Saturday, December 1, 2012

Iron Rich Toffee Cereal Mix

Toffee Cereal Mix
I have HHT, which stands for hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia. Never heard of it? It is a genetic disease that affects blood vessels and occurs in 1 in 5,000 people. Approximately 1.2 million people have hht worldwide which makes it uncommon but not rare. The most common sign of HHT is nosebleeds but it can and does strike other areas of the body. Want to know more? Go here or here.
I found out I had HHT when I was in my twenties. I had my pity party (it lasted several months) then decided that I am more than a disease. I am stronger than a disease and I can beat it. I decided to enjoy every minute of my life. Do I? For the most part I do. I love my family, my job, my friends, and my off time. I try to balance my love of food with exercise (not so crazy about the exercise). I take many moments to be awed by the people and the beauty around me. I chose to be positive. Having said that, I also make sure I am well-informed about the disease I have.
Every two years I go to an HHT conference. I find out where we are with finding a cure and what I need to be thinking about. I also go to be inspired by the tremendous, incredible, strong, resilient (there just aren't enough adjectives) people who struggle with the disease. I am continually awed. Also at some point in the conference I have a small pity party for myself and move on. I also have an "a-ha" moment.
This year's a-ha moment was iron deficiency. There were several great presentations on iron and iron deficiency. (People with HHT bleed and our iron stores run down). While I am not anemic, I am concerned that my iron stores are being depleted. So I did some research and came up with a game plan.
Here is my take on iron. There are two types of iron- heme iron (from animals) and non-heme iron (from plants). Most iron supplements are non-heme. Non-heme iron is not as readily absorbed which is why you take vitamin c with it (it needs an acidic environment in the stomach). Non-heme is also the iron with the majority of the side effects. Heme iron is found in beef, duck, fish, lamb, shrimp, and clams. Clams and oysters are the best sources for heme iron. I love love clams. I have already started making clams at least once a week. I will be posting those recipes later as I perfect them. Non-heme iron is found in fortified cereals, spinach (I love spinach), pumpkin seeds, molasses, beans, and raisins. It is harder to absorb and usually has more of the side effects (the big side effect being constipation).
I thought that it was would great to make an iron rich snack mix with some added fiber. The trick was to make it taste good so it would be a joy to eat. I decided to share it because I know I am not the only one who struggles with iron decency. For the cereal I used a mixed of corn, wheat, rice, and cinnamon chex and Cheerios.

Iron Rich Toffee Cereal Mix

8 Cups of Cereal
3 Cups (24 g) of Popped Popcorn
1 Cup (50 g) of Pretzels
1 Cup (130 g) of Pumpkin Seeds
1/4 Cup (55 g) of Butter
1/3 Cup (80 ml) Molasses
1/3 Cup (80 ml) Light Corn Syrup
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda

Preheat oven to 250F/120C/ Gas Mark 0.5.  Combine the cereals, popcorn, pretzels, and seeds in a bowl or cookie sheet.
The cereal mixture ready for the toffee
In a saucepan combine butter, molasses, corn syrup, and salt over medium heat and bring to a boil.
Remove from heat and add baking soda. Mixture will foam. Stir until completely combined.
After you add the baking soda, the mixture will foam
Pour over cereal mixture and stir until well coated. Spread onto baking sheets. Bake in oven  for  30 minutes turning every 10 minutes until mixture hardens. Cool and eat.
Cereal toffee
The bottom line: will I make this again? Yes- my family loved it.

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