Oatmeal

No-Mess Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats or Hot Cereal

by Cassidy Stockton in Recipes

Steel Cut Oats are wonderful ways to start your day, but they take time. With steel cut oats, you’re looking at 10 to 20 minutes on the stove top. It’s very hard to fit that into a busy morning, but we have good news! You can make steel cut oats while you sleep using your slow cooker and wake up to deliciously creamy breakfast. Honestly, I haven’t had oatmeal that was this creamy. There is something to be said for waking up and having breakfast ready for the whole family without having to lift a finger.

There are posts all over the internet for making slow cooker oatmeal, but no one mentions what a horrible mess it is to clean up! Maybe it’s a given than slow cookers make for a lot of clean up, but I was blissfully unaware of the mess that awaited after I tried my first batch.

Get Your Goat | Bob's Red Mill

It wasn’t a total nightmare and a good soak worked wonders, but I wanted to see if anything could be done to prevent the sticky mess. I am not interested in the slow cooker liners, though I am sure they work great. I read tips about using a water bath method (which looks like a great solution) and different ways to grease the crock pot. I tried a few different methods and this is what worked for me. This worked with oatmeal and with hot cereal. Slow cookers vary wildly in their settings and temperatures, so I am including two options below- the tried and true method and the no-mess method I devised for my particular slow cooker. My slow cooker has a warm setting for holding foods and it works perfectly (with no mess) if you start with boiling water and let it sit overnight. If you don’t have that setting (low is not the same setting), use the tried and true method and enjoy the creamiest oats you’ve ever had.

A note about using steel cut oats versus regular rolled oats or hot cereal. I tried these methods with our granular hot cereals (10 Grain, 7 Grain, Mighty Tasty, etc) and they work just fine using the same proportions of water to cereal. I did not try using a rolled oatmeal and cannot vouch that this will work the same way. 

Old School | Bob's Red Mill

No-Mess Method

  • 1 cup Steel Cut Oats or granular hot cereal of your choice
  • 4 cups boiling Water*
  • 1/4 tsp Salt (optional)
  • Coconut Oil or Cooking Spray

Coat slow cooker bowl with coconut oil or cooking spray (butter will likely work, but I did not try it). Add 1 cup of oats or cereal of your choice, salt and 4 cups of boiling water. Set slow cooker to warm and allow to cook for 7-8 hours. When done, stir and top with your choice of toppings.

Tried and True Method

  • 1 cup Steel Cut Oats  or granular hot cereal of your choice
  • 4 cups Water*
  • Coconut Oil or Cooking Spray
  • 1/4 tsp Salt (optional)

Coat slow cooker bowl with coconut oil or cooking spray (butter will likely work, but I did not try it). Add 1 cup of oats or cereal of your choice, 4 cups of water and salt. Set slow cooker to low and allow to cook for 7 hours. When done, stir and top with your choice of toppings.

*If you prefer, you can replace some of the water with milk. For the No-Mess method, do not boil the milk, but warm it until almost boiling.

Here are some fabulous recipes for creative slow cooker oatmeal:

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Cranberry Orange Drop Scones

Embracing the Low Carb, Gluten-Free Lifestyle + Cranberry Orange Drop Scones

by Carolyn Ketchum in Gluten Free, Recipes

Starting a specialized diet is a huge lifestyle change that many people face with great trepidation. Whether the dietary changes are by choice or by necessity, it can rock your world to find that many of your old favorite foods are now off-limits. When you embark on a diet that cuts out sugar and gluten and limits carbohydrates, you will at first feel that your food choices are incredibly limited. And you may be very disheartened, thinking that cooking, baking and eating with such limited ingredients will lose all pleasure. I know that feeling all too well, as I was there myself a few short years ago. A diagnosis of diabetes and a desire to stay off insulin led me to the low carb, gluten-free lifestyle; I thought my days of cooking and eating delicious foods were over.

In reality, nothing could have been further from the truth. First, I had to get over the common misconception that low carb diets consist of little more than eggs, meat and cheese. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of those things, but I think anyone would tire of that menu pretty quickly. One can only eat so many cheese omelets before craving a different sort of breakfast. Thankfully, there is this little thing called the internet; perhaps you’ve heard of it? I will always chalk it up to the power of Google Search that I discovered early on a veritable goldmine of information about eating low carb and gluten-free. And my own experimentation with low carb cooking and baking has added greatly to my understanding of what works, what doesn’t, and how to stay focused and on track. I feel fortunate that I am able to share that knowledge with you.

Cranberry Orange Drop Scones | Bob's Red Mill + All Day I Dream About Food

Upon embarking on a low carb diet, you do need to be prepared to cook and bake a lot of your own foods at home. Low carb, gluten-free recipes tend to take rather specialized ingredients which, thanks to companies like Bob’s Red Mill, are becoming more and more widely available. Almond flour is available in many grocery store chains now, as are coconut flour, flax seed meal and chia seeds. Nut flours/meals and coconut flour form the basis of the vast majority of low carb baked goods. And believe me, baked goods made with these ingredients can rival their high-carb, gluten-filled counterparts in both taste and texture.

Don’t confuse gluten-free with low carb or vice-versa. This is a common mistake, and many well-meaning friends and family may offer you something that is gluten-free, but is made with high-carb ingredients like rice flour or contains added sugars. And many pre-packaged low carb items are actually made with wheat-based products, so if you need to be gluten-free, steer clear of these. The sugar-free or no-added sugar labels are also not a guarantee of a low carbohydrate item. When in doubt, read the nutritional information on the packaging. If it’s a homemade item, don’t be afraid to ask what’s in it. It’s not rude when your health is at stake.

Although you do need to limit your consumption of things like grains, legumes and potatoes on a low carb, gluten-free diet, you will be pleasantly surprised at the number of delicious foods that are naturally low in carbohydrates. Did you know chocolate is low carb? Well, the unsweetened variety is, and although few people like the taste of unsweetened chocolate, adding a little sweetener of your own can produce delicious results. Most vegetables are low in carbohydrates and even some sweet-tasting fruits like strawberries and raspberries are naturally low carb as well.

Cranberry Orange Drop Scones | Bob's Red Mill

All is not lost when it comes to enjoying decadent desserts either. The fact that sugar is the predominant sweetener in our culture is something of an historical accident. There are numerous other sweeteners out there, and you aren’t limited to artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose. Stevia, erythitol, and xylitol are all naturally-occurring and have little impact on most people’s blood glucose levels. They all have their limitations in low carb, gluten-free baking, however, so I keep several of them on hand and often use them in combination to get the desired results.

Like any healthy eating regimen, you need to make sure you are getting enough fiber in your low carb, gluten-free diet. Fortunately, many high-fiber foods are also quite low in carbohydrates and dietary fiber can actually count against the carbs in any given food item. Although fiber is technically considered a carbohydrate (at least on US nutrition labeling), it largely passes through the system undigested and has little effect on blood glucose levels. In fact, a significant amount of dietary fiber can actually slow the absorption of other sources of glucose into the bloodstream. You will quickly become familiar with the term “net carb counts”, calculated by subtracting the total grams of dietary fiber per serving from the total grams of carbohydrate per serving.

If all of this sounds confusing and a little overwhelming, don’t worry. A little bit of effort in figuring out what does, and what doesn’t, fit the low carb, gluten-free lifestyle, and it will soon become second nature. And you won’t be limited to meat, cheese and eggs for the rest of your life, either. The foods available to you are much more varied than they first appear. Better yet, you are bound to discover new foods and new ingredients that you heretofore knew little or nothing about. You will find new ways to cook and bake, and you will enjoy your food all the more knowing it’s good for you.

 Cranberry Orange Drop Scones, Low Carb, Gluten Free | Bob's Red Mill

Cranberry Orange Drop Scones

Scones:

  • 1/2 cup Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 cup Almond Flour
  • 1/3 cup Swerve Sweetener or other erythritol (other sweeteners may be substituted)
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup fresh Cranberries
  • 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 4 large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup fresh Orange Juice
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil, melted
  • 2 Tbsp Orange Zest
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Optional Glaze:

  • ¼ cup powdered Swerve Sweetener or other powdered erythritol (if you substitute another sweetener here, it must be a powdered version)
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp fresh Orange Juice

Preheat oven to 350°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together coconut flour, almond flour, sweetener, baking powder and salt. Stir in cranberries.

Add Greek yogurt, eggs, orange juice, coconut oil, orange zest and vanilla extract and stir vigorously until well combined.

Drop by large spoonful onto prepared baking sheet. You should get 10 to 12 scones in all. Bake 24 to 27 minutes, until firm to the touch and the tops are lightly browned.

Remove and let cool 5 minutes on pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the glaze, whisk powdered sweetener and 2 tbsp of orange juice together in a small bowl. Add more orange juice if glaze is too thick.

Drizzle over cooled scones.

Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator.

Carolyn Ketchum | All Day I Dream About Food

Carolyn 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 Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Pinterest for inspiring ideas for the low carb, gluten free lifestyle. 

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Carolyn Ketchum Google: Carolyn Ketchum
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What is it Wednesday | Bob's Red Mill

What is it? Wednesday: Flaxseed 101 + Flax Egg Replacer

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, Health, What is it? Wednesday, Whole Grains 101

We are very excited to bring you What is it Wednesdays! Every other Wednesday, we’ll explore a different ingredient or product in depth. We’ll be covering the benefits, uses and common misconceptions about each. If you have any requests, leave them in the comments and we’ll work them into the schedule. 

***

While chia seed may be the power seed darling in the media these days, we wanted to remind you about another fabulous power seed—flax seeds! Flax seeds are a wonderful source of omega-3’s offering up 1800 mg per 2 tablespoon serving. They are also a fantastic source of fiber, with a nice blend of insoluble and soluble fiber. 

Flaxseeds and Flaxseed Meal | Bob's Red Mill

Why are omega-3’s important anyway? Omega-3 fatty acids are broken down into three specific acids- ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). These acids work together to support brain development, the functioning of the immune system, cardiovascular health and are beneficial for healthy skin, hair and nails. How they work together is complicated, but the short version is that our bodies can make EPA and DHA, but cannot make ALA. ALA is the backbone for EPA and DHA, and must be consumed in our food. Read more about the interplay between these acids here.

The conversion of ALA into EPA and DHA is harder for the very young and the elderly, which means people in those categories have to be sure to get enough ALA in the first place. Fish, and their subsequent oil, are one of the most common sources of all three omega-3’s. Sure, that’s great, but that doesn’t work for vegetarians or vegans. Also, have you tried fish oil? Gross. That’s why brands now market lemon and strawberry flavored fish oil so you can eat it and not taste the fish. I love fish, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not a fan of a fish-flavored salad. I digress… There are many plant-based sources of ALA (which, let me remind you, your body will turn into EPA and DHA) including FLAX seeds, chia seed, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, and, I just learned today, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts (albeit not as much as the seeds).

Why would you pick flax seeds over any other plant-based source? Flax is an excellent source of dietary fiber. Coupled with the omega-3, the soluble fiber and insoluble fiber work together to absorb and remove cholesterol from the blood stream (healthy heart!) and keep your digestive house neat and tidy. Yes, chia seeds will do that, too, but flax seed is much more affordable and just as effective. You just need to be sure to eat ground flax seed. The flax plant is solely interested in propagating the world with more flax plants, and the human body cannot break down the flax seed. You get virtually no benefit from eating the whole seeds, though they are quite tasty.

flaxseed brochure cover

Luckily for you, Bob’s Red Mill mills whole flax seeds for you. Our flax seed meal is freshly milled using a technology that maintains the cool temperatures needed to keep the oil from oxidizing. I can’t speak for all other brands, but many brands press the oil from the seeds before grinding, so you’re not really getting the whole package as nature intended. We offer several varieties- brown, golden and organic versions of both. The only difference between the two colors is just that, the color. Some prefer the golden for baked goods, as it blends better.

Flaxseed meal is very versatile and is an excellent egg replacer in baked goods (recipe below) and can be sprinkled on salads, hot cereal, smoothies. Some folks around here just mix their 2 tablespoons into water or juice and drink it like an elixir. Personally, I prefer the mixed-in route. We have loads of great recipes for how to incorporate this power house seed into your diet on our website. Be sure to snag a $1.00 off coupon on our homepage, as well.

Flaxseed Meal “Egg”

For one egg, combine 1 Tbsp of Flaxseed Meal with 3 Tbsp of water. Let stand 3-5 minutes. Use as you would an egg in baking. This works best for muffins, quick breads, cookies, pancakes, etc. It is not the best choice for a cake, which relies heavily on eggs for rising or anything that has a fine, delicate texture.

1235C164_FlaxseedMeal_f_HighRes

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Mixed Legumes

Feeding Your Family While Watching Your Weight

by Liz Della Croce in Featured Articles, Health

There’s no way around it: losing weight is hard work. It requires consistency, dedication and a hefty pinch of willpower. If you are married or have children, you likely aren’t just cooking for yourself which can pose a whole new set of challenges.

As the sole cook for a family of four, I can speak first hand about dealing with picky eaters and finding creative ways to make nutritious foods taste delicious.  To help you reach your weight loss goals, here are my top tips for feeding the family while making healthy lifestyle changes.

Family Dinner

Maximize Flavor: Instead of serving steamed broccoli for dinner, try roasting it with a drizzle of sesame oil and a splash of soy sauce. When you roast vegetables the natural sugars in begin to caramelize creating a sweet flavor the whole family will love. Once you begin roasting vegetables you will say bye-bye to boring, overcooked steamed veggies. In addition to broccoli, try roasting Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, eggplant and more.

Variety is Key: One of the surest ways to get bored with healthy eating is to prepare the same foods over and over again. To keep things interesting, try new grains in your favorite dishes. If you normally make quick cooking oats for breakfast, try whipping up a batch of Slow Cooker Banana Nut Oatmeal instead. The chewy, nutty texture is a nice change from rolled oats and will keep the family excited about breakfast. To make it even more fun, let the kids pick their favorite mix-ins in the morning: fresh fruit, yogurt, nuts and seeds make delicious oatmeal toppings.  Want to take it to the next level? Try a creamy bowl of Breakfast Quinoa or Spelt Berry Porridge instead. The options are endless.

Crock Pot Banana Nut Oatmeal | The Lemon Bowl

Get the Kids Involved: The next time you head to the grocery store or farmers market, let your kids pick out one new vegetable or whole grain to try that week. Perhaps they are curious about eggplant or want to try quinoa for the first time. By letting the kids be in the driver’s seat, they will be engaged and excited to try out their special new ingredient.

Don’t Give Up: If you serve a healthy dish that the family doesn’t love, don’t give up. Children and toddlers have finicky palates. Their favorite foods might become their least favorite foods in the blink of an eye. An important part of making permanent lifestyle changes is acknowledging the fact that set backs will occur. Wait a couple weeks and try again. Perhaps you can use the same ingredient in a different recipe or prepare it in a new way. No matter what you do, don’t give up. You would be surprised how quickly little ones change their tunes.

Above all else, have fun with it and get in the kitchen with your family! Cooking at home is not only a great way to save money and calories but it is a great way to connect with the family and make memories. The more fun you have along the journey, the more likely you are to stick with it.

What are your best tips for feeding your family while watching your weight? Leave a comment below – we would love to hear from you!

Liz Della Croce | The Lemon Bowl Liz Della Croce is the creator and author of The Lemon Bowl, a healthy food blog. Since 2010, Liz has been creating delicious recipes using real ingredients with an emphasis on seasonality. Liz has appeared live on the TODAY Show and tapes regular cooking segments for her local NBC affiliate station. Through healthy eating and regular exercise, Liz has successfully achieved a personal weight loss milestone and has a passion for helping others reach similar goals. New in 2013, Liz launched Healthy Habits, a feature on The Lemon Bowl where her loyal readers and growing audience can find practical advice, resources and information on creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

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Liz Della Croce Google: Liz Della Croce
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apple pie 1

Step-by-Step Pie Crust Guide (GF)

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, Recipes

We’ve promised that our new Gluten Free Pie Crust Mix is really easy-as-pie and we’re going to prove it! Follow these step-by-step instructions for a perfect pie crust to hold your favorite filling. If this guide is not enough, check out this video for even more instruction. Got a question? Leave it in the comments and we’ll get back to you right away.

Step-by-Step Basic Instructions for Pie Crust

Step 1

Pour 1 bag gluten free pie crust mix into food processor or a bowl. Add 12 tbsp cold butter and 8 tbsp cold shortening, cut into pieces. (If you don’t have butter and shortening, use 20 tbsp of either.)  If using a food processor, pulse 10 times, 1 second per pulse, and then pour mixture into a bowl. If not using a food processor, cut in butter and shortening using a pastry blender or two knives, until the mixture resembles coarse sand.

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (1) Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (2)

Step 2

Sprinkle mixture with 6 tbsp ice water and mix until dough just comes together. Add up to 2 tbsp more water if needed.

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (3) Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (4)

 Step 3

Divide dough in half; press and flatten into discs.

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (5) Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (6)

Step 4

Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (7)

Step 5

Remove dough from the refrigerator. Roll dough into a 12-inch circle between two pieces of plastic wrap.

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (8)Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (9)

Step 6

Remove top layer of plastic wrap.

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (10)

Invert and press dough into a 9-inch pie pan.

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (11) Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (12)

Remove plastic wrap.

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (13)

Step 7a 

For single crust pies: Trim and flute edges. Add filling to pie shell.

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (14)

Step 7b

For double crust pies: add filling to pie shell.

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (15)

Roll second crust as instructed above. Remove top layer of plastic wrap; invert dough over filled crust. Remove plastic wrap.

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (16)

Trim edges, press together and flute.

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (17)Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (18)

Cut small slits in top crust.

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (19)

Brush top crust lightly with milk or egg and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons sugar (optional).

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide (20)

Step 8

Bake according to your pie recipe’s directions. If not baking both crusts, save the extra dough by wrapping in plastic wrap, sealing in a plastic bag and storing in freezer. The day before using the dough, move it to the refrigerator. Remove from bag but keep keep it wrapped in plastic while defrosting.

Step By Step Pie Crust Guide | Bob's Red Mill

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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BRM Oatmeal Group Header

20 Stellar Ways to Top Your Oatmeal {Giveaway}

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

Everyone knows oatmeal is good for you. We’ve touted its health benefits here and here. We’ve walked through all of the different types and how to make the perfect bowl of steel cut oats. We’ve shared loads of recipes, but this is the first time we’ve really delved into how to make oatmeal really special for you and your family. We often hear that folks don’t like oatmeal. Well, sure, a gloopy mess of oats is rather unappealing. That’s why we want to remind you that we offer many different types of oats- each one with a unique texture sure that is sure to hit the spot.

20 Ways to Top Your Oatmeal

Take your oatmeal of choice and pick one of these toppings, or try them all, and treat yourself to a delicious breakfast. Some of these toppings might seem absurd and some seem downright unhealthy. Take a step back and open your mind. Forget what you know about oatmeal and think about oats as a canvas for all types of flavors. And remember, we don’t suggest eating The Ice Cream Social every day, but once in a while. A little indulgence is good, after all, you are still eating a bowl of oatmeal.

Check out all of the recipes here and download a handy calendar to keep on the fridge for when you need a little extra inspiration. 

20 Ways to Top Your Oatmeal

The Jet Setter: You’ll be ready to take on any day by topping your oats with a shot of espresso, chocolate covered espresso beans and whipped cream, but you’ll probably want to skip this one for the kiddos.

Peaches and Cream: Turn your oats into a Southern favorite with sliced fresh peaches, heavy cream and toasted pecans.

The Gilgamesh: Take a culinary journey by topping your favorite bowl of oatmeal with pistachios, chopped dates, a drizzle of honey, milk and a dash of cardamom (or cinnamon).

The Alaskan: Try smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers, and fine red onion for a delightful breakfast.

20 Ways to Top Your Oatmeal

Romancing the Bowl: Top your oatmeal with a tablespoon of Nutella® brand hazelnut spread, add some halved strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream to be ultra-decadent.

The Old School: Top your oats with brown sugar, a pat of butter and a sprinkle of salt.

The Truck Stop: You don’t have to be a trucker to eat like one. Top your favorite oatmeal with a fried egg, ham or sausage, shredded cheddar cheese and hot sauce (we like Sriracha).

The Ice Cream Social: For a decadent breakfast (or dessert), add a small scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, chopped peanuts and a maraschino cherry (of course).

20 Ways to Top Your Oatmeal

The Elvis: To your favorite oatmeal, add a tablespoon of Peanut Butter, 1/2 of a sliced banana and two crispy strips of bacon.

The Camper: Smores aren’t reserved for a campfire anymore. Top your hot oats with crumbled graham crackers, chocolate chips and marshmallows.

The Power Lift: Power up for your day with 5 egg whites, steamed spinach and toasted hemp seed

The Texan: Make your oats with a Texan-flair by adding crumbled chorizo, black beans, shredded cheese, salsa, sour cream, a drizzle of BBQ Sauce and top it off with a fried egg.

20 Ways to Top Your Oatmeal

Carrot Cake:  Make your oatmeal reminiscent of carrot cake with shredded carrots, walnuts, raisins and brown sugar.  Top with a scoop of cream cheese frosting, if you have it for a true carrot cake experience.

Doctor’s Orders: Oatmeal topped with blueberries, a big dollop of gut-lovin’ non-fat Greek yogurt, and two tablespoons of ground flaxseed.

Get Your Goat: Goat cheese, sliced pear, walnuts and honey are a decadent and decidedly healthy addition to your favorite oatmeal.

The Crunchy Granola: Start your day off right by topping your oatmeal with chia seed, goji berries and a drizzle of agave nectar.

20 Ways to Top Your Oatmeal

The Hang Loose: Turn your bowl of oats tropical by adding coconut flakes, pineapple chunks and chopped macadamia nuts.

Oat Couture: Make breakfast classy by adding dried cherries, crème fraiche and a balsamic reduction to your favorite bowl of oats.

Thai-Me-Up Oats:  All the flavors you love from Thai food come together for a sweet and spicy breakfast- sprinkle red pepper flakes over a dollop of peanut butter and a healthy helping of shredded coconut.

Oats-Over-Parma: Take a trip to Italy with prosciutto, Parmesan and sun dried tomatoes.

WIN IT! We want to give five lucky folks a chance to try all five of these oatmeal varieties. To enter, follow the prompts below (be sure to click on the “leave a comment” to see what the secret question is, then click on “I did it”) and we’ll select five winners at random from all who enter by 11:59 pm on 10/14/13.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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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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brm 3

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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Discover Farro

Farro Hangout

by Cassidy Stockton in Whole Grains 101

FarroHOA2

Please join us for a Grains of Discovery Hangout series on Google Plus as we explore the trendy “new” grain Farro . Learn what it is, how to use it, and why you want this grain in your arsenal. Get some great recipes from our esteemed panelists Jean Layton (Gluten Free Doctor), Liz Della Croce (The Lemon Bowl), Dorothy Reinhold (Shockingly Delicious) and Hollie Green(Joy Foodly). Ask questions and enter to win a Grains of Discovery prize package.

Tune in at 5 pm PT on 9/18: http://goo.gl/4R93O6

Get more information, amazing recipes and enter to win a the Grains of Discovery prize package here:http://glutenfreedoctor.com/farro-grains-of-discovery-2/

Can’t make it? We’ll share a recorded version after the fact so you can still brush up on farro.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Discover Chia

Discover Chia

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Whole Grains 101

Thousands of years ago, chia seed was a staple in the diets of ancient Mayans and Aztecs. The word chia is derived from the Mayan language, meaning “strength,” and Aztec warriors relied on chia seed to boost energy and increase stamina. Today this tiny seed is a favorite of athletes, especially distance runners, who tout it as an endurance enhancing superfood.

Chia seed contains a wealth of fiber—5 grams in just one tablespoon. It is the fiber in chia that causes chia seed to swell when combined with water, creating chia gel. Whether you eat chia gel or just the raw seeds, the hydrophilic action of chia seed will keep you full longer than many other seeds. Amazingly, chia gel can also be used as a substitute for eggs in many baked goods. Use a proportion of 1 to 6 ratio of Chia Seeds to Water to make chia gel. Use approximately one tablespoon of chia gel to replace one large egg in your baked goods.

Discover Chia

The mild, nutty flavor of chia seed goes well with both sweet and savory dishes. Use chia seed in puddings and smoothies, sprinkle on top of porridge and salads, and add to baked goods in place of flaxseed meal or poppy seeds. Try our recipe for chia fresca (video below), a refreshing drink perfect for a hot summer day in place of lemonade or use it as pre- or post-workout fuel. Looking for a fool-proof way to get chia into your diet? Make our blueberry refrigerator jam (recipe on the bag)! The gelling nature of chia makes it an ideal (and nutritious) substitute for pectin in jam. No matter the dish, you can increase the nutritional value of any meal with a sprinkle of chia seed.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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