Buckwheat breakfast

Unlike Smiler in my recent otter post, I don't like frogs for breakfast.  I tend to have something made with oats….but this week I tried buckwheat instead.  It is a seed of the same family as rhubarb and sorrel.  It is a great source of rutin, a bioflavonoid that acts to extend the antioxidant activity of vitamin C.  It has a lipid lowering effect and has protective effects against heart disease. Buckwheat is also important as a good source of magnesium, which is a cofactor for more than 300 different enzymes in the body. It's also a good source of fiber and protein.


I used it raw, blended into a pudding style texture - like a thick yoghurt.  I made a few pots and they kept nicely in the fridge for a ready to go breakfast, adding some flaxseed and fruit (home grown nectarines) to it.

Here's how I made it:

1 cup of raw buckwheat groats
1 cup of raw walnuts
1 cup of almond or non-dairy milk
1 small pot of unsweetened organic apple sauce (4oz/100g) - or fruit puree of your choice
1 tsp cinnamon or spice of your choice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Soak the buckwheat and walnuts separately in water for at least an hour, but preferably overnight.  Drain and rinse them both well in water. The buckwheat may be slimy and frothy - that's fine. That is why we soak it, to get rid of the saponins. Drain well.

Mix all the ingredients together in a blender, until smooth.  Place in small pots, cover and they will last in the fridge for up to 5 days.  Add nuts and fruit and flaxseed on top, as you please.
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Truly Scrumptious - Sun-dried tomatoes

This week I've found a wonderful new product that I seem to now add to most of my meals!  It is a brand of sun dried tomatoes - but unlike many sun-dried tomato products, these are moist.  AND they are julienne cut - so in little strips ( or you can get them in halves, if you prefer). The julienne sliced ones are a perfect size to use and eat.


There are 2 varieties - regular and smoked.  The brand is called California Sun-Dry.


They make other tomato products too, like a salsa, a pesto, a spread and a paste, but the packets of sun-dried tomatoes are the only things I've tried....so far!

I sprinkle them on my salads, in my beans, in my soups, on sandwiches, with pasta.....I can hardly think of when I wouldn't use them.  The smoked version I love with beans - in fact, that is just what I've had for my lunch!!!No need to soak, they are moist enough to eat.  But obviously you can soak them if you want to.  

The tomatoes are dried over 7 - 10 days in the California sun shine. They are a great source of lycopene and the packet says that ounce for ounce, sun dried tomatoes have 12 times the amount of lycopene that is found in a raw tomato.  Lycopene is a powerful anti-oxidant and helps protect against heart disease and certain cancer.

Have you tried them?  I rarely used sun-dried tomatoes in anything, until I found these!
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Food as medicine - Pomegranates - Part 1

Pomegranates are still in season but they are coming to an end.  Buy them while you can, as they are such a wonderful health food.

Their many benefits are too extensive for one blog post, so I'll cover them in a few.


The whole plant seems to practically burst with disease-fighting antioxidants called polyphenols - from the seed, pulp, skin, root, flower and even the bark of the tree.  In fact, pomegranate seed extracts and juice have two to three times the anti-oxidant activity of red wine and green tea.

And while lots of foods have high levels of polyphenols, what makes pomegranates such superstars is that they are a top source of several varieties of polyphenols, namely flavenoids, anthocyanins, ellagic acid, punicic acid and many others.  Hundreds of scientific studies confirm these polyphenols can prevent and treat a variety of diseases, including heart disease, cancer and stroke.  This ties in to the pomegranate being known as "a pharmacy unto itself" in Ayurvedic medicine.


There are several ways to get your pomegranate!

  • You can find fresh whole pomegranates from October - February, and use the seeds - arils
  • You can purchase the seeds frozen throughout the year
  • You can drink pomegranate juice 
  • You can buy dried seeds which are called ANARDANA - they can be used dried or soaked in water before use to plump them up
  • You can buy  pomegranate "spice" which is ground up dried seeds, again called ground anardana
  • You can buy pomegranate molasses

Anardana is used a lot in India - both whole and ground in curries, chutneys and as fillings for savory snacks such as pakoras and in flatbreads like parathas.


Pomegranate molasses is popular in the Middle East.  It is made by crushing the seeds into juice and cooking it until it reaches an almost black, thick molasses-like texture.  The molasses have a berry like taste with a citrus tang.  I discovered pomegranate molasses about 9 years ago and love it. If you haven't tried it before, make this your new food of the week. I frequently use it to make a salad dressing, or drizzle it on a savory or sweet dish. I also use it instead of sugar in baking - but it is thick so you have to chose recipes carefully!

Walnut and pomegranate roulade drizzled with pomegranate molasses
(sugar free, gluten free, no added oil)

I sprinkle pomegranate seeds on my oat muesli every morning....in fact, I'm getting worried about my supply running dry as its now February and the season is coming to a close. I guess I'll be using frozen pomegranate seeds instead.

A couple of quick snippets:
DENTAL 

  • researchers found that rinsing the mouth with pomegranate extract reduced bacteria-causing dental plaque 84% MORE than commercial mouthwash
  • researchers in Thailand treated gum disease (periodontal disease) with pomegranate extract and found it decreased gum erosion and plaque
  • a pomegranate formula was found to clear up denture stomatitis, a fungal infection in people wearing dentures.


I'll tell you about other specific health benefits in the next few posts, including pomegranates effects on

  • atheroschlerosis, 
  • diabetes 
  • prostate cancer
  • aging
In the meantime, try to think of ways you can add pomegranate to your diet EVERY day.....on cereal/oatmeal for breakfast, sprinkled on a salad for lunch, drizzled on a whole grain meal for dinner ...

What is your favorite pomegranate dish?

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