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February, 2008

Stop the Clock! with Flax...

By Cheryl Forberg

Sometimes it’s not so easy to modify our favorite recipes to make them more healthful. I was a bit hesitant to make such changes with an old-fashioned pancake recipe, but what resulted was a very pleasant surprise
.

Flax Seeds
Sometimes it’s not so easy to modify our favorite recipes to make them more healthful. Replacing white flour with whole grains, or adding alternative sweeteners instead of white sugar often yield a result far different from our original well-loved recipes. I was a bit hesitant to make such changes with an old-fashioned pancake recipe, but what resulted was a very pleasant surprise.

This Flaxjacks recipe is made from just those ingredients: whole wheat flour, stone ground polenta, raw wheat germ and ground flax seed, The texture has a fabulous chewiness from all of the unprocessed whole grains. And though the syrup has the distinctive taste of one of its ingredients, maple syrup, it’s actually made from a predominance of agave nectar. But my favorite part, was using this month’s featured ingredient – Melissa’s Roasted Organic Golden Flax Seed. Many people aren’t quite sure how to include this nutrition goldmine in their favorite recipes. If they knew what a powerhouse this ingredient is, I know they’d find a way. Here’s the lowdown and some interesting flax facts:

  • If not ground, or chewed well, the whole flax seed passes through the body intact, and you miss out on all of its benefits. Grind whole flaxseeds in a clean spice grinder to the consistency of cornmeal.
  • When ground, flaxseeds are light reddish-brown flakes, similar to wheat bran.
  • Flaxseeds add nutty flavor when sprinkled on cereal, soups, or salads. Flaxseed and flax oil contain unsaturated fats so they spoil quickly; store them in the refrigerator. Flaxseed can be used to replace fat in some recipes, because of the high oil content.
  • Supplementing the diet of egg-laying hens with ground flaxseed yields eggs with higher concentrations of omega-3s. The cholesterol and total fat levels of these eggs are similar to those of non-enriched eggs.
  • Flaxseed is the richest dietary source of lignans, plant estrogens that have shown promising health effects, namely with respect to cancer prevention.
  • The concentration of this beneficial substance is approximately 800 times higher in flaxseed in comparison with other grains, nuts, and seeds.
  • One-third cup of flaxseed yields about ½ cup of flaxseed meal. Make flaxseed part of your diet, because the seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and lignans.
Golden Flaxjacks with Warm Blueberry Syrup
Golden Flaxjacks with Warm Blueberry Syrup

Yield: 12 (4-inch) or 24 (2-inch) flaxjacks and about 1¼ cups berry syrup

Ingredients:
For Flaxjacks
:
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup stone-ground polenta
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup untoasted wheat germ
2 tablespoons Melissa’s Golden flaxseed, ground
1 large egg
1 egg white
1 3/4 cups 1 % lowfat milk
1/4 cup olive oil or canola oil

for Warm Berry Syrup:
Instructions:
Prepare flaxjacks: Combine dry ingredients in medium mixing bowl. Whisk together egg, egg white, milk, and oil in another large bowl. Add to flour mixture all at once and whisk just until combined. (There will be about 3 cups of batter.) Allow batter to stand for about 20 minutes while preparing syrup.

Prepare Warm Berry Syrup: In a small saucepan cook blueberries, agave nectar and maple syrup over low to medium heat until just heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice. The syrup keeps covered and refrigerated for 1 week. Reheat syrup before serving.

Preheat nonstick griddle. Spoon batter onto a hot nonstick griddle or nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray. Use 1/4 cup batter for each 4-inch flaxjack or 2 tablespoons per 2-inch Flaxjack. Turn pancakes when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Serve with Warm Berry Syrup.