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a lesson on sprouting

Happy Monday!

I thought I would start off the week with a lesson on sprouting. ūüôā

Sprouting is the process of changing a boring seed into a life-bearing plant!  When you sprout, you are unlocking all of the valuable nutrients that are inside of that seed.  Many of these nutrients are not absorbed into your body when they are cooked because of the heat that it takes to cook them.  The nutrients are lost before they can be consumed.

By sprouting, you are able to keep the valuable nutrients in tact and have a delicious grain, seed or bean to eat without any cooking!

Sprouting is great for many reasons, two of the biggest reasons being:

  1. It neutralizes the acids making it easier for the nutrients to be absorbed.
  2. It makes them easier to digest.

Another great thing?  Sprouting is so easy!

I decided to sprout 2 different grains to show you difference in timing – quinoa and wheatberries.

First, rinse the grains/seeds/beans very well.  Then, place them in a jar (I used mason jars) and cover with water and soak for 12 Р24 hours.

The quinoa soaked for 12 hours, the wheatberries soaked for 24 hours.

After the grains have soaked for their allotted time, dump them into a mesh strainer and rinse very well.

Then, return the grains to their jars and cover with cheesecloth.

You can see that the grains expanded to almost double the size after soaking them!

In order for the grains to sprout, they must be placed in a room temperature place.  Place them on their side and be sure to rinse a few times per day in order to keep the grains moist.  The moisture is what helps them to sprout.



I like to rinse the grains by leaving the cheesecloth on.  Fill the container with water and invert the jar to drain!  Simple.

Continue to rinse and leave the grains on their sides until you see signs of sprouts!

The quinoa will sprout quickly, so keep an eye on it.  I stopped the sprouting after about 12 hours when it looked like the picture below.  The sprouts will be about the size of the grain you are sprouting.

The wheatberries will take longer.  I stopped the sprouting after about 26 hours.

Once the grains are done sprouting, rinse them one more time and then completely drain all water.  I left this draining for about 15 minutes to make sure all of the liquid was out.

In order to stop the sprouting process, place the jars into the fridge.  The cold temperatures will cause the sprouting to commence.  I store the grains in the same jars that I sprout them in, which is why I make sure to completely drain those jars.

At this point, your sprouted grains are ready to eat!

Sprouting may take a long time, but as you can see the process is quite simple.  Instead of taking 20-40 minutes to cook your quinoa and/or wheatberries for dinner, you can simply spend 1 minute taking your sprouted grains out of the fridge!

The taste of the grains is similar, but definitely a little different.  I like the taste, especially mixed in delicious salads, like this one.

Or simply places atop a salad, like this one.

Sprouting can be done with many different grains, seeds and beans.¬† My next adventure will be to sprout some chickpeas to make sprouted chickpea hummus.¬† Doesn’t that sound good?!


simple meals

I definitely did not spend much time on my meals today!  Luckily, I had a breakfast already made for me, leftovers for lunch, and a simple but delicious dinner!

I woke up bright and early for some speedwork on the treadmill!  I ran 7 miles with 4 x 1600 at an 8:00 pace.  I finished in just over an hour and felt great!  But, was ready for breakfast.

I forgot to snap a photo, but breakfast was another Wheatberry bowl with dried fruit, caramelized pears, greek yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup.¬† Same as yesterday, so I copied the photo!¬† Trust me, it looked the same. ūüôā

Breakfast did not fill me up as much as it did yesterday, maybe because of my workout?¬† So, mid morning I snacked on a banana and chocolate almond butter from Futter’s Nut Butter.¬† I ordered some nut butters from Futters awhile ago and they sent me some samples along with my purchase.¬† This chocolate almond butter was one of them.

It was good, but not great.  A little too sweet for my liking.  I much prefer the Cinn-ful Pecan Butter that I bought from them!

When lunch rolled around, I was ready with my leftovers!

I started with the rice mixture from our Stuffed Acorn Squash.

We had a lot of the stuffing left over!

Then, I had the leftover Brussel Sprouts from last night.

It was a great lunch.

Then, I was craving salty chocolate.¬† Wired, I know, but sometimes you just need it!¬† So, I booked it to Trader Joe’s to get my favorite Chocolate Pretzel Slims.

I immediately tore open the bag and dug in!

Yum – perfect!

The ingredient list isn’t terrible either.

But, of course I was still hungry a few hours later since my treat was not very filling!  So, I tried the new Oikos Caramel Greek Yogurt.

Oh my gosh!  This is even better than the chocolate!  It has a subtle, creamy caramel taste.  It is not a super sweet caramel, like I thought it might be.  So good.

Brant and I both got home late tonight, so we just wanted something quick for dinner.¬† I decided to heat up a can of Amy’s Soup that I had been sent to review.

I tried the Chunky Tomato Bisque.

This soup was really good.¬† It was rich and creamy.¬† Normally, I am not a fan of canned soup due to the amount of sodium, but Amy’s is a good compromise for a quick lunch or dinner.¬† Their soups are all natural and organic.¬† It still contains a lot of salt (680mg per serving), but that is less than other soups out there.¬† Plus, Amy’s only uses whole ingredients.


I also made up some quesadillas on a pita pocket to serve along with the soup.

I sliced up some zucchini and cheddar cheese to put in my quesadilla, and grilled it on the panini press for a few minutes until hot and melty.

A perfect and sophisticated grilled cheese and soup!

Time to pay attention to the Olympics and finish my book!¬† See you all tomorrow. ūüôā

the weathermen were right…

…about the snow this time!!¬† We only got a few inches, but it is always so pretty when the snow is falling…until I get home to Southie and people have marked their spots with cones and chairs, etc!¬† UGH!

But I got home, found an unmarked parking spot and was ready to make dinner.

I felt like some delicious green veggies tonight, so I roasted some asparagus and brussel sprouts, and cooked up some barley which I seasoned with lemon and herbs.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

I made roasted brussel sprouts in mustard sauce again, since they were such a big hit the first time around.

I cleaned up the brussel sprouts.

Then, mixed them with mustard, brown sugar, sesame oil, salt and pepper and spread them out on a cookie sheet to bake at 400¬įF for 25 minutes.

Yum!  They came out caramelized and crispy and even better than last time!

Roasted Asparagus

  • 20 asparagus stalks
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • handful of grated parmesean cheese

Lay out your asparagus on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle on parm cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Bake at 400¬įF for 10-12 minutes, or until roasted.¬† I already had my brussel sprouts baking, so I just popped this cookie sheet in when they had about 10 minutes to go.

This is such a quick and easy way to cook asparagus.  My husband and I love it!

Tomato & Barley Salad


  • 1 cup uncooked barley, cooked according to package instructions
  • 2-2.5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme (use fresh if you have it!)


  • Boil 2 cups of vegetable stock.¬† Add barley, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes.¬† I have found that the cooking times with barley really vary for some reason!¬† Check your barley every so often.¬† You may need to add more vegetable stock if the barley is not tender enough.¬† I cook long enough so that it is al dente.

  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add chopped garlic and onion.¬† Cook until onion is tender, about 5-8 minutes.
  • Add grape tomatoes and cook until warmed through.

  • Once barley is cooked, remove from heat and add to the onion/tomato mixture. Stir until combined.

  • Add lemon juice and zest to the mix and stir to combine.¬† Then, add thyme and mix.
  • Serve with roasted asparagus and brussel sprouts, or your veggie of choice!

This was a great dinner.¬† I adore vegetables and grains, so anytime I have a meal combining the 2 is phenomenal in my book.¬† I make sure that everything has a lot of good flavors, but that they don’t overpower each other.¬† The barley salad was very lemony, which worked well with the mustard brussel sprouts.¬† And, the asparagus was so simple, that it could be served with anything.¬† Loved this meal!

Wow!¬† An all around great day of eats. ūüôā

sunday night prep

Well, in this case it was actually Monday Night Prep, due to the holiday, but you get the idea!

While I was waiting for our acorn squash dinner to cook last night, I got a jump start on preparing meals for the week.¬† I usually try to prepare my lunches the night before to make my mornings less rushed.¬† I find that when I pack them in the morning, I¬†am running around¬†and therefore, don’t always pack the most nutritious lunch.¬† Usually, I am pressed for time, and just pull random items from the cabinet and fridge to bring with me.¬† These are also the days that I end up snacking all day long because my lunch is not filling enough!

This week, I planned out my lunches before we went grocery shopping.  I plan to eat leftovers of our dinners a few days.  I also wanted something a little different for breakfast this week!  I am growing tired of my same old oatmeal or smoothies each morning, so I thought I would prepare something more fun and exciting for breakfast this week!  I have been wanting to make wheatberry bowls from 101cookbooks.com for awhile now, but I never seem to have enough time!  This is just the week to make them!

I cooked 1 cup of wheatberries according to the package instructions.  Wheatberries take at least an hour to cook, so this is definitely something that you need to do in advance!  After my wheatberries were cooked, I just popped them into a container and put them in the fridge to use each morning.

I also cut up some dried fruit – 3 whole dried bananas, 1/4 cup dried ginger and 1/4 cup dried apricots (all of these contain no sugar!).¬† I mixed all of the fruit together and placed it into an airtight bowl for safe keepings. ūüôā

I also toasted some pecans.

The last thing that I did was carmelize some pears!  I sliced 2 pears and cooked them with 1 tsp butter over medium heat until they were soft and a little browned.  They came out so good and sweet!

I woke up this morning knowing that breakfast was waiting for me – no waiting for my oats to cook this morning!

I scooped 1/2 cup cooked wheat berries into a bowl and topped it with 1/2 carmelized pear, handful of mixed dried fruit, a dollop of plain greek yogurt and a drizzle of pure maple syrup!

YUM!  This was the best breakfast ever!  A wonderful change of pace from my normal oats and smoothies.  I was in need of a break for a week.  I love the sweetness of the maple syrup and pears, and the spiciness of the dried ginger!  The yogurt makes everything mix together just perfectly.  This is a delicious breakfast that would be perfect served to a large group for brunch!  I will be eating it all week.

Lunch was also packed last night, since I had some extra time.  I made some tuna fish mixed with stoneground mustard, celery seed and chopped celery.  I hate mayo, so I never use it, not even in tuna!  I much prefer the tangy taste of mustard.

I filled 1/2 white (I know, bad bad!!) pita pocket with some arugula and the tuna.  It was a great tuna sandwich, and just filling enough.

On the side, I snacked on some Roasted Plantain Chips that I picked up from Trader Joes.  I have had my eye on these for a while, but just got around to actually buying them this week!

They are great!¬† The ingredients say that they are roasted in a little sunflower oil and salt.¬† That’s right, just 3 ingredients: plantains, sunflower oil, salt!¬† The flavor is just perfect.¬† Not too oily and not too salty, just right.¬† I have previously only had sweet plantains, so this was a nice change.

One serving (about 20 chips) contains 140 calories and 6 grams of fat.  Not so bad!

That was a great lunch!  Very satisfying.

I broke open another You TrailMix for a snack this afternoon.  This mix was Chocolate Trails, which contained organic peanuts, pecans, cherries, pretzels, chocolate chips and chocolate covered raisins.

This was a good mix, better than the first one I tried.¬† I still prefer to make my own trail mix, but this mix is probably similar to one that I’d make on my own!¬† It was perfect to hold me over until dinner.

oatbran & orzo

Sorry about my lack of post yesterday!  I was way to tired after dinner and crashed!

Before my morning workout, I snacked on a new bar that I found.  They are marketed as all raw bars, but this one was only about 89% raw.  Still more raw than any other bar out there though!  I loved it!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

It tasted somewhat like a Larabar, but not as dry.¬† And, it had mini chocolate chips in it, which was obviously a big seller for me. ūüôā¬† It had 200 calories, 10 grams of fat and minimal ingredients, which was also a big seller for me.¬† It kept me going throughout my workout.

Anyways, on to the workout.  Today was Day 3 of my weight routine РBack & Biceps.

I started with a 6 mile easy run on the treadmill (60 minutes) to get in my cardio and miles, and then headed to the weights.  Here is what I did today:

Back & Biceps

  • Lat Pulldown (3 sets of 12, 50 lbs)
  • 21’s (3 sets, 10 lb dumbbells)
  • Hammer Curls (3 sets of 12, 10 lb weights)
  • Bent over Dumbbell Fly (3 sets of 12, 7.5 lb weights)
  • Back Extension (3 sets of 10, 10 lb weight)
  • Seated Row (3 sets of 12, 35 lbs)
  • Pushups (2 sets of 15)

Skipped the corework today due to time, I’ll have to add that in at some other point this week!

My breakfast¬†yesterday was oatbran instead of oatmeal.¬† It’s nice to change it up once in awhile.¬† I think I went on oatmeal overload and I need a little break!¬† Oatbran is basically oatmeal in a different form (more ground up), but it feels different to me!¬† It doesn’t feel as hearty, even though it fills me up just the same.

Normally, I eat thick rolled oats for breafkast.  Thick rolled oats are steamed whole oat groats that are rolled into a thick flake, which gives them the texture of a steel cut oat, but one that cooks faster.  They are thicker than old fashioned oats (like quaker) and are a bit chewier and heartier.   Because of their thickness they take a little longer to cook, are very filling and take longer to digest, thus keeping you full and satisfied for longer.  I buy mine in the bulk foods section at whole foods.

Oat bran is made from whole oat groats, as well, but they are ground into a fine oat meal and then combined with some of the outer bran or husk of the oat.  Adding the husk increases the amount of fiber (oatbran = 6 grams of fiber, rolled oats = 4 grams of fiber).  Oat bran cooks fairly quickly and has a smoother texture than my normal thick rolled oats.  I prefer the taste and texture of rolled oats, but I do like to change to oatbran one in awhile.

Anyways, on to my breakfast of oats in a jar!  I usually eat my oats with a spoonful or two of nut butter, so when my peanut butter jar was almost empty, I new it was the perfect portable container for my oats!

I cooked my oatbran just like my oatmeal, with a banana and a scoop of ground flaxseed.

Boil 1 cup of water in a small pot on the stove, then add in your ingredients: 1/3 cup oatbran, 1 tbsp ground flaxseed and 1 ripe banana.

Cook the oatbran for a few minutes, until it creates a creamy oatmeal (almost like a cream of wheat consistency).  I like to whip up my banana while it is cooking to make it all blend together.

Then, I scooped my oats into my almost empty peanut butter jar!

And added a spoonful of chocolate peanut butter, just for fun!

And, off i went with my oats in a jar and spoon. ūüôā

Fast forward to dinner!  Victoria was in town for the night, so I needed to find something quick and yummy for dinner!  I decided on 101cookbooks Orzo Super Salad which I have made multiple times before!  Because I have made it so many times, I kind of just made up the recipe as I was going along, but it obviously came out very similar.

I used asparagus, brocolli, a huge cucumer, bean sprouts, and a Florida avocado for my veggies.

You might be wondering what a Florida avocado is?!  Well, I saw these huge avocados in the grocery store this week, and was intrigued.  They were marketed as a Slimcado with half the fat.

Now, normally I would not be intrigued by something like this, because avocados have healthy fat and we should not be cutting that out of our diets.  Plus, I rarely buy anything that says low-fat or fat-free because of all of the unhealthy additives that go into them.  Anyways, I needed an avocado for this recipe and this was all that they had at the grocery store I went to.  So, I decided to try it out.

I did some research online when I got home to see what all of the fuss was about, and found out that Florida avocados are grown in more tropical climates with lots of rain, while regular avocados (like Hass) are grown in extremely hot and dry areas, like South America.¬† Therefore, the Florida avocados retain more water, making them have less fat.¬† Interesting, I thought…

So, I opened this baby up…and found this…

…a HUGE pit!!¬† Well, no wonder these Slimcados contain half the fat?!¬† There is half the avocado meat in there!¬† Jeez!¬† Marketing…it will do crazy things to the mind. ūüôā

But, the avocado did still taste great!  And, it looks the same once it is all cut up.

While I was chopping up my veggies, the orzo was cooking on the stove.

Once it was done, I drained it and added all of my veggies along with some toasted walnuts and feta, and mixed it all up.

Instead of making up the dressing that Heidi Swanson recommends, I just squeezed a lemon and drizzled some olive oil over the whole salad and mixed it up well.

As usual, it was a hit!  This salad is great for a potluck or a summer BBQ!  It is always a crowd pleaser!

Orzo Super Salad

from 101cookbooks.com

Serves 4 (so it says – this recipe makes a lot!)


  • 1 cup dried orzo pasta
  • 10-12¬†medium asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch segments
  • 1 medium head of broccoli, cut into small trees
  • Small handful of cilantro (I omitted this, I don’t love cilantro)
  • 1 small clove of garlic (I cooked this with the orzo)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (I just used a drizzle)
  • a small handful of sprouts
  • 1/3 cup almonds, toasted (I used walnuts)
  • 1/2 small cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (I doubled this)
  • 1 medium avocado, sliced into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup feta, crumbled


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously (and add garlic) and boil the orzo per package instructions.
  2. About 30 seconds before the orzo is finished cooking stir the asparagus and broccoli into the orzo pot. Cook for the final 30 seconds, drain and run under a bit of cold water. Just long enough to stop the cooking.
  3. In the meantime, whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and more salt (if needed) into the dressing. Set aside. (I omitted this step and just squeezed the lemon and drizzled the olive oil over the salad once mixed)
  4. Toss the orzo, asparagus, broccoli, and cilantro.
  5. Now add the sprouts, almonds, cucumber, avocado, and feta. Very gently toss a couple of times to distribute those ingredients throughout the salad and serve.

It is great served warm, roomtemp or chilled!!