Gluten Free Rolled Oat & Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

So last night I was feeling a bit crazy and decided to completely scrap the banana bread recipe I had been previously been using and try something new. I don’t know why I like oats so much, but lately I’ve been adding it to all of my baking. It’s a great source of protein, dietary fibre, and iron which is really helpful as I am limited in how often I eat meat. Oats are also gluten free with some minor exceptions. Here is the exact breakdown of the Rolled Oats I use from the Bulk Barn website:

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 100 g
Amount % Daily Value
Calories 380
Total Fat 7g 11%
Saturated Fat 1g
Trans fat 0g
Total Fat Percentage 5%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 5mg 0%
Carbohydrates 68g 23%
Dietary Fibre 10g 40%
Sugars 1g
Proteins 13g
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 6%
Iron 45%
Sugar Alcohol 0%

The other substitution I made was adding Buckwheat Flour which I use in some other recipes as well. The batch I made turned out really well however I’ve yet to figure out how cafe’s and grandparents get that great moist non-crumbly bread, but when I do I’ll be sure to write about it. UPDATE: So it turns out that by placing a casserole dish of hot water on the rack below the bread pan in the oven largely solves this problem!

One word of warning, combining the Oats and Buckwheat flour is potentially disastrous if you plan on consuming large portions of a loaf at one time. Both ingredients contain huge amounts of fibre and have the potential to make you quite regular if consumed in large quantities.

Recipe
Preheat the over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine the following dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl:

1 cup Rolled Oats

1.5 cups of Dark Buckwheat Flour

1 tsp of Baking Soda

1/4 tsp of Salt

1/2 cup (at least!) of chocolate chips

In another bowl:

Mix 1/2 cup of melted butter with 3/4 cup of brown sugar

Then mix in 3 beaten eggs, and 3 mushed bananas

Pour wet ingredients into large mixing bowl containing dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Finally

Grease your bread pan, pour in the mixture and bake for 45-50 minutes. As well, place a casserole dish full of hot water on the rack below the bread pan for more moist banana bread.

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Edmonton Hypo Half Marathon Post Mortem

Well, my first ever endurance race of any kind was a great success! It was an awesome experience and a great chance to measure what my 6 months of training has done for me. I finished the half-marathon(21.1km) with a time of 1:37:19 and ended up in 4th place overall and second place in my age group, Male 20-29.

The Conditions

They were just horrid. There was about 1.5 inches of loose snow making it feel more like a cross country run than something that was supposed to be on a pavement road. I spent a lot of time zig-zagging looking for the most packed down places to run and when the side walks were cleared by the residents of the area, darting from side walk to side walk. Based on what the  runners who beat me had said about his regular times vs his time today, the snow cost me about 7-10 minutes. Another challenge was passing walkers and slower runners. Because there wasn’t a whole lot of packed snow, I wasted a bunch of energy passing people although many were nice enough to let me pass by down the best path on the road.

My shoes did okay, but have about 400km from them and are starting to lose some of their grippyness. A trail running shoe may have almost been better for the conditions.

Another thing that didn’t really help my cause was a 7.5 hour 3am greyhound to Edmonton the day before the race followed by a 7 hour shift on my feet at work. Although it didn’t really seem to come back to haunt me it may have potentially affected my performance.

The Race

I felt pretty confident in my training that I could do well going into the race. I felt like I could run sub 1:30 but set a cap at 1:40 for what I thought was the lowest I would accept from myself. At the start I managed to line up at the front of the pack with the other fast guys so I didn’t have to weave in and out at the start of the race to get clear of all the traffic. I realized after about 100m that it was going to be tough to make my 1:30 goal so I started to pace myself a bit better. For the first 2km I ran with a pack of 3 other guys who turned out to be the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishers. After a while I realized I was a bit out classed by these more experienced and better trained runners and dropped my pace from about 4:15 to 4:30 because my legs were getting tired from sliding so much.

As the race went on I began to develop more of a strategy. I paced myself much more carefully on the slippery roads and really picked it up on the side-walks and down hill portions of the race which seemed to work the best for making up time and maximizing efficiency. Another problem that I had was that I had been working on leaning forward slightly during my runs, I’ve found that extra forward momentum causes my pace to quicken a bit. However with the slippery conditions it was impossible to due this as it would cause you to lose traction. So I was forced to run pretty well straight vertical.

My splits were not bad although I would have liked to see them a bit closer to each other.

First 10.5k: 47:37

Second 10.6k: 49:32

Near kilometre 14 or 15 things really started to get tough as you are far into the race and the legs are starting to feel it a bit, but the end is still quite some ways away. My pace began dropping slightly, although I made a conscious effort to try and stay quicker than 4:40 by focussing on passing the runners and walkers ahead of me. As I got closer to the end I wasn’t quite sure how hard to kick it and where I should really start to go full out but I definitely felt like I pushed myself close to my upper limit and put out too as close to as much effort as I possibly could.

Training

Although I was pretty happy with my result there is definitely a TON of room for improvement. I wasn’t happy with my 174bpm heart rate avg, that definitely points to the need for some more base work, although I am impressed that I could push my cardio-vascular system that hard for that long. I definitely need to get some more volume under my belt. Although I did a bunch of long runs, I need to start running at a quicker pace closer to 4:45-5:15/km as opposed to 5:45-6:15/km to help my base out. One thing I will definitely do for my next race is interval training at my racing pace as well. It’s tough on the body to train at race pace all of the time and seems to be a really good alternative and perhaps even more effective at improving race pace as well.

What Now

I’m undecided as to whether I want to focus on triathlons specifically for the time being now or tackle another half-marathon on the side. There is an interesting one at the end of April called the Edmonton Police Foundation Half Marathon that I might do as its well before my other triathlons. I know the paths which are great to run and it looks to be a nice there-and-back race with 3 hills along the way which could prove to make it a bit more interesting of a run.

Ohhh! And here is the runkeeper for the race: http://runkeeper.com/user/deredowl/activity/72568047

Getting pumped up for 21km's right before the race started.

Home Made Chicken/Pork/Turkey Burgers

Alright so I thought I’d post this great recipe I have for burgers while I have a moment. This recipe makes about 6 large chicken burgers and contains a bunch of vegetables.

Ingredients:

500g package of either Ground Chicken, Pork, or Turkey

1 Large Yellow Onion

1 Red Pepper

1 Large Carrot

1 Cup of Mushrooms

1 Tomato

3 cloves of garlic

2 eggs

1 cup of bread crumbs

3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 cup Sweet Chilli Mayonnaise

Optional

Spinach or Lettuce

Red Onion

Instructions

1. Dice the onion, pepper, mushrooms, grate the carrot and crush the garlic into a large mixing bowl. The finer you chop these things, the easier it will be to make the burgers and the better they will survive on the barbecue.

2. Scramble two eggs in a bowl and add them along with the ground meat of your choice and the olive oil to the vegetables. I recently started adding the olive oil to the burgers and it seems to make big difference in the tops/bottoms not sticking to the barbecue and also helps stop the burgers from drying out and crumbling.  Now mix thoroughly until everything appears to be evenly distributed.

3. Add the bread crumbs and mix again. From here you might need to add more bread crumbs if it appears that your mix is kind of runny.

4. Make patties out of the mixture. I normally just kind of wing it and make them like you would a small packed snowball, but here is an interesting link I just found that I need to try next time I make burgers.

5. Put patties in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. This helps your patties to stick together I find.

6. You can pan-fry them if you don’t have a barbecue but you need to do it on really low heat so that the centre of your patties get cooked. If you are using the barbecue, I generally try and get it as hot as possible before putting the burgers on then, cranking the heat all the way back. This is so that the burgers don’t burn to the grill which has happened to me a couple of times. I generally flip at about 7-8 minutes or once the burgers seemed decently brown on one side and won’t crumble apart. Then I let them sit for about 10-12 minutes on the other side until the other side is browned or crisped as well.

7. Serve how ever you like. I normally serve them on a bun with spinach, sliced red onions, and Sweet Chilli Mayonnaise on the bottom, then Teriyaki poured over the burger, topped with tomatoes.

If all goes well, they should look something like this!

Another cool looking recipe I found while searching for pictures, were chicken rissoles. The idea of brown rice and sweet potatoes in a burger sounds very appetizing and healthy definitely might have to try it out! I also think I’m going to try and make super chicken burgers by combining rice, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and quinoa with my normal mix. Not sure if it will work yet!

Web Development Fun

My first programming related post! It’s sad that I’ve been neglecting this as it is what I plan on doing for the rest of my life. Maybe it’s a good thing as I’m more wrapped up in training and cooking then my future employment. I will say however that I really enjoy programming and that there are really interesting ways to apply yourself that can be more fun than “work”.

One of the main deficiencies in my education at the University of Alberta in Computing Science is that we spend virtually no time doing web design until 4th year and even then it is really only one class. We do courses on SQL, Java, C, all of which are valuable, but we haven’t actually built any useful products or projects that we can use as examples in our portfolios. Thankfully one of the courses I am currently enrolled in is based around Software Engineering and Android, so at least I will have some experience with Mobile Development through school! Being the smart student that I am, I realized that if I want to find a job when I graduate, I will have to accumulate some useful experience on my own.

One really cool event that I do yearly to build projects is Startup Weekend. It is a 54 hour hack session where basically ideas are pitched and teams are formed Friday night, Saturday and Sunday until 5 is all about building a working prototype, and Sunday evening is about demoing what you’ve got. So far I’ve helped to build 3 website back ends. One for Crowd Sourcing, a Point of Sales system and most recently we tried building a Dating Website which ended up like a really poorly functioning version of Facebook. I personally love this startup environment and hope to one day do this as my full time profession. Having your database schema drawn on half a whiteboard, your site layout on the other, brainstorming ideas on the fly, and building fast makes for really exciting and challenging work days. Personally, I find I learn more practical stuff in one of these weekends then I do in a course over a full semester.

Any ways, I’ve had building my personal portfolio site on my //todo agenda for a long time so I am planning on having that up and running by the end of the Winter semester. It is a good opportunity to learn some new skills, show off my talent as a web designer, and build a kick ass portfolio site for potential employers all in one shot. I am fairly comfortable with html and doing back end work in PHP but my websites always end up looking so “Web 1.0”  like this:

When what I have in my head is something like this:

So as part of my mission to become a better Web Developer, I plan on learning HTML5, CSS3.0, JavaScript, and some Ruby on Rails the right way. I’ve also ordered a book that helps explain how to choose colours, the science behind logical web layouts, fonts, and all of that other stuff that I’m oblivious too as a “hacker” and not a “designer”. The biggest problem I have when user interfaces are required is choosing colors. I swear I tinker with them for hours and can never good combination. To my enjoyment however I found this great site which has been a god send for at least getting sample colours in my projects.

Much like the training side of my blog, I plan on discussing tips, tricks, resources and my experiences diving head first into Web Development. Wish me luck!

Easy Dressings and Sauces

The best thing about cooking is that once you start accumulating ingredients, you can make next to anything. One of the most expensive things you can do is to buy salad dressings, marinades, and sauces. Granted, I still do buy some of the speciality ones for stir-fries and as ingredients in other dressings, but I have not bought salad dressing for a long time. Here are three really quick ones I make on quite a regular basis:

Sweet Chili Mayonaise Sauce/Spread

This one is dead simple and tastes delicious. You often see it served with yam fries, chicken burgers, or wraps.

For every 1/4 cup of mayonaise,

add 1 tbsp of chili garlic sauce

optional: add 1 tsp of sriracha hot sauce(careful, has some kick)

Then stir with a spoon.

Simple Balsamic Vinagrette

For a medium size salad, combine in a sealable container:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 balsamic vinegar

Close container, shake, pour over salad once mixed.

Goes good on Greek style salads(tomatoes, spinach, red onions, cucumbers, broccoli, green peppers, feta), or basically things that absorb a runnier dressing.

Honey Mustard Salad Dressing

For a medium sized salad:

In a bowl, mix:

1/2 cup mayonaise

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp honey mustard

Goes good on garden salads (lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cucumbers, marble/cheddar cheese cubes), or anything where the dressing doesn’t get absorbed, but rather coats the ingredient(carrots).

A graphic guide to napping

From the boston.com website, I found this great, informative guide to taking naps. As my training intensity has increased I have found myself becoming more and more reliant on naps and found this to be quite interesting.

Buckwheat Pancakes

To my great surprise and enjoyment last night, my professor cancel my 9:30am lecture. After a glorious sleep, craving pancakes I set out to make my favourite recipe. If you haven’t heard of the The Joy of Cooking, it is one monster of a cookbook(1200 pages) that has recipes and techniques for almost anything under the sun including skinning a rabbit and then making a tasty stew out of the little critter.  The only downside of this cookbook is that the recipes often call for multiple pounds of meat, cheeses, and other non-practical and expensive ingredients which is true of most non-vegetarian recipe books.

Sundays during the university school year are great. Being a huge Dallas Cowboys and NFL fan in general, there is nothing better than waking up bright and early, making a big breakfast, drinking coffee and watching my favourite team play. Naturally when I flipped to the pancake section in the Joy of Cooking I was pleased to find 10 different pancake recipes alone. The one I seemed to have settled on however is the Buckwheat pancake recipe.

Side note: I just realized on the Bulk Barn website you can look up nutritional value for all of their products!

Despite it’s misleading name and much to my surprise, Buckwheat is a relative to Rhubarb and is not actually in the grain family. This is great news as it is a great substitute for people who are sensitive to wheat or other grains that contain protein glutens. Even more good news, Buckwheat contains all 8 essential amino acids making it a “high quality” protein and is also high in dietary fibre as well.

Quick Overview of Amino Acids and Complete Proteins

I do not claim to be an expert in food science or even in Biochemistry, but here are the basics about Amino Acids from what I’ve researched. Amino acids are the basic building blocks of protein which are used in various biological processes in the body. Although there are 22 in total, there are 8 which are considered “essential”. An essential amino acid is one that cannot be synthesised from other available resources, and therefore must be supplied as part of the diet. The other 14 can therefore be created from these 8.

The next term that is important to understand are foods that are considered “complete proteins”. As you may have guessed these foods are considered to have the eight essential amino acids necessary to the body.  Foods such as cheese, Quinoa, eggs, fish, lean meat, and milk are all examples of these. Finally we have foods such as Buckwheat which have all 8 amino acids but are considered “high-quality” proteins. Naturally I was confused how something could contain the essential amino acids and not be considered a complete source of protein. It turns out that in order to qualify as complete, a source of food also needs to have what is considered an adequate proportion of each amino acids for supporting biological functions in the body which makes sense.

Back To Buckwheat

Any ways, I buy most of my bulk items at Bulk Barn. There I found both light and dark buckwheat flour, although no distinction was made for which one to use in my pancake recipe. I decided to go with the Dark Buckwheat flour as it was much higher in fibre than it’g light counter part. Here are the nutritional values of the Dark Buckwheat flour as found on the containers at Bulk Barn:

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 100 g
Amount % Daily Value
Calories 340
Total Fat 3.5g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g
Trans fat 0g
Total Fat Percentage 5%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1mg 0%
Carbohydrates 72g 24%
Dietary Fibre 10g 40%
Sugars 0g
Proteins 13g
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 2%
Iron 22%
Sugar Alcohol 0%

Buckwheat Pancake Recipe

Ingredients:

(Dry)

1 cup Buckwheat Flour

1 cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour(you could probably just do 2 cups of Buckwheat for gluten free(I need to read up on that though!))

2 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

(Wet)

2 cups of buttermilk

1/4 cup melted butter(I use margarine, cheaper)

2 eggs

Instructions

Mix dry ingredients in one bowl, mix wet in another, combine and stir well.

Tip: I always used to mess up the first batch of pancakes I put in the pan. The secret I have found is to first, buy a good frying pan. Next you want to preheat the frying pan with about 1.5 Tbsp of Canola Oil in it to about 6 out of 10 using your burner’s knob setting. Once your frying pan is nice and consistently hot, use the tip of a piece of paper towel to spread the Canola oil evenly over the frying pan similar to greasing a muffin pan or banana bread pan. I like to do this after the pan is hot so you don’t have excess Canola Oil in the pan. Once you have done this then add your pancakes.

How To Make Buttermilk

Buttermilk is a type of milk that is thick and acidic. This acidic property, when mixed with flour causes a reaction(that I don’t have the knowledge to explain) which basically enhances the texture of your baking. The good news is you can make buttermilk at home using lemon juice and milk from the fridge. Normally I use a measuring cup capable of holding at least 500ml of liquid to accomplish this. To make buttermilk, simply pour 1 Tbsp of lemon juice into the liquid measurer for every cup of buttermilk you need to make. Next fill to whatever cup line you need with milk. Do this before you start mixing any other ingredients as the acidic lemon juice takes time to curdle the milk and give it that thick consistency.

Other Ideas

Some other things I like to do to make my pancakes to make them more interesting is to either add chopped banana and/or melted peanut butter.

Hopefully yours turn out something like this!

Also, I hope to find a usb to micro cord for my camera so I can actually take pictures of what mine turn out looking like.

Sources:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=11

http://www.bulkbarn.ca/en-ca/products.html?product=532&search=buckwheat

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrientprofile&dbid=81

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essential_amino_acid

http://www.glisonline.com/essential-amino-acids.html