Note: I have combined two categories here for a double posting, since I will be away for four days. Health Flashes & Kitchen Nutrition are combined into one longer posting on FLAX.
In the slim cookbook, Flax for Life by Jade Beutler (Progressive Health Publishing, 1996), the author calls flax “liquid gold.” One of the darlings of the “good fats” brigade, flax has become an integral part of a healthful American diet. According to Beutler, “Dramatic evidence suggests that flax oil, and a special plant fiber found in flaxseed called lignan, can protect us against heart disease and cancer as well as other degenerative diseases.” (p. 2) Since this is Heart Month, I thought I would feature a flax recipe that I have been working on.
Since heart disease is the issue this month however, I want to emphasize that Beutler focuses on the heart issue by explaining how flax oil lubricates and relaxes the blood vessels, works towards clearing clogged arteries, and keeps the heart pumping. So flax is definitely a “heart smart” food to add to your diet in the form of seeds and oil. The oil should not be used for cooking, just for salad dressings or smoothies, where no heat is used.
Utensils: Measuring cup and spoons, small pot, mixing bowl, small ovenproof dish, rolling pin, pancake turner, and a surface to roll out the flour, drinking glass, cookie sheets
Prep. Time: About 15 minutes
Baking Time: About 15 minutes
Categories: Vegan, Gluten Free, Sugar & Salt Free (depending on your choice of herbs & spices)
1 3/4 cups Gluten Free flour mix (I used Bob’s Mills) (Extra flour for the rolling surface)
1/4 cup flaxseed meal (ground flaxseeds kept in the freezer)
1/4 + 1 tbl. coconut oil (or other oil of choice, like macadamia or olive, not canola*)
up to 1/2 cup boiling water & a little extra oil for the cookie sheet if not using parchment paper
1. Warm the coconut oil in a preheated 375 degree F. oven. In the meantime, put 3/4 cup of water in the pot to boil. You need only about 1/2, but some is lost in the boiling process.
2. Add the warm oil gradually to the flour measured into a mixing bowl. As you add the oil, use the back of a fork to blend the flour with the oil so that little beads or balls form on most of the flour.
3. Add the boiling water a little at a time until all the flour is moist enough to roll into a ball.
4. While still warm, divide the ball into 3 or 4 smaller balls. Sprinkle some GF flour onto your rolling surface (I use my counter). Start rolling each ball out with a rolling pin. Using a drinking glass or wine glass, twist it into the flour and lift out the cracker with a pancake turner. (Because there is no gluten, I did not roll them out terribly thin, because I was afraid they would crumble.)
5. Place the crackers onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet or non-parchment paper (no oil needed) and bake in 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes.I flip them once and bake another 2 minutes. Then remove to cook and store in a dry place.
Yield: About 15 crackers
Note: You may also roll out rectangles and score the surface with a knife before baking, and then snap the crackers apart after they are baked & cooled. This eliminates the rolling & cutting, re-rolling & cutting with a glass.
Variations: You may also add poppy seeds, sesame seeds, herbs or spices of your choice, perhaps a different one in each ball or rectangle.
Bonus Recipe Reprint
I also found reinforcement in this book for a flax recipe I developed when I was co-teaching in Seattle in the late 90s & posted last year in Feb. (See recipe reprint below) The topic was menopause. Flax for Life reiterated what I think I already knew, that is, flax may ease the discomfort surrounding PMS as well as the transition to menopause. In the Foreword by nutritionist Anne Louise Gittleman, also an author of many health books, she claims that some of her patients have lost weight with just two tablespoons of flax oil per day. The book also notes its positive effects on treating psoriasis, eczema, memory, immune system, and improved performance by athletes.
Flaxseeds are also a good source of fiber. A 2 tablespoon serving of ground flax seed can provide 4g of fiber, which is nearly one-quarter of the recommended 20g to 35g daily intake for fiber. Flax seed is an easy way to add fiber to your diet to help to promote heart health and bowel regularity and to reduce cancer risk.” Source: www.livestrong.com. Another reason to add flaxseeds to your diet!
Just as I was working on the cracker recipe above, one of my readers, Kristin McCaig, sent me a comment followed by an email. In her email, she asks permission to reprint Flax Snax in her cookbook. Of course I said YES! Here is her wonderful request:
“The very important question I have for you is this. I found your flax snax recipe on The Natural Food Pantry website (a store here in Ottowa) about a year ago. Since then I have introduced the recipe (with your credit) to many people who have all become well….addicted. I am now writing a cookbook for my partner’s group, Life By Design*, and I am wondering if you would grant me your permission to reprint the recipe. I will admit that I have thought and thought about how I can adapt it to make it “mine” but it is just perfect the way that it is!
When I share it I specify unsweetened coconut, raw cocoa powder and I suggest whey protein but that’s it. If you would grant me this I would credit you and you only. Perhaps it would send more people to your website….Our creation is process is just getting under way (for the cookbook) but I attached for you the file that I send to people when I am sharing this recipe.”
*Life By Design is an essential part of transforming the world’s health crisis. It is based on powerful principles that are scientific, logical and easy to follow. Health is your birthright. It is the natural, normal expression of living your Life By Design. Life by Design’s website: http://www.mykanatachiropractor.com/life-by-design-2/
Kristin McCaig, adapted from Ellen Sue Spicer (Hands On Nutrition)
(Note: My pre-married name was Spicer & my cooking classes were done under Hands on Nutrition. es)
If you can, buy your flax seeds whole and grind them in a blender yourself. This will ensure that you are using fresh flax. Once ground, the flax will be fresh for about a week.
prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 0 minutes
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup raw cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup whey protein powder
- 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- In a small bowl mix together tahini and ground flax seeds with a spoon.
- In another bowl mix together maple syrup, protein powder, and raw cocoa powder with a spoon.
- Add tahini/flax mix to other ingredients and stir with a spoon.
- Using your hands, form the mixture into small balls, roll them in coconut flakes and place them on a plate.
- Freeze for about an hour and then enjoy!
Yield: 12 flax snax
Note: Store leftovers in the fridge