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Abrazos! xox Penny

Monday, June 28, 2010

Amber Waves of Grain

Sunday is a "catch-up" day for me and yesterday, of all things, I caught up with myself and realized I am having a food challenge. Those amber waves of whole grains don't wave enough around here. I have to get more on my plate. Protein, veggies, fruits, fats? No problem, got 'em done. Grains? A big "oops!" I am not very "check-listy" about what I eat but whole grains are noticeably scarce, actually, almost off the radar. I am not a big bread or pasta eater and not so into rice either, although I do love both brown and wild rice. I do faithfully have a handful of Natural State Granola every afternoon which helps a lot.

There are some fabulous whole grain crackers I love and nibble on, too, but one serving is 13 crackers. Come on! 13? That's almost half the box! By the time I am cooking dinner, the time for cooking grains seems long gone, except for quinoa and couscous. I have bags of untouched grainy goods just begging for attention. OK...phew...I am through venting.

Solution time!! Here is what I plan to day (or night) a week, while doing other stuff in the kitchen, I am going to cook up a bunch of different grains. They are simple to cook...I just have to plan and do it. Then, I will have some for the whole week to add to salads, soups, serve on their own. What I don't use up in a couple of days, I am going to freeze and see how they do. (Rice freezes pretty well.) Instant stockpile. Sounds great!!  It's a brilliant plan!! 

My bag of brown/wild rice was already open and so here is what I am going to make up for dinner tonight. I have had this recipe for years and it is still one of my summer favorites. While the rice is cooking, I have some another golden beauty on the stove...millet that I toasted in a pan. In many cultures, this sweet grain is the grain of choice, loaded with iron and more popular than rice. In our culture, it's bird seed. Until tonight that is...

Summer Rice (and Grainy Friends) Salad

3 cups cooked brown rice (or combo brown/ wild and millet. I love Lundberg rice.)
3-4 hard-cooked eggs
1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped
1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup dill pickle, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/2-1 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh black pepper to taste
1/4 cup French dressing (your choice here..I play)
1/3 cup mayo
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Combine everything except the last three ingredients. Blend together French dressing, mayo and Dijon. Add to rice mixture and mix thoroughly. Chill and serve on a bed of baby greens. Serves 4. 

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