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When following the Waldorf Way you hear over and over how important it is to establish a daily rhythm. Why not expand that to your eating habits? We all know it’s important to nourish our body and soul with whole grains and fresh food. Steiner took it a step further…he was a follower of the ancient idea that the 7 days of the week correspond to 7 different grains, following a cosmic rhythm. He called it “The Seven Planetary Grains”. This tradition is still followed today in Waldorf Kindergartens around the world.
I usually prefer to incorporate the daily grain at breakfast as a simple porridge made by grinding the grain and cooking it slowly, topping it with homemade almond milk. However, rhythm with food does not have to mean boring! So in this post I would like to share with you two recipes for each “grain of the day” to get you and your family excited about incorporating this idea into your everyday lives. I offer a morning recipe (for breakfast or early snack) as well as an afternoon recipe (for either lunch or dinner).
Wheat is fairly simple to incorporate into a meal…baked goods anyone? The idea though is to use these grains with purpose, with meaning. Try to let them stand out in the recipe you choose. There’s no hiding wheat in this soaked wheat breakfast cereal.
Soaked Wheat Cereal
1 cup raw wheat berries (soaked overnight in water and 1 Tbs lemon juice. This removes the phytic acid…allowing the wheat to be better digested)
Homemade almond milk (or your milk of choice)
Fresh fruit toppings (whatever’s in season!)
Rinse and drain your soaked wheat. Then you have 1 of 3 choices:
1. Let your wheat berries sprout and have a raw cereal tomorrow morning. Place the wheat berries in a container and cover it with cheesecloth (or a clean cloth diaper works really well!). Let them sit in a dark cool place rinsing and draining one more time at night before you go to bed. The next morning your wheat berries will have little “tails”. Just give them a final rinse and add your milk/fruit.
2. Put wheat berries into a pot and add about 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then turn to low and let simmer for 30 minutes. Then drain your wheat berries. You’ll have a nutty, slightly crunchy cereal perfect with milk and fruit.
3. Same as #2 but let simmer an hour, or until wheat has cracked and the consistency is more akin to oatmeal. You may need to add more water, so check on it every 10 minutes or so.
½ cup Earth Balance Vegan Butter (or butter) at room temp
1 ½ cups almond milk (or any other type of milk)
Mix it all together in a large bowl. Knead it with your hands (or several helpers’ hands) for 5 minutes or so. Then put it in a warm place and cover it with a cloth. Let it rise for 2-3 hours. Punch it down with your hands and then pull off pieces to shape them. Place them on a cookie sheet. Let the shaped pieces rise 1 hour and then bake them at 375 for about 15 minutes. It could be a fun family activity to try and create one big loaf of bread. The K class at the school made an amazing dragon for a festival last year.
Monday- Moon- Rice
1 Tbs almond butter
1 pinch sea salt
Put everything into your blender and whirl.
These Sesame Rice Patties are perfect for dinner with some lightly steamed veggies…but I always make a large batch so we have some to take to the park the next day. They stay well in the fridge and make tasty leftovers even served cold. The key here is to use sweet brown rice so it becomes sticky. You can substitute sushi rice (sweet white rice) if you can’t find the sweet brown rice.
Sesame Rice Patties
1 cup sweet brown rice (soaked for 4 hours prior to cooking, if time permits)
2 cups water
¾ cup onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs Bragg’s liquid aminos (or soysauce/tamari)
1 Tbs olive oil
pepper to taste
½ cup sesame seeds
Place the rice and water into a pot and cook until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender (about 30 min). Allow rice to stand covered for 10 min. Then mix the onion, garlic, Bragg’s, olive oil, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the rice to the bowl and stir to mix. In a small skillet toast the sesame seeds until lightly golden. Then grind the sesame seeds into a fine meal. Add the ground sesame seeds to the rice mixture and mix well. Use a large spoon to drop about 1/3 cup of the rice mixture into a well oiled skillet on low-medium heat. Use the back of the spoon to flatten it into a patty. Wet the spoon a bit if it’s sticking. Cook patty about 10 min on both sides or until golden brown. Get creative with how you serve these! We had some lovely heirloom tomatoes sliced on the side, but there’s about a million ways to serve these little patties.
Now barley is a little trickier to know what to do with, right? Again, a simple warm cereal in the morning would do it, but here’s a few fun ways to explore barley that you might not have thought of.
How about Barley Tea? This is quite popular in Japan (mugicha) and Korea (boricha)where it is traditionally served cold with breakfast. Here in America it is served warm as a caffeine-free coffee alternative, which is how I found out about it. I like it either warm or cold…depending on the weather. This is a great way to get your children thinking creatively in the kitchen. “What are the different ways our food can be cooked?” It is also a very tactile recipe: feeling the raw barley with their hands, smelling it as it roasts, tasting it both warm and cold to sample the different flavors it can take on.
1 cup barley
6 cups of water
¼ cup sucanat (or sweetener of choice)
First dry roast your barley. How do you do that? Easy! Simply put the barley in a skillet with nothing else (dry) and then turn the heat on to med. Stay by your barley please! It only takes 5 minutes to dry roast it and if you’re not stirring pretty consistently it will burn. You know it’s done when you can smell the barley and it turns a bit darker in color. You may also hear it start popping.
Don’t throw away that barley you strained! It makes a deliciously crunchy cereal with milk, or use it in a salad like this one…
Southwestern Barley Salad
2 cups cooked, cooled barley
1 cup cooked kidney beans
1 cup cooked black beans
1 cup corn
3/4 cup red onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2/3 cup BBQ sauce (I make a raw/vegan one that I use…but a bottled one or your own recipe is fine here)
Add a few chopped jalapenos if you’re not serving it to little ones.
Toss everything into a bowl and stir. Chill until ready to serve. How easy is that? Serve this with grilled vegetables for a light summer dinner, or even as a breakfast with tofu scramble (or eggs if you choose).
Millet is a grain I wish I had discovered long ago. I’ve only been using it in the past 5 years, but it is one of my favorite grains. It has a subtle nutty flavor that comes out when roasted and is very versatile. Millet can be ground up and used as flour in any baked goods recipe, but we really do enjoy it this way for breakfast. Again, you can simply use last night’s leftover millet here:
Millet Chocolate Pudding
2 cups cooked millet
1 ½ cups almond milk (or any milk)
¼ cup agave
¼ cup chopped medjool dates
¼ cup raw carob powder (or raw cacao, or cocoa powder)
2 heaping Tbs of peanut butter (peanut butter works well here, but if you prefer you can use almond butter)
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp vanilla
Throw all ingredients in the blender and blend until a smooth consistency. Then pour into pudding cups and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to thicken. My girls like little drawings on the top…I just use a knife tip to do hearts, stars and initials…but if you’re an artist I’ll bet you could get pretty creative here. It’s also nice to just throw some fresh fruit on top.
Since millet cooks quickly it’s suitable to do a vegetable pilaf with it. I can’t stand pilafs where the veggies are all mushy…yuck! I came up with this pilaf recipe by using a combo I’ve always loved: summer squash and basil.
Summer Millet Pilaf
3 Tbs olive oil
3 large garlic cloves
1 ½ cups raw millet
3 cups water
1 large onion, chopped
3 Tbs Bragg’s liquid aminos (or soysauce/tamari)
2 cups summer squash, chopped (zucchini, yellow crookneck, or patty-pan)
¼ cup nutritional yeast (or grated parmesan cheese if you prefer)
½ cup fresh basil, chopped
First wash millet by swirling it in water and then drain and rinse. In a med size pot heat olive oil and sauté garlic for 2-3 minutes. Then add millet, water, onion and Braggs. Bring to a boil, then lower heat, cover and let simmer for 10 minutes. Then add in zucchini and nutritional yeast (if using), cover and simmer another 5 minutes. Then turn off the burner and add the chopped basil. Let it sit, covered another 10 minutes, then serve. If you want to get all snazzy…press pilaf into a small bowl/ramekin and create a pilaf hill on your plate!