I'm always inspired by food. Restaurants, commercials, TV shows.... you name it and I get inspired. I suppose I'm not the typical consumer as I don't get that craving to go out and "buy" that item but rather, to re-"create" it to meet my lifetyle needs (both health and fitness).
In the 2012 April issue of Cooking Light, there was a great article on Whole grains. As part of Cooking Light's 12 Healthy habits (1 a month)....
Jan - veggie up
Feb - get moving
March - get cooking
April - whole grains
When it comes to simple..whole grains have you covered. They are a one-pot wonder but now-a-day, extremely overlooked.
On py 58 "only in the last century have refined grains become more popular than whole grains - thanks, in large part, to the introduction of white flour at the industrial level. When left whole, grains are full of protein, fiber, complex carbs, vitamins, and antioxidants, many of which are stripped away in the refining process. A diet rich in whole grains is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes and whole grains in the diet seem to help with weight control.
....these nutty, toasty, rich and chewy grains pair well with so many foods and flavors, both robust and delicate.
The average American should eat six servings of grains each day, and the Dietary Guidelines recommend at least half o those be whole. This month's challenge is to work three servings of whole grains into your meals and snacks."
On pg 60. NY times food writer, Mark Bittman says "Explore the variety of grains. "I feel the same way about whole grains as I do about legumes. If you have the stuff on hand, you will wind up eating it. I think wheat berries are sensational likewise farro, kamut, and spelt. There are so many choices - long grain brown rice, short grain brown rice, basmati brown rice - and it's nice to have variety. Play around and see what you like."
Mr. Bittman says he starts every day with oatmeal. "I've always been fascinated by Asian food and Asian breakfasts in particular, so when I have oatmeal, I mix it with dried mushrooms, chopped celerey, scallions and soy sauce. I really like a savory breakfast. When people are repelled by that, I remind them that bacon and eggs are savory also. They just don't think of it that way."
So... inspired by a magazine, I introduce you to a (leftover) barley-inspired recipe....
Baked eggplant and kale, tofu and barley stir-fry
1 large eggplant (sliced)
Olive oil (1 tbsp)
Tofu (firm) - cubed (1/4 container per person)
1-2 tbsp olive oil
Kale (1-2 cups per person, it cooks down)
Onions (medium sliced)
Barley (1 serving per person - cooked)
Optional - scrambled eggs (seen in picture under mixture. 1 whole egg scrambled in microwave with skim milk. I added this because I didn't have my egg yet for the day and typically have 1 whole egg daily)
Seasonings of your choice
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and slice eggplant. Brush both sides with olive oil and season to your liking. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
(be sure to use oil on baking sheet to prevent from sticking)
2. On medium skillet, cook onions until golden brown, in 1 tbsp olive oil on medium heat.
3. Reduce heat to low and add in kale and tofu. Stir until coating with oil (add additional oil as needed) and season to your liking.
4. When tofu is golden brown and kale is soft, add small spoonful tahini paste and lightly mix well.
5. Serve 1 serving barley with tofu mixture (combine) and plate with grilled eggplant, topped with pumpkin seeds.