Saturday, January 29, 2011

Whole Grain Waffles

I love Saturday mornings. We get up late and I make a big breakfast. We take our time drinking coffee and eating- just enjoying a slower pace from the week days. Today I decided to try a new recipe for waffles. It is a whole grain recipe that also happens to be gluten free. Right now gluten free is kind of trendy and even a supposed weight loss diet. Gluten is the storage protein that is found in wheat, barley and rye. It is not bad for your body, but it is a large molecule that can be hard to digest, especially in large quantities. Some people have celiac disease, in which they have an autoimmune response to gluten that causes malnutrition. For them, avoiding gluten is vital to their health. For others, they may have gluten sensitivity or intolerance and when they avoid gluten their digestive system works better. For most of us, gluten is the most prominent grain in our diet. In ancient times I am certain that people ate a greater variety of grains than we do today. Their diets included things like quinoa, amaranth, millet, buckwheat, and teff. We rarely see many of those grains today. Instead we have focused on wheat and so most packaged and processed products from soup to cheese include wheat to thicken, prevent caking, etc besides our normal intake of breads, pasta, cereals, crackers and baked goods. 
Does following a gluten free diet help you loose weight? Not necessarily. Most packaged and processed gluten free foods contain more fat and sugar than regular products. The people who are loosing weight eating gluten free are doing so because most likely they are eating less starches and more vegetables, fruits, lean proteins and low-fat dairy products (all naturally gluten-free). Something all of use could do on a regular gluten containing diet. 
 I tried these gluten free waffles today because they are full of whole grains and fiber. I did a nutrition analysis on the recipe. Per waffle: 67 calories, 2g of fat, 8g carbohydrate, 1g dietary fiber, 1g sugar, 3g protein. The same size waffle prepared from a mix contains 103 calories, 5g fat, 15g carbohydrates, .4g dietary fiber, 7g sugar, 3g protein. So this gluten free waffle definitely wins nutritionally. And, it also tasted pretty good- there was a slight nuttiness from the quinoa that I didn't mind at all. They initially were a little soft coming out of the waffle iron, but putting them in the oven gave them a nice crispy outside with a soft, chewy inside that a waffle should have.  I topped one with Greek yogurt and blueberries and another one with Nutella- delicious! Enjoy!

Whole Grain Waffles
adapted from Simply Sugar & Gluten Free
*Start this recipe the night before as the batter needs to sit for about 12 hours

1 1/4 cup skim milk
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1/2 cup oats

1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tsp almond extract1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1. In a blender or food processor, combine quinoa, oats, milk, vinegar, olive oil, vanilla and almond extract. Blend for about 3 minutes. Let sit over night at room temperature. 
2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place a cookie sheet over a large baking sheet and place in the oven. Preheat waffle iron and coat with non-stick spray. 
3. To the waffle batter, add egg, flax seed, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Blend for 2-3 minutes until well combined. 
4. Cook waffles in waffle iron. Place cooked waffles in the oven to stay warm and crispy until ready to eat. Top with favorite toppings.   

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