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Happy Whole Grain Sampling Day! Today is a day for appreciating how good and good for us whole grains are, as well as how easy they are to incorporate into your diet. We’ve been swapping out regular tortilla chips for Late July multigrain chips, still enjoying our favorite salsas and guacamole with an added benefit of whole grains. If your diet isn’t rich in whole grains now, you don’t have to do an overhaul overnight! Adding whole grains in is as easy as swapping the type of bread you eat, tossing a healthy whole grain granola in your morning yogurt, or experimenting with different grains as dinner sides. A little olive oil and lemon juice is all it might take to make your new favorite whole grain side dish.

My whole grain recipe for today starts with Goose Valley Wild Rice, a whole grain that is high in protein and fiber. This sample came in my Whole Grain Sampling Day box, and  it’s the perfect base for a one pot meal or healthy bowl.

 

wild rice

I simply cooked the wild rice according to package directions, prepping the rest of the recipe while that happened.

harissa

The other really important ingredient in this recipe is a spicy Harissa paste. It provides all of the flavor for this healthy and easy dinner.

harissaveg

I chose chopped cauliflower and carrots for this recipe, but any sturdy vegetable will do. I eyeballed measurements, mixing a little bit of olive oil into a can of Harissa, making sure I had enough to coat my vegetables. I then popped the vegetables into the oven at 425 for about 25 minutes. The smells coming out of that oven were amazing.

Harissa spiced vegetables

When the rice was done, I simply topped it with the Harissa veggies and stirred, then added crumbled feta cheese and raisins. I highly recommend these salty and sweet garnishes; they both made the spice pop and gave the dish a lot of contrasting flavors.

harissa spiced veggies

This dish is mostly hands off. In fact, I even got a short workout in when it was cooking. The temperatures outside have definitely risen, and I am finally starting to feel awake and alive again! Cheers to healthy eating and whole grains this Spring.

 

Many, many thanks to Oldways for allowing me to participate in Whole Grains Sampling Day again this year! I love the way Oldways’ focus is truly on delicious foods that you can eat for a lifetime of health, rather than a fad diet. Stay tuned for more whole grain recipes on this blog in the future!

You can view the Whole Grains Sampling Day partners on the Whole Grain Council’s website.

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Tags: healthy comfort food, healthy recipe, Oldways, vegetables, Vegetarian, vegetarian recipe, whole grains, whole grains sampling day, wild rice

The Dorchester Winter Farmers Market has kicked off its 2014 season, and it is a great little spot for picking up vegetables, meats, cheeses, and baked goods this winter. The market is located in Codman Square in the Codman Square Health Center, a beautiful building, and is a wonderful thing for Dorchester and surrounding communities as well as for the vendors who participate.

Codman Square Health Center

Codman Square Health Center

The market is full of smiling faces and delicious food, and we picked up a few special items along the way. You may remember my visit to Red’s Best last summer. I was happy to see they are vending at the market, and even happier that they were offering Chatham cod. We picked up a pound of cod for Sunday dinner, and it was incorporated into a simple, delicious meal, recipe to come soon.

Red's Best

Dorchester Winter Farmers Market

We also picked up some guacamole and salsa from Mi Padre Pedro’s for snacking and taco salads this week. I have a meal plan that I am trying to stick to, and having some really fun ingredients to look forward to definitely helps.

Mi Padre Pedro's

We couldn’t resist a little bit of sweet from Union Square Donuts. We opted for a heavenly bourbon caramel donut before we left the market.

Union Square Donuts

In addition to great food vendors, the market also offers free coffee and local musicians for entertainment. I loved the community feel of the market and had a great time exploring it. I think it will definitely become part of our Sunday afternoon grocery shopping rotation.

Dorchester Winter Farmers Market

Confirmed vendors at the market include:

 

Do you have a winter market you love? Are you just dying for summer produce like I am?!

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Tags: Boston, Dorchester, farm market, farmers market, fish, Market, seafood, vegetables

Reminder! April 3 is Oldways’ Whole Grain Sampling Day. Be sure to find some new-to-you whole grains and give them a try.

As part of the Whole Grain Sampling Day initiative, I received an amazing box full of whole grain foods. One of the items was a bag of freekeh, young green wheat from Freekehlicious.

Here are a few benefits of freekeh:

  • high fiber – four times the fiber of brown rice
  • low GI – helps to prevent diabetes
  • high in protein content
  • low in available carbs
  • high in calcium for bone health
  • rich in lutein – important for eye health
  • rich in prebiotic properties – important for fueling the growth of healthy bacteria

freekeh

The freekeh bag had a breakfast recipe listed, but I knew that with the dreary, cold weather we have been having, I wanted to make some sort of hearty, healthy vegetarian dish. I decided to toss in some Mediterranean flavors and ended up with a delicious dinner. I cooked the freekeh on its own, according to the package directions.

In the meantime, I cooked chopped eggplant in some olive oil, browning it on all sides before adding in about a cup of good Cabernet. Vegetables, whole grains, and wine. . . does it get any healthier?

eggplant

Once the eggplant started cooking down, I tossed in a few cloves of chopped garlic, a can of crushed tomatoes, and sea salt, letting this mixture cook on low for about 20 minutes. Since the husband is not a huge eggplant fan, I wanted to make sure it was blended nicely into the sauce.

Just before I was ready to serve, I topped the steaming sauce with a few handfuls of baby spinach, allowing it to wilt from the heat.

Mediterranean sauce

To serve, I topped the hot freekeh with the sauce and garnished with kalamata olives and feta. Delish!

freekeh with sauce

It’s been fun trying out all of the grains included in the box. I am definitely in a constant struggle to eat more healthfully and to come up with fresh dinner ideas to avoid in an eating rut.

Speaking of ruts, can it please just get nice out now? I am feeling constantly blah and need a sunshiny boost to get me moving again!

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Tags: freekeh, healthy, Oldways, Oldways Whole Grain Council, vegetables, Vegetarian, whole grains

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