POSTED ON July 11, 2009
I have had a lot of requests for simple, quick meals and it’s got me thinking about how I eat at home on a daily basis. It’s definitely not complicated and time consuming but it is delicious and healthy. I think the key is to have good condiments on hand so you can turn simple whole grains and or beans into something tasty and beautiful really fast.
Some of my favorite such condiments are toasted seeds, like pumpkin, sunflower and black sesame seeds. I choose mostly black sesame seeds because the healing properties are stronger than the tan variety. They help strengthen the liver and kidneys, nourish the blood and act as a general tonic for the heart and lungs (the list of their beneficial properties goes on). See directions for toasting seeds below.
Flax oil and ground flax seeds are the richest source of omega-3 fatty acids, help strengthen immunity and have antioxidant and antiviral properties. Of all the omega rich oils, flax has the greatest number of clinical successes in the treatment of cancer, particularly colon and breast cancer.
Hemp seeds, one of the newer additions to my condiments list, are a great provider of gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), which is beneficial in treating diabetes because it regulates the action of insulin in the body. They are also high in protein and help improve health of the skin.
In the picture above you’ll see my favorite Hawthorne Valley Farm kimchi and Real Pickles kraut, these provide a rich source of active cultures and enzymes necessary for good digestion and are packed with vitamin C. Sometimes I make my own and once I get my paws on a good locally grown cabbage, I will post the process.
I always keep parsley and scallions on hand; they add freshness and are great combined with toasted seeds especially in grain salads. I like making dressings with different combinations from the condiment list below. Then I steam (or eat raw) whatever is in season, at the moment it’s sugar snap peas, radishes and baby kale. Soon it will be sweet corn and cherry tomatoes and then steamed squash, root vegetables and hearty greens in the fall. The variety is endless!
Pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds, for snacking and sprinkling
Flax oil, drizzle over grains and for salad dressings
Flax seeds, ground on oatmeal and cereals, and in dressings
Hemp seeds, in salads and on grains
Tamari, a wheat-free soy sauce, use on grains and in dressings
Nori seaweed, cut and sprinkle over salads and grains
Brewers yeast, mix into dressings, nice with lemon, cayenne and flax oil
Gomasio, a toasted sesame salt, buy it pre-made or make your own
Lemons, just a squeeze with flax oil can make plain steamed veg delicious
Cayenne, use a pinch in dressings to add some zest and help cleanse your system.
Whole grains and beans are the perfect canvas on which to build great meals. Photos below are a couple of this week’s dinners, both based on simple whole grains and a bean. You already know how to make quinoa and recipes for the millet pilaf and sweet brown rice are coming soon!
Toasted pumpkin seeds
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread seeds out in a single layer. I do 3 or 4 cups at a time because I love to snack on them, do as many as you like but be aware that they may toast faster if there are less.
Toast for 8 minutes, stir and return to the oven for another 5 minutes. They will begin to pop and smell nice and toasty.
Allow to cool on the tray and then store in a jar in the fridge. They last about 3 months.
For a spicy treat, toss pumpkin seeds with lemon juice, cayenne pepper and sea salt, then toast.
Toasted sunflower seeds
Follow the same method as above but stir them at 5 minutes and check them at 10 minutes, return for another couple of minutes or until they are slightly browned and smell good. Allow to cool on the tray and store as above.
For a tasty addition try drizzling warm seeds with tamari, stir and cool.
I usually do sesame seeds in a heavy skillet, but they can be done in the oven, just stir them often.
Warm skillet over medium heat and add about a cup of sesame seeds. Stir or shake pan every minute until seeds begin to pop and smell fragrant, this takes about 5 or 6 minutes. Taste to see if they are ready, spread toasted seeds on a tray to cool. Store in a jar in the fridge.