Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Life Long Learners Sample Whole Grains

It's hard to beat the enthusiasm among Life Long Learners during this two hour class and sampling on the last Wednesday in March.  This RDN  learns not only in preparation for the class but from life lessons shared among the 21 participants.  I reviewed Whole Grains, A-W, sharing fun historical facts and examples of foods I made at home using the grains.

 I passed samples of all grains:


And shared samples with recipes of some.

Participants shared whole grains they've eaten and where they've sampled.  While some eat in ethnic restaurants, others grew up in foreign countries and shared what is remembered about the agriculture and foods there.  One lady went to a Saint Hildegard school and shared her knowledge of medicinal remedies.

We saved the best part for last-eating an early lunch featuring a Freekeh, Bean & Vegetable Soup with flatbread cracker.

Dessert was Ezekiel cookies.  

I gave everyone enough Ezekiel flour (a mix of wheat, barley, beans, lentils and spelt) to make the cookies at home.

This was the second year I taught the class here.  Everything in this class was brand new.  The best part for me is testing and learning new ways to use such a variety of grains. 


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Go Further with Whole Grains-Eat a Variety!

Whole grains, like vegetables, present unique nutrient profiles.  Why eat a variety?  Just as spinach offers different nutrients than cauliflower, oats afford different nutrients than popcorn.  Variety is good!

Amaranth has a high level of very complete protein with lysine, an amino acid missing or negligible in many grains.  Like other gluten free grains, Amaranth, which resembles brown caviar when cooked, works best in batter breads, muffins, cookies and pancakes.  Amaranth pancakes are pictured above.

Buckwheat goes way beyond Preston County Buckwheat cakes famous in West Virginia.  Japan's soba noodles, Brittany's crepes and Russia's kasha are all made with buckwheat.  Buckwheat is not wheat.  It is gluten free.  It's the only grain known to have high levels of an antioxidant called rutin, which studies show improves circulation.

Most of the oats eaten in the United States and steamed and flattened to produce "old-fashioned" or regular oats and quick oats.  Oats contain beta-glucan, a soluble, fermentable fiber-also called a prebiotic fiber- that lowers cholesterol.

While much of our quinoa is still imported, farmers in the higher altitude areas of the United States are beginning to cultivate it.  Botanists have now developed a saponin-free strains of quinoa, to eliminate the minor annoyance of rinsing before cooking.   Quinoa contains all the essential amino acids-a complete protein.  The National Academy of Medicine declares that complete proteins are supplied by meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, quinoa and soybeans.  

Teff is the principal source of nutrition in Ethiopia.  Teff has over twice the iron of other grains, and three times the calcium. 

All of the grains pictured above (Amaranth, Buckwheat, Oats, Quinoa and Teff) are gluten free.

Rye was long seen as a weed in more desirable wheat crops, but gained respect for its ability to grown in areas too wet or cold for other grains.  Rye has a lower glycemic index than many grains making it favorable to diabetics.  This type of fiber promotes a rapid feeling of fullness, making it a good choice for those trying to loose weight.

Bulgur is sometimes referred to as "Middle Eastern pasta".  The wheat kernels are cleaned, boiled, dried, ground by a mill, then sorted by size.  The red bulgur featured above, has bigger grains and requires a longer cooking time.  Some bulgur just requires steeping in boiling water.  Bulgur has more fiber than quinoa, oats, millet, buckwheat and corn.

The twelfth-century mystic St. Hildegard declares Spelt as the best of grains.  Spelt is highter in protein than common wheat.

 Whole Grains Sampling Day is celebrated the last Wednesday in March.  Many of the fun facts above were sourced from the Whole Grains Council. 



Sunday, March 18, 2018

Book Review: Food Sanity

In his book, Dr. David Friedman, holistic practitioner and syndicated radio health expert, explores research behind controversial nutrition topics and underlines his message on how to eat to add years to your life.  He presents the research with over 700 references and allows you to make the choices.  The recommendations are not intended to substitute for your own physician and healthcare provider.

Here are some of Dr. Friedman's findings:

The Caveman Diet
Fossilized grains of food found in teeth include plants, barley, beans, roots, tubers, palm dates and small amounts of animal foods. Human anatomy is not designed to eating large quantities of meat.

Humans are deigned to drink milk from our own species. Breastfeeding is good.  Osteoporosis is non-existent in Africa where only 350 mg calcium on average is consumed in 1 day.  The recommendation of 2/1 Calcium/Magnesium is not found in cows milk which has a 9/1 ratio.  He recommends drinking non-soy milk alternatives to cows milk.

Don't eat under cooked poultry.  Prevent cross contamination of raw poultry with other foods and equipment.  Keep poultry at proper temperature.  Eat pasture raised poultry and eggs. 

Choose wild seafood.
Be wary of dark red color in salmon.

Limit processed meat.  Buy grass fed, free range pork.  Avoid cured with added sodium and nitrates.  Avoid additives,  Choose lean pork;  dispose of the fat.  Limit the portion size to 3 ounce.  Cook pork to 170 degrees.  Never microwave.  Avoid cross contamination.     

Plant Based Diets
Grains, vegetables, seeds, nuts and fruit are the foods humans were intended to eat.  Eating a variety of these foods is crucial.  

Avoid GMOs
Avoid soy and corn that is not labelled organic.  Eat whole wheat, rice, quinoa, oats, barley and sorghum.
Eat produce with a 5 digit code beginning with 9.
Grow your own vegetables, buy organic and eat locally grown.

Eat whole foods instead of supplements.  
Include calcium rich foods (green leafy, sea vegetables, chia and sesame seeds, prunes)
Include Vitamin D rich foods  (mushrooms, tuna, egg, sea vegetables)
Include Vitamin E rich foods (wheat germ, nuts, olives, spinach)

Don't count calories-make calories count.  Abstain from white foods (white bread, pasta, flour and rice, potato and corn chips, sugar and soft drinks).
Sleep 7 hours a day.

Avoid obesogens.
Avoid BPS containers, nonstick pans and artificial sweeteners.

I too am a proponent of eating a variety of nutrient rich vegetables, grains and whole foods.  His research supports buying locally from vendors committed to organic practices.  Those locally bought foods include eggs, poultry, lean uncured pork and small amounts of beef from grass fed, pasture raised animals.  I support limiting cured meats and eating only small portions of meat.  I too advocate cooking and storing hazardous foods at proper temperatures and avoiding cross contamination.  While I am a proponent of drinking milk with every meal, I will take care to perhaps increase magnesium rich foods (green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains) to balance that ratio.  

Thank you Barbara Teszler PR for the complimentary review copy.  The above post is my own.  I received no other compensation for this review, other than the pleasure of reading!  


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Go Further With Food at the Farmers Market

Even during the winter season, I find foods I want at the local farmers market.  There are fresh eggs with dark orange yolks, shallots and onions just the size I need.  I find garlic with large, easy peeled cloves and golden potatoes.  There's celery root that's tasty in beef roasts from pasture raised cows.  There are dried beans, good for eating and planting with directions from the original grower.  There's popcorn when popped that's better than any you've ever tasted!  

The greens and spinach didn't wait till the official calendar said it was time for "spring" greens.  I found large beets to make red velvet cupcakes and brussel sprouts for roasting.  There are pork tenderloins that make any meal special.  

I can always find a sweet treat from the baker who's even sweeter than the goods she sells.

What I value most from the Farmers Market are the friends I have made.  The lines may be long at the individual tables, but everyone smiles, thanks you and remembers your name.  I'm lucky that the farm families I'm close to have a nearby store, where I stop weekly, talk, learn and shop.

What began with food goes further with friends and learning.  Fresh, nutrient rich nourishment and social interaction-I accomplish all these at the winter market.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Book Review: 150 Best Waffle Maker Recipes

I have enjoyed giving my 80s style waffle maker new life, cooking omelets, potato crisps and even crab cakes on the device.  I like the crispiness of the end products.  When I was asked to review this cook book, I didn't hesitate, knowing I'd find even more products to make.  

The authors, Marilyn Haugen and Jennifer Mackenzie have written several other cookbooks using other common kitchen appliances. The book "expands the usefulness of waffle makers beyond the traditional" with chapters featuring breakfast recipes and chapters on lunch, snacks and main dish entrees. The products are all quick cooking.

My favorite recipe is in the "Breakfast/Brunch" chapter for Cinnamon Rolls.

I modified the recipe to include 1/2 whole grain wheat flour and 12 Tablespoons added sugar versus the 20 Tablespoons in the book.  The result was still delicious.  The waffled rolls were not doughy.  The crispy cinnamon-brown sugar filling that oozed onto the grids was delicious.  

The cookbook has many versions of the classic breakfast waffle.  I loved the Multigrain Waffles, made with whole wheat and barley flours, oats, flaxseed and yogurt.

There are vegetarian and vegan recipes.  Here's my Veggie Quesadillas with black beans, corn and cheese, sandwiched in corn tortillas.

Also for lunch was the tuna melt sandwich featured at the top of the page.  

For the Veggie Tot recipe, I ground broccoli, brussel sprouts and zucchini to form these tasty dinner bites.

My favorite recipe of all was the one for Grilled Shrimp Skewer, featuring a delicious Honey Barbecue recipe.  I will try this one again!

Thank you Robert Rose for the complimentary review copy.  The above post and pictures are my own.  I received no other compensation for this review, other than the pleasure of creating meals and eating! 

Now home cooks can enjoy scrumptious restaurant-quality sweet and savory waffles.

To say that that waffles are enjoying a moment is an understatement. The Waffle House sells 145 waffles per minute — 877 million waffles and counting since they opened — and almost 10% of North Americans eat waffles at least once a week. But the really hot trend in waffles is taking the experience beyond breakfast to create savory sandwich-style meals. If the lineups outside waffles-only restaurants are any indication, waffles are here to stay.
Bestselling authors Marilyn and Jennifer have created 150 delightfully delicious and inspired waffle recipes, from delectable breakfast and brunch options to snacks, burgers and sandwiches to tantalizing desserts and treats.

MARILYN HAUGEN is passionate about cooking and entertaining and has turned this passion into a very successful cookbook career. She is the bestselling author of 150 Best Spiralizer Recipes, 175 Best Instant Pot Recipes and 175 Best Superfood Blender Recipes.
JENNIFER MACKENZIE is a professional home economist and is in constant demand for her incredible recipe development skills. She is the bestselling author of The Dehydrator Bible, The Complete Trail Food Cookbook and Sous Vide Basics.

208 pages total • 7" x 10" • Index
16 color photographs
ISBN 978-0-7788-0589-2
$19.95 CA / $19.95 US / £14.95 UK
Publication date: February 2018

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Go Further With Food at Breakfast

Breakfast is a time for building up muscles, stamina and frame of mind. This is the meal when protein intake is emphasized.  Breakfast is especially important for seniors and those recuperating from illness or injury.   While most Americans eat the bulk of the daily protein later in the day, it's best to to space the intake throughout the day.  

I aim for 20-24 grams of protein at breakfast.  That's more than a cup of milk or a container of yogurt-though that's a place to start. Soy and pea milk each have equivalent amounts of protein per cup (8 grams) as cows' milk.  Almond, rice and coconut milk do not.  Greek yogurt has twice the protein as regular milk.

Like other meals-include a fruit or vegetable and a whole grain with the protein foods. 

Fennel Muesli pictured above is paired with Greek yogurt (higher in protein than regular yogurt), strawberries and a glass of milk.
Bulgur Breakfast Bowl bolsters protein with peanut butter, ricotta cheese and yogurt.

A slice of Ricotta Frittata (leftover from dinner) has more than one egg and a serving of ricotta cheese.  To this meal, I'd add a slice of whole grain toast and a glass of milk.

This Quinoa Pancake with Lemon "Crema" bolsters high protein quinoa with egg, milk, yogurt and walnuts.   

Hard cooked eggs paired with spinach pesto pairs the ideal protein of eggs with cheese and nuts in the pesto.  This is an "egg-cellant" breakfast item to make ahead.

Try making an "Effortless Egg Salad" on the weekend to make a breakfast on the run sandwich Monday morning.

Nut butters spread on a muffin adds protein to this smoothie bowl breakfast.

Fennel Muesli

12 (1/3 cup) servings

Mix pepitas, almonds, pecans and seeds (It is fine to substitute other nuts). Toss on a wide rim baking sheet.  Toast in a 350 F. oven for 7 minutes.  Reduce oven to 275F.
1/3 cup pepitas
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup pecans
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 teaspoon fennel seeds

Mix honey, peanut butter, oil, orange and vanilla until smooth.  
1/3 cup honey
3 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon vanilla

Toss peanut butter sauce with nuts and seeds and oats.  Mix until completely covered.
2 cups old fashioned oats
Spread onto parchment lined rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.  Stir.  

Chop apricots and berries in a food processor.  Mix with partially roasted granola.  Bake in oven for another 30 minutes.
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup fresh berries, chopped (I used wild black raspberries picked last season and frozen)

National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign sponsored annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.