Whole Wheat Flax Beer Bread from Fitzala | Bob's Red Mill

Whole Wheat Beer Bread with Flax {Guest Post}

by Guest in Featured Articles, Recipes

Hello Bob’s Red Mill blog readers! I’m Jenni, the personal trainer behind Fitzala. Today I’ll be sharing a great recipe for a hearty snack. Beer bread doesn’t rank high on most people’s list for healthy snacks, but this one is delicious and good for you.

Most beer bread recipes are high in sugar and fat, which isn’t the best for your health. This recipe uses flaxseed meal to keep the bread moist and replace the not so healthy fats. Flaxseed is high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Another great aspect of healthy fats is that they provide a high level of satiety, making you feel more satisfied after eating.

Normal whole wheat flour can give baked goods a grainy, dense or overwhelming “wheaty” taste. You can fix this and still get the whole grain nutrients by substituting whole wheat pastry flour. It lends the lighter texture that most white flour baked goods have without sacrificing the fiber, vitamins and minerals that whole wheat flour lends.

With these two power ingredients, this bread is nutritious, satiating and sticks with you while you go about your busy day. The hoppy beer taste is just a bonus!

If you’re wary about using beer, take comfort in knowing that 75% of the alcohol bakes out. There’s not enough left in it to give you buzz of any kind, though I wouldn’t recommend using it if you are allergic to alcohol. You can substitute soda or seltzer water for beer, but I can’t guarantee the results and the taste will definitely differ.

Whole Wheat Flax Beer Bread from Fitzala | Bob's Red Mill

Whole Wheat Beer Bread with Flax

Yield: 15 slices

Ingredients:

  • 2 ¼ cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • ½ cup Flaxseed Meal
  • 1 tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ¾ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tablespoon Maple Syrup (sugar-free is fine too)
  • 1- 12 oz bottle/can of Beer

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350°F and prepare a bread pan with grease or parchment.

Place the flour, flax, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in one bowl and whisk to combine.

Beat together the egg and maple syrup in another bowl then mix in the beer.

Pour the wet ingredients in to the dry and mix until just combined.

Place the bread mixture in your greased pan and bake for 40 minutes or until done.

Jenni Kenyon from FitzalaJenni is an NASM certified personal trainer and loves helping women find balance in health and exercise. She and her husband live in Central Washington and spend as much time as possible outdoors. Find her on her blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or G+.

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Red Bean and Kamut Soup F

Meatless Monday Explained + Red Bean and Kamut® Soup

by Guest in Featured Articles, Meatless Mondays, Recipes

How many times have you heard something like this: “The foundation of a healthy diet is fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains.”

For many of us—especially seasoned home cooks—this is old news, and it may not even be something we think about all that often. We love plants, of course we eat them every day!

But the truth is, actually consuming the full recommended number of servings of these healthy foods on a daily basis is difficult, even for a registered dietitian like myself. Current dietary guidelines recommend five servings of produce and six ounces of grains daily for most people. Eating meat at every meal – or even every day – can make this a challenge.

In 2003, renowned advertising mogul Sid Lerner revived Meatless Monday (once popular as a war conservation effort) as a way to encourage the public to reduce their intake of saturated fat and cholesterol from animal products and eat more healthy plant foods. Since then, individuals, organizations and brands like Bob’s Red Mill have adopted the initiative to help spread the message about the benefits of periodic meatless eating.

Red Bean and Kamut Soup | Bob's Red Mill

In my work promoting Meatless Monday, I find that each eater is inspired to join the campaign for a slightly different reason. Some of the most popular include:

For health: Research shows that those who follow diets low in animal products and high in plant foods have lower levels of obesity, a reduced risk of developing cancer and heart disease, lower blood pressure and lower total mortality. Meatless foods, especially whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables are packed full of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

To discover a new favorite: It’s easy to fall into a meal rut and cook up the same old chicken breast or ground beef most nights. Challenging yourself to go meat-free one day a week can provide inspiration to finally try that curious vegetable or ancient grain you keep hearing about. You may discover a new healthy favorite that will become a regular feature in your diet on other days of the week.

For solidarity: Social support is a huge element of any healthy habit. Even if you regularly eat meatless meals, making a specific effort to do it on Mondays and to share your habit with those in your household or via social media can inspire others to make Meatless Monday and plant-based eating a regular habit, too. It’s also exciting to know you’re participating in a global movement – over 30 countries now have active Meatless Monday campaigns.

For the environment: Eating less meat is an environmentally friendly choice, since production of animal foods is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

meatlessmonday_logo

As Meatless Monday’s dietitian, I often hear concerns about whether you can still get enough protein without eating meat. The answer is a resounding yes! Very few people in the United States get too little protein, even among full-time vegetarians. And most plant foods contain more protein than we think, whole grains especially. Quinoa has developed a reputation for being a protein superstar over the past few years, but interestingly, many other whole grains pack in even more protein per serving than the popular South American seed. Amaranth, millet, farro and Kamut® wheat come in at about seven or eight grams of protein per one-fourth cup serving as compared to quinoa’s five.

In the spirit of discovering new favorites on Meatless Monday, I decided to give Kamut® Khorasan Wheat a shot. Kamut® wheat, while technically an ancient wheat, sure looks a lot like brown rice, so I was inspired to try it out in a twist on traditional red beans and rice.

Beans and grains have historically been paired together not only because of their complementary flavors, but because when combined, the proteins from the two plants provide all of the essential amino acids we need to carry out our daily functions. There’s actually no need to make sure you get each of the essential amino acids in the same meatless meal, but that doesn’t mean the combination isn’t still delicious and worthy of a spot in your next Meatless Monday dinner.

Red Bean and Kamut Soup | Bob's Red Mill

Red Bean and Kamut® Soup

Serves 4

  • 1 cup Kamut® Khorasan Wheat
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil or Butter
  • 1 medium Onion, diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 6 cups Vegetable Stock
  • 1 ½ cups Tomato Puree
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans Red Beans
  • 2 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 2 tsp dried Thyme
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • Salt to taste (consider salt content of vegetable stock)

Soak Kamut in water overnight. Before cooking, drain and discard soaking water.

In a large stockpot or dutch oven, heat butter or olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, saute until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and saute one minute more.

Add soaked Kamut and remaining ingredients. Mix well, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 40 minutes to one hour, until Kamut has cooked and flavors are combined.

Remove bay leaves and serve.

Diana Rice, RD | Meatless MondaysDiana K. Rice, RD is the registered dietitian and recipe editor on staff with The Monday Campaigns, a nonprofit public health marketing initiative dedicated to using the first day of the week to prompt healthy behavior changes. Diana focuses her efforts on the organization’s nutrition-oriented initiatives Meatless Monday, The Kids Cook Monday and Healthy Monday. She has studied at NYU, the University of Northern Colorado and Cedar Crest College and is an advocate for sustainable agriculture and children’s nutrition education. Contact The Monday Campaigns to start a campaign in your area and keep up with Diana on Twitter.

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Kale and Cheesy Grits F

Meatless Mondays: Garlicky Kale with Fire-Roasted Tomatoes and Cheesy Brown Rice “Grits”

by Stephanie Wise in Gluten Free, Meatless Mondays, Recipes

Breakfast used to be my least favorite meal of the day: So much so, I’d often skip it. Of course, that would lead to headaches, dizziness and extreme hunger by mid-morning – leaving me crankier than if I’d just eaten a granola bar or bowl of cereal.

Kale and Cheesy Grits | Bob's Red Mill

Nowadays, I’ve not only learned to eat a healthy and hearty breakfast daily, but actually enjoy it. It helps to have a variety of go-to recipes on hand that are easy enough for me to make first thing in the morning (you know, before I’ve had my coffee). This recipe for garlicky kale and cheesy brown rice farina grits is perfect for those mornings when I’m craving something savory, but healthy and filling. The kale is sautéed until wilted with fire-roasted tomatoes and fresh garlic, and the creamy brown rice farina cereal – mixed with mozzarella cheese and butter – serves as a nutritious “grits”-like base, and is entirely gluten-free. It’s perfect on its own for a hearty breakfast or as a brunch side with eggs and fresh fruit.

Next time you’re considering skipping breakfast or just need a boost in your morning routine, make these savory grits. Your taste buds and your tummy will thank you.

Kale and Cheesy Grits | Bob's Red Mill

Garlicky Kale with Fire-Roasted Tomatoes and Cheesy Brown Rice Farina “Grits”

Yields: 2 large or 4 small servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch Kale, stems removed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups Water
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ¾ cup Bob’s Red Mill® Creamy Brown Rice Farina
  • ½ cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • Parmesan Cheese, for topping

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and saute 1 minute until fragrant. Add chopped kale and cook, stirring often, until half-wilted. Add diced tomatoes (with liquid) and stir.

Cook 5 minutes until kale is completely wilted and mixture is warmed through. Remove from heat; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, bring water and salt in a medium saucepan to a boil. Stir in brown rice farina; reduce heat to low. Cook 5 minutes, stirring often, until cereal is cooked and mixture is thickened. Remove from heat; stir in shredded mozzarella cheese and butter.

Divide cereal mixture among serving bowls. Top with kale-tomato mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese just before serving.

Stephanie Wise | Girl Versus DoughStephanie is the baker/blogger/babbler behind the blog, Girl Versus Dough, where she writes about her adventures in bread baking and other tasty, unique recipes. Her approach is friendly yet inspiring, down-to-earth yet adventurous. She lives in the Twin Cities with her husband, Elliott, her furry child-cat, Percy and a growing belly bump that will turn into a baby girl this May. Keep up with her on Facebook and Twitter

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Brownies1

Getting Enough Dietary Fiber on Your Low Carb Diet + Mocha Chocolate Chunk Chia Seed Brownies

by Carolyn Ketchum in Gluten Free, Health, Recipes

There are a great many misconceptions about low carb diets, and one of them is that they must be very low in dietary fiber. We all know fiber is good for us. It fills us up, keeps us regular, slows the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, and may contribute to heart and colon health. It’s pretty important stuff. Since low carb diets eschew many commonly accepted sources of fiber, such as whole grains and legumes, many people believe low carb diets to also be low fiber diets. And if they are low in fiber, it logically follows that they can’t possibly be good for us, right? Wrong. Don’t mind me if I just gently blow a few holes in that idea.

Mocha Chocolate Chunk Chia Brownies Low Carb, Gluten Free | Bob's Red Mill

First, let’s consider the best source of dietary fiber. It is not, as many people believe, whole grains and legumes but vegetables and fruits that give us the bulk of our daily fiber intake. Or at least it should be. It goes without saying that any healthy diet should include a variety of vegetables and fruit every day. We’re all supposed to be getting our 7 to 9 servings or more per day and that holds just as true on a low carb diet as it does on any other. And thankfully, the vast majority of vegetables, and some fruits as well, are both low in carbohydrates and high in dietary fiber. No matter what diet you follow, if you’re skimping on these foods, you’re cheating yourself of the best sources of fiber and other nutrients.

You might also be surprised to find that many of the low carb alternatives to whole grains have just as much as much or more fiber than their conventional counterparts. Nut meals typically contain 3 or 4 g per serving, which is as much fiber as a serving of whole wheat flour. Coconut flour varies between 5 and 10 g of fiber per serving, depending on the brand, and almost all of the carbohydrates in flax and chia seeds are from dietary fiber. Many low carb recipes also substitute veggies like cauliflower and zucchini for rice and pasta, increasing the fiber and nutrients of many dishes even further.

Mocha Chocolate Chunk Chia Brownies Low Carb, Gluten Free| Bob's Red Mill

A great part of the confusion surrounding low carb diets comes from the misperception that they are high protein diets. They aren’t, or at least they shouldn’t be. Done correctly, a low carb diet should be low in carbs (obviously!) and high in fat, with moderate amounts of protein. I know the high fat part scares many people, but science is increasingly coming out in favor of the idea that fats, even saturated fats, are not the enemy. Admittedly, it’s still a bit of a hard sell, and with low carb diets being so misunderstood, they are easy to vilify. I get that; it was a hard sell for me too at first.

I recently read an article about two men, identical twins, who decided to put low carb versus low fat to the test. For a period of one month, one twin ate low carb and the other ate low fat. In the end, the twin on the low carb diet lost more weight, but says he felt sluggish, his breath stank and he was constipated. Well no wonder, since his version of low carb consisted solely of meat, fish, eggs and cheese. He didn’t do a low carb diet, he did a NO carb diet, eating zero fruits, vegetables, nuts or seeds for a whole month. There was nary a gram of dietary fiber to be seen and I don’t know anyone who would advocate this kind of extreme dieting. Naturally, the article gained traction on many news outlets across the globe. Is it any wonder that with this kind of press, low carb diets are so misunderstood?

Mocha Chocolate Chunk Chia Brownies Low Carb, Gluten Free | Bob's Red Mill

One more thing that should convince you how important fiber-rich foods are if you’re going low carb is that they count against your overall carb count. Fiber is indigestible and is not absorbed into the bloodstream. It has no effect on blood glucose levels and many countries don’t even consider it a carbohydrate in their nutritional labeling. The US lists it as a carbohydrate, however, and most low carb diets suggest calculating “net carbs” by subtracting the grams of fiber from the total grams of carbohydrate. Bingo. Right there, you just ate less carbs than you thought you did.

I advocate eating a variety of fiber-rich foods on a low carb diet, as they will help you feel full, healthy and energized. With so many great sources of fiber available, there is simply no need to limit yourself to meat, fish, eggs and cheese. And why would you want to? You can enjoy an amazing variety of foods without blowing your low carb goals. And you’ll be much happier and more likely to stick with it.

Mocha Chocolate Chunk Chia Brownies Low Carb, Gluten Free | Bob's Red Mill

Mocha Chocolate Chunk Chia Seed Brownies

  • ¾ cup Chia Seed Meal (about ½ cup whole seeds – I grind them in my coffee grinder)
  • ¾ cup Swerve Sweetener or other Erythritol
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • ½ cup Butter
  • 3 oz Unsweetened Chocolate
  • 4 large Eggs
  • ¼ cup strongly brewed Coffee
  • 2 oz Dark Chocolate Chunks (70 to 90% cacao)

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9 x 9 square baking pan. Line with parchment paper, with some overhanging the sides for easy release. Grease parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk together chia seed meal, sweetener, baking soda and salt.

In a large saucepan over low heat, melt butter and chocolate together, whisking until smooth.

Whisk in eggs (mixture may seize), then whisk in coffee. Stir in chia seed mixture until well combined. Stir in chocolate chunks.

Spread batter in prepared pan and bake 15 to 16 minutes for a fudgier consistency or 18 to 20 for a cakier consistency.

Remove and let cool completely in pan.

Remove brownies from pan by grasping the overhanging parchment and lifting carefully. Cut into 16 squares.

Carolyn Ketchum | All Day I Dream About FoodCarolyn Ketchum is the writer, photographer and almond flour wizard behind All Day I Dream About Food, a low carb and gluten-free food blog. Her mission is to prove to the world that special diets need not be boring or restrictive and that healthy dishes can be just as good, or better, than their sugar and gluten-filled counterparts. It’s astonishing what you can do with a bag of almond flour, a stick of butter, and a willingness to experiment. Follow her on FacebookTwitterGoogle Plus and Pinterest for inspiring ideas for the low carb, gluten free lifestyle.

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Simple Meals for the Simple (Or Complicated) Life {Guest Post}

by Guest in Featured Articles

Bob’s Red Mill is proud to sponsor athletic endeavors across the country, including the RV Project. Just two mountain climbing addicts, searching out the best climbing in the United States (and Canada) fueled by whole grains. We are happy to welcome Vikki to the blog to tell you more about eating well while living in tight quarters on the go. Learn more about the RV Project and keep up to date with their adventures at http://rvproj.com/.

***

Spenser and I formed The RV Project over two years ago- determined to travel across the United States in search of the best climbing and most interesting people this great nation has to offer.

In order to be as mobile as possible, we decided to move our lives into a 10-foot trailer in February of 2012. We have a two-burner propane stove. We lack refrigeration and running water, which makes us prioritize food that keeps and is easy to prepare. The final parameter for our meals is that I have Celiac Disease. Yep, we also need to eat gluten-free.

Hopefully, you do not have as many restrictions as we do on what you are able to cook. Maybe you share one or two with us, or maybe none. Whether you have a full kitchen or a camp stove, these recipes are delicious, easy to prepare, and, as far as science can tell, really good for you.

To celebrate almost two years on the road, we’ve put together some of our favorite dishes that have proven to be tasty meals, while packing a nutritious punch. Naturally, they’re simple to cook and even easier to clean up after. We’ve included some of our favorite time-saving tips to get the nutrition your body needs when/where you can.

Bob’s products fit seamlessly into our lifestyle, giving us a wide variety of hearty, healthy products to choose from that do not need to be refrigerated and are certified gluten-free. The support allows us to have more freedom in our road trip and for that we are incredibly grateful.

Here’s a standard meal plan for a day in our active lives:

BREAKFAST:

- Oatmeal with dried cranberries & flax seeds.

If I have time in the morning, I prefer to make Bob’s Red Mill GF Steel Cut Oats. The GF Quick Cooking Oats are great if we’re in a rush.

Oatmeal with Cranberries and soaked seeds | Bob's Red Mill

* This will make 2-4 servings, so it can last you a couple of days.

Don’t forget to use your imagination! You can add whatever your heart desires to your very versatile morning oatmeal- hemp seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, nuts, any other dried fruit. Spices like cinnamon or nutmeg can add a nice kick.

Soaking Seeds | Bob's Red Mill

To learn more about the benefits of soaking seeds, check out this article.

LUNCH:

- Usually leftovers, so let’s go straight to dinner.

DINNER:

We stick to 1 pot/1 pan dishes on a regular basis (sometimes it’s 1 pot + 1 pan, when we’re feeling adventurous). :)

For us, dinner is a time to branch out and try new things. We already love quinoa and incorporate it into meals regularly, but had never had the chance to try the other two Grains of Discovery: sorghum and millet. I tried them both out recently and they were delicious!

Millet has a quick cooking time (20 minutes), so is ideal for use in place of rice- we made the Millet Stir-Fry.

Sorghum is more chewy and takes about 50-60 minutes to fully cook. The texture reminded me a lot of how I remember couscous to be. It’s a grain that is is very enjoyable cold, another big plus for us. The Curried Carrots Sorghum Salad was to die for! A small portion kept us full for hours.

They are both a great way to change things up from rice, noodles, or pasta, while increasing your fiber intake. Millet has 9g of fiber per ¼ cup, while sorghum provides 8 grams.

Chili | Bob's Red Mill

- Bob’s Red Mill Restaurant Vegetarian Chili recipe is perfect. The Anasazi beans are delicious & Bob’s beans do not need to be soaked overnight (good for those of us who do not  plan ahead).

- The Cranberry Wild Rice is honestly filling enough on it’s own, but also makes a great side dish to any meat.

- The Black Bean, Corn & Quinoa Salad is a fresh take on chili. Just add everything to a pot and enjoy! You can swap out any type of black beans that you may have for the specified Black Turtle Beans.

The trick is to add variety without upping the difficulty level.

Our final tip: Always think about adding to your meal.

Having a salad?

+ add chia/flax/hemp/pumpkin/sunflower seeds

+ Flax seeds to rice (or any grain!) to add nutrition & a nice crunch

+ Chia/flax/hemp seeds whenever you eat cereal or make a smoothie

Hope this is helpful! I would love to answer any questions about the recipes, eating gluten-free, or our trip.

For more on our travels, please visit our blog or Facebook page:

www.rvproj.com
https://www.facebook.com/rvproject

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Popcorn

Simple Tips to Unjunk Your Popcorn {Guest Post}

by Guest in Featured Articles, Recipes

What does a picky eater 3-year-old have in common with a 70-year-old grandparent?  Popcorn is their favorite whole grain snack!  At my cooking demonstration at the American Museum of Natural History’s Global Kitchen Exhibit for over 800 participants I made my wildly popular Popcorn with Brain Butter using an air-popper and I learned a lot about this beloved snack!   Here are some interesting observations:

  • Most people (at home or at work) pop their popcorn in microwaveable bags loaded with partially hydrogenated oils and artificial flavorings (make sure to ready the ingredients) or buy it ready-to-eat – both can be very high in sodium.  And, as a result, most kids couldn’t identify a corn kernel!
  • There was a big taste difference between freshly popped popcorn kernels and the ready-to-eat varieties.  With the freshly popped getting double thumbs up!
  • An air-popper is a novel appliance with many people wanting to put it on their wedding registries or buy it as a great gift.  It uses air, not oil which keeps the fat level low.
  • Many people didn’t know it was considered a healthy, whole grain snack – what a bonus!

Popcorn

Growing up, my sisters and I always popped popcorn old school on the stove on Friday nights in the “burnt” popcorn pot (with parent supervision!).  Every time we popped the corn kernels it was always an exciting experience and the wonderful aroma signaled movie night at our house!  These simple memories made family time, fun-time.  No need to burn a pot if you have an air-popper.

Popcorn with Brain Butter

I’m a big fan of the Cuisinart Popcorn Maker because it pops most kernels and doesn’t make a mess of popcorn lose all over the place (I’ve gone through many air-poppers to find the perfect one!)  My favorite corn kernels are Bob’s Red Mill because they are GMO-free and have a delicious taste whether it’s the white or yellow corn kernel varieties.  And, this delicious whole grain snack adds needed dietary fiber to keep our digestive tract in tip-top shape!

Popcorn with Brain Butter

What are you waiting for… let’s get popping!  Here’s my recipe to unjunk this wildly popular whole-grain snack food that boosts good nutrition, too!   I’ve remade this much-loved snack by using an air-popper to pop the corn kernels and then adding flaxseed oil instead of butter.  Flaxseed oil’s yellow color looks like butter, but this healthy fat rich in omega-3 fatty acids protects our hearts and sharpens our brains.  Add a few pinches of sea salt to taste and munch away.

Popcorn with Brain Butter

Popcorn with Brain Butter

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Popcorn Kernels (White or Yellow)
  • 1 tablespoon Flaxseed Oil
  • ¼ teaspoon Sea Salt

Directions:

  1. Place popcorn kernels in air popper and pop following manufacturer’s directions.
  2. In medium bowl, drizzle flaxseed oil over popped corn and sprinkle with salt; toss to coat evenly.

Makes 4 serving (1 cup per serving).

Nutrition Facts per serving: 70 calories; 4g fat (0g sat fat, 1g mono, 2g poly, 0 g trans); 0mg cholesterol; 8g carbohydrate (2g fiber, 0g sugar); 1g protein; 30mg sodium; 4% Daily Value (DV) iron.

What’s your favorite topping on popcorn?

- Stacey Antine, MS, RD, author, Appetite for Life, founder, HealthBarn USA, co-host, Family Food Expert Internet Radio Show, and recognized as top 10 dietitians nationally by Today’s Dietitian magazine for her work with HealthBarn USA.

 

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Cooking Whole Grains in Your Sleep {Guest Post}

by Guest in Featured Articles, Recipes, Whole Grains 101

Not everyone—in fact, few—may think about whole grains as nostalgic comfort food, but I do. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area with parents who loved to cook delicious, all natural meals with ingredients from our local Co-op and garden, and whole grains featured prominently in our family meals.

While I thought we were simply eating delicious dishes, Mom and Dad had ulterior motives, namely, making sure that my brother and sister and I had all of the strength and energy we needed to fuel us through our various sports, school and extracurricular activities. Hearty grains—in breads, cereals, salads, soups and more—laid the perfect foundation for the stamina we needed.

Now, as a busy working mother, endurance athlete, fitness instructor, and cookbook author, I need more strength and endurance than ever, and my favorite comfort grains continue to serve me well. Whether it’s steel cut oats, millet, bulgur, quinoa or amaranth, whole grains contain the fiber, minerals, phytonutrients and vitamins I need for maximizing my speed and endurance, stabilizing my blood sugar, and repairing my muscles after a grueling training session.

Thermos Oatmeal 2

As if that weren’t enough, my big quinoa salads and barley soups also prevent the release of the cortisol hormone, which contributes to fatigue and poor mood, bone health, athletic performance and ligament health.

The only downside (if you can call it that) to many of my favorite grains is that they can take a while to prepare. But I am happy to share my solution, one that I am certain you will use as often as I do once you try it: I make my whole grains in my sleep. Overnight. In my handy little thermos.

I wish I could claim ownership of this nifty technique, but many of my backpacker friends knew all about it long before they shared it with me. You don’t need a hiking trip or a backpack, to likewise hijack this method for preparing grains, just a well-insulated thermos, some boiling water, and your favorite grains.

Thermos Oatmeal

It’s as easy as this:

Step 1: Place your favorite Bob’s Red Mill dry grains into a thermos with a tight-fitting lid (preferably vacuum seal). About 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup is perfect for an individual portion.

With the exception of wheat berries and kamut (see note), you can use almost any grain you like, including farro, steel-cut oats, quinoa, amaranth, pearl barley, you name it. (Note: kamut and wheat berries will still work, but you will need to soak them overnight before using the thermos method).

Step 2: Add a pinch of salt (optional, but really brings out the flavor of the grains).

Step 3: Add boiling water to the thermos. Use the water-to-grains ratio specified on the package to determine how much to add. For example, if using 1/4 cup dry quinoa, add 1/2 cup boiling water.

Step 4: Seal the lid and swish the contents around a bit.

Step 5: Go to sleep!

Thermos Oatmeal with Goji and Chia

In the morning, unscrew the lid and enjoy your perfectly cooked grains!

I like just about any grain with a splash of milk (dairy or non-dairy) and a drizzle of maple syrup or honey, but sometimes I like to jazz things up with some dried fruit, chia seeds and nuts, too.

There’s no need to limit this method for breakfast: stir in some black beans and salsa, or leftover chicken and some jarred pesto for an instant lunch to go (already in the thermos!) Alternatively, set up your grains and boiling water (or boiling broth) in the morning and return to cooked grains after work (perfect for a salad, side dish, or stir-fry).

Enjoy! You’ll be jumping and leaping for joy with all of your added energy!

Camilla Saulsbury is a wife, mom, bestselling cookbook author, blogger, recipe developer, fitness expert and endurance athlete. Her culinary focus is translating food and flavor trends into fast, fresh, whole foods-based recipes that deliver deliciousness and energy in equal measure. Visit PowerHungry.com to read more from Camilla. 

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October Unprocessed {Guest Post}

by Guest in Featured Articles, Health

In October of 2009, I was struck by a simple idea:

What would happen if I went for an entire month without eating any processed foods?

This question would have been nonsensical just a few decades ago.

Nowadays, it seems that almost every food that comes with an ingredients list a mile long, filled with refined sugar, fat, and salt. And preservatives. And flavorings. And artificial colors.

I’m no longer okay with this.

So I tried it, along with a few friends: A month of no processed foods.

October Unprocessed

Defining ‘Unprocessed’

We first had to define “unprocessed.” It’s one of those words that everyone intuitively seems to know, but when you get right down to it, it’s actually quite tricky to define. We finally settled on what I now call The Kitchen Test:

Unprocessed food is any food that could be made by a person with reasonable skill in a home kitchen with whole-food ingredients.

That doesn’t mean you have to make the food yourself, just that it could be done in a home kitchen—at least in theory. So if it’s something that’s store-bought, each ingredient needs to pass the kitchen test. It quickly rules out all those additives you’d never use if you were cooking for yourself.

And how did that first month go? The experience was revelatory. My expectations and sense of taste were re-calibrated. I started to identify individual ingredients in the foods I ate. I didn’t crave those salty snacks. I found myself often in the kitchen, excited to see what I could cook next. Above all, I simply felt better.

We took turns hosting small dinner parties, and shared our stories and experiences. It brought us closer together. Funny how REAL food does that.

October Unprocessed

October Unprocessed

In 2010, I decided to try it again, in a bigger way. I had recently started my blog, Eating Rules, and I reached out to the community and issued this “unprocessed” challenge again. I put up a short pledge form on my site for people to sign. By the end of the month, more than 400 people took the pledge and we shared over 40 guest posts on a variety of unprocessed food topics.

“The challenge” has continued to grow over the past few years.

Last year, over 6,000 people participated and we shared 93 guest posts!

This year, “October Unprocessed” is back for a fourth time, and it’s better than ever.

I’m particularly excited that Bob’s Red Mill is sponsoring the challenge. They’ve been a supporter from the very beginning, and this year they’re contributing with giveaways, valuable coupons, guest posts – and I’ll even be interviewing Bob himself!

We’re all in this together, supporting each other, and coming together as a community to bring change about in our own lives, and in the rest of the world. Ultimately, this challenge is an awareness exercise. It’ll help you focus on what you’re putting into your body, how it affects you, and how it affects the world around you.

I encourage you to take the pledge today, and then join us for the month-long challenge.

Together, we’ll change the world, one bite at a time.

Go here to learn more about October Unprocessed and to take the pledge!

(and once you do, you’ll receive some valuable Bob’s Red Mill coupons so you can stock up your unprocessed pantry!)

andrew-wilder-croppedAndrew Wilder firmly believes that “healthy eating doesn’t have to suck,” and he writes about how that’s entirely possible on his blog, Eating Rules. He leads the October Unprocessed challenge each year, and you can also find him on FacebookTwitter, and Google Plus.

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Antipasto Couscous with Chickpeas2

Embrace Whole Grains & Ethnic Flavors for Meatless Monday

by Guest in Meatless Mondays, Recipes

By Sharon Palmer, The Plant-Powered Dietitian

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Weight loss, better health, longevity and an anti-inflammatory lifestyle can be found in your neighborhood grocery store. Whole grains, in particular, are an essential part of the secret to living a better, healthier life.

While there are so many fallacies out there regarding carbohydrates, there is no better time than September – Whole Grains Month – to put some of these misconceptions regarding carbohydrates and grains to rest. Yes, it’s true that a diet packed in highly refined carbohydrates, such as those found in processed crackers, cereals, and pastries, may be increasing our risk of diseases; but, it’s also true that intake of whole grains actually leads to health promotion. Whole grains not only provide carbohydrates, they are packed with antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and even protein – nutrients and compounds essential for fighting off disease and improving our chances for living well into our 90s.

Even better news is that whole grains taste delicious and are incredibly versatile in a variety of meatless recipes.  When you focus on animal foods at every meal, your choices are limited to the basic beef, pork, chicken, or seafood selection. But when you plan your meals around plant foods – such as whole grains, including amaranth, barley, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, rye, sorghum, teff, wheat (including Kamut® wheat, farro, and spelt) and wild rice – the sky’s the limit.

A wide variety of ethnic dishes, including those inspired by Mexican, Indian and African flavors, are anything but bland and boring. What’s more, many of these ethnic cuisines use whole grains to form the foundation for a variety of recipes.

Antipasto Couscous with Chickpeas1

Antipasto Couscous with Chickpeas

By Sharon Palmer, RD

A staple in North African cuisine, couscous is actually small pieces of semolina pasta made from whole grain flour. My whole grain couscous dish is based on a variety of flavorful preserved vegetables, such as sun-dried tomatoes, roasted peppers, and marinated artichoke hearts. You can keep these ingredients in your pantry and make this wholesome one-dish meal at a moment’s notice. And it’s just as good served cold as a salad.

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 medium Red Onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes, sliced
  • Half 12-ounce jar drained, sliced Fire-Roasted Red or Yellow Peppers (about ½ cup)
  • 1/2 cup canned marinated Mushrooms, drained
  • Half 12-ounce jar marinated Artichoke Hearts, drained and sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup cooked or canned Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), no salt added, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup pitted Green Olives, drained
  • 1 Tbsp Capers
  • 1-1/2 cups Water
  • 1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Lemon Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp dried Oregano
  • 1 cup uncooked Whole Wheat Couscous
  • 1/3 cup chopped Pistachios

Instructions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and onion and sauté for 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, artichokes, chickpeas, olives, capers, water, vinegar, lemon pepper, paprika, and oregano. Cook until bubbly, about 3 minutes.
  3. Pour the couscous over the vegetable mixture (do not stir) then cover the pan and remove from the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the cover and fluff the couscous with a fork. Sprinkle with the pistachios and serve immediately.

Notes: Chill this dish to serve it as a salad. If you plan on serving it much later, reserve the pistachios to keep them from getting soggy and sprinkle them on at the last minute.

Per serving (about 1-1/8 cups):

Calories: 240, Carbohydrate: 38 g, Fiber: 6 g, Protein: 8 g, Total fat: 6 g, Saturated fat: 1 g, Sodium: 252 mg

Star nutrients: Vitamin C (20% DV), niacin (10% DV), folate (13% DV), iron (11% DV)

Recipe from The Plant-Powered Diet: The Lifelong Eating Plan for Achieving Optimal Health, Beginning Today, copyright © Sharon Palmer, 2012. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available June 2012.

Sharon Palmer, The Plant-Powered Dietitian is a writer and author of The Plant-Powered Diet. Over 850 of her articles have been published in national publications, including Prevention, Better Homes and Gardens and Today’s Dietitian. She is also the editor of the award-winning publication Environmental Nutrition and writes for her blog, The Plant-Powered Blog. Sharon makes her home with her husband and two sons in the chaparral hills overlooking Los Angeles.

 

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Mediterranean Millet Salad1

Guest Post: Mediterranean Millet Salad

by Guest in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, Recipes

As of yesterday, summer has officially begun – so have you made your camping plans yet?

I’ve got a two-week camping road trip in Canada planned with stops in Whistler, Jasper, Yoho, and Mt. Revelstoke – and I just can’t wait to get on the road. In times where many of us have tightened our travel budgets, camping can be a great way to still take that big summer trip but cut both your lodging and food costs considerably.

With two weeks worth of camp cooking on the horizon, I like to keep things as interesting and as similar to the food we cook at home as possible. Typical camp dinners tend to involve meat or some kind of stick to your ribs chili. While both have their time and place, I’d always take a filling but lighter vegan or vegetarian alternative.

Millet is a great grain to cook fast meals with – which makes it a perfect grain for camping. When it’s cooked with a ratio of 1 cup millet to 2 cups water, you get a light and fluffy grain that can easily be tossed with other ingredients to make a grain salad. In this version, I combined a few ingredients that would be simple to bring with you on a camping trip. My favorite part is using the olive oil from the sun dried tomato jar to dress the salad because it passes along that great flavor to the rest of the ingredients.

Camp Kitchen Supplies for Millet Salad:

  • Two Burner Propane Stove
  • Medium Pot with Lid
  • Large Bowl
  • Spork (or a whisk if you want to be fancy)

Mediterranean Millet Salad

Mediterranean Millet Salad Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Millet
  • 1 – 15 oz can Garbanzo Beans, drained
  • 1 – 5 oz jar of Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil
  • 2.5 oz of fresh Spinach (half of a 5 oz container or 2 handfuls)
  • juice from one Lemon
  • Salt
  • Optional (for the non-vegans): about 2 Tbsp crumbled Feta Cheese

Make

Bring 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt to a boil in a medium pot.

Add the millet and bring to a simmer.

Cover and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.

In a large bowl, combine the beans, sun-dried tomatoes along with half the olive oil from the jar, spinach, and lemon juice.

Add the cooked millet and toss all the ingredients to combine.

Makes 4 servings.

Adina Marguerite Pease is a travel and food writer, photographer, and explorer based out of Seattle, Washington. Having traveled through 6 countries, 18 states, and over 70 cities since going gluten free in 2009 – it’s become her passion to share her adventures and inspire others to go new places and try new things. You can find additional gluten free recipes and stories about her adventures on her blog, Gluten Free Travelette.

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