Flackers!

I’m not sure if flaxsed crackers (flackers) have hit British supermarkets yet but they seem to be a big hit among US paleo fans. I thought I’d try and make them because they sounded tasty and pretty simple.

flackers

Makes about 15 crackers (cost £1 per batch)

  • 1 cup of whole flaxseed
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed/other seeds or almond
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil (or any other herbs you like)
  • few shakes of rock salt to top

1. Preheat oven to 200C

2. Mix together all of the ingredients apart from the salt

3. Spoon onto a large baking tray (lined with baking paper/parchment)

4. Smooth the seed mixture out flat until it is a couple of seeds thick (thinner= crunchier, thicker = more bar like)

5. Bake in the oven for 10 to 20 minutes until the edges start to look browned

6. When slightly cooled (but not fully) break into smaller crackers and leave to cool.

7. Store in an airtight container and serve with soup, hummus, dips… or eat alone!

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Chocolate Nut Protein Pancakes

Perfect snack for post-gym munchies (or a tasty dessert!)

Makes two pancakes:

  • 10g wheat bran
  • 30g chocolate (soya) protein powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg (or egg substitute)
  • 100ml (almond) milk
  • hazelnut oil (or other light oil)
  • Toppings of choice e.g. agave syrup and flaked almonds

1. Mix dry ingredients (bran, protein, baking powder) and separately mix the wet (milk, egg, oil)

2. Consistency should be pourable, adjust milk accordingly

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3. Heat a frying pan to medium and spoon half of the mixture into centre

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4. Heat one side for a few minutes until sides start to come up and can run a spatula under, then flip

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5. When the other side is browning too it’s ready to serve with your choice of toppings : )

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Stats per pancake (with syrup and almonds): 130 calories, 2g sugar, 0g sat fat, 14g protein, 6g calcium

Spicy Tuna Pasta

Our fridge is broken and waiting for a replacement so I found myself looking to the sadly warming fresh goods for “inspiration”. This turned out pretty tasty for something intended as a use up leftovers dish. Excellent balance of protein, wholewheat carbs and veggies (technically fruits I suppose!).

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 100g wholewheat pasta
  • one onion (or some leftover onion…), finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • dried basil
  • can of (pole and line caught) tuna in water, drained.

1. Heat  a teaspoon of rapeseed oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Boil kettle.

2. Add the chopped onion and garlic to hot oil. Stir occasionally for a few minutes to soften. Set pasta cooking in the boiled water.

3. Chop up chilli, pepper and tomatoes. Add to the pan and stir to mix well.

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4. Allow to soften for a few minutes then add a sprinkle of dried basil.

5. When pasta is cooked, drain and add straight to the pan. Mix everything up and add the drained tuna. Stir to heat tuna through (but don’t break it up too much), serve and top with cracked black pepper. Enjoy!

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Cacao Oat Cookies

For when you want to chocolatey kick of a cookie, without the extra sugar and all the other junk manufactures add in.

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Makes 10 cookies

  • 60g rolled oats
  • 20g cacao nibs
  • 10g cocoa powder
  • 10g agave
  • small amount of milk (I used almond) or coffee to bind

1. Mix all ingredients together and gradually add milk/coffee until it clumps together

2. Use your hands to make 10 balls and flatten onto a lined (foil or baking paper) baking tray

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3. Bake at 180 for around 8-10 minutes until starting to brown. Leave to cool before digging in!

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Chia Seeds: Side effects??

So the latest healthy food obsession is chia seeds. I am always skeptical of “superfood” labels because it is just a marketing buzzword, but being an inquisitive foodie and recipe hoarder I wanted to try these seeds that everyone seemed to be putting in everything.

So I bought some and baked them into flapjacks and porridge. To me they didn’t seem any different than sesame seeds for food contributions, but this might of been the stingy proportions I added them (£3 per 100g!).

But when I saw this Chia Seed Pudding and delicious sounding recipes I had to give it a go. The premise is that the seeds absorb liquid so when you soak them in almond milk etc they expand and end up looking like frog spawn (as my bf pointed out).  The first one I made was with cinnamon, nutmeg and agave syrup and tasted really nice!

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The texture was a bit weird but I thought I’d get used to it and loved the idea of such a great tasting healthy dessert. That evening and the following day I felt quite bloated, but put this down to eating a heavy evening meal.

It wasn’t until I made another variation of Chia seed pudding two days later that I noticed that I felt very bloated and unwell after eating that dessert too.

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And then the following day I woke up with severe gastro pains which lasted well into the afternoon. The short lived nature of the cramping and lack of other symptoms makes me  feel that it was food related – and as I hadn’t eaten anything else differently that day I am blaming the chia seed pudding. Even thinking about it now makes me feel a bit off (classical conditioning eh). I don’t have problems with any other seeds but I have since read online that the absorptive nature of the seeds can give you stomach cramps- so perhaps that explains it?

Anyway, not to rag on the superfood of the month but I just wanted to share my experience and ask whether any one else has had a similar reaction? It has certainly put me off them (at least for now!).

I had a look into the research on Chia seeds and health effects but it is still inconclusive (systematic review). So I don’t feel like I’m missing much. I also found this paper which shows no effect on inflammation and disease risk facts. As a Human Nutrition Student I’d love to know where the health claims in the media stem from. I’d also like to read some positive research if available, please let me know if you have found any!

Amway, if it’s healthy Omega-3 you’re after, flaxseed has the same amount per gram, and is cheaper now that chia has overshadowed it :)

Quinoa and Oat Porridge

First attempt at making porridge with quinoa flakes and am very impressed. I mixed them with oats to make it cheaper and more nutritionally diverse. I think this will be my new breakfast obsession! This is a great source of protein for vegans too.

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Ingredients: (makes one large bowl)
– 1 cup (around 250ml) unsweetened almond milk
– 20g quinoa flakes
– 30g quick oats (I’ll try large oats tomorrow)
– topping of choice (I sed a tablespoon of mixed seeds and drizzle of maple syrup)

1. Warm the milk over a medium heat and stir in the oats and flakes. Stir.
2. Stir frequently for around 5 mins as the porridge thickens up.
3. Spoon in to a bowl and top with favourite nuts, seeds or fruit.

The Favourite Veggie Chili

This is a really tasty, hot chili that everyone from vegan to carnivore will love. It’s really easy and freezes well so you can batch cook for busier times ahead.

Ingredients (serves 4 to 6 depending on how big your appetite is!)

  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 red pepper
  • chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • fresh chili
  • tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can of mixed beans
  • few sticks of celery (or other fridge dwellers such as mushrooms, carrot, corn…)
  • rice and pitta to serve

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1. heat around 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pan on medium heat

2. add in the chopped onion and garlic, stir occasionally until translucent

3. add in your choices of spices (paprika, chili, oregano, cumin etc) – smoked paprika is essential to the smokey taste! Stir.

4. drain and rinse the beans and add to pan. Also chuck in the chopped red pepper and tin of chopped tomatoes. Stir.

5. leave to simmer with the lid on for as long as it takes to cook brown rice in a separate pan (about 20-30 minutes). Take the lid off the chili for the last 5 minutes if looking a bit watery.

6. serve with rice and pitta. Leave half to cool and freeze for another day (take out of the freezer in the morning, defrost in the fridge until dinner time then boil in pan with a little water for 3 mins then simmer for 30 mins again).

7. eat, enjoy, share.