Hey kids! Thanks for welcoming me back on my last post. It's always nice to feel at least a little missed while I'm away :) As I mentioned, things have been pretty much a whirlwind since I've been back, and sometimes a crazy schedule necessitates a bit of laziness--or shall we say "efficiency" in the cooking department.
Between church, laundry and paying attention to my poor neglected husband, I only had a few hours last Sunday to catch up with everything and prepare for the week. I did some prep work for our dinner on Monday and wound up with a TON of leftovers.
I have been dying to try the recipe for Creamy Barley featured in last month's Real Simple, but I knew I wouldn't have time Monday night to put it all together. Not to mention, we didn't have the instant barley called for, so I decided to cook up our regular pearled barley (thank you food storage) in advance and modify the recipe on Monday. The recipe calls for two cups of instant barely, so I used 1 1/2 c. regular. Holy moly barely explosion!! I always forget that Real Simple like to make their servings Real Large (which is fine by me!), so even though I used a sufficient amount of the grain in my version, we still had SO much left.
For my Creamy Barley, I sauteed some onions in a large saucepan until golden, then added 1/2 c. sliced mushrooms and one package of thawed and drained frozen spinach. As the mixture cooked, I stirred in 1 c. cooked barley and a 14 oz can diced Italian style tomatoes (with about 1/4 of the liquid removed). Then, to make it creamy and extra delish, I added two laughing cow wedges and a healthy sprinkle of Parmesan cheese with extra feta for garnish.
For added protein and a European flair, I also "fried" an egg to top off my masterpiece. Yep, another whole egg as part of the Fatty February challenge!
Really, the yolk does add an excellent element of flavor and texture, and was the perfect compliment to this meal. Yum yum. This made 3 servings. My sis and D both liked it too, although Sarah opted out of the egg on hers. She doesn't know what she's missing ;)
And additionally, since I am now overrun with barley, I decided to do some of my standard experimentation and incorporate it into my breakfasts. While not exactly a Freaky Food, it definitely turns the tables on breakfast norms for me!
Above is a delightful mix of Greek yogurt, Crofter's Asian Superfruit spread, berries, Naturally More peanut butter and 1/2 c. barley, plus cinnamon, of course!
Round two was equally scrumptious and included 1 chopped pear steamed with cinnamon, yog, sugar free maple syrup, almond butter and barley. So good and both barley breakfast bowls held me over for hours. Excellent, as I expect nothing less from my first meal of the day :)
Luckily for me, I still have a few more serving of this great grain in my fridge to eat up throughout the next few days. It's kept remarkably well and has been very versatile. According to a little online investigating, barley also contains loads of amino acids and can help fight high cholesterol and regulate blood sugar. So I'd highly encourage all of you to be a little daring in the grains department and give it a try. What's your favorite grain? Any interesting ways to eat it?
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend full of lots of good things, including healthy fats, good grains and lots of R&R--I know I'm opting for all of the above! xoxo