Millet, a whole grain side dish

Millet

When I shared with my co-worker that I tried cooking millet the other day for dinner, her reaction was….”Isn’t that what they put in bird seed?”.  Ummm….yes actually.  In North America anyway.

Millet is technically a “seed” not a grain which happens to be gluten free and quite nutritious.  This crop is very popular in Africa and tropical parts of Asia due to it’s short growing season and that it needs hot and dry climate.

Did you know that different types of millet have been cultivated for over 10,000 years?  I also learned that sorghum (another grain I’ve been using) is in the millet family as well!

Millet is popular in African countries, China, India and even in Russia.  Millet can be enjoyed as a sweet dish such as porridge or savory along with meat or bean dishes.

I cooked it up like rice, served it with a nice “saucy” dish and then had it for lunch the next day.  Hubby liked it too, it’s a nice change from our starch staples and helps diversify out nutrition too!  Millet is a “thirsty” grain though, and continues to absorb water as it sits.  Having it with a sauce for leftovers helps to ensure it’s moist and delicious.

Ingredients:

1 cup millet

2 cups water

Dash of salt

Directions:

1. Bring the water to a boil in a small pot with a tight fitting lid.

2. Add millet (rinsed), stir briefly and then cover.  Turn down to simmer or low.

3. Allow millet to steam on the stove for about 20 minutes or until moisture is absorbed.

4. Fluff with a fork and allow to sit for 5 minutes, covered.

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Tender Sweet Potato Crumpets

Sweet Potato Crumpets

Tea and crumpets, how cheerful that sounds!  My Mom used to buy crumpets from the store when we were kids, usually blueberry ones and we would have them for lunch sometimes.

These technically aren’t crumpets but they taste very similar to the ones I’ve had.  Traditionally they are made like a pancake in a frying pan and held in the shape of a circle by a ring as it cooks.  I made these like a biscuit and they turned out wonderfully, especially with the nice moist and sweet hint of sweet potato in every bite!

These go with a cream based soup very well or can be a nice brunch accompaniment.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 cups of gluten free flour mixture

Dash of salt

1/2 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup cold butter

3/4 cup milk or substitute

3/4 cup mashed and cooled sweet potato (leftovers work great)

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Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a large baking pan with parchment paper.

2. Mix together dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

3. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until pea sized.  Mix in mashed sweet potato.

4. Mix in milk and stir until just moistened.

5. Using a ice cream scoop, portion batter onto baking sheet making approximately 16, spaced an inch apart.  Bake in oven for approximately 20 minutes or until slightly browned.

Serve warm.  For leftovers, reheat gently in the oven/toaster oven for 5 minutes or in the microwave until warm.

A view of celiac disease with rose coloured glasses. Happy celiac awareness month!

A view of celiac disease with rose coloured glasses. Happy Celiac Awareness Month!

Since the end of April marks two years since my husband’s diagnosis with celiac disease, and we’ve been reflecting on that a lot lately, I figured a blog post was in order.  Some days it can be easy to fall into self-pity thoughts but actually all of our reflections lately have been positive ones! So here is a my view from two years into it…with rose coloured glasses!

This is what I would have said to ourselves back then, with a new diagnosis of celiac disease…

Two years

You have no idea how much better you will feel.  Seriously. You will notice some immediate changes within a couple weeks but many other symptoms are going to take longer.  Some take well over a year to improve.  Be patient, your body will heal itself, become stronger and change for the better.

There is a lifestyle treatment that is actually effective!  Your gut healing is completely within your control instead of having to rely on medications, doctors or interventions. Be thankful it’s something you can do something about…considering all the other diseases out there.

Mental health issues are a huge symptom of untreated celiac disease.  Depression, anxiety, irritability, sleep patterns, concentration and mental clarity can and likely will improve!  But again, it does take time.

You’re going to find improvement in symptoms you didn’t think were related to glutenNight time leg cramps?  Acid reflux?

You are not going to miss gluten.  Really.  As much as you think your life is not going to be the same with croissants, you will adapt to your new eating pattern in no time.  Plus considering how prevalent this way of eating is, you can find substitutes for many food products if you really miss something…like bagels or English muffins.  Just don’t fall into the trap of thinking they are healthy.

You’ll gain lots of new cooking and baking skills and try many different foods that you probably won’t have otherwise!  Millet, sorghum, amaranth?  Embrace it.

You are going to live your life with more intention.  You are going to eat more simply, be more organized and plan your meals better.  That means….less stress, more nutritious foods, less junk food or fast food.  Ultimately eating well = feeling well.

Having a disease really gives you a change of life perspective.  Life and health cannot be taken for granted.  Embrace life and all it has to offer!

Any drawbacks? 

I asked my husband if he regrets or misses anything since his diagnosis.  After thinking about it for a minute he said…

“Gluten free beer is expensive. And I miss perogies”.

(Good Ukrainian boy).

But the first thing he actually blurted out when I asked him that question?

“That didn’t get diagnosed SOONER!”

Happy celiac awareness month!

For more information on celiac disease please check out:

The Canadian Celiac Association

Shelley Case

One Lovely Blog Award

One Lovely Blog Award

I am honored to be nominated for this fun and cute award by Bekah of A Vegan with a Plan (check her out here)! I enjoy scrolling through her fun and engaging recipes with a vegan flare!  Like….Peanut Butter Fudge Swirl Cheesecake {gluten free, vegan}….you had me a peanut butter fudge swirl.

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Here are the guidelines for The One Lovely Blog Award:

  1. Thank and link back to the person who nominated you (mention your nominator in your own award post with a link back to their original award post).
    2. Share 7 things about yourself.
    3. Nominate 15 other bloggers and comment on their blogs (usually on their about page or contact directly if necessary) to let them know.

Here are 7 things about me…

1. I am a dietitian (of course) but I actually specialize in dysphagia management which means people that have trouble swallowing. It’s common issue in elderly people as they age (up to 60% in fact!).  It’s hard to be well nourished if you can’t swallow well.

2. I am not an athletic person (at all) but I do enjoy moving my body.  My favourite activities include hiking, jogging, yoga and biking around my neighbourhood.

3. Crocheting is one of my favourite hobbies to do!  My sister and I enjoy making stuffed animals called amigrumi for our family and friends with babies!  Cows, foxes, whales, dolls….so much crocheting to do but so little time!  This is one Tabitha actually just made!

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4. My favourite foods include peanut butter, cheese, fresh BC fruit and chocolate.

5. I suck as social media.  Facebook I can handle…but twitter?  No idea.  #idontdohashtags  And if someone can tell me how to make a hyperlink instead of linking to something with the http://www part….I’d feel like a more tech savy person. UPDATE!  Thanks to my Dad for showing me how to do that!  *Fist pump*

6. I wish I enjoyed green vegetables more.  There.  I said it.

7. I love to travel!  My favourite places tend to be full of raw untamed nature without a huge amount of people or crowds.  Iceland, New Zealand and the Cook Islands have been my highlights so far.

Here are the blogs that I would like to nominate for this fun award. Check them out, they are all fantastic!

Jessica of Smart Nutrition

Susan of A Little Nutrition

Abbey’s Kitchen

Nsharda of Carrots and Cake

Marianne of French Fries to Flax Seeds

Kellie’s Food to Glow

Lyndsay of Officially Gluten Free

Tabitha’s Gluten Free Dishes

Bianca and Sara of The Friendly Fig

Emma of She Can’t Eat What?

Kristine of Thank Heavens

Gluten Free Jess

Nicole Osinga

Easy Superfood Chocolates!

Chocolates

I needed to make something for a party.  Something naturally gluten free, quick, easy and with eye appeal!

Scrolling through pinterest, I came across a beautiful picture of chocolates sprinkled with colourful dried fruits and nuts.  Since I always have an abundance of those things in my pantry, I went to work crafting up some of my own chocolates!

I don’t think I need to promote the benefits of chocolate to anyone….it’s dang tasty and cocoa is high in antioxidants.  Enough said.

Feel free to have fun rummaging through the shelves of your pantry for some random toppings for these chocolates!  Nuts, seeds and dried fruits are all high in disease fighting anti-oxidants as well as vital nutrients for our bodies.

These chocolates could easily be individualized for a different themes or to suit different taste buds.  Pistachios and cranberries for Christmas!  Pumpkin seeds and apricots for Halloween!  These came together in about 10 minutes plus some time for firming of the chocolates.

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Ingredients:

1 package of Dark chocolate chips 55% or darker

Assortment of dried fruits, nuts and seeds (dried cranberries, raisins, diced apricots, figs, dates, cherries, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, toasted almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews….the list goes on!)

Directions:

1. Pour chocolate chips in a large bowl and microwave for 1 minute.  Stir well and microwave for an addition 30 seconds at a time, stir in between, until chocolate it all melted.

2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Spoon a tablespoon of melted chocolate onto the parchment paper until all is used up.  Lift the pan about 1 inch above the counter and drop a few times to help the chocolate spread out.

3. Sprinkle the tops of the chocolates with a variety of toppings.

4. Refrigerate until chocolate is firm and hardened.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge.