Sunday, August 30, 2009

Soaking Grains

Whole grains have phytates which preserve the grains but, left unsoaked, can be hard on your digestive tract and inhibit the uptake of vital nutrients into your body.  The traditional (age old) way of preparing oats, wheat flour, rice (etc.) is to soak them overnight.  This neutralizes the phytic acid and catalyzes a great nutritional benefit for your body.  It even starts sprouting the grain in some cases.  That's really exciting, because your food is coming alive and therefore giving greater life to you!  For oatmeal in any form (rolled oats or steel cut), just put your desired amount in a container covered by about an inch of pure water, cap it, and leave it at room temp. overnight.  Strain it the next morning.  Then cook it using a little less water than you would have dry.  By the way, steel cut oats are so good.  For rice, do the same thing.  My favorite is Lungren Sweet Brown Rice.  For flour, just make your bread dough, pancake mix, cookie dough, or whatever and put it in the frig. overnight.  Although it sounds like an extra step, it's really nice to have it all prepared the next day.  It's just a new habit for me to think ahead.  Ha! 

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Whole Grain Cookie Monster

I just got back from the movie "Julie and Julia," put my kids to bed, and then laid down to go to sleep... when inspiration hit.  So, I got up and came down to the kitchen.  Went to the garage frig. and pulled out a bag of Golden Hard White Wheat (still in it's original whole kernal form).  At 11:30pm, I'm milling the grain into flour by pouring 2 cups of it into my VitaMix.  Only takes about 2 minutes to get hot fresh ground flour...full of all the good stuff (bran, germ, and endosperm).  Tonight I'll "soak" the grain overnight in the rest of it's ingredients to make a whole grain chocolate chip cookie tomorrow.  It's for my friend Gina's birthday.  Just use your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and substitute whole grain flour for white flour, and substitute a natural sweetener (like agave nectar or maple syrup or stevia) for the sugar and brown sugar in the recipe.  Specific quantities of sweetener are up to your taste buds.  Always use a good quality dark chocolate chip that does not contain any artificial ingredients or hydrogenated oils.  I like to spread the whole thing out on a pizza stone and bake it like a huge cookie monster size cookie.  It makes a great birthday "cake!" 

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thank you God for fruit!

Tonight, while we were at a new student orientation for our daughter (Anika), they had a dessert bar.  On it was rows of cookies and cakes, which I expected.  But I was pleasantly surprised to see that someone took the time to cut up fresh fruit and put them in little bowls.  How cool is that?!  And it wasn't the syrupy canned kind or the frozen never-really-got-ripe kind.  It was the real thing!  Lots of fresh cut watermelon, sweet green grapes, sliced red strawberries, and juicy cantaloupe.  What a refreshing dessert!  It was so nice to have a real-food option.  Thank you to whomever takes care of the "weird" people like me in situations like that.  It just makes me feel like I can blend in a lot better.  Ha!  And I'll take care of you too, whenever I can.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

It's good to be home!

Hi guys.  It's good to be home.  We just had a great family vacation to visit my sister in Chicago and then all my cousins, aunts, uncles, grandma, and everyone possible in Wisconsin (where I grew up).  We also visited the Wisconsin Dells, rode a duck boat, and stopped by the "Carr Valley Cheese" chalet to see learn how they make cheese.  Of course, it was fascinating to me and Steve who are generally fascinated by food.  But really, if you've never had cheese curds from Wisconsin, it's worth the trip.  Ha!  They are squeeky and salty and oh-so-good.  We are home just in time to see our peach tree heavy with peaches, our apple tree full of apples, and our tomato vines ripe and ready for pickin'.  Steve also found some potatos to dig up.  The kids loved watching that.  Kids seem to be geared to want to eat things off the ground, so it's kinda funny for them when we dig up food.  And here's a plug for composting... it's great to start dumping all your plant-based trash into a patch of dirt outside because it will not only make that dirt full of nutrients, but you also might plant a few surprises that way.  We never planted our potatos... they just came up because there happen to be a few potatos rotting in our compost pile... so one of them must have sprouted instead because we just got about 15 potatos out of the deal today.  How cool!  I made a ground turkey hash with the potatoes tonight.  First boil about 6 medium sized potatos.  Set aside.  Saute one chopped onion in olive oil, then add about 2 tsp. of minced garlic (set aside).  Brown a pound of ground turkey and salt it with celtic sea salt.  Combine it all into a pan while roughly chopping up the potatos with your tool (pancake turner or wooden spoon or whatever) and add 1 c. petite peas and salt and chili powder to taste.  I added some more olive oil (about 3 TBSP.) 'cuz I like it.  Stir over med. heat until peas are hot.  Optional: top with your favorite cheese.  Really simple.  Really good.  Enjoy!