Not Martha

a breakfast fail and dinner redemption

emmer, rye and flax seed hot cereal

I’m still a fan of mushy grains and an egg for breakfast, so I was excited to try this new hot cereal I found in my market’s bulk section. It’s ground emmer, rye and whole flax seeds. Yummy right? Healthy and virtuous! So very Start Of The New Year Bragworthy and all that! So yesterday morning I cooked it, paused to take a photo before digging in and … rediscovered that I just don’t like flax seeds. They taste a bit fishy to me, urgh. Why do I keep trying?

my unwashed red dutch oven in its post-stew state

Later I made up for it by making stew without a recipe. This is a milestone for me since I am not a natural cook. After following many, many recipes it seems I have managed to actually learn something. Yay! My (not so) secret: adding lots of red wine, finding nearly dessicated fresh thyme in the fridge and using twice as much Better Than Boullion as you think you’ll need. I used to be good at remembering to document what I made using my cheap-o red Dutch oven but this time I forgot to wield the camera until after all the stew was gone, so you get the aftermath photo. The stew was also an experiment to help decide if I want to keep my crock pot and I’m ready to say that I can make everything want in the dutch oven. We have a winner!

In balance I’m declaring victory. How has your new year been going?

· comments [27] · 01-10-2012 · categories:food ·

27 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Tae // Jan 10, 2012 at 6:14 am

    I’m going to recommend you try the Chattahoochee Cereal from Nora Mills grist mill in Helen, GA.

    It is so delicious and even though it contains flax seeds, you can’t taste them. Well, at least I don’t taste them. I know you’d have to have this shipped across the country (unless of course, you plan on visiting rural north Georgia sometime soon) but I promise it would be worth it. I’m a huge fan of Irish oatmeal, but I’d pick this stuff over that any day.

  • 2 Melissa // Jan 10, 2012 at 6:55 am

    Flax seeds taste fishy to me, too.

  • 3 Molly (Mike and Molly's House) // Jan 10, 2012 at 7:13 am

    My husband, Mike, starts the day with some funky-weird grain cereal that he concocted years ago. It makes the house smell funny…I’m just sayin’.

  • 4 Seanna Lea // Jan 10, 2012 at 7:29 am

    I’d happily eat your flax and what not grain mash. I prefer my grains cooked not quite to the mushy state, so I love the steel cut and the Irish oatmeal. They have great mouth feel!

  • 5 Nellie // Jan 10, 2012 at 8:15 am

    I thought it was just me! Flax seed definitely taste fishy. Wish I’d known that before I bought the supersize bag of them from Costco.

  • 6 MrsB // Jan 10, 2012 at 8:15 am

    I have a 7 qt red dutch oven that I use all the time. From making no knead bread to stew. I use my slow cooker only for chicken and dumplings – but I think I will try it in the dutch oven next time. I am thinking of getting a smaller one while they are on sale.

  • 7 Kendra // Jan 10, 2012 at 9:06 am

    I use my red knock-off Dutch oven (Target?) all the time too. But I don’t feel comfortable leaving the house with the stove on,so if I want something to simmer all day and I’m going to be gone, I still need the crock pot. I have a HUGE crockpot, but I recently discovered that I can put a smaller Pyrex dish inside to make it like a smaller crockpot. I have noticed that the newer crockpots/slow cookers cook at a higher temp. The model I have will switch to warm after the time is up on high or low, so I adjust accordingly. I’m jonesing for stew now.

  • 8 megan // Jan 10, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Tae – Thanks for the recommendation! I think I will order some to try it.

    Melissa and Nellie – We can dislike flax seeds together, form a little club :)

    Kendra – Yup, I’m still using my Target one. I have not used the crock pot in over a year and considering how much of our very small amount of kitchen storage space it’s taking up I’m afraid we’re going to have to take it back to the Goodwill that it came from. It was good to us though.

  • 9 Lisa // Jan 10, 2012 at 9:40 am

    My mother says I must get a crock-pot. I am glad to see above that everyone thinks they can do without… I’m not sure cooking in the morning will make me any more successful at preparing meals than cooking at night.

    I would love love love a recommendation for a cheap Dutch oven. Is the consensus Target?
    I started cooking on a gas stove 2 years ago, and my Cuisinart cookware keeps getting burned on the edges… I am in need of a Dutch oven and really don’t want to spend hundreds of $$ on the french ones if I can help it.

  • 10 Miss Kris // Jan 10, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Hi Megan – what size is your slow cooker? I’m in need of a larger, oval one and it’s difficult for me to scour local thrift stores with both of my kids in tow. I will gladly take yours off your hands if it’s what I’m looking for.

  • 11 Marti // Jan 10, 2012 at 10:15 am

    You gals must be getting flaxseed grown along the coast! Mine, here in the southwest, have absolutely no taste; I grind 2-3 Tbsp. and eat with yogurt of a multi-fruit slushie (nothing but pureed frozen fruits). It goes down well.

  • 12 Crystal // Jan 10, 2012 at 10:36 am

    I love, love, love my Dutch ovens! I have a smaller round one and a larger oval one. That said, the larger one is nicknamed “the weekend pot” because the only time I get to use it is on the weekend when I have all day to tend a braise or stew.
    There is something so satisfying about walking into the house after a long, tough day at work and immediately being hit with the smell of dinner that has been simmering all day in the crockpot and knowing that I’m no farther away than a pot of brown rice to a soul satisfying, comfort food meal.
    Also, living in the deep south, summers are brutal! On days when I can’t stand the thought of turning on the oven I can put a package of skinless, bone-in chicken breasts or thighs in the slow cooker and come home to tender, shred-ready chicken, just crying out for salads and sandwiches all without any additional heat in the house.
    If space isn’t an issue for you, I think both Dutch ovens and slow cookers have different roles to fill in the kitchen.

  • 13 Laura B. // Jan 10, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Your egg in the top picture reminded me I received the egg timer you recommended for making soft boiled eggs (the one that goes in the pot) for Christmas. I’ve been enjoying PERFECT soft boiled eggs for breakfast (almost) every morning. I also got my mom hooked on them too. She ordered herself one before she even left my house!

  • 14 Ann // Jan 10, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    I recently got a dutch oven from World Market for pretty cheap (and then 2 weeks later they went on sale doh!) and I love it. I really don’t know how I’ve gone so long without one. I don’t have a slow-cooker, and really don’t think I need one, especially with my limited kitchen storage space.

  • 15 just barrie // Jan 10, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    i make my own grainy goodness, because after buying a stupid chia cereal that i’m ashamed to have spent $FOURTEEN DOLLARS on, because i wanted to see what crazy expensive grainy cereal would taste like i discovered that it was just chia seeds and various other flaxs and grains combined = all which can be found on their own and then put together, stored in a big container to use again and again without wasting any money.

    anyway, try chia seeds instead of flax. you’ll thank me later.

  • 16 shawn // Jan 10, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    i’m sorry you don’t like flaxseed, but i do! where did you find your cereal? that sounds awesome!

  • 17 megan // Jan 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Lisa – I don’t know if the Target one is still around, a few years back Cook’s Illustrated declared it a best buy and they were almost immediately sold out. But now a few years later there are lots of less expensive dutch oven options. Check Amazon and TJMaxx, and the Martha Stewart ones at Macys go on sale a lot.

    Miss Kris – Mine is a normal round medium sized one. Best of luck, I hope you find one almost by accident!

    Laura B – It’s the best isn’t it? The egg above was cooked using it, we steam our eggs and it works just as well for that.

    Just Barrie – thanks! I’ve been seeing those in juice bottles at PCC and I’m curious about them.

    Shawn – Of course! It’s Bluebird Grain Farms Old World Cereal Blend. I love their cracked emmer farro cereal.

  • 18 Gen // Jan 10, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    I am new to your blog and I am loving it :) Keep it up!

  • 19 Courtney // Jan 10, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    I was going to suggest the Bluebird Farms stuff, it’s so good and I love that it’s local. Do you mind having flaxseed if it’s been baked into something? I’ve made some great muffins out of their Old World blend…they turn out a bit toothsome but really moist and tasty. If you have extra cereal laying around…

  • 20 carolin // Jan 11, 2012 at 8:53 am

    I just recently bought my first Dutch oven after wanting one for years but never feeling like spending the money. I got it on Amazon, for $50 including shipping ( It’s awesome! Can’t recommend it highly enough! Already made stew and no-knead bread in it.

  • 21 Patr // Jan 11, 2012 at 11:29 am

    I can’t live without my crock pot, but yet, I’m away from the house 12 to 14 hours a day for my job, so I can’t really leave food in the oven cooking. Well I could, but I just feel more comfortable with the small crock pot I have over the big Oven thing running.

    I agree on Flax – it is fishy and I’m just not a mush fan for a breakfast item. Now at night for dinner, I’m all over the oatmeal, cream o’ wheat or something like that. I have always prefered breakfast for dinner though. And I prefer a good Bacon and Tomato sandwich for breakfast.

  • 22 ellen // Jan 11, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    I don’t care for flax seeds cooked in cereal, but they are not bad in bread or toasted a little and sprinkled on cereal. Steel cut oats are the best!

  • 23 torviewtoronto // Jan 11, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I haven’t had flax seeds in my cereal, right now I am enjoying Honey bunches of oats cereal :)

  • 24 Jody @ the hobby room // Jan 11, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    I am so sick of slow cookers and how people think they are magic–you can do anything in a dutch oven AND you can’t get a good sear in a slow cooker like you can in a dutch oven.

    Supposedly omega-3/6s are good for evening out moody kids so I load into yogurt for my kids and it turns the whole thing into a fishy, gelatinous mess. Why, oh, why can’t you be tasty and delicious flax? But it sure does feel healthy and there’s nothing like it at the beginning of the year.

  • 25 Janna // Jan 13, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Try ground flax seeds. It tastes so much better and they are healthier. When you eat whole flax seeds your body doesn’t absorb the nutrients.

  • 26 Cynthia // Jan 16, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    I’ll second chia seeds. I can’t eat flax (risky food for breast cancer survivors) but haven’t looked back since I started using chia (not risky food for breast cancer survivors!). I agree with just barry – avoid the expensive chia blends and just make your own. Plus, I add it to the bread and muffins I’m baking, as well as smoothies. It also doesn’t require grinding like flax does and it doesn’t go rancid. The only downside – you may find yourself digging those little buggers out of your teeth all day if you don’t brush and floss well after eating them. They get a gelatinous coating on them that makes them a little, umm, tenacious! :-)

  • 27 Phoebe // Jan 23, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Was just going to recommend chia seeds, but I see that two people have beaten me to it. Like flaxseeds, they are also high in heart-healthy omega-3

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