Ever find yourself feeling anxious the moment you have a free minute to yourself? You start thinking, “I know I’m forgetting something, but what is it?” That moment where you’d like to relax, but somehow know you’re not quite due to relax . . .
Well, it’s been rare for me to even have a moment like that lately. I’ve been lucky to get a shower before 10:30 p.m. or do my toenails more than every three months. Maintenance has gone downhill, but that is to be expected during our busy season of planting corn and soybeans as well as shipping out and receiving more cattle. Planting season was finally over on May 28, and we were finished shipping out cattle on the week that my daughter had her last day of kindergarten. We were excited to see that busy season come (and the warmer weather that it brought with it), but we were excited to see it end, as well. Now we’re receiving cattle, but they are trickling in now rather than filling up the yards quickly. Perhaps, summer could start being relaxing?
Keeping the kids tamed down and keeping a smoothly-running household while my husband is busy and working late or odd hours at work is challenging. May was a rough month. Now that I have both kids home 24/7 for the summer, working from home is a bit more difficult. I had two clients who needed logos and some other design work done, of which, I worked on before my kids woke up, during their naps (if they took naps consistently, that is) and after they went to bed at night. Needless to say, I was a teensy bit tired and frazzled from the lack of total focus. My mom says I make it look easy juggling everything. That is a compliment even more so coming from another farmer’s wife who “gets it.”
On top of my husband’s normal, yet wild work schedule, he’s been cooking steaks and burgers for the cattlemen’s group (of which, he’s a member of). They have several events like this in June, so once planting season is over, the cattlemen’s events start. Wouldn’t you know it? It’s a great group, but I greatly miss my husband during these on-going busy seasons. Plus, it sure helps when he’s around more to help me manage our quarrelsome children (they bicker about 70 percent of the time). I remember those arguments with my siblings back in the day. Sorry, Mom! I feel your pain.
Keeping up with my kids’ enormous amount of energy is challenging, too. My kids are anything but couch potatoes. I swear the television is only turned on for “kid shows” once a week. Now that school is out, I’ve been trying to reel in the kids for breakfast before they escape to the backyard to play in the mornings. Trying to be “super mom” and have epic summer day specials like afternoons of water fights, water slides, treehouse sleepovers, tea parties and ice cream cones on the deck, side walk paint galore, etc. has been rewarding but also a little bit of sacrifice in feeling like I’ve accomplished anything important. Trust me—I know those memories are the most important thing to accomplish on any given day, but the immediate result for me is that feeling of, “When am I ever going to get this laundry list of to-do’s done?!”
Well, when I have those little anxious moments despite an otherwise good day, I like to take my mind off things by making a new or favorite recipe. April and May were full of yummy dishes sent out in to-go boxes for the guys during planting season. During the month of shipping out cattle, I tried out a new recipe—Hash Brown Waffles. I mentioned it my post about the easy breakfast casserole I made for the guys at the feedlot on their early mornings of shipping out cattle. I attempted making them on a deep Belgian waffle iron, of which, I mentioned the results in that post, as well. Not great. Delicious? Yes. Easily removed from a deep waffle iron? Definitely not! I also said in that post that I was going to buy myself a square shallow waffle iron as a Mother’s Day present to myself (for the very purpose of hash brown waffles). You know . . . the type of gift that keeps on giving? However, I could not deny my frugal nature and decided to hold off and try out the hash brown waffle cooking method on my daughter’s princess waffle maker (She happened to get this specifically themed, non gender neutral waffle maker from a friend at her birthday party last year. It ended up working out okay in face of my initial reaction being, “Great . . . another appliance to fill up the shelves in my pantry.” I do indeed use it all school year long for making toaster-sized waffles to reheat from the freezer each morning.)
The funny part was when I made her a regular buttery fluffy waffle on it after using it to cook the hash brown waffles, and she said, “Mom, this tastes . . . different.” Remnant flavor from the hash brown seasoning was the culprit. Oops! It just took an extra set of waffles to be cooked on it again to clear the residual hash brown flavor.
The princess waffle maker was perfect for cooking and removing the hash brown waffles easily. I made them all ahead the night before the guys were to ship cattle in the morning in order to save myself some added stress in our school morning routine. I figured as long as I flipped the waffle over (princess crown or castle facedown), the guys at the feedlot would never know they were eating such girly waffles. And they didn’t.
I hope you enjoy this savory make-ahead breakfast side just as much as our guys at the feedlot did! If they liked runny yolks, I would’ve served a fried or poached egg on top. But they are very picky, so I stuck to making the usual scrambled eggs. 😉
HASH BROWN WAFFLES
SERVES: 20 Hash Brown Waffles
- 1 (30-ounce) bag (about 10 cups) of frozen shredded hash browns, thawed
- 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
- 4 eggs, beaten
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound of sausage, cooked (about 2 cups) optional
Depending on the size of your square waffle iron, add a compliant amount of the mixture per square on the waffle iron (about 1/4 cup per square) and cook for 6 minutes on the max level of heat. (See recipe note #4 below for make-ahead options.)
Recipe note #1: Do not use a Belgian style waffle iron! I naively attempted this and the hash browns got stuck into the deep grooves of my waffle iron. Square waffle irons have shallower grooves allowing you to easily remove a waffle-ized hash brown, whereas, a Belgian waffle is apparently strictly meant to be filled with batter for fluffy buttery waffles. That being said, this is on my wishlist: Cuisinart Waffle Maker with Removable Plates.
Recipe note #2: During the holidays, you might want to make the full recipe of waffle hash browns, but I wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to cut it in half. If you do, I have another recipe where I use the other half of the bag of frozen hash browns in a breakfast casserole.
Recipe note #3: Using a cast iron or non-stick skillet, you could easily make potato pancakes with the hash brown mixture, as well.
Recipe note #4: You can make the mixture ahead and refrigerate so that all you have to do is cook them fresh on waffle iron in the morning. Otherwise, you can cook them ahead on the waffle iron, and then cool and refrigerate overnight. Just place them on a cookie sheet in the morning and reheat at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 to 15 minutes.