffles for myself was a happy day. I’d planned in advance to concoct a perfect end-of-autumn pear syrup to go with them, which was wonderfully easy and so delicious! (Thank you, Tasty Kitchen!) Honestly, the only thing that took any real amount of time as far as the syrup was concerned was dicing the pears, and that wasn’t so bad. It never got very “syrupy” for me as I expected, but it was good to the last drop…which was a week or so later, over oatmeal chocolate chip pancakes…but I digress.

this chunky pear syrup was a perfect topping for a wintry brunch treat

this chunky pear syrup was a perfect topping for a wintry brunch treat

All I had to do was fry up a couple of eggs, warm up my favorite turkey sausage links, and press a fresh cup of coffee…mmmm, bliss.
the finished meal: turkey sausage links, eggs, and waffle-y delight with pear syrup

the finished meal: turkey sausage links, eggs, and waffle-y delight with pear syrup

The bottom line is simple: truthfully, “just add water” is a phrase I’d normally avoid. I’m the kind of girl who prides herself on creating delicious meals with (mostly) scratch-made ingredients. But if (Suprisingly Vegan’s) Isaac kindly went to all the trouble to concoct a simple, seven-ingredient (gluten-free oats, walnuts, flaxseed, coconut palm nectar, sea salt, and vanilla beans) ahead of time for me…who am I to begrudge him the simplicity of it all? This is one mix I’ll come back to, again and again. And yes – you can see by the end result of my meal that I’m neither vegan nor gluten-free. By which I mean, this isn’t just for “those” types of people. Tasty is tasty, and these waffles are wonderful. Thanks, Isaac!

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