Zucchini Stovetop Oatmeal

ucchini Stovetop Oatmeal

Have I sunk to a new low?  Am I really writing a post about how to cook oatmeal?  In all fairness, a year or two back, I was still only making overnight oats because I had no idea how to cook hot oatmeal, and much less with zucchini.  When I was growing up, my mom used to cook oatmeal in a way that involved way too much water so the oatmeal would boil and be left swimming in murky liquid.  It was often super mushy, too.  Like, when people associate oatmeal with being old people’s food, that is because they have suffered through bland, mushy oatmeal.  I was one of those people but I’ve come out on the other side with a revived interest in stovetop oatmeal.

zucchini stovetop oatmeal

No offense to my mama’s wonderful cooking, she just never measured.  Dishes don’t necessarily come out well or consistent if you don’t measure.  That is why I looked to Rachael’s Good Eats when I wanted to cook up some real good oatmeal.  Not just any oatmeal though—oatmeal with vegetables!  You’ve seen me throw zucchini into smoothies here and here but oatmeal may be my favorite way to use zucchini.

zucchini stovetop oatmeal

I’ve been taste-testing bowls of oatmeal over the past few months and I have finally found a method I like.  Rachael’s recipe calls for a little bit less oats and a scoop of protein powder.  That works as long as the protein powder you’re using tastes good.  Though, personally, I’d rather not add protein powder because it can overpower the flavor of oatmeal.  I use flax and chia seeds to bulk up the oatmeal and give it creaminess without mushiness.  Then comes the zucchini: an undetectable but healthful addition.  You could totally leave it out and the oatmeal would still be awesome but I promise it’s so worthwhile to try it with zucchini!  It makes me look forward to eating oatmeal! 🙂

zucchini stovetop oatmeal with toppings

As always, let me know if you give this a try by dropping a comment down below or hit me up on Instagram!

Zucchini Stovetop Oatmeal
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Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Oatmeal
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Serves: 1
This quick-to-make oatmeal is anything but mushy. The rolled oats are flaky and the seeds add a creaminess. The contrasting textures perfectly compliment each other. Plus, there is a sneaky serving of veggies!
Ingredients
  • I/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp ground flaxseeds
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup shredded zucchini
  • ¼ cup almond milk, for serving
Instructions
  1. In a small pot, heat half a cup of water on the stove. Once boiling, add in the rolled oats and cook for 1 minute on high, then, reduce heat to med.
  2. After the oats have started to absorb some water, sprinkle in the chia, flax, and cinnamon and stir, stir, stir! It is important to incorporate the seeds well so that they don’t clump. They will begin to gel and make the oatmeal creamy without compromising the texture of the rolled oats.
  3. Once incorporated, stir in the zucchini and cook for about 2 more minutes on medium before taking the pot off the heat. It may look like a measly amount of oatmeal but here’s where the magic happens: put the oatmeal into a bowl and pour the almond milk over it, stirring to incorporate. The hot oatmeal soaks up the milk and fluffs up nicely.
  4. Add addition milk if desired and your choice of toppings.
Notes
I topped my oatmeal with ½ cup strawberries, 1 tbsp Wild Friends Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter, 2 tbsp granola, and ½ tbsp flaked coconut.

 

Banana Tahini Shake – My current FAVE

Alright, alright, alright!  How is everyone doing today?  It is Tuesday and it’s time to break out the tahini! Can that be a thing?  Move over tacos, it’s Tahini Tuesday! XD

Banana Tahini Shake

It’s no secret that smoothies are my favorite thing ever and if I can sneak some vegetables in them, that’s even better.  Too much fruit in a smoothie can spike my blood sugar and leave me crashing with hanger mid-morning.  That doesn’t mean fruit is a no-go, it just means I need to include a little something extra to stabilize my energy and keep hunger at bay.  A recent discovery that I’ve made in regards to my smoothies is the power of HEALTHY FATS.

I used to be so scared of using oil or eating peanut butter and avocados (not necessarily together), but now I know that a moderate amount of fat is A-okay!  I eat mostly plant-based so when I include healthy fats, I add a satiating element to my meals, too.

Banana Tahini Shake

So, back to the Banana Tahini Shake!  Technically it could fall under the “smoothie” category but it is so rich and comforting that it feels like a shake to me.  Shakes are usually loaded up with ice cream, dairy milk, and sugar but mine is sweetened with banana.  It’s more than healthy enough for breakfast for sure!  Plus, the addition of tahini really helps round out the smoothie/shake.  It is…

Uniquely satisfying,

Subtly sweet,

And perfectly thick.

I have been digging this for weeks now and I’m very excited to share it!  Let me know if you try it out 🙂

Banana Tahini Shake Header

 

Banana Tahini Shake
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Recipe type: Breakfast
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Serves: 1
Zucchini adds fiber, tahini adds satiating fats, and banana brings home the sweetness in this simple Banana Tahini Shake.
Ingredients
  • ¼ large frozen zucchini (about ½ cup chopped)
  • 1 med frozen banana
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • a dash of black pepper
  • ½ inch knob of fresh ginger, frozen (I like the zestiness of it but you can sub ground)
  • 1-2 tbsp of tahini,
  • 1 serving of plant-based protein powder, optional
  • ¾ cup - 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • Barbaras Bakery Puffins or other cereal, optional
Instructions
  1. Add zucchini, banana, and ginger to a blender or food processor and ¾ cup of almond milk. Blend away! Then add the spices, tahini, and protein powder. Add more milk, if needed.
  2. Serve the smoothie in a glass with some low-sugar cereal of choice, if desired. Best enjoyed with a spoon and straw.

Blueberry Coconut Smoothie Bowl

On cold days, on rainy days, on sunny days, or cloudy days, I will always be in the mood for a smoothie.  In fact, the jury is still out on whether I consume more smoothies in winter months or summertime.

Blueberry Coconut Smoothie Bowl

On a slightly related side note:

there was a lot of mud from the previous night’s rain when I made this smoothie bowl.  I didn’t let that stop me from marching outside in my boots to snap a picture. 🙂 The lighting is much better outdoors!  Plus, my neighbors would probably wonder where I’m at if they didn’t see me go outside to take a picture of my breakfast.  You know, ‘cause that’s the usual these days.

Anyway, this photo is from a while back but I’ve had this for breakfast a number of times since.  I rarely make the same smoothie twice but there is something particularly crave-worthy about blueberries that makes me want to have them in a smoothie several days in a row.  This simple smoothie is the best way to make that happen.

Blueberry Coconut Smoothie
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Recipe type: Breakfast, Smoothie
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Serves: 1 smoothie
Creamy coconut milk combines with frozen banana and blueberries to make a delicious rich and tropical smoothie.
Ingredients
  • 1 medium to large banana, frozen
  • ¾ cup of blueberries, frozen
  • ¼ cup of canned coconut milk
  • 1 serving of protein powder (optional)
  • Toppings: granola, blueberries, ground flax, coconut flakes
Instructions
  1. If using protein powder, add that to the blender first, followed by the coconut milk and frozen fruit.
  2. The smoothie might be tough to blend but it's perfectly thick with a small amount of liquid. Add a tablespoon of additional milk to the blender if the mixture is not budging.
  3. Scoop the smoothie contents into a bowl and add the recommended toppings, or, simply some coconut flakes to jazz up the tropical factor.
Notes
Prep time does not include freezing the fruit. A very necessary step for the ultimate creamy smoothie!

Simple Coffee Protein Smoothie

I’d like to say that my love for smoothies knows no season but I found myself slipping away from them during the wintertime.  I felt cravings for fresh fruit and creamy flavors but opted for breakfasts of oatmeal most days, instead.  If the weather seemed mild, I’d make a cup of hot tea and drink my smoothie underneath a blanket on my couch.  The hot and cold drinks allowed me to sip on my beloved smoothie without turning my insides into ice cubes.

Now that the worst of the cold days are behind us, I am sharing one of my favorite smoothies that I was sipping in the winter and into spring.  It is also the perfect pick-me-up any time of year.  Coffee is special like that 🙂

Simple Coffee Protein Smoothie

I usually opt to drink decaf most of the time because the caffeine from coffee is almost impossible for me to tolerate.  Call me a wimp but I just feel jittery and unstable after a mere half cup.  You can totally use regular coffee but make sure it is cooled first because, otherwise, it might melt the ice cubes and reduce the frostiness of the smoothie.  Oh, and do not pass up on the ice cubes! They really make all the difference in this frosty smoothie.

Notice the keyword: frosty.  I can’t stand thin, watery smoothies.  Super thick and creamy is how I like ‘em usually.  The exception is this smoothie.  It isn’t quite as thick or richly creamy, but it is frosty! It is a very refreshing choice and way healthier than a frappuccino, just saying.

As always, leave me a comment if you try it out.  I’d like to know what smoothies you’re drinking on these spring days.

Simple Coffee Protein Smoothie

Simple Coffee Protein Smoothie
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Recipe type: Breakfast, Snacks
Cuisine: American, Vegetarian, Vegan
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Serves: 1 smoothie
Adapted from a Tone it Up recipe, this Coffee Smoothie is easy to make and full of frosty deliciousness!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of decaf/coffee ice cubes, about 5 cubes*
  • ½ large banana, frozen
  • ½ cup of decaf or regular coffee, cooled
  • ½ cup of cashew milk**
  • 2 scoops of Chocolate Protein Powder***
Instructions
  1. If you have a strong blender, then toss all of the ingredients in and blend away!
  2. If not, I’d recommend blitzing the ice cubes with the coffee and banana first. Then, add in the cashew milk and protein powder. Once it looks like it is all combined and starting to get a little frothy, you are done. Drink up!
Notes
Prep time does not include freezing the ice cubes or brewing coffee
*Simply, pour brewed coffee into an ice cube try and let freeze overnight.
**Can sub other milk but I like the creaminess of cashew milk
***I used Nuzest USA’s plant-based Chocolate Protein Powder. Not all protein powders get frothy when blended. For example, I don’t recommend ALOHA in this smoothie. You can sub other plant-based powders like Perfect Fit but there may be slight variations in thickness.

Live Nomva Smoothie Packs Review

Recently, I got the opportunity to sample several of Live Nomva’s probiotic smoothie packs.  These little packs are pure health pureed into a drinkable form.  I find them perfect for on-the-go and also an easy way to squeeze (literally!) some healthy fruits and veggies into my day.

Live Nomva Smoothie Packs
Photo from Live Nomva’s website

I tried out the following smoothie pack flavors:

KALE YEAH

STRAWNANA

TROPICARROT

APPLESTACK

EVERBERRY

At the time I tried these out, they had not yet release their ISLANDTIME flavor.   Nonetheless, I really liked the flavors I did try!  They’re basically like applesauce in texture but better! The packs are made with awesome ingredients ranging from banana to kale to apples to quinoa.

To begin with, the TROPICARROT flavor was probably my favorite.  It is made of pineapple, carrot, mango, and pear.  Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of how I used that pack because I literally guzzled that baby down in a minute because it was that good!  For all of the other flavors (that I could exercise a bit more restraint with) I managed to take some pictures:

STRAWNANA Live Nomva Smoothie Pack Chia Pudding Parfait

The STRAWNANA flavor went excellently in a coconut chia pudding, granola, and strawberries parfait that I put together.

EVERBERRY Live Nomva Smoothie Pack Chia Pudding Parfait

I also used their EVERBERRY flavor as a layer in yet another chia pudding parfait.  I mixed in some Puffins cereal, strawberries, and kiwi this time.  Super yum!

Admittedly, you could make your own smoothie and use that in a parfait but it’s hard to make just a small amount of smoothie.  So, these packs are the perfect size!!  I love adding the Nomva smoothie packs to parfaits and other concoctions but they are so delicious on their own.  Plus, they are free from dairy, tree nuts, preservatives, or anything funky.  Pure organic fruit and vegetables + vegan friendly probiotics!

Let’s talk about the probiotics for a sec.  As a mostly plant-based eater, I do not consume yogurt regularly.  That used to be my main source of probiotics.  Sometimes I drink kombucha or eat sauerkraut but these Live Nomva smoothies are totally easy and safe to consume daily because they are made with wholesome, organic produce.  Now, I can get behind that.

Live Nomva KALE YEAH: Productivity Fuel

Twice, I tried the KALE YEAH flavor on an occasion when I felt like I needed a pick-me-up but my stomach was feeling a bit off.  All of the nutritious ingredients and probiotics definitely helped me feel reenergized!

Check out the Live Nomva website to see more about their smoothie pack flavors and find out where you can buy them locally.  I believe you can even get a $1 off coupon to try out their product when you visit their website.

Have you guys tried the Nomva smoothie packs?  If so, what did you think?  As always, I’d love to hear your opinions.

Xoxo,

Melanie

 

DISCLAIMER: The Live Nomva smoothie packs were sent to me as a giveaway prize package.  I am not under any obligation to promote or endorse this product.  I truly enjoyed them so I just want to share my review.

Zucchini Smoothie Bowl

Zucchini Smoothie Bowl

When I was younger, I was not a fan of vegetables.  Like, at all.  Occasionally I would eat salad out of necessity to add color to my plate.  Though, I was definitely disappointed to learn that my favorite tomatoes and potatoes were not really even actual vegetables!

I’ve come a long way since then.

Heck, I’m all about the plant-based lifestyle these days.

Zucchini Smoothie Bowl

I am a big fan of fruit and always have been.  Though, I know I can go a little overboard on it sometimes so I’m making efforts to incorporate more vegetables into my meals.  Lunch and dinner are easier but breakfast is not usually the place this sweets-lover thinks of eating a vegetable.

A handful of greens can usually sneak by in a smoothie but there’s no disguising the taste.  Zucchini, on the other hand, is basically water.  When frozen, the zucchini adds some frosty thickness to any smoothie or, my fave, a smoothie bowl.

It’s the perfect bowl for getting in some vegetables and keeping sugar intake low.

Many times smoothie bowls can pack a sugar punch but not this one.  You may want to opt for some sweet toppings or peanut butter 😜 because the bowl itself isn’t very sweet.  Let me know what you think if you try it out!

Zucchini Smoothie Bowl

Zucchini Smoothie Bowl
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Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Vegan, Vegetarian
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Serves: 1 smoothie bowl
A great smoothie bowl for getting in some veggies, greens, berries, and fruit all in one. Yet, it is lower in sugar than traditional fruit-only smoothies. Many times smoothie bowls can pack a sugar punch but not this one. Opt for a few sweet toppings on top, instead.
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup water, beet juice, or milk of choice
  • 1 small handful of baby kale (1/2 cup)
  • 1 serving of protein powder (I used Nativas Naturals Vanilla)
  • ½ medium frozen zucchini (chopped into 3-4 pieces to make it easier on your blender)
  • 1 medium frozen banana, ripe is best
  • ¼-1/3 cup blackberries, fresh or frozen
  • Topping ideas: kiwi, granola, ground flax, or peanut butter
Instructions
  1. Add the liquid (I used beet juice) and kale to the blender first. Blitz until the leaves are broken down.
  2. Then, add in the protein powder, slices of zucchini, banana, and blackberries. Blend thoroughly. (My blender isn't the strongest but it was able to process the ingredients without added liquid. Feel free to add a tablespoon or two of water if your blender needs some help.)
  3. Pour the smoothie into a bowl and top with some of your favorite goods and eat!
Notes
Prep time does not include freezing time for the banana or zucchini

Gingerbread Stovetop Oats with Cashew Cream

Gingerbead Oatmeal

Today I was reading about NASA’s recent discovery of exoplanets that may be similar to our planet Earth.  It seems that they are in a prime zone for habitation and may even have oceans.  See the article here.  I don’t avidly follow space and scientific findings but something about the excitement surrounding the discovery of the planets really cheered me up this morning.  I think the optimism about the possibility that life may exist elsewhere is a really neat thought.  It is a wild thought but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

I have something a little less wild and not very space-related to share with you today: Gingerbread Oatmeal!

I know we are in the month February but who says the gingerbread flavors are only for November/December?  I’m still totally digging spiced flavors in my breakfast!

I must admit, I’m usually a much bigger fan of overnight oats than I am of warm, cooked oats.  It’s a texture thing.  One exception is this recipe for gingerbread oatmeal.  The molasses and spices are so comforting and delicious that it would be a crime not to try them warm!

Another factor that kept me from liking hot oatmeal in the past was the bland taste of it.  I felt it was necessary to add sugar to make it taste like something!  Hold your horses because there is NO sugar needed for this recipe.  We’re using the au natural sweetness of banana 😀  Then, we top off the oatmeal with some fruit of your choosing ( I like pear) and some delectable cashew cream.  I say we soak some cashews NOW so that we can whip up the cashew cream and this oatmeal for breakfast tomorrow! 😉  Who’s with me?!

Gingerbread Stovetop Oats with Cashew Cream
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Recipe type: Breakfast
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Serves: 1 bowl
A warm bowl of oatmeal, sweetened with banana, and bursting with the flavors of molasses and gingerbread spices. A comforting breakfast for one or double up, as needed, to serve more. Top with fruit of choice and cashew cream.
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup rolled oats
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 1 medium banana (half mashed, the other half sliced)*
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp ginger
  • ⅛ tsp nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp allspice
  • ⅛ tsp cloves (optional)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp ground flax seeds
  • Cashew milk or milk of choice, for serving
  • Sliced pear, optional
  • Cashew cream**, for serving (see notes for recipe)
Instructions
  1. Add the water to a small pot and bring to a boil. Then, add the oats, mashed banana, spices, vanilla, and molasses. Turn down the heat to a medium level.
  2. After about two minutes, once most of the water has been absorbed, stir in the flax and chia seeds until well-dispersed and cook on low for one additional minute.
  3. Take the oatmeal off the heat and let sit for a minute. This is important because the banana makes the oatmeal retain a lot of heat so it will be REALLY HOT if you dig into it right away.
  4. Serve oatmeal with the other half of the banana, sliced pear, a small pour of milk, and a scoop of cashew cream.
Notes
*If desired, applesauce could be substituted for the banana in the recipe.

**You will have leftover cashew cream if making this recipe to go with the gingerbread oatmeal.

Cashew Cream recipe is as follows:
¾ cup raw cashews
1/3 cup water, plus more for soaking
1 ½ tbsp maple syrup
¾ tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt or kosher salt

Simply place cashews in a bowl and fill with water until they are covered. Let them soak to soften. I recommend soaking cashews overnight in the fridge but between 2-6 hours is all that is necessary. Once cashews have softened and expanded, empty the soaking water and add them to a blender or food processor. Blend up the cashews until crumbly, then add ⅓ water, the maple syrup, vanilla, and salt. The resulting thickness will depend on the power of your blender or food processor. I left mine a bit clumpy but blend until desired consistency is achieved.

Cashew cream yields about 3 servings of ¼ cup portions.

NOTE: Prep time does not include soaking time for the cashews.

 

Let’s embrace the last days of winter and enjoy the warm spices of gingerbread!

Valentine’s Day Smoothie Bowl

Valentine's Day Smoothie Bowl

Hey, so, call me cheesy, but I made a Valentine’s Day themed smoothie bowl.  I felt inspired by a smoothie I saw on Miami Wellness Club that used beets.  You might have seen my smoothie bowl on my Instagram but I thought I’d catalog this recipe here on my blog.

I experimented with some beet juice that I had from Love Beets and used that as the liquid to get this beauty happening.  You could also use the soaking liquid from home-cooked beets or plain nut milk.  It is healthy, fruity, and made a meal with some protein powder.  I used vanilla but I bet chocolate protein powder would taste equally delicious. Valentine's Day Smoothie Bowl

Let me know if you try this smoothie recipe out!

Valentine's Day Smoothie Bowl
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Recipe type: Breakfast
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Serves: 1 smoothie
A bright pink (or red) smoothie bowl in honor of Valentine's Day. It's healthy and fruit-filled and makes for the perfect breakfast.
Ingredients
  • 1 small frozen banana
  • ½ cup frozen raspberries
  • ½ cup sliced & frozen strawberries
  • 1 serving of vanilla plant-based protein powder
  • ½ cup Love Beets organic beet juice, more if needed
  • Toppings: strawberries, raspberries, granola (optional)
Instructions
  1. Add the protein powder to the blender first, followed by the beet juice and frozen fruit.
  2. The smoothie might be tough to blend but pause your blender and push down on the sides of the mixture to help it combine.
  3. Once blended, scoop the smoothie contents into a bowl with some toppings, or, simply enjoy as a smoothie on its own.

Crispy Aquafaba Protein Waffles

If you’ve ever cracked open a can of beans and wondered what the purpose of the smelly liquid is, you’re not alone.  I know the liquid helps preserve the beans for storage but, otherwise, that liquid is just useless, right?  Think again!  Aquafaba, or the murky beige liquid that comes packed in garbanzo bean and white bean cans, can be used for a surprising multitude of purposes.

Now, just to clarify, I do not subscribe to a specific way of eating but I do aim to be as plant-based as possible.

With that being said, I have finally perfected a vegan waffle that utilizes aquafaba. That may sound weird but stay with me here.

In reading, I learned that aquafaba can be used as a binder in place of eggs in baking.  I have dabbled in that and gotten mixed results.  I cannot say that subbing aquafaba for eggs works all the time but, when it does, it adds a great lift to baked goods.  In waffles, the aquafaba helps the batter rise up into all of the nooks and crannies of the waffle iron.  It creates a very structured—not soggy!—waffle 🙂

I call these protein waffles because I use a scoop of ALOHA vanilla plant-based protein powder in them, though they can be made without.  Perhaps with a pinch of raw cane or coconut sugar added.  I highly recommend the protein powder if you can use it.  Alternatively, if plain waffles, sans-protein powder, are your thing, you can still use aquafaba and I’ll add some notes below the post for how you can sub out the protein.  I am also a fan of whole grain wheat flour though these can be made gluten free with a little tinkering.  Again, see the notes.

Now, onto the recipe!

Crispy Aquafaba Protein Waffles
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Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Vegan
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1 waffle
An easy waffle recipe that utilizes aquafaba, aka the beans' cooking liquid, to make crisp, egg-free, and dairy-free waffles. I like to use protein powder in them but the waffles can also be made entirely of your flour of choice.
Ingredients
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbs flaxmeal + 2.5 tbs water)
  • ½ cup aquafaba (plus 2 tbs, if needed)*
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 scoop of ALOHA vanilla protein powder or other plant-based protein powder**
  • ⅓ cup whole wheat flour***
Instructions
  1. Make flax egg by adding flax and water to a small bowl. Let set for 5 minutes. You may prepare your waffle iron during this time by spraying it with nonstick cooking spray or melting a teaspoon of coconut oil into the iron. Preheat iron to desired temperature. A medium to high heat setting works best.
  2. Add aquafaba, baking powder, vanilla, protein powder, and whole wheat flour to the flax egg. Stir just until the consistency reaches a thick but well-incorporated batter. If using whole wheat flour you may need to add the 2 extra tablespoons of aquafaba.
  3. Place batter directly into the center of the waffle iron and seal it. Cook until the waffle iron signifies the waffle is cooked. Mine takes about 5 minutes.
  4. Carefully remove waffle from waffle iron and cool for a few seconds. I like to toss the waffle between my hands just to release the excess heat. Add toppings of choice!
Notes
*Aquafaba from home-cooked beans can also be used.

**Instead of using 1 scoop of a plant-based protein powder you can just use additional flour for a total of ½ cup of flour.

**For a gluten free waffle, replace the flour with oat flour and 2 teaspoons of coconut flour. Additionally, the protein may be subbed out for a total of ½ cup oat flour and 1 tbsp coconut flour. Do not leave out the coconut flour—it is really helpful to give the waffle structure.

DISCLAIMER: I am not being sponsored or compensated by ALOHA for talking about their product. I am merely a fan of their protein powder.