About a month ago, I attended #SharingbytheShore, an intimate food blogger retreat held in Traverse City, Michigan. Over the past year, I’ve been to a few blogging retreats and always had a positive experience; this trip was no different.
You might be wondering why food bloggers have retreats. Well, it gives us the chance to connect, learn more about one another on a more personal level, laugh, eat, and share our blogging skills/experiences. Every one has a different work style, reason they blog and what they’re passionate about. Like any other industry, it’s important to get together and learn from one another (similar like you would at a conference).
I loved this retreat in particular because we were in such a gorgeous destination. Before attending, I had never been to Michigan before (except the Detroit airport). It was a five hour drive from Chicago and couldn’t have been more beautiful. And, the entire retreat was sponsored by Milk Means More — we couldn’t be more thankful for having such a kind, generous sponsor help us learn from one another.
I wish she could come cook for me every night of the week because not only were the fajitas magical, but she’s so very sweet and hilarious. (We even made snapchat singing videos together!)
The next evening we stopped in town to check out some great stop at Cherry Republic in Traverse City. Seriously it was amazing! There was cherry wine, cherry pizza, cherry candies, cherry tortilla chips, cherry EVERYTHING. I even purchased some spicy cherry BBQ sauce for Tony’s parents!
Best of all, Traverse City is all on the water. You can kind of see it in the background of this picture.
Here’s a picture of the blue cheese cherry fig bacon pizza from Cherry Republic. Such an insanely delicious combination that I might have to make it again.
We also ate at Aerie in Traverse City, which was fabulous. I enjoyed roasted chicken, dark chocolate sorbet and this delicious looking drink.
We really did have the best time together.
ALSO! I almost forgot to mention that we had a waffle bar one of the mornings filled with fresh fruit, yogurt and crispy golden waffles. I haven’t stopped dreaming about those waffles since, and obviously I needed to crush that craving. So… I present you whole wheat waffles, but not just any whole wheat waffle — ones that are jazzed up with carrot cake and pineapple flavors.
Plus don’t forget about a simple MAPLE CREAM CHEESE GLAZE. Not trying to shout at you, but just seriously excited about how much it takes these waffles over the top.
You need to absolutely make these waffles ASAP. I upped the protein in the recipe by using a low-fat plain Kefir (packed with probiotics) but you could sub buttermilk if you’d like. Sometimes I add in 1/2 cup of zucchini to the batter too — but no more!
Best of all? These are freezer friendly. Yep, you can make the waffles ahead then pop them in the toaster when you have a serious waffle craving.
- Serves: 3 large Belgian waffles
- Serving size: 1/2 of 1 large Belgian waffle
- Calories: 297
- Fat: 7.1g
- Carbohydrates: 30.6g
- Sugar: 9.9g
- Fiber: 4.1g
- Protein: 8g
- 1 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups finely shredded carrots
- 2 tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons melted and cooled coconut oil (can also use melted butter)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 1/3 cups low-fat plain Kefir
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- FOR THE MAPLE CREAM CHEESE GLAZE:
- 4 oz reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup 100% pure maple syrup
- Preheat Belgian waffle iron.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt.
- In a separate large bowl, stir together carrots, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla and eggs until well combined. Slowly stir in Kefir. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Slowly fold in pineapple (and nuts/raisins, if you are using).
- Spray waffle iron generously with nonstick cooking spray then about 1 cup of the batter in to the iron and spread out a bit to the sides. Cook waffles according to the manufacturers instructions.
- While waffles cook, in a small saucepan, add maple syrup and cream cheese and place over low heat; stirring until it becomes smooth and creamy. Once waffles are done cooking, serve with a drizzle of the maple cream cheese glaze. Makes 3 large belgian waffles, 6 servings total (1/2 belgian waffle each).
Nutrition for the glaze: Serving (1/6th of recipe or about 2 tablespoons): Calories: 86 | Fat 4.4g | Carbs: 10.1g | Sugar 10.1g | Protein 1.9g |
If you like, you can sub 1/2 cup of carrots for 1/2 cup of zucchini -- it's delicious!
This post is sponsored by Milk Means More. Learn more at MilkMeansMore.org | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | I
Thanks also to the following brands for providing us goodies during our retreat – Door to Door Organics, Sabra, Traverse City Tourism, Bob’s Red Mill, Bonne Maman Jam, KitchenIQ, Fair Trade USA, Printable Wisdom, More Sprinkled Joy, KitchenAid and Le Creuset.