Tuesday, June 15, 2010


While shopping in my favorite place today (Whole Foods bulk section) I found yet another unusual grain:  Amaranth.  According to the label at the store, while it is revered elsewhere in the world, its usually considered a weed here in the states and nobody likes it.  The grain itself looks like an even smaller version of quinoa. And, according to multiple sources, one serving has anywhere from 20-80% of your daily iron and a third of your daily calcium.  Awesome.

When I got home, I began searching for some delicious recipes to make with my new mystery grain.  I found two:  Amaranth tabbouleh and a treat from mexico called "Alegria".  Its a "candy" similar to rice krispy treats, made with honey, butter, dried fruits, and nuts.  Zach is leaving for Houston tomorrow, so I figured he could take these with him.

While the tabbouleh was a fairly standard recipe(and frickin' delicious), making the Alegria was a unique experience.  First you have to pop the Amaranth.  It pops fairly easily, just like tiny, tiny popcorn but you have to be extremely careful not to burn it.  Three seconds can be the difference between toasty popped amaranth and a pan of burned crap.

here are the popped amaranths.  They smell and taste like 
classic puffed wheat cereal, just smaller.

While the recipe called for half corn syrup or molasses and half  honey, I didn't have any of the first two so I used all honey.  This made the bars softer than they should have been, but not too bad.  I cut some up and wrapped them in plastic wrap for Zach's journey.  

Here are the recipes mentioned in the post and some Amaranth resources:
Tabouli  I skipped the whole lettuce leaf thing.  The vitamin C from the lemon juice will help you absorb all that Iron!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summer is here!

After three weeks of cold rain, the weather finally broke and the dry summer season has begun.  I have actually been experiencing some allergy sneezing and sniffles, and a local told me its allergy season!  I have never before actually had outdoor allergies, but I've always heard local honey is a good remedy for that.  And now that I think about it, I had been eating (or drinking) local honey back in Pittsburgh for a very long time.  Local honey was always purchased at the fair or Schramm's farm, and it may have been the reason I've never really had an outdoor allergy problem before.  Now if someone could only make indoor honey...

Portland Saturday market honey guy to the rescue!  At 3 dollars, this jar of honey is a lot smaller than it looks.  But I'm sure said honey guy's blood, sweat and tears went into it.  Actually, ew...I hope not.  It tastes pretty good though.

So besides sneezing, what am I doing with my life?  Short answer: nothing.  No job yet, and no word back from my interview.  But that's okay for now, being unemployed in the summertime is Childhood version 2.0.  Except nobody tells me when to go to bed, and I can have all the beer I want.

Enter kiddie crafts.  Lately, I've been making friendship bracelets among other things (things which I cannot post yet since I'm sending two of them off to Texas as a gift and I don't want to spoil the surprise).  I loved making bracelets when I was a kid, and the fun is not lost on me at 24 1/2.  Today, patterns for bracelets can be found all over the internet, not just in books, though my favorite still comes out of the original Klutz Friendship Bracelets book (by Laura Torres):

Double Chain Knot.  Not too intricate but you can make 5 in an hour
and wear them all at the same time.  Like, for instance, while watching
90's sitcoms at 3AM because you don't have a job.

Another thing we've been working on is our patio garden.  Not too much has sprouted yet, but when they do, I'll be swimming in cilantro.  Which will get made into pesto.  And frozen.  Tomatoes (I hope they don't get blight), jalapeno peppers, petunias, catnip (for guess who!), lemon balm, rosemary, and cilantro should soon be sprouting on our balcony.  Time will tell.