Tag Archives: Barley

Beef & Barley (and everything else) Soup

Fritz’s parents arrive today!

His dad has a conference in the city next week, so they both decided to come early for a Father’s Day weekend visit.  Fritz and I are so excited to see them, it’s ridiculous.

I wanted to make a big pot of soup that I could keep in the fridge for those moments when someone is hungry but everyone else isn’t, or for a quick lunch, or those post-plane moments when you need sustenance in five minutes or death by starvation is imminent.

You know those moments.

Since we had a busy day yesterday, I want to reintroduce you to one of my good friends:  the Crock Pot.

Beef and Barley (and everything else) Soup

No ingredient list here, because every time I make this soup, it’s different.  Depends on what I have in the fridge and the cupboards.

Spray the Crock Pot with canola oil to get things going and start off with a meat and those important savory soup ingredients–for this soup, I used an onion and the tops with 1/2 lb of ground beef.  You could use anything–chicken, leftover steak, whatever.

I then added a giant pile of washed and chopped escarole.

Next, toss in the dried ingredients that are so convenient to have in the cupboard for moments like these.  I used 1/2 C barley, 1/2 C black beans, and about 1/4 C of lima beans.  These are very rough estimations.

Top with some salt ‘n’ peppa, a few sprigs of fresh thyme from the herb garden, and of course, a few bay leaves.  I also added two chicken bouillon cubes (that’s equivalent to two cups of broth once I add the water).

Finish off the whole thing with a can of diced tomatoes and several cans of water (I think I used the tomato can five times, which would be 14 ounces x five–a lot.  There’s a lot of dried things in there that will absorb a large quantity of water).

Set the Crock Pot on low for six hours, and go back to your to-do list for the day.  Once everything is accomplished, your soup will be ready to go.

Gorgeous, ain’t it?

I find it quite easy to see the beauty in beef and barley, especially when it involves my mom’s Hadley soup crock.  Love that thing.

The best part about this soup is that it is so versatile.  Last time I made this, I had no escarole, but I used turnips, added lentils, carrots, and garlic, and it came out beautifully.  Use up whatever you have that’s in danger of going to waste, and you are all set.

Have a beautiful day today!

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Irish Apple Barley Pudding Parfait

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I wanted to make something to celebrate the holiday, but didn’t want to make Irish soda bread since I have two loaves of multigrain bread in the freezer, and I wanted it to be quicker than corned beef.  So what’s a girl to do?

I looked up some more traditional Irish recipes, and found a winner–apple barley pudding.  To make it a little less traditional, I added green whipped cream and voila! a pudding parfait!

It’s a traditional pudding made by hungry Irish farmers to use up old apples and barley during the winter months.  Luckily for the Irish, it’s very healthy.

Luckily for us, it’s also delicious (and you don’t have to add as much whipped cream as I did).

Irish Apple Barley Pudding Parfait (original recipe here)

  • 1 1/2 lbs tart apples (I used Granny Smith)
  • 4 heaping T barley
  • 1 liter water
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 C heavy whipping cream (with 1 T sugar, if desired)

Add the water and barley together in a pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer.

Meanwhile, peel, core, and slice the apples.

Add the sliced apple to the pot with the barley and simmer until the barley and apples are softened, at least half an hour.  It’s okay if the apples fall apart.

While that’s cooking, make your whipped cream.  Beat the cream in the mixer with the whisk attachment for a few minutes, until it stands in peaks.  Add some sugar if you want (I added a T) and a bit of green food coloring.

You can’t see how green the whipped cream is in all the pictures, but in real life it is pretty green.  Refrigerate until you are ready for it!

Anyway, once the barley is softened, add the lemon juice and put the entire mixture into a blender and puree until smooth.  Pour back into the bowl and boil for a few minutes, then refrigerate until cool.

To build your parfait, just layer in a glass and enjoy!

These came out to be so much more delicious than I anticipated.  I’ll even admit to you that I ate two of them immediately.  The apple layer is tangy and sweet and contrasts perfectly with the cool whipped cream.

Since today’s theme was stripes (is that a far leap from layers?), Henry decided to play along:

World’s stripey-est cat.

Now go have a Guinness!

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Filed under Desserts

Barley Banana Bread

Something horrible almost happened to me today. 

I was standing at the stove making lunch, with a bottle of canola oil in one hand and a mug of freshly brewed green tea in the other.  You may know where this is going.

Only when the bottle of canola oil actually touched my lips did I realize that I was not actually about to take a sip of my green tea.  Thank the good Lord that I realized in time, because I shudder to imagine what a big swig of canola oil would feel like sliding down my throat.  Yeecch.

So, to help myself overcome the horror of what might have been, I decided to talk to you all about banana bread.  But not just any banana bread.  The best banana bread I have ever had!  From the mouths of babes (not the young kind, the sexy-dental-student-husband kind):

I will never be able to look at banana bread the same ever again!

And it’s healthy, too!

Barley Banana Bread  (adapted from Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads)

  • 1 C sugar
  • 1/2 C butter (1 stick), at room temp
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 C brown rice flour
  • 1/2 C wheat germ
  • 1 C barley flour (I ran out of barley, so I used oat flour to make the full C–and don’t forget you can grind your own barley and oat flour!)
  • 2 T ground flaxseed
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and shortening.  Break in the eggs and mix until light and fluffy.

Next, break the bananas into small pieces and mix them into the shortening mix.  You can mash the bananas first, but I like finding chunks of banana throughout the bread.

Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Line a bread pan with greased wax paper.  Here’s a little baking tip–if you are cooking with butter or shortening that comes in a wrapper, don’t throw it away!  Use the wrapper to grease the insides of your pan.  Easy peasy!

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and use a rubber spatula to push the batter up to the edges of the pan.  This is to compensate for the “crown” that comes from the rising in the oven.

Place the pan into the oven (middle rack) and cook until a wooden toothpick comes out clean, about an hour.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for ten minutes, then turn the pan on its side and pull the loaf out by tugging on the wax paper.

As with most banana breads, it tastes even better the second day–but likely won’t last that long.

This banana bread was spectacular.  It was incredibly moist, and had a sweet, grainy texture that was completely addicting.  We ate half the loaf as soon as it came out of the oven.

My only complaint was that it was a tiny bit crumbly, especially before we let it cool down completely.  That actually might have been our fault.

This isn’t a completely healthy recipe (1 cup of sugar and a stick of butter!), but it’s definitely better for you than your standard white-flour banana bread–and I promise you that it tastes better.  Far better.  And it does pack a ton of fiber and omega-3s.

Today marks the end of the easy part of the semester.  As of tomorrow, I need to start studying a little bit every day, so the frequency of my blog posts may go down a bit–but not too much.  A girl needs her distractions.

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Lentil Vegetable Barley Soup (Crock pot)

Hello all!

Last semester I loved Tuesdays, and this time it’s Wednesdays.  I just love having late mornings–I can sleep in (’til eight), catch up on our budgeting, clean, and still have time to set up dinner in the crock pot before I have class.  Now that is just amazing.

So here’s the latest and greatest from that lovely little invention known to we mortals as a slow cooker:

Lentil Vegetable and Barley Soup

  • 1/2 large onion or one small onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 medium summer squash (or zucchini), halved lengthwise and sliced thinly
  • 1 C carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 C red lentils
  • 1/2 C yellow split peas
  • 1/2 C barley
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 3 C vegetable broth (or chicken or beef), plus ~2 C extra water
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • fresh or dried basil to top (optional)

As with all crock pot recipes, this is a breeze to put together.  Dice and layer all the veggies, and top with the grains, liquids and the spices (except the basil).  The order I used was: onions and bell peppers, squash and carrots, lentils, peas, and barley, diced tomatoes and broth, salt, pepper, sugar, and finally the extra water.

Aren’t the colors of this soup just gorgeous?  I was lucky and actually got to take pictures in daylight for once (another great thing about late mornings).

Set the crock pot on low for eight hours or on high for four hours.  The lentils, peas, and barley will absorb a lot of water, so you may need to add even more extra (unless you like a nice thick soup like I do–then you will be very pleased when you arrive home from class!).

Top with a sprinkle of basil and some pepper and enjoy!

Before I’m off to bed, I thought I’d share one last thing with you.  It’s a favorite of mine–I have some every day (often two or three times), and it calms me while awakening me at the same time.  It’s warm, it’s comforting, it’s a blast in a glass.

Any guesses?

Nope, not Deena from J-Shore (is it cool that I abbreviated that?).  It’s tea.  The best tea I have even been given the privilege to steep.  I’m nearing the end of the tin and every day I die a little more inside knowing that I’m one day closer to running out (melodramatic, much?).  It was a gift–a great one.

I would like to thank a certain South African for allowing this beautiful marriage between me and Zululand to happen–you know who you are.

Thanks!

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Filed under Soups/Stews, Vegetarian

Meatless Monday: Hearty Vegetable Barley Soup

Cold times call for desperate measures.  Which to me, means lots and lots of soup.  I just love being wrapped in a plethora of sweaters and blankets, wool socks that go almost to my knees, drinking multiple mugs of tea and eating bowls of hot soup to keep warm while watching Love Actually and The Holiday and The Family Stone over and over again.

Fritz would rather I just reset the thermostat.  But I can’t keep everyone happy, can I?

The two of us have been feeling the post-Thanksgiving rundown, and I wanted to make a soup that was chock full o’ veggies to try to give us a little boost.  I did a little searching and found a great recipe in 100 Best Health Foods–it’s a non-meat recipe, but it promised to be “hearty”, which is a necessity for the Fritz stamp of approval.  That man does not like a thin broth, no sir.  So if you are eagerly awaiting the holidays like me, or just trying to save your landlord some money, turn down the heat and get your blankets out!

Hearty Vegetable Barley Soup (adapted from 100 Best Health Foods)

  • 1 T canola oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 6 C vegetable broth (okay…I used bouillon cubes again–don’t judge me!)
  • heaping 1/2 C barley, rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • few dried sprigs of thyme
  • 1 t dried parsley
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 16 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 head cabbage, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste (I didn’t need any extra salt)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onion, celery, and garlic.  Cook over medium heat until softened, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the stock, barley, and herbs, reduce the heat to low, and cook covered until the barley is just beginning to soften, 30 minutes to an hour.

Gather up your veggies!  Add the carrots, potatoes, and tomatoes (and a pinch of sugar if you like) to the pot.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat back to low and simmer for another 30 minutes, until everything is nice and tender.

Finally, add the cabbage and season with salt and pepper to taste.  You may need to add a cup or two of hot water at this point, depending on what your desired “chunk” to “broth” ratio is.

I’m sorry.  That’s a disgusting phrase, isn’t it?

Simmer until the cabbage is cooked through (about 15-20 minutes), then serve in warm bowls. 

Who needs the thermostat up now?  Not me!

In other exhilarating news, Fritz and I have made a life-changing decision.  Momentous and quite exciting, if I do say so myself.  Are you ready for this?

(No, it’s not babies.  God, no!  You can all take a deep breath.  We are both still in school, for goodness’ sake!  And we’re still babies ourselves!)

We have officially unplugged the TV.  It’s still there in all of its 37″, HD glory, but only for our designated movie nights (that’d be the weekend).  We have realized that we spend way too much time watching horrendous TV–we never got higher than channel 21, anyway–and not enough time just being.  Isn’t that so hippie of us?

Anyway, since this big change (that happened Friday morning), we’ve studied a lot more, read a lot more, cooked more, slept more (!), and just hung out together.  It has been really, really nice.  You don’t even realize what an obnoxious background noise the TV is until you turn it off.  It’s just plain peaceful in these parts now!

And I can still watch The Office and 16 and Pregnant on the internet.  I haven’t gone completely off the deep end.

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Filed under Soups/Stews, Vegetarian