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Posts Tagged ‘whole grains’

For anyone who’s interested I posted the nutrition analysis for the Winter Wheat Berry Salad per Vicki’s request. Click on this link and look in the comments section of the recipe for the numbers.  As I suspected, this tasty salad is full of fiber. The sodium content could be lowered a bit by using low-sodium soy sauce.  Makes me want to head to the kitchen because I love this salad.

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dscf6086These tender, tiny cakes are simple to prepare, and disappear off the platter.

Makes twenty four 2-inch cakes

3/4 cup yellow or white cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1/4 cup melted butter or canola oil

In a medium bowl stir together the cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix together the buttermilk, egg, and melted butter or oil. Add the milk mixture to the cornmeal mixture and stir to combine. Preheat a griddle or non-stick skillet until hot. Using a 1 tablespoon measuring spoon, portion out the batter onto the hot griddle or skillet. Cook until bubbles open up on the surface of the cake and the bottom is golden brown. Working quickly, flip the cakes and continue to cook until the other side golden brown. Keep warm in a 200°F oven if necessary until ready to serve.

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Winter Wheat Berry Salad

Serves 8 to 12

This recipe calls for 6 cups of cooked wheat berries, although 6 cups of another cooked grain such as brown rice, quinoa, pearl barley, or bulgur can be substituted for the wheat berries. Be aware that the cooking times for whole grains vary. The procedures and cooking times for other whole grains can be found at the Whole Grains Council .

Place the wheat berries in a large saucepan and with enough water to cover the berries by a few inches. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes. Taste and see if the wheat berry is cooked. You want a soft, but still chewy texture. If desired, cover and cook for 15 to 30 more minutes until the desired texture is reached. Drain off the water and allow the wheat berries to cool to room temperature.

2 cups wheat berries
1/2 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 medium apple, unpeeled, cored and finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Meanwhile, combine dried fruit, carrot, celery, apple, parsley, scallion, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and soy sauce, tossing thoroughly to mix. Stir in the cooled wheat berries and add salt and black pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature or store in the refrigerator until served.

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If you’re like me you’ve seen, and perhaps even eaten, way too much sugar over the past few months. From Halloween treats, to Pumpkin and Mincemeat pies, I can safely say that fall surrounds us with a multitude of sweets. We’re all fully aware that Christmas lurks around the corner, as do more sugar-laden- cookie tins, dessert buffets, and Christmas stockings. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll bake my share of cookies, but right now I’m craving something to eat that’s savory, wholesome, crunchy and colorful. Is that too much to ask?

In case you haven’t heard, whole grains are a darling of the nutrition world. Now for the fine print. Imagine that I’m reading this real fast, and you can barely understand me:

1. Whole grains (the seed of a grass) contain no added chemicals, preservatives, salt or sugar.

2, Whole grains contain all of the nutrients nature intended for them to contain plus a multitude of B-vitamins, minerals, beneficial enzymes, insoluable and soluable fiber, a low-glycemic index and many phytochemicals.

3. Whole grains are subject to little if any processing so they have all three parts of the grain kernel intact, thus the name “whole grain” – nothing’s missing. These three parts are the oily-rich germ, the starch filled endosperm and the outer or bran coating.

That’s a mouth full, but trust me and the world of nutrition science on this one; we can all benefit by sinking our teeth into more whole grains, not only for the nutritional properties, but for their unique, nutty flavor, and appealing toothsome bite.

The natural food section of supermarkets, specialty markets, and health food stores boast a fascinating assortment of whole grains. Brown rice, wheat berries, quinoa (keen-wa), barley, buckwheat (or Kasha), and my beloved steel-cut oats, are generally more readily available. Consider also more unusual grains, such as amaranth, millet, spelt, teff, or rye. Each one is unique in color, texture and flavor. Whole grains contain the oily germ component of the grain therefore they have an increased potential to spoil or become rancid compared to a refined grain, such as white rice. For that reason, purchase whole grains in small quantities and store in an airtight bag, container, or jar, in the refrigerator or freezer. To learn more about cooking whole grains visit the Whole Grains Council.

Cooked whole grains are quite versatile. They make a tasty pilaf or stuffing, and instead of traditional potatoes or pasta, cooked whole grains create a fine side dish served with a saucy curry or stew. They also make a delicious ingredient for a cold salad. Add a variety of chopped fresh ingredients, toss with complementary vinaigrette, and you’ve created a salad that adds a welcome dose of crunch, and a splash of seasonal color to any winter meal. Consider making this salad as a wholesome addition to any meal. And at Christmas, who knows, someone might even  thank you on their way to the cookie platter.

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According to the American Dietetic Association ,”superfoods are purported to have more significant health benefits than other types of food because they provide high amounts of one or more beneficial components”.

The concept of “superfoods” has captured much interest in the press. I think we all know we can’t live on one food alone, but a diet filled with wholesome foods serves us best nutritionally and forms the foundation for good health.

For healthy adults and children the goal is to promote health and reduce overall risk for some chronic diseases. Health and prevention is a two part process. First, eat a “super diet”. Include many of the foods below on a regular basis. (There are many, many “superfoods”. This is only a small representation.) Second, get up off your can (rather than reading blogs?) and move. Physical activity is key to healthy muscles, bones, and bodies. Now for a short list of some of my favorite superfoods. Note: phytochemicals are naturally occurring chemicals found in plants and antioxidants are a compound that prevents free radical damage to cells in the body. You’ll see these terms sprinkled liberally throughout the list.

Avocados
Avocados may have a bad reputation for high calories and fat, but most of the fat in this fruit (yes, fruit) is monounsaturated, and avocados are packed with nutrients. Avocados contain about 60 percent more potassium than bananas and contain more vitamin E (which helps prevent muscle damage and reduces inflammation) than most other commonly eaten fruits. Make guacamole, chop it up and put it on top of a bowl of chili, or slice is and serve on a sandwich.

Bananas
A medium-sized banana contains a whopping dose of potassium and, in case you haven’t heard, potassium is one of the body’s most significant minerals, critical for proper cellular and electrical functions. As an electrolyte, potassium actually carries a tiny electrical charge with it throughout the body. It regulates the water and acid balance in blood and tissues and is one of the most important nutrients for normal growth and building muscle. Use in a smoothie, slice and put on a bowl of hot oatmeal, or eat out of hand for a quick snack on the go.

Blueberries
Rich in antioxidants and anthocyanins (the blue color pigment), blueberries promote a healthy urinary tract and enhance night vision. Not to mention the phytochemical lutein and the natural sources of dietary fiber that may reduce the risk of diabetes, circulatory problems, and memory loss. Use frozen blueberries during the winter time when fresh aren’t available. Sprinkle fresh blueberries on spinach salad or make a yogurt parfait.

Broccoli
A readily available vegetable, broccoli boasts high amounts of vitamin C . Part of it’s powerhouse protection is derived from phytochemicals that give your immune system a boost. Use fresh in salads, or cooked in soups, pasta dishes, or cut into spears, sprinkled with a pinch of kosher salt and fresh lemon zest.

Dark Chocolate
Now we’re talking. Who knew chocolate was so good for you! Loaded with polyphenols (antioxidants that help the body’s cells resist damage from free radicals), and known for the prevention cardiovascular disease as they minimize the oxidation the “bad cholesterol” also known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol which is a major factor in the promotion of coronary disease such as heart attack and stroke. Polyphenols may even help fight infections and regulate other immune responses. But not all chocolate is a “superfood”. Just remember that the higher the percentage of cocoa content, the higher the amount of antioxidant. I don’t really need to tell you how to use chocolate in your kitchen do I?

Eggs
Eggs are nature’s perfect protein in a low-calorie package. Rich in many vitamins (including vitamin E), minerals and micronutrients, like lecithin and lutein, that may protect against eye disease and certain cancers. The uses of eggs are endless – make a fritatta, hard boil for a quick snack, create some egg drop soup or if you’re up for nostalgia – eggs in a basket for breakfast.

Fatty Fish
Salmon and other cold-water fish, such as tuna, sardines, mackerel, and halibut contain oils that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. This “good fat” will protect your arteries against plaque build up and is effective in lowering the “bad” cholesterol. There is a note of caution with fish. Farmed salmon has higher levels of chemical contaminate than wild, but wild salmon is seasonal and far more costly. Large fish, such as tuna and swordfish, should also be consumed in limited quantities because they may contain higher levels of mercury than smaller fish.

Nuts
Nuts contain healthy monounsaturated fats, protein, fiber and a host of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, selenium and magnesium. Every nut has its own particular nutritional strengths. Walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, while almonds are high in linoleic acid (Omega-6 fatty acids). Sprinkle toasted nuts on some sauteed green beans, use nuts to make pesto, or crumble over a dish of vanilla yogurt.

Spinach
A major source of antioxidants, Vitamin C, E and beta-carotene (decreases risk of heart disease, cataracts, and some cancers, boosts immunity and slows the aging process). Ultra rich in iron, and loaded with significant amounts of riboflavin, vitamin K (to strengthen bones), dietary fiber and folate (can reduce risk of heart disease). Frozen spinach has just as much of these nutrients and is often less expensive and easier to cook with. To retain more of the nutrients, saute fresh spinach in a large skillet with olive oil and garlic. It’s no wonder Popeye was so strong.

Tomatoes
Rich in lycopene (reduces risk of prostate cancer) and contains coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid that block the effect of nitrosamines (which also cause some cancers). Rich in vitamin A (fights eye disease), vitamin C (aids the immune system) and potassium which lowers blood pressure. Use diced in chili, sliced on a veggie sandwich, or crushed in homemade tomato sauce.

Whole Grains
The seeds of various plants and grasses, whole grains are a rich source of antioxidants, vitamin B, folate and fiber. The powerhouse vitamins and minerals, and the hundreds of phytochemicals in whole grains, may help prevent cancer, heart disease and birth defects. And fiber helps lower cholesterol, may protect against certain cancers, aids bowel function and decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes. Ancient grains such as quinoa, barley, amaranth, and teff add interesting flavors and texture to any meal.

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