Roll with the grains

I love bread and rolls, especially homemade versions of both.  So when I stumbled across this recipe for multigrain rolls that included whole wheat flour, oats, and oat bran, I knew I had to make them. I have made them several times now, always freezing what I don’t need to reheat later with a subsequent meal.

The addition of nutrient packed seeds in this recipe really makes it that much better.  But let’s talk about the grains.  This recipe includes two types of whole grains – oats and wheat – and two different types of processes of oats.  These types are fascinating in their differences (a #youmightbeadietitiantobeif moment), and will be talked about in an upcoming post.  I wanted to delve into grains in general for this post, however.

The USDA recommendations for whole grains is at least 3 servings a day, or half of all the grains eaten.  A serving of grains would be equivalent to 1 slice of 100% whole wheat bread, 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice, whole wheat pasta or cooked cereal (like oatmeal) or 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal. They actually have a very handy chart that lists which items are whole grains and how much is needed to equal a serving found here.

The reason for whole grains is that they contain more nutrients than the stripped down, regular grain version. Whole grains contain the germ, endosperm and bran part of the grain. They are higher in fiber, which reduces constipation, regulates blood sugar and dissuages the feeling of hunger.  They also contain multiple B vitamins, such as thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), and folate (B9), which help maintain healthy metabolism, nervous system, digestion and blood cell production. Whole grains are also one of the handful of sources of iron not from meat (non-heme).  Magnesium and selenium are also in higher density in whole grains.

When buying grain products, be sure to look at the first ingredient in the food to make sure it is a whole product (such as whole wheat). Other grains to consider adding to your diet besides oats and wheat are amaranth, quinoa, cous cous, buckwheat, wheat berries, brown rice, barley, spelt, teff and maize (corn). 

Multigrain Rolls

Printable Version

(From Annie’s Eats, which was adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook)

For the dough:
½ cup oat bran
¼ cup flax seeds
½ cup boiling water
1 cup warm milk (105-110˚ F)
2¼ tsp. instant (rapid rise) yeast
¼ cup honey
2 large eggs
2/3 cup old-fashioned (not instant) oats
7 oz. (1¼ cups) whole wheat flour
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. salt
15 oz. (about 3 cups) all-purpose flour
Oil, for greasing the bowl
For the topping:
1 large egg
1 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. mixed seeds (poppy, sesame, fennel, etc.)
Coarse salt, for sprinkling


Combine the oat bran and flax seeds in a small bowl.  Pour the boiling water into the bowl and mix to moisten.  Let sit until the water is absorbed, about 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the milk, yeast and honey; mix briefly to blend.  With the dough hook and the mixer on low speed, mix in the eggs, oats, wheat flour, pepper, salt and oat bran mixture until combined.  Slowly add enough all-purpose flour, ½ cup at a time, to make a soft, slightly sticky dough.  Continue to knead on medium-low speed, about 3 minutes.

Form the dough into a ball.  Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1½-2 hours.

Brush a baking dish lightly with oil (I used a 10-inch round baking dish).  On a lightly floured surface, turn the dough out and divide into 16 equal pieces, about 2½ ounces each.  Form each portion into a ball and place the dough balls in the baking dish, spaced slightly apart so they have room to grow together.   Cover and let rise until puffy and nearly doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  In a small bowl whisk together the egg yolk and water.  Brush lightly over the proofed rolls.  Sprinkle the unbaked rolls with the seed mixture and coarse salt.  Bake until the tops are golden, about 26 minutes.  Let cool 10-15 minutes before removing from the pan.

Yield: About 32 small rolls or 16 large ones.

Nutritional Facts: (approximated, based on 32 small rolls, dependent on how much/type of seeds and salt you add on top of rolls)
Calories: 94; Fat: 1.6 g (0.3 g Sat, 0.7 g PolyUn, 0.5 g MonoUn); Cholesterol: 18 mg; Sodium: 300 mg; Potassium: 48 mg; Carbs: 17.2 g; Fiber 1.6 g; Sugars: 2.7 g; Protein: 3.3 g

A flower worth eating

It’s cauliflower! This cruciferous vegetable is an excellent source of Vitamin C (providing ~95% of your daily value!), Vitamin K, folate and fiber.  It is also a very good source of B6, omega-3 fatty acids (the really good kind), manganese and B5. Due to its Vitamin K content, cauliflower is considered one of the main foods  to treat inflammation, along with kale, spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts & many types of greens (collard, mustard, turnip & swiss chard). Cauliflower also contains many phytonutrients for anti-oxidant support.  This is definitely a nutrient dense flower!

Cauliflower can be added to salads, mixed with broccoli and carrots for a side dish, placed on veggie platters with a flavorful dip, added to stir-frys and soups, or eaten plain. 

This particular side dish is fairly rich for a side dish, but would go excellent with my beet salad (how I served it) or a lean protein and basic starch (like rice).

Cauliflower Gratin

(adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe, via Food Network)

  • 1 (3-pound) head cauliflower, cut into large florets
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups hot milk  (skim or 1%)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyère, divided
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs (make by cutting up whole wheat bread in a food processor)
  • Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm.


    Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened. Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyère, and the Parmesan.

    Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 by 11 by 2-inch baking dish. Place the drained cauliflower on top and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyère and sprinkle on top. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and drizzle over the gratin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.

    Nutrition Information: (approximated) 4 servings, per serving:
    Calories: 390; Fat: 20 g ; Cholesterol: 62.2 mg; Sodium: 407 mg; Total Carbs: 32.6 g; Fiber: 5.9 g; Protein: 20 g

    Salad days

    Summer is quickly coming to an end (:::sob!:::) and so is summer produce (bigger sob!).  The propane for the grill is quickly waning, the sun is fading sooner, and the trees are just starting to change colors.  Are you crying yet?

    While all of these may be true, it is never too late to make a good salad.  Turn that grill on one last time and pick those still ripe veggies from the garden.  Even if it isn’t summer, salads are a great addition to a well-rounded diet any time of year.  Add a piece of good bread, seasonal fruit or a baked potato for a rounded meal.

    The great thing about salads is that they are easily adaptable to tastes, budgets, and seasonal availability.  Also, they allow the maker to tap into their inner chef and be creative!  Following are some of my favorite mixes:

    Southwest Salad


    2-3 cups romaine or spinach

    1/2 cup fresh or canned, drained corn

    1/3-1/2 cup black beans

    1 tomato, diced

    1 orange bell pepper, diced

    1/2 avocado, sliced or diced

    1 chicken breast, seasoned with salt and pepper and grilled

    Dressing: mixture of ranch and barbecue sauce, about 1/4 cup

    Spinach and Strawberry Side Salad


    2-3 cups baby spinach leaves

    2/3 cup sliced strawberries

    1/4 cup sliced almonds (optional)

    1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette or poppy seed dressing (sounds weird, but it is good!)

    The “Nutmeg”

    (This is one that I continually make and maybe change up a few ingredients)


    2-3 cups spinach or baby greens

    1 red bell pepper, diced

    1 tomato, diced

    1/2 cucumber, halved and sliced [or] 2 oz. sliced mushrooms

    1 small can of cooked chicken [or] 1 can of tuna

    2-3 Tbsp. sliced almonds [or] 2-3 Tbsp. chopped walnuts

    Balsamic or Raspberry Vinaigrette – to your liking

    As this last one shows, it really is up to your imagination and taste!  There are many more ingredients you can add as well – mandarin oranges, zucchini, squash, navy beans, beets, artichokes, chickpeas …. the list goes on!

    What kind of salads do you like to make?

    To your health,


    It’s “bean” a while

    Hi blog followers, how are you? Are you having a good summer? I hope so!

    While the last few weeks have been filled with experiments for my Food Science class and other assignments, I still have made the time to cook some great meals. And I have documented them. And they are filling up my Flickr account begging me to tell you about them.

    I made the following recipe a few weeks ago to go with some baked chicken that we had purchased on sale at the grocery store. It had vegetables and beans. And while that may make some cringe, this recipe is worth trying for your next side dish!!

    Beans are an essential addition to your diet as they contain loads of protein, essential amino acids, are a great source of folate, tryptophan, fiber, and low in fat and calories. Like any legumes, they are low in the essential amino acid methionine, so when they are paired with whole grains (that are low in lysine) they complete a meal in more ways than one! Beans have been known to lower heart attack risk as well.

    I will spare your ears from hearing my song about beans (the musical fruit), but let it be known that my sister and I can sing it in harmony.

    And you thought your family was weird.

    Want something a little more summery? Try making these fish tacos this weekend. You will thank me later.

    Roasted Eggplant & Cannellini Bean Salad

    From The Complete Light Cookbook, 2000


    1 3/4 cups (1-inch) cubed, peeled eggplant (about 6 ounces)

    1 cup (1-inch) squares red bell pepper

    1 cup (1-inch) cubed onion

    2 garlic cloves, halved

    1 tablespoon olive oil

    Cooking spray

    1 1/4 cups (1-inch) cubed tomato

    1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

    1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

    1/8 teaspoon salt

    1/8 teaspoon black pepper

    1 (16-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, drained

    3 tablespoons red wine vinegar


    1. Preheat oven to 450* F.
    2. Combine the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add oil, toss to coat. Spoon into a 15×10-inch jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450* F for 25 minutes or until tender and browned, stirring every 10 minutes.
    3. Add tomato, parsley, oregano, salt, and black pepper. Bake an additional 10 minutes.
    4. Combine beans and vinegar in a large bowl, and toss to coat. Add roasted vegetables, tossing gently. Serve and enjoy!
    5. Yield: 3 servings (serving size: 1 cup).
    To your health!