Whole Grain Primer: 5 Ways to Use Sorghum This Summer | The Kitchn

Whole Grain Primer: 5 Ways to Use Sorghum This Summer

Whole Grain Primer: 5 Ways to Use Sorghum This Summer

While whole grains are getting a lot of attention right now, it’s possible that sorghum hasn’t come onto your radar yet. Do you know it? With more awareness regarding the health benefits of ancient grains — and an easier time tracking down sorghum on grocery store shelves — it, too, is about to have its time in the limelight.

Sorghum is a cereal grain, and while in much of the world people enjoy it as a nourishing part of their weekly diet, in the United States it’s been largely relegated to livestock feed. One way to immediately get to know sorghum is to compare it to grains you already know. It’s a heartier grain and takes almost an hour to cook, so you can use it in place of barley or farro in recipes (although I find it feels much lighter than both). It’s naturally gluten-free and very mild in flavor, so tends to be a hit with both adults and kids alike.

Here are a few ways to dive right in with sorghum today:

5 Ways to Use Sorghum

  1. Sorghum Bowls! A quick grain bowl is the easiest way I can think to begin experimenting with sorghum at home. This Mexican-inspired bowl from The New York Times caught my eye a few weeks back.
  2. Baking with Sorghum Flour: If you have a recipe that calls for whole wheat flour, you can easily use sorghum instead. It has a nice neutral flavor and is light in color, so it’s super versatile.
  3. Amp up Salads: We were at a friend’s house last weekend and they made a delicious sorghum salad for lunch with tiny little chopped carrots, herbs and warm spices. To get started with sorghum salads, simply substitue the grain whenever you’d be inspired to make Israeli couscous or rice salads.
  4. Sweeten with Sorghum Syrup: Sorghum syrup has a rich, earthy sweetness and can be used in place of honey or maple syrup in your favorite recipes.
  5. Make Sorghum Butter: Once you’ve got your hands on a jar of Sorghum Syrup, this very special butter is in your future. Simply mix anywhere from 2-4 tablespoons (depending on your preferences) sorghum syrup into one stick of creamy butter. You’ll never look back.

(Images: Permission to reprint given by Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times )


The Most Valuable Seeds in The World – eCellulitis

The Most Valuable Seeds In The World – What Do We Really Know About Their Health Benefits?
The Most Valuable Seeds In The World – What Do We Really Know About Their Health Benefits?

What Are Flax Seeds?

In ancient Mesopotamia, flax seeds were grown for their nutritional value. These seeds, also known as linseed, have valuable oils that even today attract the attention of many nutritionists.

They are from Linaceae family, botanically known as Linum usitatissimum. This annual plant grows in both tropical and subtropical climates. It can reach up to 1.5 meters tall, and when it flourishes, one can see little blue flowers that are very attractive. The plant contains brown or golden yellow seeds. There are two types of cultivars; one is grown for its oil seeds and the other for its fiber.

What you must know is that flax seeds are very high in calories; 100 grams of seeds contain 543 calories. Although one must keep in minds this fact, seeds are, on the other hand, great source of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and other health-benefiting compounds.

One of the most important compounds is oleic acid. Apart from this acid, there are other omega- 3 essential fatty acids such as linoleic acid, apha-linoleic acid, and arachidonic acids. Due to this monounsaturated fatty acid, the seeds are able to lower LDL cholesterol, and to increase HDL cholesterol. Omega – 3 acids also help with lowering blood pressure, and decrease the risk of strokes, coronary artery disease, colon, prostate and breast cancer. They are mandatory for normal infant development and for maturation of nervous system.

Due to the lignans they contain, they are great antioxidant food as well. On the other hand, they contain vitamin E, lipid soluble antioxidant that is necessary for skin protection and required for maintaining mucus membranes.

Seeds are rich with niacin thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, and folates.

Manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, selenium, and magnesium are all present is flax seeds as well.

As for the side effects, flax seeds can cause stomach pain, and laxative diarrhea when eaten in large amounts. Apart from this, they have no harmful effects on health when used in moderation.

How Beneficial Are Poppy Seeds?

Poppy seeds were very popular in Ancient Egypt, India, and Persia. They belong to Papaveraceae family, and their scientific name is Popaver somniferum. These biennial herb origins are in East Mediterranean countries and Asia Minor. To be able to grow, the plant needs sunny and fertile soil, and when these conditions are optimum, it can grow up to 5 feet in height. During spring, blue, red, white, or lilac flowers turn into oval or globular shaped fruit, in fact capsules. One fruit capsule or head contains numerous tiny, bean shaped seeds that can be light gray, dark gray, and black depending on the cultivar type. They are commonly used as a condiment in cooking due to their pleasant and nutty taste, but they are known as seeds with high nutritional value and antioxidant properties.

The recognizable nutty taste comes from many fatty acids and essential volatile oils. As well as flex seeds, poppy seeds are rich with oleic and linoleic acids. Many researchers recommend poppy seeds for digestive tract problems due to their ability to increase bulk of the food by absorbing water. All this is possible because of the rich amount of dietary fiber.

Rich in B-complex vitamins and minerals such as cooper, iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and zinc, poppy seeds are necessary for the production of red cells, and for blood pressure.

Pregnant women and children can consume poppy seeds safely. The fact that dried poppy seeds contain small levels of opium alkaloids (morphine, codeine, thebaine) does not characterize them as harmful and dangerous.

Moreover, these opium alkaloids have beneficial effects on human organism and body. They are able to soothe nervous system, and they act as painkillers. Some traditional medicinal systems use poppy seeds in tonics as remedies for coughs.

Are Sesame Seeds Good for Health?

Sesame seeds were one of the first seeds known to human kind, and they were grown widely for both culinary and medicinal usage.

Sesame seeds are obtained from tall sesame plant that belongs to Pedaliaceae family. The plant is very famous in China and India, and one of the famous commercial crops in Sudan, Nigeria, and Ethiopia. When the soil is well drained and sandy, this plant can grow about 5 feet tall. Soon after the pink-white flowers flourish, the pods appear. These pods contain white, brown, or black seeds, depending on the cultivator type. A single pod can contain up to 100 or more seeds.

100 grams of delish and crunchy seeds provides 573 calories and 18 grams of protein.

Mono-unsaturated fatty acid called oleic acid is also present in sesame seeds. Due to acids and proteins, they are essential for growth, especially in children. On the other hand, sesame seeds contain folic acid that is essential for DNA synthesis.

Sesame seeds contain sesamol and sesaminol that are phenolic antioxidants. They are necessary for removal of the harmful free radicals from the human body. Rich with B-complex vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, manganese, zinc, calcium, iron and selenium, sesame seeds reduce LDL cholesterol and regulate cardiac and skeletal muscle activities.

Some people may experience sesame seed allergy. This is a kind of hypersensitivity reaction that causes itching, dermatitis, and hives. Sometimes this allergy may lead to vomiting, and breathing difficulties, therefore, one should consult with health care provider.

Are Sunflower Seeds for the Optimum Health?

Due to the linoleic and oleic acid, sunflower seeds are food that can help lower LDL cholesterol. Rich in minerals, and vitamins, sunflower seeds are very beneficial food.

All the above-mentioned health benefits indicate how important these seeds really are for our organism and body. We should keep in mind their health properties and characteristics.


Bakru H.K. (2012). HERBS THAT Heal: Natural remedies for Good Health. Orient Paperbacks.

Ensminger A.H., Ensminger, M.E., Kondale J.E., and Robson J.R.K., (1983). Foods & Nutriton Encyclopedia. Pegus Press.

Ensminger A.H., Esminger M. K. J. e. al. (1986). Food for Health: A Nutrition Encyclopedia. Clovis.

Joiner-Bey, H. (2004). The Healing Power of Flax: How Nature’s Richest Source of Omega -3 Fatty Acids Can Help to Health, Prevent and Reverse Arthritis, Cancer, Diabetes and Heart. Freedom pr Inc.

Schiff Jr, P. L. (2002), Opium and Its Alkaloids, American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, No 66.

Image credit: sjhuls / 123RF Stock Photo


Food Styling: Picture-Perfect Sushi Salad – CookKosher.com

We’re back with another food styling special. These posts are here to help you plate a food item to perfection. Just like the pro’s do it. Don’t forget to check out out our Picture-Perfect Soup.

Sushi is a trend that’s here to stay. But there is no need to always serve it the conventual way. For you next brunch, shabbos or seudah shlishit, make Sushi Trifle Salad.

You can choose to make this in a large bowl or serve it in individual glasses. No need to have matching glasses, as assorted ones add a fun twist.

Start by layering cooked sushi rice.

Crumble or cut Nori sheets over the rice.

Add some cubed avacodo for color.

Add some cucumber. The original poster suggested cubed cucumbers. Our food stylist used a peeled to create ribbons out of the cucumber for a prettier affect.

Top with pieces of salmon. Sprinkle with dressing.

And garlish with sesame seeds.

Easy, Elegant and Delicous.

Spinach & Roasted Beet Salad with Berry-Balsamic Vinaigrette | Lemons and Anchovies

Spinach and Roasted Beet Salad with Berry-Balsamic Vinaigrette | http://lemonsandanchovies.com

I hope you all had a fabulous Father’s Day weekend. Did you fire up the grill for burgers and barbecue? Or did you visit dad’s favorite restaurant and participate in his favorite activities? My family drove up to Yountville and St. Helena Saturday for brunch and much-enjoyed quality time with my husband, my parents, my sister and brother-in-law.

My parents had their first harvest from their vegetable garden and were generous to give me a basketful of goodies when we saw each other: eggplants, cucumbers and bell peppers. After the delightful–but heavy–brunch of chicken and waffles from Bouchon, wine and a sweet treat or two, I was happy to feast on a simple dinner made with homegrown vegetables for dinner that night.

Spinach & Roasted Beet Salad with Berry-Balsamic Vinaigrette | http://lemonsandanchovies.com

If you feel you’ve over-indulged this weekend here’s a summer salad that has a little bit of everything. We can’t seem to get enough spinach lately. They go in our smoothies during the day and in salads at night. And did you know that beets, though they’re often considered a winter vegetable, are at their best this time of the year? I love them raw, pickled, roasted…any way they’re served, really, but I tend to roast them at home.

When I shared a picture of my peeled beets on Instagram before I roasted them, it prompted a comment from someone that she peels her beets after they’ve been roasted. Of course I Googled which way is more common and I was surprised to see that I’ve been doing it differently from everyone else! I didn’t grow up eating home-cooked beets so I just got into the habit of peeling them before roasting them years ago; I never minded the scarlet fingers. Well. Next time I’ll go mainstream and do it the other way. I learned that peeling after preserves their color, too. You learn something new everyday.

Whichever way you prepare your beets, I think you’ll like this salad as much as I did. I threw in all the goodies in my refrigerator and pantry that I thought would go well together and you can see from the festive colors how flavorful this salad is. Salads with a spinach base always go well with a berry-based vinaigrette so I used low-sugar raspberry jam and white balsamic vinegar to drizzle over everything for a light, fruity, tangy finish. I still have a few wheels of soft cheese so I added blue cheese (brie would work well, too), candied pecans, blackberries, red onions and bacon, of course. This is a refreshing salad providing multi-layers of flavor–I roasted the beets the night before so they were chilled when I served them with the spinach. This is healthy, summer eating at its best.

Spinach and Roasted Beet Salad with Berry-Balsamic Vinaigrette | http://lemonsandanchovies.com

Spinach & Roasted Beet Salad with Berry-Balsamic Vinaigrette | http://lemonsandanchovies.com

Spinach & Roasted Beet Salad with Berry-Balsamic Vinaigrette

Loaded with fresh ingredients, this is healthy, summer eating at its best.

Author: Lemons & Anchovies

Recipe type: Salad

Serves: 2


  1. Roast the beets: Preheat your oven to 375℉. Arrange them on a baking tray and roast for 35-40 minutes (peeled or unpeeled). Cool to room temperature before slicing for the salad.
  2. To prepare the vinaigrette: combine all the ingredients from the jam to the vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the olive oil and whisk until emulsified.
  3. Assemble the salad and drizzle with the vinaigrette before serving.


Adjust the vinaigrette ingredients according to your taste. I use a low-sugar jam and white balsamic vinegar is less sweet than the regular variety so this may not be as sweet as you expect. Feel free to add a bit of sugar if that is what you prefer.

On a budget? Try these affordable six superfood staples from Naturalfood.com

Buying organic bulk produce, grains, and beans and becoming your own chef will save you money by not selecting processed foods packaged at higher prices. Those only make you trade health for convenience.

You’re paying for the packaging, additives, and usually bad oils used in those foods, some of which may contain GMOs. Focus more on bulk items and do your own prepping and cooking.

A tip for those concerned about phytic acid or phytates in grains and beans that are reputed to inhibit mineral absorption: Simply soak whatever you plan on eating overnight or for several hours in purified water with added lime or lemon juice.

This process can significantly reduce phytic acid. To prepare, remove the soaking water and replace it with water for cooking.

Inexpensive healthy food staples you can buy in bulk

(1) Organic rice from bulk bins is cheaper and healthier than the packaged stuff. There are a variety of rices from which to choose. Basmati brown and basmati white are usually available in most. Then there are some more exotic choices as well.

Ayurveda practitioners usually recommend parboiled white basmati rice as a main staple. Parboiling is a method discovered in India to remove the outer husk and still retain most of the rice’s nutrients. You may have to seek out an Indian or other food specialty store for parboiled rice.

Rinse all bulk rices in a hand held strainer, rapidly shaking it side to side under a strong stream of water until there is no more cloudy water. There’s often a mineral oil coating to protect the rice that needs to be rinsed out.

You can create several combinations of white or brown rice with peas, beans, veggies, herbs, and spices that will offer your pallet the variety you think you’ve lost by moving away from processed foods (http://www.naturalnews.com/028007_food_shortage_costs.html).

(2) Soaking beans overnight is actually required for dry bulk beans, which are much cheaper and healthier than canned beans. It would take hours to cook beans that haven’t been soaked overnight. The one exception is lentils, which are inexpensive and high in plant protein.

Black or turtle beans require hours of soaking, but once any batch of beans is soaked, you can keep the soaking beans in the fridge for a couple or few days. Black beans are high in anthocyanins, which are strong antioxidant flavonoids.

All beans contain many nutrients, including protein, and they are high in fiber. Nutty flavored garbanzo beans (chick peas) require very little to create a tasty dish, hot or cold. You can make bean salads from cold cooked beans.

(3) For breakfast, buy a batch of organic steel cut oats from bulk at $1.50 or less a pound. Just before you go to bed, measure two to one water to oats in a pan and let is soak until you awaken. Then turn on the stove, bring the oats to a boil, cover snugly and turn off the stove. It’ll be ready in 20 minutes or less.

(4) Organic yams and sweet potatoes are cheap and nutritious. Peel and slice them into small pieces, then boil them. Try mashing them in real butter, a squeeze of lemon, and a little real maple syrup. Add some chopped nuts. Delicious!

(5) Greens and more greens from the organic produce section. Kale, chard, broccoli, and leafy lettuces should be an every day eating event steamed or mixed into salads. You can add avocado, a true superfood, to your salads. They don’t have to be organic. Avocados from Mexico are abundant and inexpensive.

(6) Now for the pricier part of better living through good whole food. The two healthiest oils for cooking and salads are organic cold pressed virgin coconut oil and olive oil.

Contrary to weight loss diet fad philosophies, our bodies need healthy fats. You should be able to afford them after saving money with bulk purchasing.


Steps for More, and Better, Sleep – NYTimes.com


Christopher Silas Neal

I regret that for most of my adult life, I treated sleep as more a luxury than a necessity. There was always something more to do before I crawled under the covers and turned out the light. I realize belatedly that I might have been more productive — and a lot nicer to live with — if I had given sleep its proper due.

By failing to acknowledge chronic sleep deprivation, I dozed during countless cultural events, and on two occasions I fell asleep while driving, barely escaping disaster. I have since reordered my priorities and learned to avoid distractions and activities that can keep me from getting the sleep my body and mind really need.

About 70 million Americans sleep poorly or not nearly long enough to achieve the full physical, emotional and cognitive benefits sleep can bestow. There are myriad reasons, ranging from self-inflicted disruptions to those that are seemingly unavoidable. But there are also potential solutions to most of the factors that can interfere with sleep. For the sake of your health and longevity, I urge you to give them a try.

How much sleep do you need? Sleep requirements depend on age. Newborns sleep 16 to 18 hours a day, preschoolers need 11 to 12 hours, and elementary school children need 10 hours. Adolescents should get 9 to 10 hours, though most teenagers sleep only about seven hours.

Given the opportunity to sleep as long as they want, most adults average about eight hours a night. There are individual differences, of course, but the usual range is between seven and nine hours. Getting less than the amount of sleep you need during the school or workweek builds up a sleep debt that cannot be fully erased by “sleeping in” on the weekend. This pattern can also mess up your biological clock, making it hard to get up on Monday morning.

It was long ago shown that a midafternoon nap of about 20 minutes can improve alertness and productivity and reduce mistakes among sleep-deprived workers, yet few employers offer a midday lie-down or provide a place for one.

Age also affects the quality of sleep and the amount of time spent in the various stages of sleep. These include REM, or rapid-eye-movement sleep (often called dream sleep), and three types of non-REM sleep: the light sleep of Stage 1, followed by the more relaxed sleep of Stage 2 and the most restorative deep sleep of Stage 3.

Young children spend most of the night in deep sleep, which is why they can often sleep through loud noise, bright light and being carried from car to bed.

But with age, the time spent in deep sleep diminishes and any number of disturbances can cause awakenings. For women going through menopause, for example, sleep is often interrupted by hot flashes. Even if there are no external disturbances, elderly people may be awakened many times during the night by the discomforts of illness or pain, the side effects of medication or the need to urinate.

Poor sleep among the elderly may in part account for problems with memory and concentration, depressed mood and daytime sleepiness. I often see gray heads nodding off at events, even during matinees.

If noise or light disturbs your sleep, you can counter them with a white-noise machine and light-blocking shades. Keep the room cool and avoid weighty covers. Two years ago, I summarized factors that commonly interfere with a good night’s sleep, but a quick review, followed by some valuable new tips that have helped me, may help you too.

EXERCISE Physical activity leaves you tired, but if you do your workout within two or three hours of bedtime, you may be too revved up to fall asleep easily.

MEDICATION Many drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, contain stimulating chemicals like pseudoephedrine and caffeine, commonly found in decongestants and painkillers. Beta-blockers, used to treat certain heart conditions and high blood pressure, may be disruptive as well. Ask your doctor if you can use an alternative drug.

FOOD AND DRINK Eating a big meal close to bedtime can be a problem, especially if you are prone to indigestion. Drinking a caffeinated beverage late in the day can disturb the sleep of anyone who has not developed a tolerance to caffeine by drinking too much of it. Caffeine’s stimulating effects can last for six to eight hours and make it hard to fall asleep or cause middle-of-the-night wakefulness.

Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but when its effects wear off hours later, you may wake up and be unable to get back to sleep. (I and others I know find wine especially problematic and avoid drinking it with dinner.)

STRESS Anxiety, excessive stress and difficulty shutting out worries trigger the release of body chemicals that act as stimulants. Try a relaxing bedtime ritual like a hot bath, meditation or progressive muscle relaxation, starting at the toes and working up to your head. Or, odd though it may seem, try reading something dull.

If things you must remember or do the next day keep popping into your head, put a pad and pen next to the bed, write them down and then do your best to forget about them until morning.

OTHER TIPS Years ago I mentioned that leg cramps were waking me up well before the alarm, and readers responded with myriad solutions, from bedtime stretches to magnesium supplements. What has worked best: drinking about eight ounces of tonic water (diet version) every day. Tonic water contains modest amounts of quinine, which used to be sold over-the-counter to reduce leg cramps.

Another innocuous sleep aid that has proved miraculous for me is a nightly supplement of melatonin, which the body naturally produces after dark. The pineal gland in the brain is inactive during the day, but after sundown it starts spewing melatonin into the bloodstream.

With a supplement on board, I fall asleep quickly, and if I awaken during the night, I return to sleep easily. A three-milligram supplement near bedtime is considered harmless and may help you as well, though it should not be given to children without consulting a doctor.

If hot flashes are your current problem, ask your doctor about trying the prescription drug gabapentin.


How to Use Leaves as Wraps – vegetariantimes.com

Soy-Sesame Bok Choy Rolls

When prepping for a recent visit from a gluten-avoiding friend, I decided to prepare a meal that was naturally wheatless instead of reaching for a gluten-free facsimile.

I could have centered the main dish around rice, millet, or even quinoa, but rather than go the predictable route, I opted to use a collard leaf as a wrap, filling it with sprouted sunflower-seed paté, thick slices of avocado, homegrown sprouts, shredded carrot, and thin slices of spicy red pepper. I topped it with a simple oil-and-vinegar dressing and rolled it, burrito-style, into a manageable envelope that could be eaten out of hand or with a knife and fork. (We chose the former.)

Weather you are avoiding gluten or not, using leaves as wraps is a great way to cut calories and liven up your lunch or dinner. Kale or collards make super stand-ins for tortillas while Iceberg or butter lettuce leaves make great taco shells or “cups” for Asian-style fillings.

Watch “Kitchen Tricks: How to Use Leaves as Wraps” to learn how to roll your own from organic foods chef Ani Phyo.

Try these recipes from the VT vault that make creative use of leaves as wraps:

Raw Swiss Chard Veggie Wraps with Creamy Pecan Spread

Rice and Chickpea Kale Rolls with Pineapple Salsa

Soy-Sesame Bok Choy Rolls (pictured)

Ginger-Miso Yam Wraps

Curry and Chickpea Lettuce Wraps


Summer Bean Salads – NYTimes.com

Summer Bean Salad by Toby Bilanow

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Bean salads are a great choice for summer picnics, and most recipes can easily be adapted to accommodate any vegans in the crowd. This week the Recipes for Health columnist Martha Rose Shulman turns to summer bean salads:

As the weather heats up and our hunger for comforting stews gives way to a desire for lighter fare, beans can still be the backbone of a meal, but I’m more inclined to make them the focus of a main dish salad than a simmering ragout. I love the way they soak up tart salad dressings and the way their velvety textures play against the crunch of other salad ingredients, like fresh green beans, celery or fennel.

Here are five new ways to prepare bean salads.

Black-Eyed Pea Salad With Fennel and Dill: A great dish that can be made with or without tomatoes.

Six Fast, Healthy Breakfast Idea – Everyday Food Bog – MarthaStewart.com

Posted by Merritt Watts

Hungry and time-crunched? You’re not alone: About 31 million Americans skip breakfast, according to a report by market research firm NPD. Lack of time was the top reason for running on empty. Read on for a few speedy, sweet-or-savory options that will keep you satisfied even on the busiest mornings.