Experimenting with ingredients!

21 Jul

I’d like  to share a few recipes that I’ve tried the last couple of weeks during my summer break.  I’ve been experimenting with ingredients that I’ve never used in cooking before. Thanks to my recent voracious reading of food blogs during the summer I’ve had no limit to the creative food presented to me!

One new ingredient I’ve tried is Millet.  Originally when I heard the word “millet” I thought of the suet cakes that my mom used to feed the wild birds, and the millet sprays I would give my parakeets when I was a teenager.  I wasn’t aware you could actually eat the stuff!  Thanks to Momma Pea I have a newly found use and interest in the grain.

I researched this new ingredient and found that according to Wikepedia: “Millets are major food sources in arid and semi-arid regions of the world, and feature in the traditional cuisine of many others.” Apparently it is also eaten as a type of porridge in Russian, Chinese and German cuisines. Wow, and I thought it was only for the birds!

These Banana Chocolate Chip Millet Muffins caught my eye on her blog, and that’s what first led me to try millet in my diet. But first I had to track some down (found it in the bulk food bins at my local health store!) and wait for my bananas to ripen (boo!)

Finally I made them, and I have to say, they were quite tasty, with just a little crunch due to the millet flour.

Tonight I made her Corn and Millet Pudding with my leftover millet from the muffins.  I had a few mishaps while making it.  The bottom of my blender wasn’t screwed on tight so it came off and spilled corn millet pudding all over the counter! 😦  I scooped up what I could (hey, my counters are clean!) and put it in the oven!  It was quite tasty too, reminding me of cream corn, with a little crunch, but much healthier than that canned stuff!

I served the corn pudding with this marinated, grilled chicken breast & toasted corn tortillas,

Guacamole,

and frijoles a la charra (mexican pinto beans)

Frijoles a La Charra Recipe

– 1 lb. dried pinto beans

– 4 slices turkey bacon(or regular bacon for more flavor), cut in small pieces

-1 bunch cilantro, chopped

-2 roma tomatoes, chopped

-2 cloves garlic, minced

-1 jalapeno (add more or less depending on how much spice you can handle), chopped

– salt

I start out by rinsing the beans and covering them with water in my crockpot, set to “low”, along with a teaspoon of baking soda.  That’s my secret to the beans.  The baking soda releases some of the gas in the beans (we all want that!) and also helps them to soften up as they cook.  After about 4-5 hours, or until beans are almost to desired tenderness, add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker.

Add four pieces of chopped up bacon, chopped cilantro, chopped tomatoes, chopped garlic, chopped jalapeno, and salt to taste and let cook 1-2 hours more, until flavors have blended together.

It’s not a very exact recipe, I just add more/less of ingredients as needed according to my taste.  I usually use bacon and a couple of teaspoons of bacon grease, but I was trying to make a little healthier, and pork free version today.

In other recent new, look what I scored at my local Health Food Store, “Sun Harvest”  on my last grocery run!

I got all of this for only $20.00!

What I got for $20!   2 lb. dried pinto beans, toasted coconut flakes, 2lbs raw almonds, Chia seed, 1 lb. brussel sprouts, white peaches, green grapes, 2 lb. broccoli crowns, 2 lbs. roma tomatoes, bag of spinach (not pictured), 1 lb. block of cheddar cheese, and a bottle of “Nika” water (I liked the bottle too much!)

So colorful, and the proceeds go 100% to poverty alleviation!

I usually only buy produce that is on sale at the grocery, or specialty items, so I found a lot of awesome deals this time around.

– Roma tomatoes, .88 cents a pound

-White Peaches, .99 cents a pound

-Green Grapes, .99 cents a pound

– Bag of Chia Seed, $4.99, marked down from $7.50!  (Can’t wait to try this superfood, thanks to Katie and other foodies!)

I’ll be posting later this week some of my other new cooking experiences! 🙂

Please chime in with your two cents on what you would like to see featured in my blog.  Are grocery buys interesting, budget tips, recipes, food reviews,  food diary, workout schedule? Let me know what you want to see!

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