almondcoconut

5 Super Foods for a Super New Year!

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Health, Whole Grains 101

If you resolved to have a healthier, happier 2013, consider adding some (or all) of these nutritional powerhouses to your diet. For recipe inspiration, check out our recipe collection on our website.

  1. Flaxseed Meal: Flaxseeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, delivering a whopping 2400 milligrams in each 2 Tbsp serving of Flaxseed Meal. Ground flax also delivers 4 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein per serving. Seeds should be ground to reap the benefits of flax, however, whole seeds make a wonderful addition to breads and other baked goods. Bonus: Flaxseed Meal makes a great egg substitute in most baking. See below for directions.

    Flaxseeds and Flaxseed Meal

    Flaxseeds and Flaxseed Meal

  2. Hemp Seed: Like flax, hemp seeds are chock full of omega-3 fatty acids, delivering 880 milligrams in each 2 Tbsp serving. Unlike flax, these seeds do not need to be ground to enjoy their nutritional punch. Hemp seeds are creamy and nut-like in texture and flavor. Larger than a sesame seed, but smaller than a sunflower seed, these little babies are a great addition to hot cereal, salads and baked goods. A 2 Tbsp serving will deliver 5 grams of protein, making them a perfect addition to breakfast or a post-exercise snack. Bonus: Hemp is a complete protein! This makes it ideal for vegetarian and vegan diets.

    hempseeds

    Hemp Seeds

  3. Chia Seed: Chia is the darling of nutritionists these days and it’s easy to see why. Like flax and hemp, chia is a wonderful source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and protein. Each 1 Tbsp serving delivers 2900 milligrams of omega-3, 5 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein. Chia does not need to be ground to enjoy its health benefits, but some people find it easier to digest chia gel. See below for making chia gel. The seeds can be added to hot cereal, baked goods, smoothies and all sorts of wonderful dishes. Bonus: The fiber in chia has the ability to thicken, making it ideal for refrigerator jam, thickening sauces or using as an egg in baking.

    Chia seeds

    Chia seeds

  4. Almond Meal: Almonds are notoriously healthy nuts providing a good amount of manganese and vitamin E, as well as a healthy serving of monounsaturated fats in each 1/4 cup serving. Not only do almonds have a healthy boost of protein, they are also very low in carbohydrates. Eating whole almonds is terrific, but did you know that adding almond meal to your baking and cooking can bring the health benefits of almonds to your diet, as well as cutting back on carbohydrate consumption? Replacing 1/4 cup of white flour in your baking with almond meal will add wonderful texture and flavor and reduce the carbohydrate load. These days, baked goods using exclusively almond meal can be found all over the web for those that need to watch their sugars. Bonus: Almond meal makes a great coating for fish and chicken in place of flour or cornmeal.
    almondcoconut
  5. Coconut Flour: Once consigned to the category of nutritional no-no’s, coconut has seen a resurgence in popularity due to new studies that have found it to be a highly nutritious food. While everything made from coconut may not be good for you, some coconut products are very good for you. Coconut flour is one of these mind-bogglingly nutritious foods. A single 2 Tbsp serving of coconut flour delivers 5 grams of fiber! The light flavor allows coconut flour to blend seamlessly into sweet or savory baked goods. Like almond meal, coconut flour has a low carbohydrate load, making it ideal for people who must manage their carbohydrate intake. Coconut flour is gaining in popularity, but it is still a tricky flour to bake with. We recommend starting with some recipes to get the hang of it, as it requires an unusual amount of liquid to balance out the high amount of fiber. Adding 2 Tbsp to a protein rich smoothie is a great way to get a little more fiber into your diet. Bonus: Like almond meal, coconut flour also makes a wonderful coating for chicken, fish or other proteins in place of regular flour or cornmeal.
What super foods would you add to this list?

Using Flaxseed Meal as an Egg Replacement:

Flaxseed meal makes a great egg replacement for muffins, quick breads and other baked goods with a heartier texture. It does not work as well for recipes with a lighter texture such as a white cake or sugar cookies (it will likely work, but the texture will be different and some visual appeal may be lost). It also does not work very well in egg-heavy dishes such as quiches, stratas and frittatas. Use this formula to substitute for one egg. Double for two eggs, triple for three eggs, and so on…

1 Tbsp Flaxseed Meal
3 Tbsp Water

Combine flaxseed meal and water and allow to sit for about 5 minutes. Add this ingredient to your recipe as you would the eggs.

Making Chia Gel:

2 Tbsp Chia Seed
1 cup Water

Combine chia seed and water and allow to sit for about 15 minutes.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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HRMPhoto

Heart Rate Training

by Doug Carr in Road Cycling, Train With Grain, Triathlons

When I speak with someone who’s interested in getting faster, I always ask them if their workouts include Heart Rate Training (HRT). The answer is typically “No”, “A little…” or “Well, I have a heart rate monitor…but I’m not really sure how to use it properly.” All too often, a training buddy might have suggested they need a Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) or they see someone else wearing one, and they go about trying to figure out how to use it and see if they can improve. Other reasons include having GPS functions so they can see their distance and pacing more accurately. But if you’re not using it to train specific to the cardiovascular system, it’s kind of like installing a GPS system in your vehicle, not turning it on, then wondering why you can’t get to those unknown destinations faster.

Training with a HRM is specific to the cardiovascular system (your engine), while actually using a HRM can provide feedback of your performance in all areas of physical activity. So just what does that mean? It means that if you train correctly with a HRM, you can actually see performance gains in the muscular system as well as the Rate of Perceived Exertion or RPE in different tasks such as swimming, cycling or running. What you’re achieving is a strengthening of the your engine through adaptation, and by doing so you can perform at a higher level with less effort, both physical and perceived. As a result, your efforts get easier, while pace and endurance improves. And really, that’s the basis of getting faster. Think of it as your engine becoming more fuel efficient, and being able to work at a higher speed at less of a fuel cost. That’s a goal we should all strive to hit.

All HRT is accomplished based on specific zones, established through an Anaerobic Threshold (AT) test, also known as a VO2 Max test. This test might also be called Aerobic Threshold (AeT)  or Lactate Threshold (LT) testing. Your body will burn glucose as fuel, two ways, aerobically (with oxygen) and anaerobically (without oxygen). In the case of an all out effort, requiring high power output, the body uses the anaerobic system. Energy is rapidly available, but the anaerobic pathways are not very efficient for producing long-term energy. In turn, the energy stores deplete, lactic acid builds up in the muscles, and the effort must cease. In contrast, distance events requiring steady output and pacing over extended periods, use the aerobic system. The aerobic pathways can’t generate near the power of the anaerobic system, but they are more efficient and will sustain higher endurance type efforts. Distance and effort will actually see both of these systems contributing in different proportions. So by definition, your AT, which you test for, is the point where lactate (lactic acid) begins to accumulate in the bloodstream. Higher levels of effort mean higher accumulations of lactate, to a point where the body cannot keep it within a range that allows it to be easily cleared from the bloodstream. When this occurs, effort will drop, as will performance. Your threshold is an important point or value to know, as all training will be based on the value found through testing. Working below your threshold point works your anaerobic system, while working above it works the anaerobic system. When you work at or around your threshold point, you are working at an intensity that can teach your body how to handle the accumulation of lactate, and learn how to flush it more efficiently. By doing this, you can actually raise your AT. This won’t necessarily raise your maximum heart rate, but there’s little can be done to raise this genetically determined marker.

Typically, anywhere from five to six zones are used in establishing your aerobic and anaerobic intensity levels, with Zone 1 or Z1 being the lowest intensity. The number of zones is usually based on the method you choose to test with. For illustration purposes, Z1 would be a slow jog or maybe a moderately brisk walk. Effort is low and most of the fuel energy is derived from stored fats. The highest zones are at intensities high enough that you’d only be able to maintain them for several seconds at most. At this level you are consuming pure glycogen (sugars) energy without the benefit of oxygen. Most folks would assume that the faster (harder) they train, the faster they will become. This thinking is flawed, in that efforts at high intensity do little to build the aerobic engine. The heart is a muscle that, like other muscles, responds to training adaptations through stressing and recovery. The strong foundation needs to be in place to support those efforts, before one can build on them.

Let’s touch on equipment for a moment. There are tons of options for HRMs out there. I have owned several in my time, and I now believe the product I currently own is the perfect all-round HRM for the multisport athlete. The following features are what I consider to be basic necessity, and you should not settle for a model with less than these features.

Chest Strap with Removable Transmitter. Why a removable transmitter? They are easier to clean, you can change the battery yourself, and because it’s detachable, females have the option of using them in sports bras that feature a built in sensor material. Snaps are built in to the lower front of the sports bra, which allows the transmitter to attach sans strap. One less item to worry about, and most women report less chaffing as a result.

Programmable Workouts. This feature allows your to input workout profiles for such things as intervals, tempo runs and speed workouts. Be cautioned though, as there are Pros and Cons between the two leaders in HRMs. Polar requires the workout to be developed on a computer (PC) and transferred to the wristwatch as an exercise file, whereas Garmin allows you to build the workout on the watch just before starting the actual workout. This comes in very handy when you’ve forgotten to download the workout of the day.

Downloadable Capability. This function allows for downloading and analyzing your data on a PC, Mac or any of the online services such as Garmin Connect or Training Peaks. Graphical analysis and storage of your data is invaluable for comparison purposes. Also, if you’re working with a coach, most will require your data in the form of a file, or file upload to a designated site for analyzing. Handwritten data that’s been plucked off the watch each time you use it is near worthless.

Distance Foot Pod or GPS Tracking. This may seem like a luxury, be really, how many times will you want to plan your route to the extent that you have to know every single mileage marker along the way, so you can hit the lap button and figure out your pace? The value of being able to head out on a run or ride, without having to worry about remembering every mileage mark, becomes priceless. If you want to get 8 miles in, run out 4 miles and run back 4 miles, no matter what direction or route you choose to go.

Long Battery Life. Polar has an advantage here, in that it has a replaceable battery and can run for hours, days or weeks. Battery life with regular use has lasted me for a good two years. Garmin requires disciplined recharging. The latest Garmin multisport model touts battery life up to 20 hours on a recharge. Although I’ve never pushed mine that far, I have used it for 14+ hours without it showing signs of an impending DNF. Shop around and shop wisely.

For lack of space, I will say that there are many publications and training plans for using HRT. Certified coaches are a good source for developing training plans to target your heart rate improvements. The plans I design for HRT will vary throughout the month and weeks of a training cycle phase, thereby targeting specific zones to challenge, adapt and improve. You can usually find AT testing in your area through local health clubs, triathlon clubs, cycling clubs or through your doctor’s office. Just remember, if you want to get faster, sometimes you just have to slow down a bit. You heart will respond favorably.

FYI: I use the Garmin 310XT. It has a lot of features, most of which I actually use, and it’s rated Swim Capable which bodes well for triathletes. I was very pleased to see a lot of the pro field at Rev3 using this model too. With its ANT+ capability, it pairs nicely with the Power Tap hub system.

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Doug Carr Google: Doug Carr
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hullessbarley

A Soup to Warm You

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Recipes

Seeing as how most of the country is experiencing a winter-chill today, I thought I’d share this recipe for Creamy Mushroom and Grains Soup. It’s delightfully easy and wonderfully soothing on a cold day. Not to mention the amazing nutrition from whole grain barley and oat groats. Both wonderful sources of dietary fiber, these two grains are definitely a heart-healthy team! We have many more heart-friendly soup and stew recipes on our website. Enjoy!

Creamy Mushroom and Grains Soup

Ingredients

* 1 c. Whole Hull-less Barley
* 1 c. Oats, Whole Groats
* 6 c. Water
* 3 c. Milk (Soy or Cow)
* 1/4 c. Sherry
* 1/4 c. Soy Sauce or Tamari
* 2 tsp. Paprika, Hungarian
* 1 Tbsp. Parsley Flakes
* 3 c. Mushrooms, sliced
* 1 small Leek, sliced
* Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions

Combine oat groats and barley with water and bring to boil. Turn heat down, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Add soymilk, soy sauce, sherry, spices and vegetables to cooked grains and bring to boil. Turn down heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with your favorite bread and enjoy! Makes 8 servings.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Beans and whole grains are great sources of healthy fats.

Heart-Healthy Fats

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Health

Beans and whole grains are great sources of healthy fats.

Good fats are almost an oxymoron in our society, but a little bit of nutritional research quickly reveals that your body needs fat to survive and some fats are much better than others. Trans fats and saturated fats are the “bad” fats, those that promote clogged arteries, obesity and heart disease. Unsaturated fats and Omega-3 fatty acids, however, are the “good” fats. Good fats typically come from plant sources and are helpful for reducing cholesterol and reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke.

The body produces a small amount of dietary cholesterol and absorbs cholesterol from any animal protein we consume. The body makes exactly what it needs and any of the excess we eat gets stored. When we eat too much of it over time, it increases plaque in our arteries. Arterial plaque can lead to deadly heart attacks and strokes.

Healthy fats often come from plant-based foods, such as olives, peanuts, tree nuts, flaxseed, whole grains, chia, hemp and avocados. Most fish also offer up a good serving of healthy fats. Healthy fats are most recognizable by their ability to stay liquid at room temperature. The good fats help lower cholesterol levels and have so many health benefits that it’s hard to list them all here. Omega-3 alone aids in reducing cholesterol, promoting brain health, boosting the immune system and reducing inflammation… not to mention that it promotes healthy skin, nails and hair (we’ll call that an added bonus).

Choosing to eat more whole grains and avoiding foods with trans fats and those heavy in saturated fats is not exactly new health advice, but we all need a reminder once in a while. This month, through our website, we have many of our oat products along with Flaxseed Meal on special. Next month, we’re placing some of our best sources of healthy fats on special- so keep your eyes on the Monthly Specials section to stock up and save!

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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ForksOverKnives

“Forks Over Knives”: A Worthwhile Documentary

by Chelsea Lincoln in Featured Articles, Health

Bob calls “Forks Over Knives” a very worthwhile film and encouraged all of us at Bob’s Red Mill to take ourselves and families to go see it.  I have seen this documentary twice already, and even though I have eaten a plant based diet for 15 years now, I still learned a wealth of information and was reminded to focus on whole foods in my diet.

“Forks Over Knives” deals with the health crisis in America and how to use nutrition as medicine.  The film concentrates on the correlation of increased meat, dairy and sugar consumption with the influx of our biggest killers as a nation; heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.  Although the medical community works hard to find cures for what ails us, often times the actual cause of disease is overlooked and is often related to diet and lifestyle.

Dr. T. Collin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn are ground-breaking scientists using their education, years of research, clinical experience and observations to separately come to the realization that a plant based diet will increase human health, and that the standard American diet leads to disease. Research has further shown that a plant based diet will not only keep you healthy, but it can actually reverse some health conditions, especially of the heart.

Although the idea of completely changing your diet can be overwhelming, the documentary looked at individuals with compromised health who embraced a plant based diet.  This resulted in not only increased standard of living, but in many cases, even saved peoples’ lives.  Individuals were able to reverse health conditions, stop taking medications and were feeling better than ever.  It was truly remarkable and encouraging to see these transformations.

I truly appreciate all the information the film provided and the undeniable facts concerning our food choices in America.  This is a must-see film for every one who wants to live a healthier life.  “Forks Over Knives” releases nationwide in May.  To keep yourself updated on the film and when it will be showing in your area, visit www.forksoverknives.com.

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Chelsea Lincoln Google: Chelsea Lincoln
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Getting regular exercise is a key component to stress management.

Coping with Stress for Heart Health

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Health

Getting regular exercise is a key component to stress management.

Beyond eating right and getting exercise, dealing with your stress levels is a crucial component to heart health. Stress can lead to high blood pressure, sleep deprivation, weight gain, overeating and an increase in high-risk behaviors, such as drinking and smoking cigarettes. Those are just some of the things stress can induce that are related to heart-health.

No one is exempt from stress, so we might as well start figuring out how to manage it. None of these tips are new, but they make for an excellent reminder of how we should be taking care of ourselves.

  • Move more! Get out and walk for 20 minutes on your lunch break or take a five minute cruise around the office every hour. Can’t leave your office or your desk? There are some great stretches and breathing techniques that calm your body and mind, here. Exercise releases endorphins which make your mind and body feel good and naturally reduce stress. read more about exercise and stress here.
  • Sleep more! A properly rested body and mind will be more equipped to deal with the daily ups and downs you face. Every body is different in how much sleep it requires, but on average, adults need 8 hours every night. Instead of burning the midnight oil trying to finish a project, go to bed earlier and let the project wait. Your mind and body will be better-equipped to handle the project after a good night’s sleep. I know how impossible that sounds to some of you, but if you can manage it, it will be worth it.
    • Have trouble sleeping? I personally have trouble falling asleep at night and use relaxation techniques to help me hit the hay more smoothly. This is a wonderful article from Women’s Health about sleep and how to get the most out of your night.
  • Let it go! Some things are just not worth the energy; find a way to let small things go while still holding sight of the big picture. I like to think , “Will this matter in a week/month/year?” If the answer is no, then it is not worth it and shouldn’t be taking up any of your vital brain space.
  • Laugh more! People who laugh often are generally happier and more relaxed. Laughter is the perfect cure for stress. The hormones released when you laugh combat the stress hormones in the body, such as cortisol and epinephrine, and promotes the immune system. So lighten up and check out funny blogs like The Oatmeal or visit YouTube to find the newest funny videos.
  • Touch more! Whether you snuggle with a loved one, a pet, or simply start hugging your friends more often, the physical interaction promotes hormones that naturally calm us. If these options are not available or make you uncomfortable, a 30-minute massage will work wonders to reduce your stress!

Here is a wonderful article on stress heart disease from WebMd.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Visit MyFoodPyramid.gov to learn how to apply the Guidelines to your daily life.

Happy Hearts Make for Happy Lives

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Health

Visit MyFoodPyramid.gov to learn how to apply the Guidelines to your daily life.

February is National Heart Health Month and we’re dedicating ourselves to bringing you tips for keeping your heart in good working condition.  To kick us off right (even if we are almost a week late!), it seems like the perfect time to discuss the newly released 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

As a brief background, the Guidelines are reviewed and revised by the USDA every 5 years. The Guidelines are intended to help guide legislation and provide information for drafting educational materials in an effort to promote healthy eating in Americans. Sounds simple enough, but after listening to Eve Essery, PhD speak at the Whole Grains Conference last week, I realized that these guidelines are anything but simple. The committee who drafts the Guidelines must sift through hundreds, if not thousands, of reports and research papers pertaining to every part of human nutrition to develop a strategy to combat chronic diseases and obesity. Then, they must take their strategy and apply it to the reality of every day life for people of all walks starting at the age of 2.

The Guidelines are not perfect and they really haven’t changed that much in five years. What I found to be the most significant change was the increased focus on portion control and calorie consumption. It’s no secret that the United States has seen a significant rise in obesity levels and the USDA is trying to course-correct our country. Not a bad idea, really. With a few exceptions, we all could stand to pay more attention to what and how much we eat and how much we exercise.

The 2010 Guidelines are not truly ready for public consumption yet, as they still need to be shaped into documents that make sense in our daily lives, but you can find all sorts of great information here at MyFoodPyramid.gov. For instance, did you know that you can make your own My Pyramid Plan? This is the one I made to help me reach a healthier weight (yep, I packed a few on during the holidays, too). I like that it gives me some basic goals to shoot for with different food groups and suggestions for varying my menu. Following a plan of moderate calorie reduction and increased activity is the single best way to reduce your weight. It won’t happen quickly like most diets, but it will be easier to keep off and maintain over the long term.

For more information on the 2005 and 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, visit www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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The two symbols we use for kosher- the latter indicates the presence of dairy.

Demystifying Label Terms: Kosher

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Health

The two symbols we use for kosher- the latter indicates the presence of dairy.

This is the final installment in our demystifying label terms series. If we’ve missed a term that you’re curious about, please ask and we’ll do our best to find an answer for you.

Kosher: The term “kosher” refers to foods that are in accord with Kashrut, the set of Jewish dietary laws that regulate what foods may and may not be eaten, and how food is processed. Without getting into the full history of the term “kosher,” the basic idea refers to food that has been inspected and certified by a rabbi to ensure that the food, including all sources of the ingredients and the facility, meets the dietary laws of Judaism.

Today, these foods represent far more than adherence to religious laws; “kosher” means that the facility and the sources of the ingredients used meet strict quality and cleanliness standards. Muslims, vegans and those with severe dairy allergies can look to kosher symbols as a way to navigate the label.

At Bob’s Red Mill, we use two kosher symbols. The first, a simple K, represents that the product has been inspected and approved by our certifying agency, Kehilla Kosher. The second, K-D means that the product contains dairy. Because we do not have fish or meat in our facility, we do not use any other kosher symbols. All Bob’s Red Mill products are certified kosher. We know that our kosher symbol is not as widely recognized as some others and we are happy to provide contact information for Kehilla Kosher as requested. Please feel free to contact our customer service team to inquire about our certifying agency.

I would like to give a shout out to our customer Janis from Michigan who helped me explain this properly.  Thank you so much, Janis!!

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Loads of Oats

National Oatmeal Month and a Giveaway

by Cassidy Stockton in Contests, Featured Articles, Health, Whole Grains 101

January is national oatmeal month. Did you know that more people eat oats in January than any other month? (At least, according to some sources.) I have trouble buying it based on how often we talk to our customers about eating oatmeal. I’ve always known our customers are special- they eat oats all year round, many almost every day!

Whether you’re a once-in-a-while oatmeal eater or the everyday sort, January is a great time to celebrate oatmeal! Most of us are already thinking about eating better and after spending almost 6 weeks indulging in holiday foods of every variety, oatmeal is good way to clean house.

Oats are not just delicious and soothing, but they also have some special qualities that provide incredible health benefits.  Oats have been proved to reduce cholesterol and they’re a great source of protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

Oats contain soluble fiber, which soaks up cholesterol in the intestines and prevents it from being absorbed, eventually carrying it out of the body. The body recognizes this decrease of cholesterol in the intestines and responds by pulling cholesterol out of the bloodstream to replace the cholesterol that was removed from the intestines (aren’t our bodies amazing sometimes?). As a result, the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream goes down and so does the risk of heart disease!

If that’s not a good reason to enjoy oats, how about some of these?

Giveaway:

In honor of National Oatmeal Month, I’m giving away an oat-themed gift pack to three lucky winners! Each gift pack will contain four of our favorite oat products! You have until midnight on January 21st, 2011 to enter.  Winners will be selected at random using Random.org and announced on January 24th.

01/22/11: THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED

Here is how to enter:

Mandatory: Leave a comment here, on the blog, telling us why you love oatmeal. It doesn’t have to be a love ballad, it can be simple.

For extra entries (you can do each of these only once, for a maximum of 5 entries including the mandatory entry): These can be posted here on the blog or on our facebook profile page (sorry, no tweets this time)

1 entry: Post a link to a recipe using oats that you think sounds delicious.
1 entry: Post an interesting fact about oats. It can be something about their nutritional benefits, how to use them, how they are grown, anything really.
2 entries: Write a haiku about oatmeal.

Go to it and celebrate oatmeal!

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Cookies that are actually good for you!

A Hearty Recipe for Fall Weather

by in Featured Articles
Cookies that are actually good for you!

Cookies that are actually good for you!

If you have ever tried our Stone Ground Oat Bran & Nuts Cookie Mix you know that it bakes into cookies that are quite rich in whole grains. These ultra-healthy cookies get their substance from 100% whole wheat pastry flour, heart-healthy oat bran and hearty rolled oats. These cookies make a great alternative to all the ordinary refined flour based treats that are surround us during the holiday season.

But if you find yourself craving a treat that combines the best of both worlds, do I have a recipe for you! After a bit of experimenting with the original mix, I wanted to emphasize nut flavor of the walnuts by adding peanut butter and flax seed meal. I found that adding some applesauce helps moisten all those whole grains to make the cookie softer and chewier. And of course, I couldn’t forget the chocolate chips – they make everything better. This particular recipe is vegan (dairy and egg free), but if you would like to make the bars using traditional ingredients, the substitutes they are listed right below the recipe.

These Oat Bran Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars are perfect for both the whole grain lover, and anyone who loves chocolate and peanut butter together. The recipe does double-duty by combining the nutritious qualities of whole grains with the flavor and sweetness of a traditional bad-for-you cookie. It has very little sugar, high protein and a high fiber content to keep you satisfied longer, although you might still want to eat them all at once. These bars are great for a midday treat, or a yummy dessert served warm and topped with vanilla ice cream. Whatever you decide, I hope you enjoy them as much as the customers of Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Store have.

Thanks for reading and happy baking!

Oat Bran Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
½ cup non-hydrogenated margarine
1 cup peanut butter
3 T. flaxseed meal mixed in ½ cup warm water
¼ cup applesauce
1 pkg. Bob’s Red Mill Oat Bran & Nuts Cookie Mix
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare flaxseed mixture.
In a mixing bowl, cream margarine until soft.
Add peanut butter, flaxseed mixture and applesauce and combine completely.
Incorporate the package of cookie mix, followed by the chocolate chips. This dough will be very similar to a cookie dough texture.
Press evenly into an 8 in. by 8 in. greased square baking pan.
Bake for 25 minutes in a conventional oven at 350 degrees.

Substitutes: Replace 2 eggs for the flaxseed mixture and ½ cup butter for the margarine.

Recipe and Writing By: Meagan Nuchols

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