Sweet potato waffles with cacao nibs

Sweet potato waffles with cacao nibs

Waiting in line at the post office the other day, an older lady with fire engine red lips and perfect platinum hair turned around, looked at me and said, You look tired. I wanted to tell her to mind her own business because WHO SAYS THAT TO A STRANGER? But instead I pulled down my sunglasses and said, I am. I’m really fucking tired.
Her eyes got wide, like she couldn’t believe I just said the f-word to a sweet, little lady such as herself. She gathered her packages, moved along the line and didn’t feel the need to make any other comments to the girl with the potty mouth who wears her sunglasses indoors.

But it’s true, I was tired. So. Incredibly. Tired. My inability to sleep past 5am is only matched by my inability to fall asleep before midnight (except for the other night when I fell asleep on the couch at 10:30) (that was rad), and it’s taking its toll. I have no appetite or energy to go the gym. My body aches all over. And all I want to do is sit on the couch, kick up my feet, and daydream about Thom feeding me chocolate for every meal. Daydream because I have no appetite, remember? And even if I did have an appetite, he wouldn’t ever let me get away with eating chocolate for every meal. He’s kind of a stickler for a well-rounded, vegetable heavy diet.

Sweet potato puree + hot waffle iron
Cacao nibs

I have access to pharmaceutical drugs. Lots of them. From that time I spent five months going back and forth between specialists who felt it necessary to write me prescriptions for things that would numb the pain. But I didn’t want to numb the pain. I wanted to feel better. Genuinely, not fictitiously. So these prescriptions, there’s about a dozen of them and they’re currently tucked into a pocket in a mailbag I never carry. Buried in a basket at the top of my closet that’s much too high for my five foot eight inch frame to reach. I hid them there just in case I ever wanted to forget the pain and have a day of normalcy. But if I really, truly wanted to take the easy way out, I’d have to work for it. And in the end, the effort of carrying a stool into my bedroom and rooting through a basket full of bags would be daunting enough for me to just deal with the current state of things. Which is feeling tired. And ache-y. But mostly really, really tired. I think some people use the term exhausted, but I reserve that for parents with small earthlings. Have you seen those people? They’re the definition of exhausted. I can’t compete with that.
Anyway, on my way home from the post office I cried. Not because I was sad, even though I was, and not because I had just reached my breaking point that I think if I had been home I would have taken a stool into my closet and gone to have every single one of those prescriptions filled – but because I felt bad for saying the f-word in front of a woman who was old enough to be my grandmother. Which only displayed my complete and utter lack of respect for a stranger who did nothing to deserve my unfortunate word choice, even if I was offended by the fact that she noticed the bags and dark circles beneath my eyes. Bags and circles I tried so very hard to conceal behind my sunglasses. But I digress, no one deserves to have a f-bomb dropped on them at the post office. And so I cried.

Sweet potato waffles in the making
Sweet potato waffles with cacao nibs
Sweet potato waffles with cacao nibs

Before I went home I made a pitstop to have unwanted hairs lasered off of my body. I only did it because I got a deal through Groupon and have always been fascinated by the seemingly magical process that is laser hair removal. I got zapped a few times and went on my way, but not before questioning the lady at the front desk about the fancy lip balm strategically placed at the checkout counter. She said uses them alllll the time and that they’re fantaaastic. She had chapped lips. So she was either lying about using them alllll the time or lying about them being fanataaastic. Either way, I passed up on the opportunity to have lips that taste like sex on the beach and made my way out the door.
Before I could take three steps I was nearly mauled over by a man who was in a hurry to feed the meter. I turned around with every intention of yelling something nasty at him (like, WATCH WHERE YOU’RE GOING, ASSWAD!), but then I spotted that lady across the street. The one with the red lips and platinum hair. I ran toward her as fast as I could yelling HEY LADY! WAIT UP! And she watched as I maneuvered across the street; disheveled, flinging my arms around in attempts to keep the contents of my unzipped backpack safe and sound as I tried my best to beat oncoming traffic. And when I got to her I blurted out how sorry I was for improperly using my words and before I could say anything else, before I could tell her how truly awful it made me feel, she grabbed me by the shoulders – hard enough that I let out a yelp – and said, Darling, don’t worry about it. Go home and get some fucking sleep.

Sweet potato waffles with cacao nibs

Notes: Pumpkin, banana, apple, zucchini or any other puree will work in place of sweet potato. You can replace the gluten free flour with all purpose flour, but omit the xanthan gum. If you don’t have xanthan gum on hand, just leave it out – I’ve made them gluten free without it, and the texture difference wasn’t noticeable. If you’re not into cacao nibs you be crazy, feel free to replace them with chocolate chips. Sarah posted a recipe for coffee syrup and I think you should try it. Also, I think it’s worth mentioning that I’ve eaten these waffles every day for the past two weeks. They’re good. That good.

Another favorite way to make these waffles: replace 1/2 cup of the flour blend with 1/2 cup buckwheat flour, swap the sweet potato puree with applesauce, and omit the cacao nibs. Top waffles with sliced bananas, a drizzle of full fat coconut milk, cinnamon, pecans, and shredded coconut. They’re perfect for those days that you’re looking for a satisfying breakfast without the sugar high.


1 1/2 cups gluten free flour blend
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup sweet potato puree
1 1/2 cups almond milk
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup cacao nibs

Preheat waffle iron. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, xanthan gum, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon; set aside. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the sweet potato puree, almond milk, oil, sugar, and vanilla extract. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients; whisk until combined. Stir in the cacao nibs.
When the waffle iron is heated, spray it with oil. Cook waffles according to the instruction for your iron. I added a scant 3/4 cup of batter to my iron that makes round 7″ waffles. Serve immideately, topped with with your favorite fruit and real maple syrup. If cooking for a group of people, keep waffles warm in a 225˚F oven – no need to place them on a cookie sheet, just put them straight on the oven racks. Cooked waffles can be kept frozen for up to one month. Break in half and reheat in toaster.

Yield: 5 waffles


44 thoughts on “Sweet potato waffles with cacao nibs

  1. Seriously, what a story and that old lady rocks. I hope to be that brazen when I'm older (but considering I can't pull off red lipstick now, I'm not sure how that will go). Also, sending you good vibes and big hugs!

  2. Quite the story! The F bomb tends to slip out sometimes for me while super stressed. And then I always feel like I have a pinch lack of respect. Oy, at least you ran into that woman again, and it was then 1 to 1, right? Get some rest, sugar. I hope you'll get some sleep and some good dreams in.Also, these waffles look so damn good. I need to get a waffle iron. I don't even know how to say that in French, but waffle is gaufre. Amen.Des bisous

  3. Stop it. This really happened! What a great and tragic and perfect story! You wrote it so well, I was riveted. And PS can I just say? Lack of sleep is the worst. I hope you really do get yourself some, soon.

  4. Your story almost made me LOL (and I'm not a LOLer), though of course I'm sorry to hear about your exhaustion (yes, it qualifies). As a fellow insomniac, I do know how you feel. I'm having a particular sleepless week myself. Maybe waffles would help…

  5. I love the story 🙂 Laser hair removal was such a crucial, pivotal moment… so very you and real . These look phenomenal and I am days away from purchasing a waffle iron. It's been years of thought, wondering if we'd use it, and dozens of frozen waffles later, the answer is duh. So glad to have your recipe.

  6. I can't believe you saw her again (and that she returned the f-bomb favour)?!?! Old people can be strange. I wish I had the guts to tell a few old people off when I was sick and had several similar moments (apparently a bald head from chemo makes people think you are an open book to ALL their opinions…).These waffles look FREAKIN' amazing – but I don't have a waffle maker! Saturday morning pancakes perhaps?

  7. This is my first time on your blog, that to Jess at How Sweet It Is…I've never commented on a blog, but something about your story made me feel not alone. I love how in-between such revealing paragraphs are pictures of beautiful waffles. An odd juxtaposition, but it works.

  8. oh and I forgot to add I suffer from noise anxiety, any little noise will set me off or keep me up(did I mention I live beneath college students..urgh)So i've been using a white noise app and melatonin. Totally helps.

  9. I really enjoyed reading this! I'm sorry you're not feeling well. I'm not going to offer any advice to you, because I'm sure that's the last thing you need. I hope you feel better soon. I love the old lady's response to you.

  10. That old lady (and these waffles) freaking rock. Guess it's time to finally invest in ye olde waffle iron. On a more serious note, I hope you are able to rest-up. I hate life after one or two nights with less than 7 hours of sleep, so I can only imagine how it must be.

  11. Amazing story telling and you put me right in the post office with your words, Ashlae! I am sorry that things aren't going super fabulous for you right now. And I wish you peace and better times ahead. But for now, I'd gladly have a waffle!

  12. Its amazing how well you write. It captivates me and gets my complete attention all the time. I hope you get some good – long sleeping time in the upcoming weeks. As my mom would say. ''Un bon gros sommeil règle tous les petits problèmes qui nous paraissent si grandiose avec la fatigue… ''

  13. Thanks for sharing your story. Someone told me "You look tired" today as well, and I was pretty tired of telling of my battles with insomnia (and this was even with taking medication last night).Thanks also for your lovely blog–the delicious food photography and recipes brighten up otherwise sleepy days! 🙂

  14. Just discovered your blog. First off, I love your story and I hope you can find sleep soon! Then, also, I have simultaneously had two recipes/ingredients in mind this past week and you literally just combined them with these waffles. I bought banana's the other day in hopes to make pancakes or waffles out of them and then I've been experimenting with a bag of cacao nibs for the past month or so and I've been on a good hunt for recipes. SO THIS? Is kind of perfect and will be made bright and early tomorrow morning before work. Thank you!!

  15. Here's to you, my dear. May you get the rest you need. Thanks for the laugh, in a year or two (sooner than I want to admit, anyway) I'll probably be the old lady saying "F yeah, I can relate" right back at ya.Simple suggestions for sleep help. A couple of drops of hops extract in a small drink will help aid sleep, as will a dose (2 capsules) of Valerian. The latter is pretty smelly, even in capsule form, but it is a natural herb to aid in going to sleep. Give them a try!

  16. Oh man, that story is so awesome. Not the part about how you can't sleep, that really sucks and I have felt your pain before – I hope it will pass quickly. These waffles look great. I used to own a waffle iron and love it, but gave it to a friend when I moved overseas. Now I live in Sweden and I've been eyeing up the waffle irons here, but they all make really thin heart shaped waffles, which I find incredibly irritating. Maybe, though, thin heart shaped waffles are better than no waffles at all and I should just get over it and buy a new one. Thanks for the recipe!

  17. Oh Ashlae, I feel your pain. I hate that stage of tiredness when you feel like you are actually losing your mind. A perfectly told story though. And delicious looking waffles, of course.

  18. I know just what you're going through. Between studying for the LSAT, class, and work, I feel like I barely have time to breathe, let alone sleep.I just made bruleed belgian waffles and they are out of this world good. Like incredible. The recipe can be found here!xxSweet Tooth

  19. I am not THAT old lady but I AM an old lady, only without the red lips and white hair. I am stupid enough to think that if I dye my hair brown, people won't know how old I am. Duh. I also wear pale pinkish brownish (non) lipstick since I feel red makes me "stand out" (which I fear). I, too, don't sleep well and haven't for MANY years. Haven't slept more than 3 hours straight in years. I finally decided to quit worrying about the numbers and sleep when I can. When I wake at night, I read my Kindle until I go back to sleep. I enjoy myself and reading actually makes me sleepy again. I think that learning not to stress about it makes it seems natural. I guess I sleep like a cat. My mother said I never slept well from the time I was a baby. You being younger and having a life makes it harder to do that.Sorry for the "book" length comment but like the others who commented, you write so well & with honesty and I just felt I could relate. LOVE your recipes, AND I too am going to have to go out and buy a waffle maker. I've been planning to do it for so long and these "sexy" waffles call me to do it. I sure hope you get some F-ing sleep. I actually love that word, use it far too much, (never in front of my grandkids) but I tell myself it is only a word. Why should it give so much satisfaction? Why so much guilt? That debate is for another day.

  20. This post is so wonderful. I was totally tearing up, just wanting to reach through the screen and give you a big giant hug, and then I couldn't stop laughing. Sometimes old ladies are hipper than all of us. And, much love to you. I must say I'm very proud of you for not taking the easy way out, really. That takes so much courage. You will be in my thoughts this week. xo

  21. I know what you mean about the dark circles and bags, feeling tired and drained. I have hit that spot currently, although an appetite is something that I have no issues with (quite the opposite) – I think I've put on 5 pounds in the last 3 months. I hope you can attribute your feelings to the time of year, and with a bit of sun in the future you may feel better? I'm curious about the lazering. I have often thought about it, maybe I will keep my eye open for some sort of deal 😉 Love the recipe.

  22. Oh my gosh. Your criticism of the chapped lip lady was crucial. I imagined that old lady as Lucille Bluth from Arrested Development. I had to. And then when Lucille Bluth/that lady told you to get some fucking sleep… I just died. This made my day. One day I will hug and waffles-cheers you in real life. *reaches arms across the internet*

  23. These look amazing! I have some pureed pumpkin in my freezer from a collection of pie pumpkins that were given to me at no charge. I will surely be trying out this recipe with some of it! Yum!

  24. This is the loveliest story. I completely understand your reaction to the little old lady's nosy question and also your remorse. I'm glad you found her, and that she was so sweet and snarky to boot! And finally: these waffles look scrumptious; I, too, hope you can get some rest.

  25. wow."But I didn’t want to numb the pain. I wanted to feel better. Genuinely, not fictitiously."these sentences summ it up – it´s a hard way but so worth it.my pain lets me sleep, i´m lucky that way.and i cherish that sleep since i know how precious it is.i wish you a sleepy head.and may we all turn into this little old lady someday.

  26. I am so sorry that you're having these health problems, but I truly admire you for not wanting to take the easy way out of the pain. With that said, this is such a hilarious, well-told story. I laughed out loud and actually read parts of it to Chris (he's a huge advocate of the f-bomb. Me, only in stressful situations, but I admit- it's just a word that we humans put a lot of ideas behind). These waffles look pretty wonderful too- I can see why you've been eating them for three straight days! Feel better soon, lady! xo

  27. I dont know which emotion to begin with.. I love the waffles and that old lady.. My mom is like that. super sweet and nosy. if she notices something, she will make sure to ask about it and give free advice:)Hope things get better soon. I have a pail of pills sitting in my medicine cabinet. i'd rather do some integrative yoga and curse my messed up balance after the session.

  28. I'm sorry you aren't feeling well, Ashlae, and I totally understand your reaction to the woman who had the audacity to call you out for such a thing. I've been playing catch-up in Google Reader all day today and this post, so real and raw, it's a kicker.

  29. This was such a fantastic read. It didn't even matter that there was a recipe at the end (but, OMG, those waffles! My gluten-free salivary glands are doing work.)Thanks for sharing this! Hope you finally got some effing sleep. 😉

  30. Crack'd me up… what a story!Try some sublingual melatonin from Dr. Sears website honey… it's the only thing that works for me and it's not a drug.It's called 'native rest' under the label 'PRIMAL FORCE'God Bless and Thank Youps. love the recipe 🙂

  31. I read this post a couple months ago, and finally got around to making these beauties tonight. AMAZING! What a way to christen my new waffle iron. I stumble across your blog every now and again, but need to stop stumbling and get on board. Looking forward to reading more and baking more!

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