Tag Archives: flaxseed meal

Hangry No More: 4 Delicious, Healthy Snacks For the Workplace

13 May

Ever gotten to that 3:00 pm point in your work day (or 9:30 am … or 11:00 am … or 2:00 pm … we’re not picky here at GKG with our noshiness) and felt like this?

hangry collage… [Raises hand].

But how to stave off the “hanger” … ? Here’s the best way I know:

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Cooking With: Flaxseed Meal, the World’s Smallest Superfood

13 Sep

SUPERFOOD! (No, but really.)

 

Once upon a time, there was a budding chef who called herself GKG. She liked to cook with nutrition in mind, but was a busy lady on a tight budget. How, she wondered, could she add nutritious content to her recipes without breaking the bank? As much as she loved taking a whirl through Whole Foods or her local Giant’s Natural Foods aisle, a lot of those items were out of her price range.

What was a girl to do?

When lo, she discovered her favorite little superfood of all time: Flaxseed meal. The two of them lived happily ever after, adding fiber, lignans and nutrients to many a meal. The end.

Image sourced from elenaspantry.com. Mmmmm. I can taste the omega-3s!

Fairy tale? Musings of an overtired teacher in need of her lifeblood caffeine? Nope – it’s my ode to flaxseed meal, the greatest little superfood on earth.

Yes, that sounds like hyperbole. (Poetic devices! English teacher FTW.) But in fact, flaxseed meal is one of the easiest ways to infuse your baked goods, breakfast cereals and other dishes with a huge nutritional boost. 1-2 tbsps a day of ground flaxseeds (sold by Bob’s Red Meal and other retailers in the Natural Foods aisle of any mainstream grocery store, averaging at about $3.50 per bag) packs an unbelievable healthy wallop. [Note: This information comes from the kind folks at Bob’s Red Mill, supplemented with a bit of Wikipedia-ing. Go Internet!]

  • Flaxseed meal is a fiber powerhouse: 2 tablespoons add 4 grams of fiber to your diet instantly. Boom.
  • Lignans, a natural antioxidant, are flaxseed’s biggest selling point. Flaxseed has 75 times more lignans than, well, any other plant source in your diet. 75 times more! Say what?! You’d need to eat 30 cups of broccoli to equal the amount of lignans in a serving of flaxseed (2 tablespoons). Holy cannoli, Batman!
  • Omega-3 fatty acids – commonly found in foods like salmon, fish oil, some nuts, and even a few spices (see a complete list here) – are in abundance in a serving of flaxseed. Whether you’re talking the seeds themselves, the ground meal (which is what I commonly use), or flaxseed oil, the natural oils are about 50% alpha-linolenic acid, a common omega-3. That’s 2400 milligrams of awesome in one serving. (Seriously, Bob’s Red Mill – y’all are turning me into a nut-cum-nutritionist. Love it.)
  • It’s naturally gluten-free, for folks watching their gluten intake. Feel free to add it to gluten-free baked goods!

So how do you use the stuff? Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way. Happy super-nutritious eating!

Image courtesy of heathereatsalmondbutter.com. Flaxseed + hot oatmeal & cinnamon-sugar? Yes, please and thank you!

  • Buy the ground flaxseed meal – the whole flaxseeds or flaxseed oil are just as good, but I find that the ground meal is more versatile. (Read: easier to incorporate into your diet.)
  • Add 1-2 tablespoons to your morning bowl of cereal, yogurt or oatmeal. Make sure to stir well! The meal adds a nutty flavor to your breakfast, as well as superfood-osity. (Yep. Totally a word.)
  • When making quick breads, muffins, cookies or even pancakes, add 2 tablespoons (or more – I’d max out at about 4, at the risk of altering the texture of your food) to the batter or dough before baking. I’ve even added flaxseed meal to yeast bread doughs, including my pizza dough or a whole wheat equivalent. Your kitchen will smell like a multigrain bakery in no time.
  • Sprinkle a tbsp. onto your PB & J sandwich.
  • Take the Gwyneth Paltrow approach and make Seed Mix. In her cookbook, Gwyneth includes a recipe for Seed Mix – a blend of flaxseed, goji berries, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and almonds that’s pulverized in a food processor or coffee grinder. She’ll stir it into granola, cereal, or even pancake batter, muffin mix or cookie dough. Go nuts (or go seeds?)!
  • Random tip from the Bob’s Red Mill folks: If you’re looking for egg substitutes in baking, mix 1 tbsp flaxseed meal with 3 tbsp water and allow the mixture to sit for 2 minutes. The mixture is equivalent to 1 egg. Whether you’re vegan baking or just looking to add some oomph, give it a try!

For a whole slew of recipes, check out this link from healthyflax.com. Yep, that exists. Seriously, go Internet.

What are your favorite nutritional foodstuffs? What other sorts of ingredients – “natural” or otherwise – would you guys like me to highlight? I’m thinking of exploring seasonal produce, other natural grains, and maybe a spice or two.

Healthyish Morning Muffins

23 Aug

I shall call thee … STUDMUFFIN. Clearly, breakfast should be sexy. Duh.

Quick: What’d you have for breakfast this morning? If you can’t remember, that probably means one of three things:

  1. After noshing on your tasty breakfast, you were abducted by aliens, and Will Smith has already wiped out your brain with that white-laser-thingy.
  2. You didn’t eat breakfast – like the History Teacher tends not to do, tsk tsk! – and were too busy being in the opposite state of a diabetic coma all day to remember, well, anything
  3. Your breakfast was probably really, really lame. Or, at least, kind of forgettable, which is just as tragic.

We’ve played around with breakfast ideas before here at GKG, and while I love me some quinoa oatmeal and basic banana muffins as much as the next not-vegan-or-vegetarian-but-still-into-health-food person, it’s time to branch out into the wide world of Health Food. Based on Better Homes & Gardens’ master banana bread recipe (which I’ve virtually memorized by now … signs I could never go low-carb? Um, yes.), these muffins are packed with extra nutritional surprises – nuts, raisins, wheat flour, and even flax seed*. Depending on how fully you pack your muffin tins, this recipe will make 14-18 muffins. Enjoy!

*Flaxseed – ground into meal for this recipe by the lovely folks at Bob’s Red Mill – has loads of health benefits. They contain excellent doses of fiber, lignans (fancy term for a type of antioxidant) and omega-3 fatty acids. If you’re not sure how you feel about flaxseed, try this recipe; you’ll barely taste that nutty flavor. If you’re feeling daring, sprinkle a tablespoon onto your morning bowl of cereal (like I do), and see how you like it.

Here’s what the package looks like, if you get lost in a health food store and find yourself in a forest of alfalfa sprouts and tempeh.

Healthyish Morning Muffins, adapted from Better Homes & Gardens – makes 14-18 muffins

*Note: Extra tips for healthy ingredients are in parentheses.

Image sourced from simplyrecipes.com. Not an exact replica, but yours will look pretty close to these beauties. NOM NOM NOM.

You’ll need:

  • 1 ½ cups white all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup wheat flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed meal (you can skip this if it’s too hard to find)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 ½ cups mashed ripe banana (2-3 bananas)
  • 1 cup sugar (or ½ cup sugar and ½ cup Stevia In The Raw)
  • ½ cup cooking oil / melted butter (or applesauce)
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts or almonds
  • ¼ cup raisins or other dried fruit (cranberries or blueberries are particularly good)

Here’s what you do:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare muffin tins by spraying with Pam or greasing with oil / butter. In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices, and flaxeed meal in a bowl. Leave a small well in the center.
  • In a medium bowl, combine beaten eggs, mashed banana, sugar, and oil / applesauce. Add all at once to flour mixture, stirring until just combined (should still be lumpy). Fold in walnuts and raisins. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins using a ¼ cup measuring cup or a large serving spoon.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the muffins are nicely browned. Cool in muffin tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then, remove muffins and allow them to cool completely on wire rack. Enjoy!

These are delicious when topped with butter or margarine and strawberry or blueberry jam. They’re also delicious if you split and broil them briefly (no more than five minutes), then top with peanut butter for a PB-and-banana kick.

What are your favorite breakfast baked goods? Are you guys muffin people, or are you happy with a classic bagel & shmear? Or is the best breakfast of all a simple, steaming hot bowl of … nothing?