How is your morning going so far? Yesterday was an exciting Try Something New Tuesday because I had some new goodies to test out from Whole Foods this weekend. I had to try hard not to use them all, but 4 made it into the mix today. Here they are:
You’re probably thinking, “She spent an entire weekend talking about food, and she gives us a dressing?” Well, yes. But it’s a delicious one! I’ve been drizzling this on salads and using it as a dip for my veggies at work. I can’t get enough!
2. A new natural energizer: Wheatgrass Juice. This is one of the things we were talking about in my course this weekend. Wheatgrass is a natural energizer, and according to this source , just 2 ounces of fresh juice provides the equivalent of 3 lbs of organic vegetables in vitamins and minerals, or the equivalent of two cups of coffee.
One thing I didn’t know about it is that wheatgrass is the first stage of the same plant that eventually grows into grain that we use to make bread. However, it’s a vegetable so it doesn’t contain gluten. Wheatgrass juice contains over 70% raw chlorophyll (hence the green colour), which has an enormous number of benefits for various parts of the body. Wheatgrass is a complete protein and is an excellent source of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, sulphur, cobalt, and zinc. Wheatgrass also helps to detox the body by draining the lymph system and removing toxins from cells.
The box I purchased is made by Evergreen and was found in the freezer section and looks like this:
It came with 20 0.6-oz frozen cubes, which is the equivalent of 10 servings.
Wheatgrass can be consumed on its own, or used like ice cubes in water. It can also be mixed into smoothies if you’re not keen on the taste. This is what I did yesterday morning because I had a mad craving for a Peanut Butter Chocolate Green Monster . It went into the blender (frozen) with all the other ingredients and I really didn’t notice the taste at all.
One thing to be careful of is that you don’t let the wheatgrass juice cubes melt and sit out for a long time. This causes them to oxidize, turn brown, and lose nutritional value. So if you plan to drink it melted into water, it’s important to stir it in and drink it immediately after the cubes melt.
3. A new vegetarian protein source: Tempeh. Last week I tried tofu (as in, I cooked it myself for the first time rather than buying it as part of a restaurant meal) and found that I really liked it. Plenty of tofu was consumed this past weekend because Whole Foods’ teriyaki grilled tofu steaks are just so flippin’ delicious. Still curious about vegetarian protein sources, this week I bought tempeh.
Henry’s Goumet Tempeh comes in five varieties, including one that is made from soybeans only. This package is actually a blend of soybeans and kasha, and there are others that contain red pepper and curry flavouring. Kasha, which is also known as roasted buckwheat, is gluten free and high in potassium and phosphorous. Traditional soy-only tempeh is simply soybeans that are fermented and bound into a block-like shape. The flavour comes from the fermenting process, but it isn’t high in sodium like other fermented soy products. Tempeh is one of the highest-quality sources of plant protein (16g per 80g serving – there are about 4 servings per package).
The first thing I noticed was that the tempeh was much more firm than the firm tofu from last week. I think part of this may have had to do with the kasha in it, but nevertheless it was very dense and easy to cut. I set it in a marinade of ground ginger, garlic powder, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar, then let it sit in the fridge overnight.
By the morning, most of the sauce had been soaked up. Using the sandwich press, I grilled it for a few minutes. This was far more successful than my tofu grilling, which I attribute to the firmness of the tempeh. No stickage at all!
The final application? In an Asian-style salad with shredded Romaine lettuce and cabbage, julienne carrots, sliced cucumber, chili flakes (a lot of them..HOT!), sesame seeds, and a dressing of sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and soy sauce.
Next time, I definitely won’t marinade the tempeh for so long. It was a bit too salty for my liking and I think only 2 or 3 hours would have been enough. Saltiness aside, it made for a very interesting salad! Whereas tofu is smooth, tempeh sort of crumbles when you start to chew it a bit and it was a little bit nutty. I quite enjoyed this!
4. A new grain: Farro. According to this source , farro was a staple in the Roman diet years ago. Apparently, it was the only wheat that grew in pharoanic times, and was called Pharaoh’s wheat. (Pharaoh –> farro –> get it?) It is in the same family, but is not the same thing as spelt. It has a higher protein and fiber content than regular wheat, is high in magnesium, niacin, zinc, and iron. It is easier to digest relative to regular wheat because its gluten content is lower. It is also believed to contribute to weight maintenance, reducing cardiovascular disease and heart disease, as well as prevention of diabetes and cancers.
Like spelt, farro is available in its whole form as well as in flour and pasta form. I prepared mine as per the instructions of the Whole Foods employee who gave it to me, using a 2:1 ratio of water to farro and boiling it like rice for about 30 mins.
I had to add a little extra water to stop the pot from boiling dry. The texture of the cooked grains reminded me a lot of the barley that I tried 46 Tuesdays ago . It was fluffy and a little nutty, and it puffed up to about 2x the original quantity. Farro was the star ingredient in last night’s dinner, Farro-Stuffed Peppers .
I wasn’t even that hungry around dinner time last night, but by the time these were ready, I felt like I could devour them all!
5. A new seasoning: Herbamare Aromatic Sea Salt. This was another Whole Foods find that I’ve been hearing a lot about lately. Herbamare is created by A.Vogel, and originates in Europe. There are many varieties – I just stuck with the original because it sounded great. In addition to sea salt, the Original Herbamare is a tasty blend of celery, leek, watercress, onions, chives, parsley, lovage, garlic, basil, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and kelp. This is a healthier alternative to your usual table salt because sea salt contains valuable minerals and trace elements from the sea. These are needed to keep the body’s electrolytes balanced. Even more impressive is that the herbs used in the blend are all organically grown, so you don’t need to worry about any nasties in your salt!
Rather than using regular sea salt in my stuffed peppers above, I substituted Herbamare. It wasn’t a mass quantity or anything, but it did add quite a nice seasoning to the pepper stuffings before I scooped it into the halves.
6. A new favourite song of the moment: Forget You by Cee Lo Green, as performed on Glee!
This was definitely the highlight of the episode last night!
….annnnd that’s all for this week’s edition of Try Something New Tuesday! Before you go, tell me:
Do you eat tempeh? How do you like to cook it?
Have you tried wheatgrass juice, or do you use it on a regular basis? If so, have you noticed an increase in your energy? I only had one yesterday because I didn’t realize that 2 was one serving, but next time I’ll use 2 for sure. Have you noticed any other benefits?