Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ancient Grains~ TEFF

Teff is an extremely tiny grain from the grass family grown mainly in Africa.  It is a staple in Ethiopian diet.  It comes in four types, white teff (magna), sergegna (mixture of red and white teff), dark red teff, and dark brown teff.  Teff is 12% protein, about  80% complex carbohydrates and has the highest amounts of lysine (except rice and oats.)  Teff has a high calcium and magnesium level, also contains high levels of phosphorus, iron, copper, barium and thiamin.  It is considered to have a complete set of all 8 essential amino acids that humans need.  It is now being grown in the US and Australia.  It is also used as a healthy animal fodder.  Teff is a versatile grain.  It can be used alone as a cereal, as thickener in soups and gravies, or in baked goodies.  It has a tasty, nutty flavor.  In Ethiopia, its main use is as a hot cereal, to make injera bread, and a fermented type drink.

This is one of my family's new favorite foods!  We just love, love, love it.  The nutty flavor, the fillingness of it (if you have boys, you KNOW what I mean,) and the ease of cooking it.

2 cups teff flour
1 TBSP baking powder
1 TBSP arrowroot
½ tsp. real salt
2 TBSP coconut oil or olive oil
2 ¼ cup coconut milk (we like the vanilla, sweetened but unsweetened works too)
2-4 TBSP sugar, honey or sugar alternative
1 TBSP vanilla

Mix ingredients together.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes.  We use a cast iron pan on medium high heat, occasionally adding a bit of oil to the pan.  Makes 32 3 inch pancakes.  These freeze and reheat well.  To make a savory pancake for a “bun” omit sugars and use unsweetened milk.

Basic Hot cereal
1 cup Teff grain
3 cups filtered water

We like to “brown” our teff on a medium heat until it begins to “pop” and it gives off a nutty aroma.  Then add water and cook for 20-25 minutes.  Remove from heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.  We eat this as a side dish at dinner or for breakfast with honey drizzled on it.  The longer it sits, the more it solidifies.  It can be eaten as a corn free version of polenta as well.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Recipe Roll Call

Most recipes listed below are Gluten, Dairy, Egg, Soy, Oats, Fish/Shellfish, Corn, Tree Nuts and Peanut free, (top eight allergen free.)  Almost all do not contain tomato, other then the obvious ones.  If they are not, they are marked (such as the gluten taco shell recipe).  Please leave me a comment if you have a question on the ingredients. 

Recipes you can't yet click on, to link up to, are upcoming recipes...Check back.

Apple Crisp (contains oats)
Apple Pie Cinnamon Bars

Ancient Grains Millet


Millet is a staple found in Asia and Africa.  It has about 5,000 varieties and is found wild in Africa.  It is in the grass family.  Millet is also full of wonderful nutritional value.  It has high protein value (15%), high in fiber, has vitamins B and E, lecithin, calcium, iron and phosphorous.  When compared to wheat, it has a higher caloric count.  Millet has a low alkaline pH which makes it easy to digest and a low GI.  Millet is tiny, yellow and round.  When cooked, many people find its texture similar to wild rice.  It is used to make flatbreads, is used in stuffings or pilafs.  It is also eaten as breakfast “porridge.”  It has been known to make beer.  Millet can not be eaten raw.  People with thyroid issues should avoid eating large quantities of millet, it is a know thyroid inhibitor.  It is often combined with sorghum and other flours when used in baking.

Recipes and Resources

Hot Millet Cereal

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 cup millet
2 cups boiling water
Fruit, milk, brown sugar to serve


In a large sauté pan, heat oil. Add 1 cup millet and cook, stirring until the millet begins to toast and become brown. Add 2 cups boiling water, cover and simmer 30 minutes or until liquid has been absorbed. Let stand for five minutes then serve with milk, fruit of your choice and brown sugar

Here are a couple sites with recipes.  We personally don't use Millet (it doesn't agree with my kiddos, but it is very yummy!  enjoy)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cha, Cha, Cha, CHIA!

If you are as old as I am, you remember owning or as least seeing the commercial about the fun gift ~CHIA PET!

Well, these seeds aren't just fun to grow, they are fun to eat and good for you too!

Chia is a tiny seed with unique properties.  It is actually a flowering herb found in the mint family.  It was an important grain to the ancient Aztecs and Mayans.  It is still grown today in Mexico and Guatemala.  It was used as a “running food.”  When going on a long journey or a running messages from place to place, it would be brought along when traveling and just a teaspoon or two would be eaten at a time and give energy for 24 hours.  Chia can be stored for a long time without going rancid, and doesn’t need to be ground like flax.  When combined with water, a gel forms around the seed.  This gel, is believed to slow down the digestion of chia, extending the time it takes to convert into glucose.  Also, the gel (chia absorbs 12 times its weight it in water) provides prolonged hydration.  It is high in both soluble and insoluble fiber.  Chia is a high source of omega-3 fatty acid, helping your body absorb fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, and E.  Chia also has calcium, magnesium, and boron; the magnesium and boron boost the absorption of calcium.  It can be used in porridges, drinks, baked goods, and smoothies. It is considered a good food for diabetics due to its slow absorption and slow glucose conversion.  It has a slightly nutty taste or some say little taste at all, making it a great grain to supplement in your foods.


Chia Seed Chocolate Pudding
2 ½ cups coconut milk (we use the vanilla, but you can do unsweetened or chocolate) almond would work as well
½ cup chia seeds
6 TBSP cocoa powder
½ cup of sweetener (or less)
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of Real Salt or sea salt

Put ingredients in blender in order listed.  Blend until smooth.  This mixture will get thick!  If you don’t have a very powerful blender (such as the Vitamix or Blendtec) use a coffee grinder to grind the seed first.  Pour into glass storage container and store in fridge.  This is yummy topped with Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips, shredded coconut, chopped nuts, and/or berries!  We usually make a double batch of this, because it goes fast!

Note: for sugar free use Xylitol with stevia or sugar substitute of choice

Egg Substitute
1 TBSP finely ground chia seed mixed with 3 TBSP water, set aside until it thickens, add to recipe

Thickener for meatballs, soups or gravies
Just add a tablespoon or two to your recipes.  Grind finely if the texture bothers you.

Homemade Energy Gel
1 cup coconut water
1-2 TBSP chia seeds
Flavoring of choice
Mix together and let sit until gel forms.  Use when running, exercising, or rehydrating children

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ancient Grains

Ancient Grains include millet, chia, amaranth, teff, quinoa, buckwheat, and occasionally sorghum.  Recently ancient grains have come into the spotlight as super foods and a great way to create gluten free baked goods.  Ancient grains are a healthy and nutritious way to eat gluten free.  Ancient grains are often considered a richer source of nutrients then modern because modern grains have been hybridized and often are genetically modified.  Grains contain carbohydrates, proteins, fats, amino acids, vitamins and minerals; making them unique because they contain all these major nutrient groups.  For some the full taste of ancient grains takes some getting used to.  For others, the distinct taste is a wonderful addition to blander wheats and GMO foods.  When baking with the grains, use a 25-50% ratio of total grain needed.  For example~ 1 cup of wheat replaced with ¾ cup gluten free mix and ¼ ancient grain.

In general, ancient grains can have a huge impact on your health.  They provide complete nutrition.  Most have loads of different vitamins.  Most have the vitamins needed to help absorb calcium, (such as magnesium) which means you get more calcium from eating ancient grains then cow's milk.  I love that they have lots of fiber~ some have both insoluble and soluble~ which is just plain great!

One of my favorite part in learning about ancient grains is how ancient civilizations and some modern ones used/use the grains.  Combining my two favorite subjects, history and food, what more can a girl ask for????  

I recently did some research to learn more about certain grains and I am very glad to share it with you, so you too can enjoy and benefit from them.  Join me as we explore them.  I might throw a recipe or two in as well.  :)

Next up.... Chia Seed!