Lunch Box Treat: Crispy Rice Marshmallow Hearts with Flax
(HealthCastle.com) I spend a lot of time in the kitchen baking, experimenting, sampling and sharing the goodies I make. I love adding a dose of nutrition to my “old favourites”, without changing great taste. Outside of adding a variety of dried fruit and nuts to cookies, muffins, granola bars and more, ground flaxseed has become a staple-baking ingredient in my house. I add anywhere from ¼ cup to ½ cup to a recipe depending on what I am making and the flavor I hope to achieve.
Why add flax seeds to your diet?
Research is finding that flax and its nutrients may help in controlling inflammation and reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Eating 2-5 tablespoons of whole or ground flaxseed/day may help reduce cholesterol. Soluble fibre rich foods, like flaxseed, can help control blood sugars. Eating flax seed may help improve menopausal symptoms in healthy woman. So, a few good reasons to give them a try.
Using flax seeds:
- You can buy flax as whole seeds or already ground. I have found these in the baking aisle and in the health food section in most grocery stores.
- When purchased in seed form, you can leave flax as a whole seed in your cooking, or you can grind it up using a coffee grinder.
- Adding in ground flax will add in a pleasant nutty flavour. If you want a slightly nuttier flavour, toast seeds before grinding. To toast: spread flax seeds on cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes at 350 degrees F. Stir once or twice during this time.
- Whole flax seeds can be stored at room temperature for up to a year. Ground flax should be refrigerated in an airtight container to maintain freshness.
7 ways to add ground flaxseed to your foods:
- Sprinkle on your cereal, salads, oatmeal and/or yogurt
- Add in ¼ cup up to ½ cup ground flax in breads, cookies, muffins, granola bars, pancakes, waffles or other baked-good recipes. The ground flax will add a slight nutty flavour to baked treats
- Mix in with casseroles, spaghetti sauces or any mixed dishes.
- Add to bread or cracker crumbs to coat fish or chicken.
- Mix into your cookie crumb crust.
- Use as an egg substitute: 1 tbsp of ground flax with 3 tablespoons water for every egg needed in pancakes, muffins, cookies. If a recipe asks for more than 2 eggs, the final product will taste a little different the more egg substitutes you make.
- Add to your favorite puffed wheat square recipe for a sticky chocolaty treat or to Crispie Rice Marshmallow Hearts, recipe below.
I have tried a simple twist on one of my family’s favourites – crispy rice marshmallow squares. These are a snap to make for lunches and snacks.
Crispy Rice Marshmallow Hearts with Flax:
- 3 cups crispy rice cereal
- 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup ground flax
- 1/2 cup cranberry raisins
- 2 tablespoons butter or soft margarine
- 2.5 cups mini mashmallows
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
In a bowl combine rice cereal, ground flax and cranberry-raisins. Set aside. Lightly grease a 9 by 9 baking dish.
Melt butter or margarine in medium size pot. Add and melt marshmallows over low-medium heat, stirring often. Once melted, take off heat and add vanilla. Pour in bowl of dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Press evenly in pan using hands or lightly greased back of spatula. You may have to lightly grease fingertips if mixture is sticky. Shape with seasonal cookie cutters while warm.
Written by Heidi Piovoso, BSc, RD, Dietitian Associate with HealthCastle Calgary & Kristyn Hall MSc, RD, Dietitian and Director, HealthCastle Calgary.