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Warm Grains Are the Shit Literally and Figuratively

I wrote this blog about adding warm grains to our diet weeks before the Coronavirus reared its ugly head. The importance of what we eat during this time, to ensure what we’re putting in our bodies has taken on a whole new meaning. Riffing on that later… 

 

Without further ado, Welcome to Clio’s Warm Grains Recipe.

On Sundays, so that Monday morning breakfast is good to go, I whip this warm grains recipe out. It’s enough for two, for the rest of the week. 

Prepping my warm grains for the week.

Clio’s Warm Grain Ingredients:

1 Cup Steel Cut Oats; and

½ cup of each of the following:

Hulled Barley*

Quinoa (I like the red)

Wild Rice

Polenta

Short Grain Brown Rice

2 Tbsp. Flaxseed Meal 

 

Clio’s Warm Grain Recipe:

1. In a colander, under the kitchen faucet, rinse well, pour in 4 quart pot. 

2. Add 7 1/2 Cups of water, bring to boil, cover and simmer approx. 45-50 min.

 

I store it in a stainless steel bowl in the fridge. In the morning while the NutriBullet smoothies are smoothing, I scoop out around a ½ cup each, into two asian rice bowls, and top with a healthy sprinkle of cinnamon, chopped walnuts or almonds, dried apricots or raisins, dried cranberries etc. Also, 1 Tsp. Organic pure Maple syrup. And a splash of Cashew milk. Microwave 1-2 min.  

Vegan Warm Grains Ready to Eat

 

I’ve become obsessed with these grains. And as with all obsessions, I read, read, read. Knowledge is everything and with knowledge comes responsibility. Non nobis solum nati summus Not for ourselves are we born. Cicero. Hence the blog.

 

Okay, let’s talk about my grains.

On a recent trip to Manhattan, where our daughter Anni lives with her family in the delectable West Village, we had breakfast at Rosemary’s. There wasn’t a lot on the menu for a new vegan, so I settled for their, “Warm Grains” and am I ever glad I did. We ate breakfast there three times. I was amazed when I returned home and stood on the scale; I had lost three pounds.  That’s big! Short of an act of Congress or ten day flu, I don’t lose weight. All the hype about grains is not just hype. 

I found myself remembering twenty years ago, when I was visiting a really dear friend, Richard, who at the time was very sick in the hospital.  He waved me over. When someone who is dying wants to tell you something important, you listen. Short of getting a notepad out, I knew whatever the next thing he said, could be life changing.

“Clio, eat more fiber.”

He whispered into my ear. Eat more fiber, did I hear him right. He closed his eyes and went back to sleep. Not buy stock in Apple, nope. Didn’t tell us to quit our jobs, take the kids out of school and travel the world, or buy property anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area. But no, “Eat more fiber.” 

I was 40 years old and basically feeding the family lot’s of spaghetti, soups, fish sticks, chicken strips, tater-tots, beans and rice, meatloaf, sloppy joes, tacos, and frozen burritos. And did I say spaghetti?  I thought we were getting fiber in our nightly iceberg lettuce salad. So, I filed those wise words away, and occasionally found myself thinking, maybe I had miss-heard Richard’s last words to me.   

I get it now.

No one can prepare you for how our bodies change with age. Yes, Richard, ‘Eat more Fiber’ is my mantra. Overnight I have become that pain in the ass, reminding anyone who will listen, “Are you getting enough fiber?  You’ll thank me later.” 

Let’s look at the effect the news and social media can have on our diets.. 

I recently had a routine blood test done after which my doctor informed me she was concerned about my sodium levels. The next day I emailed her because I remembered I had nervously eaten almost a tube of salt crackers with a pot of humus the night before the test. It wasn’t the test, I was worried about, but all of the news of the Coronavirus. 

Are any of you dealing with the stress of this global calamity, with food. Well here’s what I did, when I ordered our food on-line, I didn’t order crackers. I know, I know  I’m going to regret that well-thought-out decision later. Up until all the news reporting the virus, I was doing so well. There had been no change in my daily diet, but now I was back to feeling like I was starving a couple of hours after breakfast.

But why is that? “WHY?”

My two year old granddaughter, Charlotte, will plead/whine to her family, until someone can come up with a reasonable answer. Well, according to WEbMD, “When you are anxious or tense, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. This amps up your feeling of hunger. Many people crave foods high in sugar, fat or both.” There’s your answer Charlotte. 

99% of you are plenty aware of what stress does to the body. 

Remembering that precious information and choosing to be rational, and not giving into what are very real, organic impulses. “Therein lies the rub”, as old Shakespeare would say. My brain is telling my stomach, eat a piece of cake, a half of a bag of Doritos, or even a well-buttered stack of toast. It’s just a thought, Clio, not an order.

What better time to dig into the tool belt and practice my breathing training; the second I feel in my gut, a pinch of anxiety, worry or fear, I make myself take those deep breaths and visualize  gratitude, joy, love, hope and peace.

Another way to combat my animal brain.

Well, I’m feeding it. That’s what I’m doing. I’m feeding my body every three hours; a handful of nuts, about seven mini-carrots, spoonful of either peanut butter/almond, celery with the aforementioned nut butter etc… Get this, it’s working, added with drinking copious amounts of water, meditating and obsessively reading vegan cookie recipes. 

Find comfort in a warm bowl of grains.

Tell yourself you’re doing everything possible to take care of the temple you reside in. Since we are all home, what better thing is there to do. For instance Google all the grains listed and research their nutritional value. It’s mind blowing. Have fun experimenting. One week I threw in ½ cup farrow, after having read in Men’s Health its benefits, and another Sunday, I didn’t have the wild rice and so skipped it all together. It’s all good!

This morning as Rick and I laid in bed with our laptops, I found myself sucked into a site showing pictures based on forensics, of what famous people in history actually looked like. I was surprised and disappointed, Cleopatra not the looker I had often imagined; whereas Nero a tongue-chewing nitwit. I was just leaning over to show Rick, George Washington (not bad), when I glimpsed his page. Every Sunday he read realclearscience.com, this page reviews and tests the truth of what is being published in the media. All this wonderful information is ours for the searching. So, do your research.

Follow up on a comment

One of the comments I received on last week’s post Me and My NutriBullet Smoothies was, “please give some other N/A cocktail recipes” Courtney* this one’s for you 🙂

Alice's Mint & Cacao Tini Ingredients

Alice’s Mint/Cacao Tini Ingredients**

½ Cup Cacao Nibs

1 Handful Fresh Mint

The Recipe:

1. In a pretty glass pitcher, or even a large mason jar, cover the mint and nibs with very hot water. Steep for 15 minutes.

2. Let cool, strain and pour over ice, garnish with a sprig of the mint, or even tea cups and serve warm.

Why pretty? You might be thinking. The color of the steeped nibs contrasting with ultra-green mint is simply lovely. That’s why.

 

*A big nod to the herculean task that Courtney Castanos has undertaken in creating, and teaching the after school program, Ramblin’ Adventure Club to kids in Santa Cruz. You go girl!! This N/A cocktail is for you.

** Also, a shout out to the Heat of the Kitchen program, at San Francisco’s Ida B. Wells Alternative High School. And huge kudos to Alice McCravens the creator and teacher. Her students served this at one of the Long-Table-Dinners a couple of years ago. For more information regarding this inspirational class go to heatofthekitchen.org.

A big thank you our neighbors, the Easterbrooks. They are living an abundant life, more importantly, they share their abundance by inviting all the neighbors to come and pick mandarins, lemons, tomatoes ( big story there), and the mint I needed for my Mint-tini. Isn’t that lovely… Rick is headed down there now to see if he can trade; 1 roll of paper towels, a can of olives and a half bag of pinto beans for two rolls of toilet paper…

Life is?…well, it’s up to us to make it good. 

Cheers to you dear Richard!

Alice's Mint and Cacao Tini

16 Comments
  1. Awesome. Love my oats in the morning. I will definitely try your warms grains recipe with whatever I can get my hands on.
    Xo

    1. Did you recognize Theresa’s plate? I still can’t believe she had Joe box up all 18 place settings, and bring to us in Davis. Those dishes mean so much to me.
      🙂

  2. “Warm Grains Are The Shit Literally And Figuratively,” is the best blog post title ever conjured!!!! Clio, thank you so much for these awesome recipes! I cannot wait to try your warm grains recipe and the Mint-tini cocktail!!! Also, thank you so much for the shout outs! Tomorrow the Ramblin’ teachers go back to work…from home, wish us luck that we won’t go crazy being on our computers and phones al day! (We miss the kids so much.) Lastly, I really, really hope you guys got those two rolls of tp!!!! Love ya lady!

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