in my kitchen | spinach and scallion fried barley


my biggest fear while pregnant was that i would have a picky eater. i kid you not, i obsessed over it. the only books i even read while pregnant all revolved around how to prevent such a thing. i honestly wouldn't know what to do with a picky eater and i'd probably cry and take serious offense if my kid didn't like something i cooked for her. 

luckily, i needn't worried because i got very lucky with an incredible and enthusiastic eater. most days, marlo will demolish anything that i put in front of her and i have to remind her to slow down and to breathe while she shovels food into her mouth. i know that this may not always be the case as two is quickly approaching and toddler years promise phases of pickiness. i've been thoroughly warned and prepared for such a thing and i've been told to not take offense and that her refusal has  nothing to do with my cooking skills. i imagine that i'll still shed a few tears, though. 

while marlo may be a great eater, she's not exactly patient. that, along with her vivacious appetite, is a trait she inherited from yours truly. because of the state of hangry that i almost always find her in around meal times, i try to prep everything ahead of time while she's napping. if i'm feeling extra organized, i'll even prep an entire week's meals on sunday evening after she goes to bed. always having vegetables on-hand that are cleaned and pre-chopped make preparing dinner that much easier. also, i almost always make a big batch of grains that i can use throughout the week in different recipes. this week it was barley. fyi, i use the ten-minute barley from trader joe's. ain't nobody got time to simmer barley for hours.

as of late, her favorite food is fried rice. unfortunately, i find rice horrendously boring and seriously lacking flavor. so, i substitute barley, farro, bulgar, or quinoa and marlo never knows the difference. plus, there are far more nutritious and readily available grain options instead of rice. and, as long as i've got a refrigerator full of prepped veggies, this meal takes five minutes to throw together. meaning, i don't have to suffer through a hangry marlo episode. here's this week's fried "rice":

spinach & scallion fried barley
(serves two as a side or one as a meal for mo)

one cup cooked barley
two cups organic baby spinach, coarsely chopped
two scallions, chopped, light green & white parts only
five or six basil leaves, chiffonade
one-half cup sun dried tomatoes
one tbsp toasted sesame oil
one tbsp soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, or liquid aminos* 
one-forth teaspoon white or black sesame seeds (optional)
salt & pepper to taste

*use whatever you have on hand. i used dr. bragg's liquid aminos because it's a gluten-free alternative to soy. tamari is also gluten-free and tastes identical to soy sauce. **i'm not gluten-free. but i like using as little gluten as possible. ***i'm aware that barley is not gluten-free.

in a skillet, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. add the barley and toast until thoroughly heated through. next, add the spinach and allow to wilt. turn the heat off and add the tamari/soy/vinegar/aminos, scallions, sun dried tomatoes, and basil. heat through. add salt and pepper to taste. garnish with sesame seeds.

serve. eat. enjoy. 


Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your food posts, especially kid friendly recipes. Thanks!


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