Vegan and Gluten-Free Pancake and Waffle Mix

December 27, 2021
Today, I tried a vegan and gluten free waffle recipe to use with my new Waffle Wow waffle maker Kawaii Snacks edition (Kawaii Fun Snacks Mini Waffle Maker - 7 Different Food Emoji Designs Featuring an Avocado, Pizza, Ramen, Taco & More) that I received as a Christmas gift this year by a family member. This waffle maker makes cute shapes that are so exciting for the kids!

I typically don't do anything extra when I am making waffles instead of pancakes, recipe wise, so I am going into this with the same approach for vegan and gluten-free pancakes/waffles.

I found two recipes that I wanted to use and came up with something taking inspiration from the two. Here were the recipes: and One of them used vegetable oil. I used olive oil instead because of a corn-allergy in the family. Another difference is: one of them used baking powder and soda while the other one uses dry active yeast. I'm using dry active yeast. 

My Ingredients List used for this vegan and gluten-free waffles:

  • 1.5 cups of Gluten Free 1 to 1 Bob Mill's Flour
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 1 packet of dry active yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon of dark brown cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of flax seed meal
  • .5 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of warm almond milk (unsweetened)
  • 1 cup of water
  • Olive Oil for greasing the waffle maker
My son liked it but I think I may cut down or omit the flaxseeds for my next try next time. I felt like it was not as fluffy as I would've liked but my kid did not mind it at all. I didn't proof the yeast this time for this recipe and I wonder if that would change the texture to more fluffy if I had proofed it before adding to my batch? I've looked online for this answer and some would say it wouldn't matter, while others recommend proofing first before using.


First, I mixed the first 7 ingredients above in a mixing bowl. Then, I warmed up the almond milk because one of the recipes did that and I was curious. (I may not warm that next time.) I added the almond milk to the mixing bowl that I had my other 7 ingredients in already and mixed the bowl again. Then, I added another cup of water as the batter still looked really dry. I may cut this down to just 1/2 cup of water next time to change the texture a bit.

After that, I warmed up my Waffle Wow waffle maker and when ready, I poured the batter and cooked each batch for 4 minutes. I'm saving some for tomorrow as it turned out to be a big batch for one sitting. They are so fun! My son said he thinks it tastes just like regular pancakes. I took that sign as a win! I served it with a side of maple syrup for dipping.

Note: We're not a vegan family. We're just eating more plant-based food to help with a health issue as many vegan recipes help support less inflammation.

Look at other successful recipes that I've tried under the Vegan category.

Second Take (12/31/21 Update)

It's New Year's Eve and I decided to try again!

Things that I did differently this time:
  • This time I proof my packet of yeast for 15 minutes before putting it in my batter. My proofing was mixing 1/4 cup of warm water, 1 packet of dry yeast and 1 teaspoon on sugar. Last time, I didn't proof at all and just put the packet of yeast directly into my batter
  • I also pre-mixed the flax seed meal ten minutes before I put it in the batter. My pre-mix was: 1 teaspoon of flax seed meal and 3 tablespoons of water. Last time, I used 2 teaspoons of flax seed meal and put it directly into the batter. 
  • I also did not add the 1 cup of water in the 9th item under the Ingredients List because there was enough water from my yeast proofing and flax seed meal mixes.
Even with the changes I made, it didn't make my batter fluffier. The texture and taste were still the same and my kid still enjoyed them.

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Vegan and Gluten-free Sugar Cookies for Santa This Year

December 24, 2021
Merry Christmas Eve!

This year, Santa is going to be served vegan cookies.

2021 brought a lot of changes in our home: one of them is a family member started having health-related issues and we had to change and be mindful of what we bring to the dinner table.

Because of this new change, I've learned to bake and cook with more vegan products. Notably, we are not a vegan family but we're just bringing in more vegan meals and focusing more on a plant-based diet to help with a health issue. I hope Santa will like our vegan gluten-free cookies this year!

Here's the recipe that I'm using to make vegan gluten-free sugar cookies: The main thing that I am doing differently is I am using yeast instead of baking powder. You can see the exact list of the ingredients that I used below.

More About Using Active Dry Yeast

We had some active dry yeast in our drawer. This is the exact brand I used: Fleischmann's, Active Dry Yeast, 0.75 oz (3 ct) - SET OF 2. I was surprised to discover how expensive they are and during the pandemic, it was hard to find in the local grocery store so we had stocked up when we had found some. We like the single packets kind which made is easier for measuring. 

The tricky thing about using active dry yeast instead of baking powder is that you have to use your best judgment because as you activate the yeast, there's no knowing the exact amount that's needed. It is like a science and an art. When you are using active dry yeast, you have to mix it in 1/4 cup of very specific warm water within a temperature range with 1 teaspoon of sugar. It took my yeast 15 minutes to activate. It's fun watching it rise. Whatever foamed up from this one package amount mixture, I scooped about 75% of it and put it into my dough mix. 

I followed the recipe and let the dough rest in the fridge for 3 hours and used my cookie cutter with my sons to make different shapes today. 

Ingredients that I used:

  • 1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons of  Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, 22-ounce (I found this at California Fresh Market in Pismo Beach)
  • 1 tablespoon of arrowroot starch and I used this exact brand that I found at California Fresh Market in Pismo Beach:  Bob's Red Mill Arrowroot Starch / Flour, 16 Ounce (Pack of 1)
  • 75% of what was activated from the active dry yeast of 1 packet of 1/4 oz. This was the exact brand I used:  Fleischmann's Active Dry Yeast,0.25 Ounce, 9 Count. Note that although I used 75% of what was produced from my mixture, maybe yours will need be 50% or even more than mine. It is not an exact science with this one and the end results will never be the same.
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of vegan butter (I use Miyoko's Cultured Vegan Butter that I found at California Fresh Market in Pismo Beach)
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 4 teaspoons of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
We're not big on icing in my family so we didn't make any icing. I made the dough, let it rest in the fridge for 3 hours, roll it out and used our cookie cutters, baked them between 14 - 19 minutes (depending on the batch) in the oven at 350 degrees and then ate them!

One thing that I did that was due to improvising last minute was for my 1/2 cup of sugar, not all of the sugar was white granulated sugar. It was mostly that and about 5 packets of raw sugar that I had leftover from Starbucks. That really made the sugar cookies have an extra fun texture. One of two of my kids approve and I really enjoy them too! Usually when we eat vegan alternatives, the taste is different than what we're used to. I'm so glad this turned out good for about 50% of our family members. It's definitely less sweet than most of the cookies you would find at the store and that works for me.

Our finished product is pictured below. We finished eating all of the cookies in two days!

We saved three of the round sugar cookies shaped from the same dough for Santa tonight!

All photos are original pins uploaded by 

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Vegan Gift Ideas (not gluten-free however):

Holiday Events for December 2021 Week 3

December 11, 2021

Week 3 Events for December 2021 kicks off with the Tin City Parade on Dec 16th! To see events for the previous week, go to the previous blog posts:

To see all upcoming events in San Luis Obispo County, go to:


Working Mom versus Non-Working Mom

December 7, 2021
Many moms in America have faced the challenges of dealing with society's expectations, finding one's identity and making sure we haven't failed as a mother.

I was a stay-at-home-mom for years and it was mostly my choice. However, it didn't come without personal dilemmas. After a couple of years of motherhood, I started getting insecure when others would ask me if I was going to stay a stay-at-home-mom when my child starts school. At the beginning, it didn't bother me when I was holding my baby, and they were already asking me if I was going to return to work in 5 years?! But in retrospect, looking back and analyzing it all, it was kind of weird. What the heck is wrong with people? Why did they ask me that and why did it matter to them? I was holding a sweet baby. Let me enjoy this. I wasn't thinking about kindergarten yet. I was more worried about not getting mastitis!

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Insecurity When Someone Asks Me, "When are you going back to work?"
I know I shouldn't let it bother me throughout the years. They were asking and wondering, but were they judging me for not planning on going back to work any time soon? Was I seen as lazy or incompetent for not setting a plan to return to the workforce? I was trying to raise my newborn baby, nursing around the clock and learning to function without sleep. I had no relatives nearby nor friends as we had moved from a different state so I didn't have any help, therefore, as a mother taking care of my own offspring who had just arrived into this world, I shouldn't be expected to had already formulated a plan to return to work. If I returned to work, who would take care of my child??? My dog? My husband worked 12 hour shifts, doing shift work so I was the main parent taking care of my son.

Reminscing, I really enjoyed my one-on-one days with my first born. I would have many sleepless nights but they were wonderful as I held my bundle of joy throughout the day and night. However, when there would be that random break from my baby here and there while he was napping, thoughts of a possibility to find work from home would cross my mind but working with only 2 or 3 hours of sleep may not be the best idea for myself, my child nor a workplace.

Before I got married, I was working full-time for several years. Then, when we got married, my husband and I agreed that having a mother at home when we started a family would be the best plan for us so that our kids are being taken care of by their own mother, me. A child's first years and available affection from their mother are very important and will pave the way for emotional stability for the rest of their lives. I believe this and so does my husband so when I became pregnant, there was no additional discussion needed. Best of all, the cost of living in the Carolinas was very low and affordable. I was going to be the mother who takes care of her children, a luxury considered by my many Californian friends who lived far away. What I did not expect was that I would start to feel like someone was judging me when they would ask me when I was going back to work. As a Non-Working Mom, that triggered me to feel unworthy. I started to think that they thought that I was not working because I'm not capable enough to find or land a job. I was starting to self-identify with that and it was unhealthy.

Finding Contract Work to Balance Staying At Home and a Working Mom Identity
I knew my insecurities were affecting my mental health. I would feel down for not having a job when someone would asked me, so when my 1.5 year old son started going to preschool for a few hours a day, I found a part-time contracting job working in an office during those hours. It was a blessing that I found a real estate company owner who would let me do this and worked around my schedule so that I could drop off and pick my son up. Importantly, it helped my self-esteem so that I could happily say at the time "Yes, I do work for a few hours a day while my son is in preschool". Even though the pay was very low, I was still very happy. All I needed was that Working Mom identity to boost my self esteem. However, I was pregnant again at the time so my contract work ended when my due date was getting close because I was expected to go into labor any minute.

More Inclined to be a Non-Working Mom with Baby #2
Then, my second son was born! Yay! Work was out of the picture and no one asked me right after I had my second baby if I was returning to work because it was obvious to anyone who had a second to look at my frazzled face that keeping up with a 2 year old toddler and a newborn was no easy feat. Again, during this time I didn't have relatives nearby and still did not make close friends yet so there was no village. I was the main parent taking care of my own children and we did everything together: grocery shopping, going to the park and exploring family-friendly events. My husband still worked 12 hour days so when he got home and ate dinner, he had to hit the hay immediately after to start his 12 hour work day again. He was bringing home the bacon and I was raising our babies. And during all of those sleepless nights, I still never wished to have help. I love taking care of my own children without relatives telling me the better way to parent, according to them. I get to do it my way and figure it out on my own. I feel that I've been able to bond well with my sons because of this. This is a pro for being a Non-Working stay-at-home-mom. You earn that credit and that amazing bond.

When my second son turned 1.5 years old, I wanted him to start going to preschool like my first born did as I felt that really helped my first born learned his alphabet and numbers fast and gave him an opportunity to socialize with other kids within the same age group. I eventually found a preschool where both of my kids could go to together and picked up a short term part-time contract job while both of my sons were there in preschool. It was another office job for 4 months. It wasn't that I was itching to go back to work this time like last time but rather it was a good fit for me and it became another opportunity for me to see if I still had relevant skills for the current workforce.

I had to learn a few new things but I completed all of my tasks ahead of schedule and my contract ended. I honestly became more appreciative of my husband after this 4 month gig was over. I felt really burned out from the office politics of that recent job as it was a city job. I'm glad I did the job because I learned a lot but I was just so thankful when it was over as it gave me a different perspective. This workplace had a very toxic environment and more than ever, I thank the Lord that we were not in financial need for me to work so I wouldn't have to be stuck in a bad working situation like this for the long term. I felt very fortunate! I made sure I did a better job as a stay-at-home-mom by cleaning the house better from then on, which my husband noticed that positive change as well.

I started seeing my stay-at-home-mom title as a role I should continuously improve, like I would want to continuously improve in the workforce. It was quite interesting how that last job gig affected me as a homemaker. I cleaned better, tried new cooking recipes and didn't turn away from learning how to paint the inside walls of my house. My preschoolers had decided a few specific walls were perfect for their crayon drawings but we were putting the house on the market and it was the opportune time to get my hands into a bit of home improvement. 

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Moving Back to California and Then the Pandemic Hit

When my sons were 4 and 2 years old, we moved here to SLO County for my husband's better job opportunity. It's a happier place to live but the rent is about 5 times higher than where we were moving from! When we lived in the Southeast in the Carolinas, we had easily rented a 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom home for $650 a month! When we moved out here, our 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom townhome rental was $3,100 a month (now a home of the same size is more than that today, of course)! Our cost of living is so much higher but we're so much happier. I guess sometimes you do have to pay for happiness and today, I still feel like the move was worth it.

During the first year of living in SLO (very common abbreviation and name for San Luis Obispo) County, finding a job did not cross my mind at all. I wanted to spend time exploring this wonderful county with my two sons. My older one was going to start kindergarten in 8 months from the day we moved here so I wanted to savor all of the time I still had with him before I have to miss him for 5 hours a day in the coming fall. He was going to become the kindergartener that someone had asked me 5 years ago about. Remember that person who had asked me while I was holding my newborn when I was returning to work when he started school? Well, that time was coming but I was still not planning on returning to work because I still had a preschooler at home to continue more local adventures with and luckily, I'm not around that particular questioner anymore to ask me more unnecessary triggered questions. Yes, I know I'm so sensitive!

My fun explorations with my sons continued with beach days at Pismo Beach and discovering new playgrounds. Then, my first-born son started kindergarten and we navigated around making sure we survived it and making more adjustments to our lifestyles. Six months after my son started kindergarten, the Covid-19 pandemic hit and we had a lock down! Consequently, the online learning from school began at home! And of course, no one dared to ask me when I was returning to work because people were sadly losing jobs around the country. Many working moms became stay-at-home moms not by choice. Plus, everyone had to be home! For the first time, many working moms had to do both and became stay-at-home moms at the same time, juggling everything. Things were changing.

All Moms Stepped Up During the Pandemic Lock Down
There's common ground now for the Working Moms and the Non-Working Moms. All kids had to do online learning and mothers in America were our kids' IT support, tutor and teacher. Every mom, whether you're a Working Mom or Non-Working Mom had to adjust quickly! The Working Moms who had never had the opportunity to stay home could finally get a good understanding of what Non-Working Moms had been doing. Daycares were closed so the Working Moms didn't have childcare help and Non-Working Moms usually never had childcare help so in a way, the Non-Working Moms had a skillset that was more prepared for the pandemic.

I think many Working Moms who never had a choice to become a stay-at-home-mom realized that many Non-Working Moms are not incompetent at all. It makes sense to them now that Non-Working Moms play multiple different important roles to their kids and their availability allows their kids more room to thrive, even if their career is not thriving. There's only 24 hours in a day and there's a limit to what you can do in a day. Working Moms can now earn that mad credit too now because they have been raising their children from home during the pandemic while earning money! Even though it is sad and scary that we are still facing uncertainty and trying to get through pandemic, there is at least one silver lining from all of this and it is this mutual respect between the Working Moms and the Non-Working Moms. I love this and I hope we don't lose this respect for each other soon.

Today, I'm a Working stay-at-home-mom. Because many companies are more open to hiring remote candidates, this has given moms like me more opportunities to find a contract job so I've been able to work remotely from home during this pandemic for the last 6 months. My contract is ending soon so I'll become a Non-Working stay-at-home-mom again soon and then we'll see what will happen in 2022 and whether I'll be a Working Mom versus Non-Working mom. 

Nowadays, I don't measure my self-worth by whether I have a job as much as I did before. My kids need me as an emotionally and physically stable mother who will be able to be there for them for homework help, when they're hungry and emotional support. I'm happy just being their mama. I'm focusing more on staying healthy now as I'm getting older.

Blessings to all!

Preschool Learning Kits

December 2021 Week 2 Holiday Events in SLO County

December 6, 2021
Here is a quick glimpse of Week 2 Holiday Events for December 2021 throughout San Luis Obispo (SLO) County. See the previous post for Week 1. To see details of all of the events throughout December, go to the family-friendly events page.

About Me

San Luis Obispo Mom Originally from San Diego, California, I'm a San Diego State University alumna, veteran's wife and mom of two kids who were born two years apart. After living on the East Coast for 6 years, we now reside in San Luis Obispo County and here, the exploration continues.
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All photos (except for ads) on including: homepage, 'Family-Friendly Things to do' page, 'SLO Restaurants' page,'Mom Groups & Childcare' page, and 'blog' page were taken by me so they are my original content and belongs to this blog/website.

To find family-friendly activities in the SLO area, go to the 'Family-Friendly Things To Do' page.

Some of the links are just useful local information that I'm sharing for free and some are commission-based products that may help me earn a small commission for each sale to upkeep with the fees of running this local blog.

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