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A day in the office and grains

September 4, 2014
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It is amazing how much you can accomplish and how quickly a day goes by when you spend it at the office. I am normally out and about, but today was totally devoted to work in the office. I even brought my lunch so I could work straight through. It was healthy too–a cold spelt grain salad with left over steak, tomatoes from the garden and an apple. It is much easier to eat fresh in the summer with the availability of fresh produce from the garden.

Have you ever tried spelt?
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It is an ancient grain, basically a type of wheat, but it has a tougher husk, which helps protect the nutrients inside the grain. It is supposed to cook in about 80 minutes, but I cooked it for 2 hours and it was still a tad chewy. I ate it the first go round Friday as a cold salad with vegetables and a light balsamic/olive oil. It was chewy. I decided to try something new with what was left and stir fried it first by itself in a little olive oil then vegetable broth, and added all kinds of vegetables and left over pork tenderloin. It was great. It tends to get chewier when it is cold, but I like it both ways. I took the leftovers to lunch today and added the steak. One cup of cooked spelt has 7.6 grams of fiber, along with a lot of other nutrients, so I am fibered up!

I love to cook and try new things, so I tend to do a lot of experimenting with food at home. My family is usually willing to at least try things, but my husband is not very adventuresome–he would much rather have pizza or hamburgers every day, but he eats most of what I cook, and often he is surprised that he likes new things.

Other grains we like are quinoa- red, white and black. P1020717 Did you know that the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations declared 2013 “The International Year of the Quinoa? Quinoa (pronouced KEEN wah) was first cultivated more than 5,000 years ago. Along with corn and potatoes it was one of the three foods considered the centerpiece of the Andean diet. I had never heard of it until about 3 years ago, and now you see it everywhere. Quinoa is in the goosefoot family and is related to spinach and beets. I have heard of people trying to grow it in Arkansas, but have not seen it for myself. Maybe after my success with sesame seeds, I will have to try it. It supposedly looks like a spinach plant on steroids–growing up to 6 or more feet tall. The seeds (which is what you are eating) come in a range of colors, but I have just seen red, white and black.

Quinoa is considered a leafy grain as is amaranth and buckwheat rather than a grass grain such as barley, millet, oats, rice, teff, and wheat. I have not tried amaranth or teff, yet, so I guess they should be next, after I eat all the other grains I have in my kitchen.

We also like farro, which also takes a LONG time to cook. I shorten it some in the pressure cooker, but usually it needs more time than I think too. Barley is another good one–it is great by itself or mixed into soups.

I am amazed by what I think of as “new” foods that are becoming more commonplace in our local grocery stores. Now we just have to learn how to cook with them. There aren’t a lot of recipes for some of these things out there, so you have to experiment on your own. I buy some things not knowing much about them–like chia seeds.chia seeds Any pointers on that? I just throw them into things—I don’t think they have much taste, but I am sure I am getting healthier, just knowing they are in there! Did you know they are seeds from a salvia plant? Salvia hispanica to be precise. And to think I thought they were just for “chia pets”!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Reba Hargrove permalink
    September 4, 2014 9:29 pm

    You can add chia seeds to smoothies…they are good protein, I hear.

  2. Sue Tanner permalink
    September 5, 2014 11:05 pm

    Janet: I discovered a use for the Chia seed that we all like. Friends in FL took me to a “farmer’s market” and I found and bought this. Read the ingredients that were in it. Then I went to our local Farmer’s Mkt and the Old Country store in Hot Springs and this is what I came up with…..Fresh ground peanuts from Old Country Store; honey from A farmer on Petit Jean and added Chia seed. Mixed together it makes a great snack; and added to raw vegetables and fruit it’s a noon day meal!

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