Saturday, February 4, 2012

I'm a Cookin'/Bakin'/Stirin'/Measurin'/Choppin'/Mixin' Machine!

Pin It It's Friday! Yes!  You know what that means?  I got a big pot of my latest experiment cookin' on the stove while my piles of homework gets pushed to the back burner.  (Haha get the joke?  Back I'm lame I know! :P)

I've been in the kitchen baking and cooking for the last 4 hours and I loved every minute of it.  I made meatloaf, lentil tacos, buckwheat taco shells, puffed quinoa bars, almond butter, and buckwheat crackers.  I think I made enough food to feed a family of 10...  A true cook doesn't cook a single serving of anything.  Go big or go home, right Dad?  Now you are probably wondering what the heck I am going to do with all that food.  No worries.  Let's just say I love to eat (eat healthy that is). :)

This weeks recipes feature some of my new favorite products I've discovered at our local Co-op and Wholesale Foods store.  First up...puffed quinoa!  I had never heard of it before until I got to taste it in Nutrition Club a few nights ago.  It's just like puffed rice or wheat (a few of my other favorite foods), except it is made out of quinoa.  You can use it as a yogurt topping, in cereal, in bars, or even cookies the possibilities are endless.  Today I made Almond Peanut Butter Bars with my puffed quinoa and according to my favorite taste testers the recipe was a success!

Adapted from Vegangela

1/4 cup Almond butter
1/4 cup Natural peanut butter
2 tbsp Honey (or agave)
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 - 1 1/2 cup Puffed Quinoa
1/4 cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Stir together the almond butter, peanut butter, honey, and agave until well blended.  You can pop this in the microwave for a few seconds to help get the mixture nice and smooth.
2. Fold in the quinoa until well coated.
3. Press mixture into a greased 9x9 pan.
4. Freeze bar while you melt the chocolate chips (in microwave or on stove).
5. Spread chocolate on the top of the bars and put bars back into the freezer.
6. Once bars are firm, cut and enjoy!  (Store in fridge or freezer for best results)
Makes 16 bars.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 71
Total Fat: 4.3 g
     Sat. Fat: 1.1 g
     Poly. Fat: 0.9 g
     Mono. Fat: 1.6 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 15 mg
Potassium: 29.7 mg
Total Carbs: 8 g
     Dietary Fiber: 0.6 g
     Sugars: 5.2 g
Protein: 1.9 g
Vitamin A: 0%
Vitamin C: 0%
Calcium: 1.5%
Iron: 2.4%

Next up, buckwheat flour!  Love love love it!  Its high in fiber and  protein and it has many other nutritional benefits such as:
     1) Contains phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese
     2) Contains a rich supply of flavonoids, particularly rutin
     3) Lowers glucose levels and is beneficial for managing diabetes
     4) Has been found to lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol
     5) Is a gluten-free alternative to grains
Plus, it has a unique flavor making it Nutritious-n-Delicious. :)  I went a little crazy with buckwheat flour tonight making Cinnamon Buckwheat Crackers and shells for my lentil tacos.  Gotta love that buckwheat!  (Note: Buckwheat not only comes a flour, you can also buy it as groats, but they're a whole other can of worms that I'll have to tackle another day. )

Inspired by Edible Perspective

1/2 cup Buckwheat flour
1/2 cup Water
1 tbsp Coconut oil (you could try subbing another oil)**
2 tbsp White sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tsp Ground cinnamon
1 tsp Vanilla extract

**Note:  I have to admit I had fallen to the common misconception that coconut oil is a healthy oil.  I knew that it was high in saturated fat, but all my favorite bloggers out there use it all the time.  They all claimed that it was a healthy oil, but as I learned in Nutrition Club from a Registered Dietitian coconut oil is not healthy.  Just because it comes from a coconut does not mean the saturated fats are good for you.  Not even if they are claimed to be "medium chain fatty acids."  If you still have questions feel free to let me know, but for now I am  just going to have to suck it up and finish up the jar I bought (it's too expensive to just throw away!). 

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl.
3. Line a 9x13 inch pan with parchment paper or grease well.
4. Spread the batter out evenly on the pan and sprinkle a little extra cinnamon and sugar on top.
5. Bake for 20 minutes until edges begin to brown.
6. Slide large cracker onto a cookie sheet and use a pizza cutter to cut crackers into desired size and shape.
7. Spread crackers out so they are not touching and return to oven for another 3-5 minutes.
8. Flip crackers over and bake another 3-5 minutes.
9. Let crackers cool completely (they will become crisper as they cool).
10.  Eat up! ***
Makes about 48 one inch crackers.

***After testing these on my roommates, one suggested that I cut them up smaller and make the crackers into cereal.  I think this just might work, although I am not sure they'd stay crisp very long in milk.  Personally, I hate mushy cereal, but I know some people that refuse to eat their cereal until it's completely mushy. 

Nutrition Facts:
Serving Size: 10 crackers
Calories: 94
Total Fat: 3.8 g
     Sat. Fat: 2.5 g (Like I said...its the coconut oil. =[ )
Sodium: 0.2 mg
Potassium: 3.5 mg
Total Carbs: 16 g
     Dietary Fiber: 2.1 g
     Sugars: 6.7 g
Protein: 1.7 g
Vitamin A: 0%
Vitamin C: 0.3%
Calcium: 1.3%
Iron: 4%

And last, but not least tacos!  These tacos are jam packed with nutrients.  Kale, lentils, and buckwheat!  What more could you ask for?  Delicious taste? You got it!

Inspired by The Healthy Foodie
Taco "Meat"
1 cup Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
Dash of salt
1 cup Green lentils, dry
1 packet Taco seasoning mix (or you could make your own)
2 1/2 cup Low-sodium chicken broth (I used Watkins Chicken Soup Base)
Taco "Shells"
1 cup Buckwheat flour
1/4 cup White whole wheat flour (or more buckwheat)
2 cups Water
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1 tbsp Flaxseed meal
Taco "Toppings"

1. Cook onions and garlic in a large saucepan until tender.
2. Add lentils and taco seasoning to pan and mix until well distributed.
3. Add broth to the pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover.
4. Let lentils simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed (about 30 minutes).
5. While the lentils are cooking mix up the shell batter and let sit on the counter for 30 minutes.
6. Uncover the lentils and let thicken for another 5 minutes or so.
7. Heat a flat pan to medium-high heat.
8. Spray pan and pour 1/4 cup of the shell batter on the pan. Watch for edges of shell to "dry" and flip.
9. Cook shell until golden on each side.
10.  Serve lentil taco "meat" on a buckwheat shell with a piece of kale and a little salsa. Enjoy!
Makes 6 servings of taco "meat."
Makes 10 taco "shells."

Nutrition Facts:
Taco "Meat"                                     Taco "Shell"
Calories: 138                                    Calories: 53
Total Fat: 0.7 g                                 Total Fat: 1.1 g
     Sat. Fat: 0 g                                      Sat. Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg                             Cholesterol: 0 g
Sodium: 589 mg                               Sodium: 121.1 mg
Potassium: 253.3 mg                        Potassium: 0 mg
Total Carbs: 24.3 g                           Total Carbs:10.8 g
     Dietary Fiber: 4.7 g                           Dietary Fiber: 2.1 g
     Sugars: 2.2 g                                      Sugars: 0 g
Protein: 7 g                                        Protein: 2.2 g
Vitamin A: 11.3%                             Vitamin A: 0%
Vitamin C: 0.3%                               Vitamin C: 0%
Calcium: 1.7%                                  Calcium: 0.5%
Iron: 12%                                          Iron: 3%


  1. Great recipes!!! I wanted to share a link with you that I found really helpful and from a source that I trust. It is in regard to your comment about saturated fats and coconut oil being bad for you.

    and another on agave nectar

    I know there is so much controversy in the world of health but I like to learn all the different perspectives so maybe this will help you... Thanks for awesome recipes!


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