Saturday, February 28, 2009

Fast Slow Food: Whole Grain Waffles - Reprise

Photo: Whole grain waffles, Blueberries, Homemade Vegetable Juice

Or is it slow fast food? I get mixed up about this, but my point is that quickly made meals can also be made from healthy ingredients and be delicious and inexpensive (and even made with many local ingredients) with just a little planning and creativity.

Like everyone else, I often don't have lots of time to put a meal on the table, but I have found some strategies that help me get healthy food on the table fast. Here is one meal as an example.

I made waffles using a mix recipe I posted several months ago, all ready to add the eggs, milk, and oil, with the instructions for what to add written out on a 3x5 card and kept in the ziplock bag with the mix. While the waffles were cooking, I took out a bag of frozen blueberries that I picked last summer, poured out ~2 cups of them into a small saucepan, added a little bit of some wild grape jam that we made last fall from volunteer grapes that grew up on the fence around our community garden, heated this all up on the stove top to have as a fruit-based syrup for the waffles. Hmmm, I usually do have some vegetables with my meal - what do I have available that fits with waffles? Aha! I opened a jar of the vegetable juice we made last fall (not really V-8 but something like that with maybe 6 different vegetables used).

So what did I get with this delicious, fast, economical, and yes, ultra-healthy meal?
• ~3 servings of fruits and vegetables (fiber, vitamin C, lycopene and numerous other phytochemicals that are antioxidants plus promote health in other ways, too)

• whole grains in the waffles that used whole wheat flour in the mix (insoluble fiber, folate and other B vitamins, iron, manganese, magnesium, vitamin E, and numerous other nutrients stripped from whole wheat flour when made into white flour)

• my choice of a healthy oil, and I reduced the amount from a typical recipe

• added flaxseed to the waffle mix for many cancer-fighting and overall health-promoting phytochemical, the plant version of an omega-3 fatty acid (ALA), plus soluble fiber

• whole soy foods, both soy flour added to the dry waffle ingredients and unsweetened soy milk added when making the waffles, for numerous nutrients and molecules that help prevent cancer, osteoporosis, and heart disease.

Ok, maybe you don't have homemade vegetable juice or you did not pick organic blueberries to freeze last summer or make your own grape jelly. Do not despair though because you, too, can make a healthy fast delicious meal like this at home with just a little planning (really!). Yes, you can (gosh, I love that phrase!). :-)

Add these foods to your shopping list right now! I purchase organic foods when available and affordable.
• white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour
• soy flour (not low-fat as regular soy flour will give you more plant omega-3 fatty acids)
• flaxseeds
• unsweetened soy milk
• eggs (when purchasing at the grocery store, I look for a brand that has increased amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, often the store brand)
• canola oil
• wild frozen blueberries (these are smaller that those whoppers you usually see, usually organic, and unbelievably tasty!)
• V-8 juice (I would recommend the low-sodium version) or look for other low-sodium, unsweetened mixed vegetable juices)

After getting home from the grocery store, make your waffle mixes. Here is both my basic recipe and the amounts needed to make 4 pre-made mixes (those amounts listed in red):

Dry ingredients - mix all dry ingredients well in a large bowl. Divide into 4 ziplock bags or other storage containers (approx 1-1/4 cups per mix). Store pre-made mixes in the freezer to minimize the risk of the ground flaxseed turning rancid. My husband reminded me to do this!

• 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat flour) (3 cups)
• 1/4 cup soy flour (1 cup)
• 1/4 cup ground flaxseed (1 cup)
• 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder (2 Tbsp)
• pinch salt (1/4 teaspoon)

Wet ingredients - add these to each pre-made waffle mix when ready to make waffles:
• 1 cup milk (can use soymilk)
• 2 eggs
• 2 Tbsp. canola oil
• 1 teaspoon honey

Mix wet ingredients in a medium size bowl until well blended. Stir dry ingredients from one pre-mixed bag in a separate bowl with a fork or whisk until ingredients are well distributed. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients just until well blended (do not overmix).

Follow directions for the size of your waffle maker. I use ~1/3 cup for mine per waffle. Doing that, this recipe makes 5-6 full round waffles. (Freeze any extras you do not eat at this meal.)

Blueberries - pour out two 2 cups of blueberries from bag into medium size saucepan. Heat gently to thaw and slightly mush. A bit of other jam, jelly, or even just a small amount of water can be added to thin the berries into more of a syrup. Note: if you add too much water (yes, I have done this), you may wish to add a small amount of cornstarch to thicken it back up or just enjoy it as is. :-)

Vegetable juice - open and pour; nothing easier. We enjoy drinking ours at room temperature, but if your family prefers it chilled, refrigerate when you get it home from the store.

Enjoy, enjoy - don't 'waffle' on this idea for fast slow food. :-)

I'll end with a blessing that I enjoy because it reminds me to offer thanks for those who have worked for us, which for me, includes enjoying thinking about and thanking my organic blueberry grower Steve Toth at The Blueberry Patch in Grass Lake, MI along with all my other farmers, including my husband.

The blessing of God
rest upon all those who been kind to us,
have cared for us, have worked for us, have served us,
and have shared our bread with us at this table.
Our merciful God,
reward all of them in your own way.
For yours is the glory and honor forever.
~~ Saint Cyril (AD 850)

Diana Dyer, MS, RD


Cynthia said...

I keep wanting to make this, but never had the ingredients. Must add to my shopping list!

Jen said...

This is a similar recipe to my buttermilk-blueberry pancakes recipe:

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup oat bran
1 TBS sugar (optional)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup lowfat buttermilk
1 egg, separated
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 TBS canola oil
2 cups rinsed blueberries (fresh or frozen - if frozen, don't thaw)

Mix dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients minus the egg white. Combine the dry with wet. Beat the egg white to soft peaks with handmixer. Fold in egg whites and stir in blueberries.

We have these many, many Sunday mornings.