Friday, February 29, 2008

Quinoa Sunflower Seed Clusters

There are some people who have to learn lessons the hard way. Then there's a second category of people who have to repeat learning the same lesson more than once the hard way. I think I fall into the second category when it comes to food.
The problem is whenever I get to feeling pretty good I get more cocky about what I eat. That would be the case this week. I made a fat-free fruit compote with a topping made up of ground rolled oats and buckwheat flour. Even ground, uncooked oatmeal is too hard to digest for someone with gastroparesis/IBS. Bottom line, don't eat uncooked oatmeal in any form. That is unless you enjoy being miserable for two to three days.
Well, fortunately that has passed. And Pumpkin, the cat, and I are celebrating leap year with some beautiful tulips, sent from a friend who was our house guest last week. Also, to prove that I've learned my lesson about uncooked oatmeal, I decided to alter a recipe which uses that dreaded ingredient. I changed the original recipe, called Quinoa, Apricot and Nut Clusters, by leaving out the nuts, dried apricots, eggs and rolled oats, and renamed it Quinoa Sunflower Seed Clusters. I left out the dried fruit because that is another ingredient that is "lethal" for someone with my problem. Here is the recipe with my modifications and optional ingredients for those who can handle eggs, rolled oats, dried fruit and nuts. Individuals with IBS-type symptoms should use egg whites only, rather than whole eggs. Finely ground nuts may be tolerated in some cases.

Quinoa Sunflower Seed Clusters

(Makes approximately 20 clusters)

These clusters are a healthy alternative to cookies. Two clusters have approximately 320 calories, 11 g. fat, 49 g. carbs, 10 g. protein and 5 g. fiber.

3/4 cup quinoa

1 1/2 cups quinoa flakes (or old-fashioned oatmeal) Note: The quinoa flakes are much more digestible than the oats. Just eat the clusters in moderation.

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (I grind them but you may leave them whole.)

1 cup peeled, drained canned apricots (finely chopped) or replace this with 1 cup chopped dried apricots or whole dried cherries

Optional: 1/2 cup chopped nuts (Walnuts, pistachios, almonds, cashews work well.)

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/4 cup agave nectar or maple syrup or honey (Avoid honey if you have IBS.)

2 T. safflower, sunflower or other vegetable oil

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Egg replacer for two eggs plus 1 large egg white, lightly beaten (or use equivalent egg whites)

Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the quinoa, return to a boil, cover and reduce the heat. Cook at low heat until the quinoa is cooked or about 15 minutes. For those with normal stomachs, the quinoa should be slightly undercooked or about 12 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a large, rimmed cookie sheet. Bake, fluffing with a fork occasionally, until the quinoa is pale golden, about 30-35 minutes. Let cook in a large bowl.

Spread the quinoa flakes or oats on a baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Add the flakes or oats to the cooked quinoa. Spread the sunflower seeds on a baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, about 7 minutes. If grinding the seeds, allow to cook before placing in a coffee grinder. Add the seeds to quinoa mixture and allow to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Toss the apricots (dried or not dried), optional nuts, sugar and salt with the quinoa mixture. Beat the agave nectar, maple syrup or honey, vegetable oil, and vanilla with egg replacer or eggs. Stir into the quinoa mixture.

Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper, lightly spray with pan spray. Spoon 1/4 cup batter onto sheet for each cluster or use an ice cream scoop. Space the clusters about 3 inches apart. Flatten to 1/4-inch thickness. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until crisp, about 25 minutes. Note: If you are using egg replacer, you may need to leave the clusters in the oven slightly longer. When done, remove from the oven and let cool. The clusters store well for several days in the refrigerator. Freeze extras.


Meredith S. said...

do you know if someone has a seed allergy/sensitivity if they should avoid quinoa. i have a client who is allergic to peanus and might have seed allergy. are millet and buckwheat ok for such individuals?

Sheree Welshimer said...

Quinoa and millet are grains so it shouldn't be a problem. I would recommend experimenting with it but it depends on how bad her allergy to seeds is. If it's life-threatening, she should probably speak with her allergist first.

Prashant said...

Quinoa are *seeds* and are used like grains: