Saturday, October 30, 2010

Early Morning Grains

I have been eating unique varieties of grains now for nearly 6 years! I can hardly remember a time when I didn't have a pantry full of bulgur, millet, quinoa, amaranth and 5 kinds of rice.  Yet I still have moments when I eat plain, lightly-salted grains for breakfast.  I generally start my day fairly early, but try not to leave the house with a healthy hot breakfast in hand.  I am the girl with the "crazy grains" as some of my classmates would say, and it feels odd to have anything else for breakfast (OK, bacon is always an acceptable substitution!).  But, it can be hard to be creative at 5:30 am, and if I did not prep the earlier in the week, salted bulgur with nothing else will be my morning meal along with my 12 ounces of french press coffee.

This week however, was a strong one, a moment of hope in a gray grain world.  On Monday, my weekly prep day, I cooked a few cups of barley from Finn River Farms. For three days, I reheated the barley with roasted acorn squash (cooked with a sauce of butter, brown sugar and orange juice) for a delicious treat. It was fantastic! Of course then the end of the week hit, I was tired and sick of repetition and resorted to plain old quinoa this morning, not bad in my eyes, but not terribly exciting for a culinary student to be cooking up!

I love pairing my breakfast grains with veggies, something I picked up on a detox diet when I was first introduced to the world of whole grain goodness. This meal planning habit is now second nature to my AM food ritual. When I allow time to actually make something tasty, these are some of my favorite combinations:
Quinoa with Broccoli or Peas
Barley & Acorn Squash (new favorite!)
Amaranth & Zucchini
Corn Grits & Sweet Potatoes (this one was a Karen invention and I love it...and she does a better job than me too!)
Buckwheat & Peas
Millet and Steamed Carrots

The list goes on and on. Fresh herbs & Homemade Seasoning salt (Yum!) add another flavor dimension to experiment with.  Keeping prepped grains, along with frozen and/or pre-roasted veggie options will help you toss together a quick and nutritious breakfast. Even if you're barely awake, the sun hasn't rose and you're tiptoeing around the house, so as not to wake the still sleeping daily routine ;)
OK, I've actually made several dishes from the grain book lately too, so more to come!  The kids loved the Kibbeh too, so I'll be making that again.


  1. Love the combinations! We need to come up with fruity sauces. amy

  2. Oooh... can you guys make the corn grits and sweet potatoes when we're there? Sounds yummy!