Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Get Your Healthy On, Kind Of

In my effort to be all whole-foody and health-nutty and whatnot, the Jersey Girl has set out on a mission to find some yum-yums for lunch that do not involve processed meats or tuna from a can.

I tried with the quinoa. Honest to goodness. But yeah, that mess was a miss for me.  I suppose I'm just not hip enough.

The texture, the after-taste, the fact that I was hungry two hours later. Quinoa. I'm so not into you.

But barley has been in my life for an eternity. Usually in soup formation. My Moms makes the best beef barley soup. But, let me present to you my fabulous barley salad. It rocks my world.

I encourage you to mix up your greens and veggies with whatever your heart desires. This just happens to be the veggie mix that I came up with on the day I shot the pic. Peppers and celery also work well. As does baby spinach instead of arugula. The basil in the dressing is one of my fave touches.

I suppose if I were really all psycho about health, I would provide you with a nutritional comparison of quinoa and barley, as well as precise measurements of all ingredients listed below. But, well, I'm not all that psycho about health. I mean, yes I exercise on occasion and I can knockout some crunches and fitness programs in my newly finished basement (yay!), but truth be told, I am in no manner a health guru. I just know what I like to eat. And sometimes, I may want 2 cups of arugula in my salad and some days I may want 1 cup. That's just how I do.

And, I did look up the nutritional content of both barley and quinoa, but I fell asleep with my eyes open. I tried again, and got caught up on something on Pinterest. I tried yet again, and I realized my wine glass was empty. The bottom line is, they're both pretty good for you and their stats are quite similar. The end.

Barley Salad
1 serving

1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
4 basil leaves, chopped
In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients. Set aside.

The salad
1/2 cup barley, cooked (For instructions, see below)
1 cup of arugula
Grape tomatoes, halved
Cucumbers, chopped
Radishes, chopped
Carrot, chopped
Feta cheese, crumbled

First things first: How to cook barley.

1/2 cup barley
2 cups water
Salt if desired (I do not add salt)

In a small colander, rinse off the barley.

Place water and barley in a small pot Add salt if desired. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 40 to 45 minutes. Barley should be tender.

Drain in a colander and run under cold water.

1/2 cup uncooked barley yields 2 cups cooked barley. You can store the remaining barley in a container in the refrigator for use later.

To prepare the salad:
On a plate, place arugula and the rest of your desired vegetables. Top with a scoop of barley (1/2 cup to 3/4 cup cooked). Add dressing and toss. Top with cheese, and enjoy!