Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Thursday: Bean and Barley Salad

Here is a story for you, a small glimpse into the life of my kitchen. I made this simple and healthy dish with the help of my three year old son. His little hands assisted me assemble each part. He awed at the red pepper, the cilantro, the very sound the barley made as we shook it in the pot. He licked his fingers which were covered in the dressing. A hit, I thought to myself. I have made a healthy hit, a new family favorite. Two of the many things we have been working on in our household are healthy eating habits and a heart of gratitude. Here in this moment assembling our salad we had both. And, then came the chickpeas.
The Moose noticed the chickpeas ready to be poured into the salad. "Are those chickpeas?", he asked. I nodded a yes. I waited as he thought, the look of awe had vanished from his eyes. "Mommy, this meal is the most disgusting thing I have ever tasted in my whole life. And, I am grateful that you are not going to make me eat it."
And, there it is folks.

Now, did Mommy tell him that she was glad he used the word grateful? Yep.
Did Mommy give him alternatives to calling dinner disgusting (especially when it has not been tried.) Yep.
Did Mommy make him eat the chickpeas? Bet your bottom dollar she did.

When I tucked his royal highness into bed I told him that Mommy's love for him was a zillion times stronger than his hatred of chickpeas. And, Mommies who love their boys want them to be healthy even if that means making them eat the world's most disgusting bean and barley salad. And that was that.

Keep on truckin, Mommas. Keep on truckin.

Good news~ This salad because it is FAR from disgusting. In fact, I declare this salad amazing.

What you will need:
1 Can of Black Beans, rinsed and drained.
1 Can of Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained. (Modification: I used Chickpeas)
1-2 Cups of Corn (canned or frozen).
1 Sweet red pepper, chopped.
6 green onions, chopped. (Modification: I omitted the onions and it was great still.)
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
For the dressing: olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, cumin, crushed red pepper

What to do:

1. Boil your barley until cooked. I buy mine in bulk with no package directions so I can not tell you exactly how long to cook it. Boiling 3/4 cup of barley in a pot of water took about 20 minutes for me. I imagine it would be about the same for you.

2. As your barley is boiling, go ahead and make your dressing.
In a dish combine 3/4 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, and two cloves of garlic with your spices. Add almost two teaspoons of chili powder, 3/4 tsp of cumin, and 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes. You can salt if you need too. I did not. Stir this and set aside.

3. Dice up your cilantro. The recipe calls for 1/3 cup, but I just used a bunch. Anybody else ready to stop buying cilantro in the store?! I planted mine last week and am eagerly hoping my seeds take. I had the hardest time getting a good cilantro crop last year. Suggestions welcome! Also, chop up your sweet red pepper. Looking foward to picking these fresh again too. Ah, ..if only I could keep my dumb dog out of my garden...
4. In a bowl, combine your can of black beans, kidney beans (or chickpeas!) and corn. Seriously, could this be easier??
5. Add the cilantro and red pepper. My dog ate my garden last year. Root up. Grrr.
6. This is your dressing. Mmmm...tasty! Pour it onto the salad and stir it up. Don't forget to add your barley to the salad.

8. Enjoy this chilled with pita chips. We used Stacy's Pita Chips as I got them for FREE (whoop!) a few weeks ago. I think this would also go very well with tortilla chips too.
9. Go make this salad and give your children a hug. Tell them that you love them so much more than they hate chickpeas. Keep on Truckin. I don't know why I keep saying that, guess that's just the kind of gal I am. Oh, I am also the kind of gal that likes a good give-away so don't forget our FABULOUS Bezales necklace Mother's Day give-away!

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