Saturday, March 26, 2011

Red quinoa flatbread

Quinoa (pronounced "Keen-wa") is not a true grain but rather the seed of the goosefoot plant. Its origins can be traced back to the Andes Mountains of South America where it was one of three staple foods, along with corn and potatoes, of the ancient Inca civilization.

This versatile food contains more protein than any other grain, an average of 16.2 percent, which means it rivals the protein content of meat. It's also a complete protein with an essential amino acid balance close to ideal.

A super food, quinoa also is high in calcium and iron, and a relatively good source of vitamin E and several of the B vitamins. It has a mild, slightly nutty flavor, and can be used as a whole-grain side dish, in baked goods or in place of hot cereal.

There are many varieties of quinoa but one of my favorites is red quinoa. Here is a recipe for a flatbread I made with whole grain, red quinoa. The recipe was kind of an experiment but turned out delicious. I was trying to make a bread that would be sturdy enough for a sandwich. I failed at that but the bread makes a good breakfast bread, toasted in the oven, or on the side with soup.It has a texture somewhat like cornbread.

Red quinoa flatbread ready to store in freezer

Red quinoa flatbread

  1. 1/2 cup ground red quinoa
  2. 1/2 cup ground white quinoa
  3. 1/2 cup millet flour
  4. 1/2 tsp. powdered stevia
  5. 1/2 tsp. salt
  6. 1/2 tsp. each baking powder and baking soda
  7. 1 cup water
  8. 2 flax eggs ( Usually made with 1 T. flax dissolved in 3 T. water. I used 2 T. Nutri-Flax ground flax seed powder dissolved in 4 T. hemp milk.)
  9. 1 T. olive oil
  1. I used a coffee grinder to grind the whole grain quinoa into a coarse flour.
  2. Mix all flours and other dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Mix flax eggs and blend with 1 cup of water and 1 T. oil.
  4. Add liquid to dry ingredients and mix.
  5. Pour mixture into two 8 X 8 square pans, sprayed with pan spray and drizzled with olive oil. Use slightly dampened hands to spread the dough evenly.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven, cool slightly. Each pan yield four large pieces.
  8. To make the bread sturdier, toast pieces in the oven on a baking sheet.

Untoasted red quinoa bread

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sunbutter bark

Okay, I admit I am a sunbutter addict. I'm really trying to cut down but everytime I think of a recipe it features sunbutter like this Sunbutter Bark.

I made it with a mixture of purchased and homemade sunbutter to give it a crunchier texture. You can eat it in small squares as pictured above or break it into tiny bits to use as a topping on fruit. The recipe also is easily adaptable to using only purchased sunbutter or only homemade. It's your choice.

Sunbutter Bark

  1.  1/2 cup sunbutter, either purchased or homemade, or a mixture
  2. 1/2 cup coconut oil
  3. stevia to taste
  4. 2 T. toasted pumpkin seeds
  5. 1 T. toasted unsweetened coconut flakes
  1.  Melt coconut oil in microwave.
  2. Blend softened coconut oil, sunbutter and stevia in a food processor.
  3. Pour mixture into an 8 X 8 pan sprayed with pan spray. Spread evenly.
  4. Top with pumpkin seeds and coconut flakes. Press in slightly.
  5. Chill mixture before cutting into small squares or tiny bits. Stores well in fridge or freezer.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Quinoa/millet crackers

It's tricky making crackers with whole grains but I gave it a shot with these Quinoa/Millet Crackers. They also have a touch of my favorite ingredient, sunbutter. Of course, I can use more sunbutter on top too.

These were easy but a bit time-consuming, not labor wise, but in terms of baking time. The crackers are actually twice-baked to make them crispy.

Twice-baked Quinoa-Millet Crackers
  1. 1/2 cup millet ground into a grainy flour
  2. 1/2 cup quinoa ground into a coarse flour
  3. 2 T. sunbutter
  4. Flax egg (2 T ground flax or my new favorite flax, Nutri-Flax, in 2-3 T. water
  5. 1/4-1/3 cup hemp milk (I use unsweetened)
  6. 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  7. 1/4 tsp. salt
  8. 1-2 T. sesame seeds
  9. 1-2 T. ground flax
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then, add the wet ingredients and stir to get a dough that forms a loose ball.
  3. Spray and oil lightly a large baking sheet and preheat in the oven to distribute the oil.
  4. Press the dough flat on the baking sheet with your fingers. It should be about 1/4-inch thick. Dip your fingers and hands in water to make the dough easier to flatten.
  5. Sprinkle the dough with sesame and flax and press in slightly.
  6. Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes until dough begins to get crispy.
  7. Remove baking sheet from oven and cut crackers into small squares using a pizza cutter.
  8. Spread the squares apart slightly and return them to the oven for more crisping. This may take another 30 minutes.
Time consuming but well worth the effort. They are whole grain and tasty with seed or nut butter.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Rutabaga and zucchini pancakes, ACD friendly

Detecting hidden food allergies may help lower your inflammation as I have found out. I have been trying to recover from an injury for a year. While physical therapy helped some, I did not reap the full benefit because I had additional inflammation caused by delayed food allergies.

Researchers are just beginning to discover how detrimental chronic inflammation, like that caused by allergies, can be to one’s overall health. We have heard over and over again what chronic stress can do to our bodies but few realize that unchecked allergies have equally serious consequences for our bodies. When inflammation persists---when the immune system is always activated---this is known as chronic inflammation and can lead to chronic disease.

In my case, it lead to chronic muscle pain. At my physical therapist's urging, I had blood testing done for delayed food allergies. There were some interesting findings. I have sensitivity to fish oil, spices and herbs galore, oysters and clams, all legumes. These are things I never would have figured out through an elimination diet.

After eliminating those things for the past month, I am making progress I never thought possible with my physical therapy. I am beginning to do physical activities I avoided before without any setbacks.

Here is some other interesting information about delayed food allergies:

  •  Delayed food allergies have been identified as a leading contributor to making environmental allergy symptoms worse.
  • Allergies trigger inflammatory responses that can elevate C-reative protein (CRP), a protein produced in the liver and a known marker for inflammation. According to the British Journal of Nutrition, increased levels of CRP are a good predictor for the onset of both Type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
  • A study reported in the February 2011 issue of Good Housekeeping Magazine is a real eye opener about the harmful effects of chronic inflammation, caused by allergies. Allergic adults with wheezing have more than double the risk of heart disease. Allergy sufferers with sniffles are slightly more vulnerable. Why? Inflammation may lead to thickening of blood vessels.
The difficult part of my diet is avoiding spices and herbs, which add flavor to foods. But I am finding out that good old salt and pepper works too. That's all I used for flavoring on the rutabaga and zucchini pancakes.
Next time, I will try adding diced green onions or yellow onion.

Rutabaga and Zucchini Pancakes
(makes 4 medium pancakes)

  1. 1 peeled and shredded rutabaga
  2. 2 shredded zucchini
  3. salt and pepper to taste
  4. Optional: 1 diced green onion or 1-2 T. chopped onion; herbs and spices of your choice
  5. 1 T.  Nutri Flax Seed Seed Powder or 1 T. ground flax dissolved in 2 T. hemp milk (or one egg if tolerated)
  6. olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Oil and spray a baking sheet. Preheat the baking sheet for about 5 minutes.
  4. Drop spoonfuls of mixture onto baking sheet to make 3-inch pancakes.
  5. Cook in the oven for about 10 minutes. Flip the pancakes and continue cooking on the other side for an additional 10 minutes.
  6. Optional: cook in an oiled skillet.
  7. Serve as a side dish.