How are you today? Anything fun planned? Last night after work, I went for a massage and oooooohhh goodness, was it ever glorious! None of my muscles were particularly sore but whenever I go for a massage I always ask for most of the time to be spent working on my back. The therapist at the spa did exactly that and I left feeling totally blissed out and rejuvenated. Pure awesome.
Ok, recipe time!
1. Recipe of the Week. GAH I cannot WAIT to share this one with you guys! I know I say that most weeks, but this one really is good. There are lots of things that make me happy in life, but there are a few things that make me supremely happy. These include spending time with people I love, crushing goals, holidays in hot destinations, the rush of endorphins after a fabulous workout, most articles of clothing made of luon, and last but certainly not least, an enormous bowl of veggies.
Now veggie haters, don’t give up on me just yet. You’ve gotta give this a chance. The dish starts with a nice tangled mess of these:
Don’t worry if you don’t have a spiralizer to make zucchini noodles – a julienne peeler works too, or just toss in your favourite whole grain noodie. Add to the mess a few handfuls of fresh crisp veggies, protein-rich edamame, and an amazing light peanut sauce (which I want to bathe in), and you’ve got a Clean Vegan Pad Thai that will make your heart and belly sing.
Of course, if you’re cooking for someone that absolutely has to have meat in their Pad Thai in order to make it a ‘proper meal’, or if you’d like to boost the protein profile of this recipe, you could add some chicken or shrimp. For the vegetarians out there, I’ve tried adding baked tofu as well and it does a fabulous job of sopping up the peanut sauce. There are plenty of options!
2. Freekeh. I never fail to find new things when I go to Bulk Barn…
Meet my newly discovered whole grain, freekeh. According to the box it’s an ancient grain that comes from the Middle East. I’m surprised I’d never heard of it during my 5 years living in Bahrain, but my nerdiness for nutrition didn’t really develop until after I moved back to Canada. In short, freekeh is simply wheat that has been toasted and cracked.
According to Wikipedia…
The wheat is harvested while the grains are yellow and the seeds are still soft; it is then piled and sun-dried. The piles are then carefully set on fire so only the straw and chaff burn and not the seeds. It is the high moisture content of the seeds that prevents them from burning. The now roasted wheat undergoes further thrashing and sun-drying to make the flavor, texture, and color uniform. It is this thrashing or rubbing process of the grains that gives this food its name, farīk or “rubbed.” The seeds are now cracked into smaller pieces so they look like a green bulgur.
In terms of nutrition, freekeh is similar to quinoa in calorie count and protein content. Freekeh contains a crazy amount of fiber (about 16g/100g – quinoa only contains 7g) and their GI values are both fairly low.
After reading a bit about how this grain is used, I learned that it’s been added to everything from pilafs and soups to meat-based entrees. I opted to try mine pilaf/salad-style, cooking it with a ratio of 2 parts water to 1 part grain for about 20 minutes. (Freekeh seems to behave very much like quinoa in terms of cooking time, and that it absorbs all of the cooking water.) Then I added the following ingredients:
- diced bell peppers
- diced red onion
- chopped pistachios
- sunflower seeds
- pear-infused balsamic vinegar
A random assortment indeed, but it looked really tasty!! I made this on Monday night and left it in the fridge before taking it to work with me yesterday. I ate it served over a mound of greens, and by that time, the flavours had all blended together gorgeously.
Taste-wise, it seemed a bit nutty and reminded me a lot of bulgur, and from what I’ve read, I think the only difference is that freekeh is made from younger wheat and roasted, whereas bulgur is simply just cracked , unroasted wheat. The grains were chewy and reminded me a bit of spelt berries, minus the long cooking time. The flavour was really enjoyable, especially when blended with the other ingredients in my everything-but-the-kitchen-sink salad. Note that this isn’t a gluten-free grain, so if you’ve got a gluten intolerance, you’re probably best to stick to quinoa, millet, or wild rice!
So tell me…
- What little things in life make YOU supremely happy?
- Have you experimented with any new whole grains lately?