Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Just the Flax, Ma'am

It is a cold, blustery day out there. This morning it was -38 with the windchill. A good day to stay in bed and watch the Food Network. Unfortunately, that it's an option today. It is also a good day for a nice hot bowl of slow cooker comfort food! But, I would like to share a little secret ingredient... a nutrional powerhouse that can make any dish, even your favourite comfort food a little healthier. It is FLAX!

I add ground flax seeds to something almost everyday. From pancakes to cupcakes this veratile seed is a staple in my house. There are 3 major nutrional components to flax seeds. (1) OMEGA-3 (2) LIGNANS (3) FIBRE

Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid, which means it's a "good" fat that your body requires but cannot produce itself. It helps protect us from heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer as well as increase your HDL (good) cholesterol. It is also aids in retina and brain development in infants.

Lignans are compounds that help protect us against some cancers particularly colon and breast cancer. Lignans also help the body flight viruses and other infections.

Fibre is an important compontent of any diet to help regulate the digestive system and to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.

So, to use flax seeds effectively, you need to know a couple things. (1) The flax seeds must be ground to be readily absorbed into the body. Whole flax seeds will pass right through. You can buy ground flax seeds in the baking aisle of most grocery stores or in health food or bulk stores. (2) Since it contains oil, it can go rancid so keep it in the fridge, in an air tight container.

So, now that you know my secret what's for dinner tonight?

Chili Con Carne

You can make this in a slow cooker or large sauce pan. I prefer the slow cooker.


2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 lb extra lean ground beef
1/4 C ground flax seeds
1 28oz can diced tomatoes (no salt added)
3 C tomato sauce
1 5.5oz can tomato paste
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 C Mexican beer (like Corona) or beef broth
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp New Mexico chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp caynne pepper - or more to taste
2-3 poblano peppers, chopped
1 serrano pepper or 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
1 lime
shredded monteray jack or cheddar cheese


In a skillet, heat the oil. Add the onions and garlic and allow them to sweat. Add the ground beef, breaking it up with a spatula while it cooks. Add flax seeds.

Transfer meat mixture to a slow cooker. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, beer and spices. Cover and turn on low 6 - 8 hours or on high 3 - 4 hours. PLEASE: DO NOT use pasta sauce, use tomato sauce. Pasta sauce contains extra sugars, salt and other ingredients.

One hour before serving at peppers, stir, cover and place on high it not already.

After an hour, zest and juice 1 lime and stir. Serve with shredded cheese on top.

Apple Crumble


1 C oatmeal
2 tbsp flour
1/2 C brown sugar
1/4 C ground flax seeds
1/3 C butter
pinch of salt
3-4 apples
2 tbsp flour
1/3 C sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg

In a small bowl, combine oatmeal, flour, salt, flax seeds and brown sugar. Cut in the butter until resembles coarse crumbs.

In a 8" round cake pan, or 8" sqaure pan place apples that have been peeled, cored and cut into wedges. Toss with flour. Sprinkle with sugar and nutmeg. Sprinkle topping over the apples and press slightly. Bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes, until the apples are tender.

Now if that doesn't warm us up, nothing will.

Bon appetit!

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