Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year

It's a new year and what does that mean resolutions!  There are many I could make such as:
  1. Remembering everyone's birthday and getting them cards on-time.  Sorry all, I've tried that - not sure why it's so hard for me!
  2. Losing 10 pounds - while the chart does say that is my ideal weight, I've found a weight I can maintain and I'm mostly happy with it.  That would just be alot of saying no, where's the fun there?
  3. Learning how to knit, decorate cakes, and do all the things I'd like to do well.  Hmmm, if you know me you know I like to do things well - but really I'd be happy to just learn one of these things this year. 
  4. Become organized and stay there, always following my system and never having stacks of paper on my desk.  Well this is a dream, but we all need dreams right?  That just really isn't me. 
So, I think I'll go with something that I know I already love and have faith I can do.  This isn't really a resolution, more of a continuous goal.  I want to continue eating more whole grains, vegetables and what would be considered whole foods.  That means also, always trying new grains.  My body is really happiest when these items are the majority of my intake.  Luckily, I love salads made from whole grains and vegetables and I like having them around for quick lunches.  So tonight I made the following salad.  I didn't follow a recipe, but I'll explain the process and you can make up your own salad anytime!  Doesn't it look bright and colorful and fresh?  That's the goal!

Christine's Wheat Berry Salad

First, pick a grain.  I've been wanting to use up the Hard Wheat Berries I had in the cupboard, but in future salads you'll see me using Quinoa, Millet, Bulgar, Barley and more!  Cook the grain as directed, the amount depends on how much salad you want.  I found that this grain was really cooked perfectly after about 1 1/2 hour.  Hmmm, this focus on grains and beans may mean I take seriously the idea of getting a pressure cooker!

Second, think about your vegetables.  These salads are a great way to use up vegetables in your fridge.  The main rule of thumb is to cut them up in the same size pieces. The more colorful, the healthier!  In this salad I have, the following:
  • About 1/2 a finely chopped shallot
  • 2 chopped scallions (white and green parts)
  • 1/2 chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 chopped red pepper
  • some chopped green cabbage
  • some chopped red cabbage - we always need more purple and blue vegetables!
  • a good handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
Third, think about the dressing.  The rule I use is about 3 Tablespoons olive oil to 3 Tablespoons vinegar and other liquid.  So for example, I wanted this to taste fresh, so I used 3 Tablespoons olive oil, 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar, and 1 Tablespoon orange juice.  Lemon juice would have worked great but I didn't have it.  Also, if I had an orange, I would have added orange zest to this, especially with the parsley it would have gone well!  Add Salt and Pepper to taste.  In the future I am sure I'll use Balsamic Vinegar and I think I'll try a Tahini dressing sometime also. 

Fourth, do you need any fancy additions?  This salad would be great with the following:
  • Feta cheese
  • Toasted Walnuts (when I do this I'll use walnut oil in place of the olive oil)
  • Beans or Edamame.  Your flavors would lead you to your bean.  If I added some cumin and maybe chili powder to this dressing, some black beans and cilantro, in place of parsley, would be a perfect addition.  The beans add protein also so you have a full lunch all in one container.
  • Use your imagination and add your favorites!  Think about the foods you like, Greek - add some olives and pepperocini!  Mexican - break out that cilantro and cumin! Indian - cumin, coriander, and currys will get you there!
Good luck with your resolutions this year!

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