The first day of spring is March 20!
That day officially marks the start of the transition period between winter and summer. From spring-cleaning your closets to organizing your kitchen after a long, cold winter, it’s time to thaw out and embrace renewal. Let’s organize, refresh and enjoy this spring. Staying with that idea, Dietitians of Canada organizes Nutrition Month every March and this year’s theme is Simply Cook and Enjoy[i]. The focus is to inspire Canadians to embrace and refresh their cooking basics.
Often times, people can be overscheduled with work and other activities (the list goes on and on), not leaving time for cooking. The food time management main ingredients are posted in my Barley Balance – Health Promotion Part One: Food Time Management. The first ingredient is to plan. The second ingredient is to have an organized system in place for the kitchen. The third ingredient is to be mindful of the processed, convenience and restaurant foods. Being organized and knowing everything you have, keeps you ahead of the game, so you can not only maintain your current cooking basics but refresh them too.
Organizing your kitchen gets rid of expired food, ingredients and old equipment. This opens up the opportunity to refresh. Start by adding some flavour zing to your current recipes. Squeeze fresh lime juice on fish, salads and add it to this delicious Barley Tabbouleh. With the lime juice and fresh mint, the tabbouleh is a refreshing side dish for both chicken and pork. For a vegetarian option, I garnish hummus wraps with it.
During the change from winter to summer, barley water is a popular, traditional tonic used throughout the world. It is touted as a refresher to get rid of toxins in the body, as well improve digestion. Both barley water and roasted barley tea have been consumed extensively in Asia for years. More scientific research would be welcomed to define the exact health-promoting properties of each. Try this simple recipe for Barley Water. You can decrease the amount of sugar and for an additional healthy flavour booster; add one tablespoon of fresh, shredded ginger.
Now that you’re organized and have refreshed some of your recipes, it is time to enjoy. Cooking should be an experience you take pleasure in with friends and family. Why not have a fun night, where you involve others to share in the meal preparation? This Mexican Barley Salad is the perfect spring dish for that night and can be served as an entrée salad or a side dish. It is great as leftovers too. Remember, cooked barley can be refrigerated or frozen, then added to your favourite recipes. Do you need more advice about cooking with it?
Refresh in March Bottom Line
Welcome spring with organizing, refreshing and enjoying the cooking basics! Keep things simple with an organized kitchen, refresh with flavour and most importantly, enjoy your efforts with friends and family.
[i] Dietitians of Canada Nutrition Month Campaign Website, accessed February 25, 2014 http://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-Month/Nutrition-Month-2014.aspx