Monday, January 23, 2017

Grains to Try for the New Year

Since January is still with us and perhaps some of us are still even with January, I thought that it might be a nice time to talk about grains. (Why, yes, I am a very exciting person. Thank you.)

One thing I've been trying to do this year is to be a little more interesting in the kitchen (and you see that, with this fascinating post about the fascinating topic of grains, I'm clearly accomplishing this). Because seriously, wheat just gets so so boring. Wheat and rice and maybe some corn. Let's mix it up a bit, shall we?


What you need to know. It's the only non-meat food containing full-chain amino acids, plus it's high in iron. If you buy it and it's not been pre-rinsed, it will have a soapy taste, so rinse it. You can make it the same way you make oatmeal and you can eat in like you would oatmeal or use it as an easy rice replacement. You can also make pancakes. And they're awesome.

Quinoa Oat Pancakes


What you need to know. Farro is actually wheat. But it's an ancient variety of wheat that is supposed to be better for you (and easier on the digestive system) because it hasn't been cross-bred and GMO'd and what not. At any rate, it is super delicious, so who cares how healthy it is (you do, of course, because you are a good person, I know). This farro recipe is the type of thing that give vegetarianism a good name. It is one of my all time favorite recipes and it's perfect January comfort food.

Farro with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Tahini Dressing

Black Rice:

What you need to know. It's even healthier than regular brown rice due to its black (really, a very deep purple) color that contains boodles of anti-oxidants. It takes longer to cook than white rice (about the same cook time as brown rice, so plan for that). It also has a nuttier, sweeter taste than regular rice. I fell in love with it a few years ago and made tons of stuff, but then when I went to share something with you, I found that I only had this wrap on this blog. It's a pretty great wrap, but know that there's tons of other stuff you can do with it, like make rice pudding.

Black Rice Wraps


What you need to know. Okay, barley isn't as exciting as these other grains (told you I was an exciting person). But this casserole is. So make it. Also, barley is still high in vitamins and fiber and delicious.

Broccoli Barley Casserole

Chia Seeds: 

What you need to know. Okay, first they're not a grain at all. They're a seed. I know I know--I'm cheating. But they're a very nice seed and you can eat them with so much--tossed into smoothies or over cereal. I often eat them with grains so I'm including them here darn it. They're loaded with omega-3's that are easily accessible by your body. Also high in vitamins and B vitamins. Also, delicious. Especially with these oats.

Refrigerator Oatmeal with Chia Seeds and Maple

Monday, January 16, 2017

Sweet Potato Cornbread

One of the key things in eating tasty and cheap is packing as much health and yumminess into your dishes as possible. That said, health and yumminess are sometimes kind of difficult to balance.

 In this cornbread, we have a nice balance of homey comfort food and healthy grains and vitamin-A packed sweet potato. There's nothing like working some orange veggies into your comfort foods. I think your grandmothers would all approve.

P.S. I think that pumpkin would work just as well, but I haven't tried it yet.

Sweet Potato Cornbread
adapted from Chew Out Loud
makes one 8x8 inch pan (16 small pieces)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20-30 minutes plus any cook time you need for the sweet potatoes if not using leftovers
Cost: $2.25
sweet potato: .40, cornmeal: .40, cream of wheat: .25, flour: .10, sugar: .10, eggs: .10, Greek yogurt: .50, milk: .10, other stuff: .30

1 large sweet potato (about 1.5 C mashed sweet potato)
1 C whole grain cornmeal (of course you can also use the normal kind and that works too, but it's a little less healthy)
1/2 C Cream of Wheat
1 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 C Greek yogurt, plain
3/4 C milk
2 Tbsp oil (olive of canola)
butter for topping

So first you have to have some cooked sweet potatoes. You can use leftovers (roasted or boiled) or you can peel and boil some up for this (which will take 20-30 minutes). Mash them up.

Combine dry ingredients.

Combine mashed sweet potato and wet ingredients. Depending on how good of a masher you are, you might want to just throw them in a blender and give them a whiz.

Then combine dry and wet ingredients.

Grease an 8x8 inch square pan.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until a knife can be inserted and not come out with dough on it (moist crumbs=fine; wet dough= note fine).


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

For holy goodness. We didn't originally eat these as breakfast cookies, per se. My sister-in-law brought them to our house. She had used them on the plane. So truly, they're travelling cookies. And the perfect ones at that. There's lots of delicious oat, some pumpkin. Happy for the brain, good for the bowels. What more can you ask for? No airport lunch required, thank you very much.

But we've been eating them for breakfast. And they're good for that too. Truthfully, they'r a tiny bit on the sweeter end, although after all the sweets we've been eating they seem downright virtuous in comparison. And they really are pretty virtuous. I mean, it's kind of like pumpkin oatmeal in cookie form. Yeah, you're welcome.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
adapted from  All Recipes
makes 36
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Cost: $3.40 (that's about $.10/cookie; what!!!??? No bowl of cereal can compete with that)
butter: .90, brown sugar: .35, sugar: .15, pumpkin puree: .50, egg: .10, flour: .10, oats: .30, chocolate chips: .90, other stuff: .10

3/4 C butter
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C white sugar
1/2 can pumpkin puree (so about 8 oz or a scant cup)
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 C all-purpose flour
2 C oats, (blended into crumbles or flour; see below)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 C dark chocolate chips (I like 60%), optional, but awesome

Preheat oven to 375.

First of all, you're going to give those oats a whiz in your blender or food processor. They don't have to be a completely smooth flour (though they can be), but these are best when they're at least crumbles instead of regular oats. Set that aside when you're done.

Beat butter and sugars together. Add pumpkin puree, egg, and vanilla.

Add dry ingredients to wet. Blend.

Then add the chocolate chips.

Drop onto baking sheet (my sister sprays hers; she also uses a cookie scoop, which makes these really pretty, but I didn't have one).



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