Independence Day has special meaning for me this year. I was always in such a hurry to grow up, and prove I didn’t need anyone – I could do it all on my own.


Julie Anne in a rush to be independent

Then heart surgery quickly followed with a broken ankle kicked my butt. Asking for help has never been part of my vocabulary, so more than the physical pain, that is why this has been one of the most challenging years of my life. I hate asking for assistance, so much so, that I will usually throw money at it instead. People tend to be much more obliging when money is involved. The flip side of that is that as soon as the money disappears – so do they.

Whoops!
Is it preferring to hire help, rather than burden my family and friends, or is it really fear of rejection? The honest answer is both. I detest imposing on anyone, but it has been terrifying to be so reliant upon family and friends. It meant swallowing pride and conquering my fear of being perceived as weak, or simply not worthy, and ask. There have been disappointing reactions from a few, but I’ve been knocked out by the kindness and generosity of others, some little more than strangers! It’s taught me a lot about which kind of person I want to be, and it is a choice.
Jewels last July 4th in Croatia

Since I have always been so fiercely independent, it feels fitting that I should make my resolution for the year on Independence Day rather than New Years Day. I like the idea of turning over a new leaf without waiting for a new year. I look forward to regaining my independence, but this time with a concerted effort for it not to be at the exclusion of others. My wish upon the fireworks is to always be a better daughter, sister, mother and friend. I want to pay it forward and reach out to make a difference in some one’s life every single day.

Red Velvet Waffle and Whipped Cream Cheese Topping

 

Since this Sunday marks a special new beginning, I thought it appropriate to salute the day with a patriotic breakfast. Wishing everyone a very happy (and safe) 4th of July. They tell us to dream big – well don’t forget to wish big on those fireworks too!

Servings:4

Ingredients:

For the Whipped Cream Cheese Topping

  • 1/4 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

For the pancakes or waffles

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 scant teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil plus 1-2 tablespoons extra for making pancakes
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 ounce red food color
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

Additional toppings

  • melted butter, optional
  • warm maple syrup, optional
  • pecans or walnuts, optional
  • blueberries

Directions:

1). Use an electric mixer on medium-high speed to whip the cream cheese until smooth. Reduce the speed and stir in the sugar, salt, and vanilla extract, and beat until the mixture is smooth and well blended. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the cream. Use a rubber spatula to remove any unmixed cream cheese from the bottom of the bowl. When the mixture is smooth, gradually add the rest of the whipping cream. Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form. Should be the consistency of a dense whipped cream topping. Set aside.

2). Stir flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder together in a large mixing bowl. Mix in egg, oil, and buttermilk. Mix until smooth.

3). Mix red food color and cocoa in a small bowl, then stir into batter. Add vanilla, baking soda, and vinegar (in that order), and beat until everything is well incorporated, about 2 minutes.

4). Spray waffle iron with nonstick spray and heat until it signals it is ready for batter (usually indicated by a light). Open, pour desired amount of batter in, close iron, and wait for signal the waffle is ready.

5). Serve hot with whipped cream cheese topping, and any additional topping you desire.

Serving Suggestion: Crispy bacon and sausages.

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  • July 1, 2010
    3:10 pm

    Last year was tough for me too. My own health issues made me give up my "I don't need anyone else" exterior and let people help me. I couldn't have done it without them.I hope we both have healthier years to come!(And I really want to make the Red Velvet Waffles!)

  • July 1, 2010
    4:17 pm

    Great blog, Jewels. It's been quite the year for introspection.Jean Taska Leatherman

  • July 1, 2010
    4:18 pm

    Nice, Jewels. Ironically, by asking for help, you are showing how brave you really are as an independent person!Amilee Hodge

  • July 1, 2010
    5:04 pm

    Hey Jean, unfortunately the only time I am willing to change is when I'm in pain, but from Independence Day on – it is going to be a great year (got the lesson, time to move on). Thanks Amilee, I like your perspective.

  • July 1, 2010
    5:05 pm

    Kathy – they come with a warning, ADDICTIVE!

  • July 1, 2010
    5:05 pm

    I have no doubt with your drive and determination, you will succeed … as I said once before in a blog of my own: "We all leave impressions in the lives of those we meet. The question being whether we leave them in stone or sand …"Sometimes the impression is permanent, sometimes fleeting; but the fact that you TRIED, that you WANTED to make the difference is all that matters in the end.Hugs to you and hope the last part of the year is a better one health-wise for you. From the sounds of it, your soul/spirit is WELL taken care of!!Jutine/Tin

  • July 1, 2010
    5:08 pm

    Oh dear me!How can I loose weight if you keep on showing all these visions!:-)Happy,happy, happy Indipendence Day:-)Carmen Ronsisvalle

  • July 1, 2010
    5:16 pm

    Thanks Tin – always looking for the up side.Carmen – I promise more healthy recipes after this one. I can't believe how much weight has piled on since I have not been able to exercise, so I'll be right there dieting with you!

  • July 1, 2010
    5:37 pm

    This hits home. Thank you for sharing.Terry Munson

  • July 1, 2010
    7:47 pm

    Jewels, I was a big DD "teenybopper" back in the day… old habits die hard, even today, I have them on my iPod. Long story short, I was compelled recently to look you up… What a pleasant surprise to see that you are not only alive and well, but thriving! I'm not a big cook, never had the talent, kitchen space or time, but I really love your very smart blog. Actually, it has inspired me as your recipes don't look too complicated. Sorry about your mishaps. I too have trouble asking for help and have learned in recovery about the gift and freedom of interdependence; which, like all things, I never practice perfectly.Again, thanks for the blog – I've put you on my "fav" list.

  • July 1, 2010
    10:29 pm

    I had a major surgery at the end of March 2009. I understand how hard it is to ask for help from family and friends. I finally swallowed my pride and asked, and I too was astounded by how wonderful and loving people can be.Heather Goodman Finley

  • July 1, 2010
    11:05 pm

    Great feeling isn't it Heather.

  • July 2, 2010
    1:18 am

    Jewels, you barely look older than your high school photo; you look terrific.Cathy Garrossino

  • July 2, 2010
    1:21 am

    Thanks Cathy!

  • July 2, 2010
    10:06 am

    In life I've found that anyone who'll only be on hand when there's money involved are not worth a dime an make me feel worthless to boot.True friends are the ones who don't live in your ear yet will come to your aid at the drop of hat – they're the keepers.All I can tell you is since I started reading your blog, I have reconnected with my cooking which is my greatest love, I have had an amazing period of looking at my teenage years with gratitude and happiness – something I had denied myself for a long time, I have seen how I became me through the music,fashion and food I've encountered along the way and had the reality check of my idols being human too.You're an inspiration, thank you.Lorraine x

  • July 2, 2010
    1:16 pm

    And then she became a supermodel! The Red Velvet waffles look amazing! Have a fantastic weekend, miss you!Laura Dodd-Hodges

  • July 2, 2010
    1:28 pm

    sunshine, xx ooMadeleine Gallay

  • July 2, 2010
    2:43 pm

    I suspect you are a very giving person from what I have read on your blog. I think it's good that you are now learning to let others finally get the chance to help you! Thank you for this recipe. It looks delicious and I can't wait to try it! Yum! As I am an American here in England I don't always get a chance to celebrate Independance Day, so this might just do the trick!

  • July 2, 2010
    3:39 pm

    You hit the mark with this column, JulieAnne. I feel like such a loser when I ask for help. I perpetuate this by going through the cycle again & again. I'd like to say that I'm going to follow your example, but there are a lot of circumstances in my life that make it difficult, if not impossible. But, I'll try as best I can! You are such an inspiration, I wish you were my sister. Have a wonderful long weekend, enjoy the fireworks, but most of all, enjoy being surrounded by those you love and who love you back.

  • July 2, 2010
    11:05 pm

    Have fun!Mary Ann Murphy

  • July 2, 2010
    11:08 pm

    Lucky patriarchs!:-)Carmen Ronsisvalle

  • July 2, 2010
    11:08 pm

    your red velvet waffles are a great idea.Hillary Short

  • July 2, 2010
    11:15 pm

    Lorraine that is lovely!shigatsuhana, my ex used to say "we celebrate the 4th too, we got rid of you lot!"Thanks Laura, Madeleine, Mary Ann, and Hillary.Ruthee – I'm far from having mastered the art of asking for help, and I know you have had to face many challenges – which must make it all the harder (I feel like I've used up all my favors by now too, so it doesn't get easier – just more familiar). You are not alone.

  • July 3, 2010
    3:01 am

    Hi Julie Anne,I have added you to my list of people that in one way or another encourage me to get moving and go for healthier living. Tonight I took your example a little too far. I was out taking a good power walk when I stepped on a rock twisting my ankle and knee. o.OTo add more flavor to this strange twist of fate, the song playing on my iPod was Duran Duran's "Red Carpet Massacre".Thankfully nothing is really hurt, I don't know how I lucked out but I did. Good luck with your Independence Resolution. I had a bit of an issue with that and my mom (who is also bad about this) pointed out that letting people help us is a way of showing love, by giving them a chance to show their love for us. Happy Fourth of July!Kelly

  • July 3, 2010
    12:54 pm

    Hi Julie Anne,What a lovely photo of you as a teenager. Obviously nothing has changed at all. Love the stars and stripes top too, so cool.There is nothing wrong with asking for help, God knows we all need it from time to time. However I totally understand where you are coming from. I was and still am a 'I can do it myself' person and have always refused help, even from family. To this day I still feel like that stubborn teenager and feel like a total looser when I do give in for help or it is forced onto me (by loving family/friends). Then again, I find myself doing just that for others who are very dear to me and need help themselves. Love the Red Velvet Waffles (I am such a fan of the Red Velvet Cake and pancakes).Have a great time during the long weekend with those you love.Aussie Mum

  • July 3, 2010
    5:28 pm

    Loving the dishy nautical look you got going . love the gold clutch with it.Tracey J Whitney

  • July 4, 2010
    4:54 pm

    Red Velvet Waffles – YOU ROCK!Lisa Cohen Spampinato

  • July 4, 2010
    4:59 pm

    Kelly – that was such a lovely thing to say, I am honored! Glad you like the look Tracey – Croatia was such a divine trip. Colorado is not quite so chic to put it mildly, so don't expect photos from here!Lisa you should try them – they are yummy. Recipe is on the blog.

  • July 4, 2010
    4:59 pm

    Happy 4th of July Jewels!!! Those look SO delicious! :)Dana Gale

  • July 4, 2010
    5:00 pm

    happy 4th of july julie, have a great day and i'll see you soon. xxGina Heisser

  • July 4, 2010
    5:03 pm

    Can't wait to see you Gina, and come visit Dana!

  • July 4, 2010
    5:03 pm

    Tease!Nancy Richter Schramm

  • July 4, 2010
    5:04 pm

    AWESOME!Jay Randall

  • July 4, 2010
    5:04 pm

    Happy Fourth, Jewels! Much love for all you share…. xoxShelley Nelson

  • July 4, 2010
    5:05 pm

    ok yummmo!Josie Elder- Chow

  • July 4, 2010
    6:49 pm

    Can you stop posting pictures of those damn waffles and stop torturing me please?Alison Hay

  • July 4, 2010
    6:51 pm

    Sorry love. I'm on a major get healthy kick now, so nothing but "good for you" recipes coming up. Hugs, J xo

  • July 4, 2010
    6:52 pm

    Made them thia am-WOW! Thank u!!!Pamela Mountain

  • July 4, 2010
    6:53 pm

    Happy 4th July to all you piggies!!!!!Marina Fields

  • July 4, 2010
    6:56 pm

    Glad you liked them Pamela! As for you Nanny Poppins – your just jealous you couldn't have them with us!

  • July 5, 2010
    4:07 am

    Hey, who left their blueberries behind???Cynthia Zeman Godwin

  • July 5, 2010
    4:07 am

    Wondered who would notice!

  • July 5, 2010
    6:31 am

    Thanks for sharing.home business

  • July 6, 2010
    12:48 pm

    Asking for help is one of the hardest things to do, second only to accepting the help once it comes. For me, anyway. Thought you'd like to know I'm becoming a little more courageous in the kitchen. I haven't set it on fire in months, and I've roasted some lovely vegetables. That sailor dress is freaking adorable!

  • July 7, 2010
    2:54 am

    Wafflessss!!!Martina D' Epifanio

  • July 7, 2010
    2:56 am

    Yummi….very very Yummi :DRuth Ulrike

  • July 7, 2010
    2:57 am

    wicked …Madeleine Gallay

  • July 7, 2010
    2:57 am

    delish…Penelope Worley

  • July 8, 2010
    6:54 pm

    Jewels, I have to admit that I have always been independent minded and being a single mom for most of my daughter's life has often put me in situations where I had to ask for help and I always did it kicking and screaming…I hate asking for help! But my friend Robert, who was raised by a single mum made me realize it was OK to ask for help and didn't mean I wasn't self-sufficient but actually smart enough to learn how and to whom to delegate when things got too hectic/stressful in my life! Glad to see I am not the only one who has felt like this and even more happy you made an independent declaration! :)