Entries in Protein (15)
Spring has sprung! Well...sort of...that's what it feels like these last few days. Last week was another story. I think it snowed a little bit every day...just to anger me. For now the sun is shining, snow removal is in the works (yes you heard me right) and it's 5*C, woohoo! I'm itching to get back on my bike and hit some trails. Le sigh. At least Spring is making promises. Let's just pretend it's not supposed to snow tomorrow mmmmk?
Good. First I have some news to share. I've finally created a facebook fan page for edible sound bites. If you'd like to follow me you can find the link to the side of the page under the Subscribe & Follow heading. Please follow, I'd love to hear your feedback if your a fan!
The second bit of news is a little more exciting; I've been choosing from a select few to appear in the next FOODIE iPad Cookbook App. My recipe for Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter will be featured along with 40 other recipes. I'm not sure how much info I can giveaway, but the FOODIE cookbook app has previously been featured in USA Today, Mashable, and Consumer Reports. I'm super excited! I will definitely post a link when I have one.
Say hello to Amaranth.
This tiny little seed is one highly nutritious gluten free grain. While it may look like millet or quinoa, I assure you it's not. Amaranth is actually quite smaller in size and whiter in colour. We're talking teeny tiny! It has a slightly sticky texture when cooked the traditional way in liquid, is nutrient rich, and high in fiber. It also has a high concentration of lysine, an essential amino acid (one of the building blocks of protein). For a bit of historical fun, it dates back 8,000 years to when it was used by the ancient Aztecs as food staple.
Personally it's one of my fave gluten free grains. I love the texture, taste and versatility of it. Even more so I love it's nutrition. You've gotta love slow digesting carbs for stable energy and blood sugar.
Here is the nutrition profile for 1 cup of cooked amaranth (1/4 cup dry):
With high amounts of protein, fiber, calcium, lysine, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin B2 and folic acid you can't go wrong. It actually contains more protein than any other gluten free grains and more protein than wheat. In fact, the protein content of amaranth is similar to the proteins found in cow's milk. It's a complete protein, meaning it contains all essential amino acids, including lysine, which is lacking in most other grains. Bottom line - amaranth is an excellent plant source of high quality proteins that are well absorbed when eaten. Take that quinoa! Just kidding, I still love you quinoa.
With a low glycemic index, amaranth is also slightly lower in carbohydrates than other gluten free grains.
Where To Buy Buckwheat
Like other gluten free/ specialty grains it's not easily found in grocery stores. I find it in the healthy food store or of course Whole Foods and specialty grocery stores like Nature's Emporium. Here the link to buy online from one of my favourites Bob's Red Mill; buy organic amaranth online.
Preparing and Cooking
Just prior to cooking, rinse and strain your amaranth throughly in cold water until the water runs clear to remove any dirt. To cook, boil 1 cup of amaranth in 2 1/2 cups of liquid such as water, vegetable or chicken stock, or milk of any kind (cow's, coconut, almond etc). Reduce heat and simmer for 18-20 minutes until tender. Fluff with a fork a serve. Take care not to over cook it as it can become "gummy" in texture.
Keep amaranth stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, out of direct light. When stored in the fridge it will keep for 3 to 6 months.
Get grinding and make some flour! Amaranth makes a sweet, spicy, earthy, nutty flavoured flour best used in waffles, pancakes, cookies, muffins and quick breads. Just don't use amaranth flour exclusively in gluten free baking because your end result will be too dense. You'll need to blend it with a variety of gluten free flours, especially for baking yeast breads and cookies, pancakes should be okay though.
By nature, amaranth absorbs water very easily making it a good thickener for soups with added nutrition.
It can be cooked as a cereal and used as a replacement for oatmeal. Sprouted and placed in salads. Toasted is another great way to use amaranth. Just toast and add to yogurt, smoothies, trail mix etc.
My personal favourite is popping the tiny seeds like popcorn... Post to come!
Happy Easter everyone!!! Have a great weekend.
When I'm meal planning for the week ahead I always try to incorporate as much variety as I can. Chicken is usually on the menu, vegetables are always front and centre, and sometimes we take a break from meat altogether... meatless Mondays anyone?
Food can get boring pretty easily with repetition, especially when lean chicken breast is a mainstay in our house. Unless you know how to spice things up from time to time. Know what I mean?
Enter the world of spices & herbs and a little out of the box thinking.
That's where this recipe for healthy faux-fried/ chicken comes in. If you recall that lunch salad I made a while ago topped with baked chicken; this is the recipe for the chicken.
Crisped to perfection in the oven using homemade whole grain breadcrumbs and fresh grated Parmesan cheese. A hint of fresh thyme also adds flavour that's reminiscent of Spring.
My go to lunch is almost always a leafy green salad with protein (chicken, hard-boiled egg, lean pork tenderloin, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, nuts etc.). When it comes to salad dressing I will either make my own or opt for lemon juice or balsamic vinegar (sometimes with a bit of olive oil). I've recently discovered how amazing fresh minced ginger root is added to my salads. It practically acts like a salad dressing. It adds a nice zing and it's super good for you too.
The leftovers are really good too. So far I've tried it in my lunch salads and in a wrap all nice and toasty with spinach, mustard, leaf lettuce, and shredded carrots.
Crispy Baked Chicken (serves 4)
- 4 chicken breast halves
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup skim milk
- 1 tsp Sriracha
- 1 cup whole grain bread crumbs *(I like to make my own)* See Note
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- a pinch of smoked paprika (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375*F. Place an ovenproof wire-rack on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, and Sriracha. In a separate medium sized mixing bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, thyme, cheese, and paprika.
- Dip each piece of chicken in egg mixture, shake off excess liquid, then roll in breadcrumb mixture to coat. Arrange on prepared pan/ wire rack.
- Bake without turning for 50 minutes to 1 hour until internal temperature registers 180*F on an instant read thermometer.
To make your own breadcrumbs, take a few slices of day old whole grain bread and chop into small (1 inch) cubes. Place them on a baking sheet in the oven on 350*F for 5-10 minutes or until they are nice and toasty. Watch they don't burn! Transfer them to your food processor and give them a quick whir until they resemble breadcrumbs. You can give them a drizzle of olive oil before toasting, but it isn't necessary.
Good morning all!
I'm back with another addition to my new series here on Edible Sound Bites called Great Grains! Today the spotlight is all on Buckwheat. If you're new to the series I'm basically creating a beginners guide to gluten free whole grains. So far I've tackled millet and followed up with a recipe for Millet with Butternut Squash and Kale, which was absolutely delish if I do say so myself. I am planning to do more than one recipe per grain in case you're wondering. Hopefully I can get a nice little collection going for each of the "grains".
Buckwheat is a nutritious and energizing wheat free grain, which makes it an excellent choice for vegans, vegetarians and those who are sensitive to wheat and gluten. It's also a delicious alternative to the traditional a bowl of porridge made with rolled oats. Buckwheat may sound like a cereal grain but is actually a fruit seed. The raw groats are hulled and triangular in shape. They have a delicate nutty flavour and are very crunchy to eat. Toasted buckwheat groats, also know as Kasha, are different from the raw buckwheat groats, because ...you guessed it they're toasted. You can tell the difference by looking at the colour; raw groats are soft white with a slight greenish tinge (like you see in the pictures in this post), where's toasted groats are darker brown. I don't recommend baking with them or grinding them into flour. This is just a personal preference.
Here is the nutritional profile for 1 cup of cooked buckwheat (1/4 cup dry):
Buckwheat is one of the best sources of protein in the plant kingdom. It's also a complete protein that contains eight of the essential amino acids. Now you know why it's a favourite among non-meat eaters. It also satisfies hunger, unlike refined breads and white flours/starches.
It's a very good source of minerals including manganese, magnesium, and copper. A one cup serving (cooked) contains 86 milligrams of magnesium. That's pretty good considering the RDA for magnesium is between 310 to 400 mg per day! If you're reading this thinking, "why should I care about magnesium and what the heck is it anyway", it's actually said to help lower blood pressure by improving blood flow and nutrient delivery within your body. How's that for a healthy heart?
Don't forget the fiber. This super-grain boasts 5 grams of dietary fiber for 1 cup cooked/1/4 cup dry.
Buckwheat is rich in flavonoids rutin and quercitin. Without getting too in-depth here, flavonoids are plant based compounds with powerful antioxidant properties that reduce inflammation, prevent and repair cellular damage, and promote healthy arteries. Naturally they come from fruits and veggies, but they're also found in tea, dark chocolate and red wine. Yippee!
Where To Buy Buckwheat
You can buy raw Buckwheat groats online here. And of course you'll find them at your local health food store and even some of the larger grocery stores like Whole Foods and Zehrs Markets.
Prepaing and Cooking
Just like we did with millet, first rinse the grain under cold running water for about 30 seconds to remove any dirt. Then add one part buckwheat to 2 parts boiling water. Return it to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover for 30 minutes or until the water is absorbed. This is the basic cook like oats method, but there are other ways of cooking buckwheat as well.
The raw groats can be cooked like rice and millet and then used in salads and side dishes.
Grind in your food processor or coffee grinder (for small batches) to make your own flour. You can buy buckwheat flour, but I find the taste to be a little strange. I prefer to grind it fresh when I need it. Fresh is best! It's a great alternative to other flours in both quick and yeast breads. Perhaps this is why pancakes seem to be the number thing made with it.
They make a wicked bowl of porridge. It's a great substitute for wheat and oats.
Use them as the base grain for pilafs instead of rice.
I can guarantee I'll be doing a lot of experimenting with it in the baking department. Be on the lookout next week for a buckwheat recipe.