Monday, January 16, 2012

Harvest Wheat Berry Salad

Today was a wonderful day! I took Faith to St. Cloud for a Mommy and Daughter day and we had a great time minus the big splat she did in a parking lot. We picked out her birthday party decor and crafts, had lunch together at Noodles and Company, made a TJ Maxx run, stopped at Once Upon a Child and got "free" Zhu Zhu pet things since I had store credit there, hit Crafts Direct, and made the usual Star Bucks run before heading home.

Even more wonderful was the fact that I remembered to put the wheat berries in the crock pot before we left this morning! Since I had the Relish issues out I decided to go ahead and try this one tonight. I am happy to report this is the January issue so I am not so far behind.
When salads have these kinds of ingredients they will always be a winner for me. I love pumpkin seeds and sunflower kernels and really any kind of dried fruit.

As I added the ingredients to the salad I was getting really excited. Look at all that color! Underneath the color is the wheat berries that were cooked to perfection in the crock pot on low for about 6 1/2 hours today, then I added the above ingredients and some cranberries and chopped parsley.

I also added a chopped up Honey crisp apple but I had this helper in the kitchen and so I forgot to take the picture. She LOVES to help in the kitchen and I need to be better about letting her do that but do you see this tiny little kitchen and nasty 1970's cupboards? I have never had a kitchen conducive for helpers, small or grown up!

The dressing starts with these ingredients. Due to sickness in the house we actually had some ginger ale which was perfect timing for trying out this recipe.

Then you need a little cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

You also need about 2 tbsp. lemon juice. This is the best little tool! I can't believe what a great job it does and it has a handy little measuring guide so you know how much you have squeezed out. Half a lemon fills that right up! Best $2.99 I ever spent! Add the lemon juice and mix the dressing up well and pour over the salad.

Stir the salad up well and give it a taste. I decided to add a little aged cheddar to mine after tasting but it would be great either way. I like aged cheddar an awful lot plus it has lots of probiotics in it so it is a bit better for you than other cheeses.

I had exactly 4 leftover zucchini boats so I heated those up and chopped up some fresh veggies and served the salad on the side. Normally we have fruit but there was plenty of fruit in this salad and it had all the healthy fiber and nutrients from the wheat berries. I only wish I had a couple more zucchini. Very good leftover!!!

The actual recipe called for 2 cups uncooked wheat berries and gives the instructions for cooking them. I put 2 cups in the crock pot this morning and filled it up with water and knew that would probably be way more than necessary since they plump up so much. So I would suggest 1 1/2 cups instead. You can cook them on the stove but you need to soak them a while and then cook them almost another 45 minutes so I like to cook them in the crock pot. I do have extra and I am going to freeze them. They freeze very well and you can take them out and defrost them in the microwave or heat them up in a bit of water on the stove. They stay pretty firm.

In other news, I am happy to report that I am working on a recipe page for you. You can access it from the top of the blog. Just click the button next to home that says recipes. You will be able to scroll through by category and when you click on the recipe you like it will link you back to the post where it appeared. I will maybe get them in alphabetical order at some point but for now you will be able to scroll through the categories. Hopefully this will help you if you are looking for something in particular. Some of my posts have more than one recipe on them so you may find a soup recipe first for example when you click on the oatmeal bread recipe. Just scroll down until you get to the one you are looking for. I wish there was a better way for me to do this but blogger wasn't really designed for that so this is what I came up with when I searched a little about adding a page like this. Hope this helps you all!

Harvest Wheat Berry Salad (From the January Relish Issue)
2 cups uncooked wheat berries (1 ½ cups is plenty in my opinion)
1 cup pumpkin seed kernels
1 cup sunflower seed kernels (my addition)
1 cup chopped apples
½ cup chopped dried apricots
½ cup dried cranberries
1 cup finely chopped parsley
Aged cheddar (my addition- I chopped mine up but shredded would be good too)

½ cup ginger ale
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½ tsp. salt
1.2 tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice

1. To prepare salad, put wheat berries in to a large bowl, cover with at least 2 inches of water and set asides to soak at least 1 hour. Drain well.
2. Put 7 cups water into a medium pot and bring to a boil. Add wheat berries, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until thoroughly cooked about 40 minutes. Drain and let cool.
(Alternately, cook in a crock pot over night on low or for the day on low)
3. Transfer wheat berries to a large bowl. Add pumpkin kernels, sunflower seeds, apples, apricots, cranberries, parsley.
4. To prepare dressing combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well. Pour over salad and mix well.

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