Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Switching to Whole Grains

I’m trying out eating more whole grains. I confess, I’m more of butter-sugar-bread person than an oh-joy-yay-vegetables-and-roughage person, but my tastebuds are pretty dysfunctional (give me processed food and I’m happy-- isn’t that sad?). I’m trying to make them functional again, and whole grains seem to be a part of that. It helps that Eug eats anything. Joyfully. Anyways, some changes have taken place over about a year, and here’s where we are right now:

Whole Wheat Pasta. At Trader Joe’s Organic Whole Wheat pasta is pretty affordable at $1.29 per pound (although sometimes there are crazy sales on Market Basket brand, the standard cost of pasta is probably around $1/pound). It tastes good. It was an easy first change for us, because there wasn’t a huge difference in taste between white and whole grain pasta.

Whole Wheat Couscous. Also from Trader Joe’s. It tastes good and you don’t feel deprived. This was our second change. Though I often (somehow) avoid couscous on our week’s menu.

Quinoa-- a pretty complete protein source, is actually a seed, but it’s usually also considered a whole grain. We started eating it a couple of months ago. Eating quinoa just makes me feel like I'm living on the edge. Eating red quinoa makes me feel like I should be living in Cambridge and driving a hybrid with an Apple sticker (sorry guys, I'm totally not dissing you). Either way, it tastes like something between brown rice and cous cous, and makes a great base for sauce or frittata or anything you'd eat with rice.

Polenta - made from Whole Grain Coarse Ground Cornmeal. It takes a while to make polenta from coarse cornmeal, but it tastes great.

Brown Rice The final part of our transition to brown rice came out of laziness (we finished our 25lb bag of jasmine rice but had barely dipped into our bag of brown rice). Our main struggle is remembering to soak the brown rice the night before we want to use it. Brown rice tastes great;

We also love our arborio rice for risotto. It's not a whole grain, but we're keeping it.

Bread and pizza are the remaining outliers in our transition story. Over the past three years we started making all our bread in a breadmaker, thanks to a huge bulk order of yeast(Otherwise I'd most certainly forget to buy yeast). Given that we use the breadmaker and I'm proud of my French Bread rhythm, I actually don’t know how to make whole wheat bread from scratch. Over the next few months, I’m going to make bread without the bread maker, to get a sense of how to substitute the whole wheat flour effectively (before moving back to using the bread maker). My first quinoa-whole wheat flour loaf is currently in the kitchen, doing its rising thing. That said, fresh white bread is an innocent enough joy so I'll only make the switch if whole wheat bread tastes awesome.

While I tend to write pretty functional tippy posts, I love blogs that pull off real, soulful, sharing. And I love Tamara-out-loud, discovered today, for being a Jesus follower and relatable at the same time.

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