(Post by Jane Dummer RD)


Have you ever thought about your holiday traditions? Some you’re born into, others arrive through marriage and a few you’ve probably developed on your own. When it comes to holiday foods, many of our baking and cooking traditions are passed down from generation to generation. Perhaps it’s time to swap some traditional favourites with barley-inspired recipes. Are you ready to “go barley” over the holidays? Let’s start with three holiday hits that are sure to be this season’s crowd pleasers.

Traditional Turkey Stuffing with Barley:

This stuffing recipe is the perfect addition to your holiday dinner. Quick, easy and flavourful, it’s a modern twist on an old favourite that will keep your guests asking for more. It’s packed with two cups of barley goodness. Plus, the onions, celery, carrots and tomatoes punch up the vegetables in a traditionally starchy dish. Bacon is an optional ingredient and I say go for it. One indulgent party, an extra glass of wine or the addition of bacon to the stuffing isn’t going to make or break your overall routine, as long as you’re regularly making sensible food choices and staying active throughout the season.

Jane’s Holiday Tip

If you include the bacon in the stuffing, use a low-sodium chicken broth. That way, the flavours of the barley and vegetables will be the tasty supporting cast to the holiday meal lead role­­—the turkey!

Cranberry Orange Loaf:

You’ll enjoy this cranberry orange loaf recipe all season long, from Christmas brunch to the holiday afternoon tea and New Year Day’s breakfast. The addition of barley flour and pecans adds a nutty flavour and rustic look to this bread, as well as nutritional benefits. The one cup of fresh or frozen cranberries in this recipe has only 44 calories, but is packed full of fibre, vitamins C and K, and an antioxidant called proanthocyanidin, which helps combat oxidative stress.

Jane’s Holiday Tip

This loaf is perfect to have on hand over the holidays when those surprise guests drop in! Enjoy simple entertaining with a pot of tea and a dish of whipped cream cheese to serve with the loaf.

Barley Flake Cookies with Cashews and Ginger:

During the holidays, when you’ll be doing a million things, not to mention dealing with a house full of family and friends, you’ll need a definite show-stopper sweet to serve. This easy-to-make cookie recipe includes only 1 ½ cups of barley flakes—no other flour is needed. The combination of the toasted coconut, roasted cashews and chewy candied ginger makes for a meringue-like cookie with a crunchy glazed bottom. Everyone will be asking for the recipe!

Jane’s Holiday Tip

There’s no reason to skip those traditional holiday treats. When you practise portion control and skip the calorie wallop of uninteresting, processed foods, you can enjoy your delicious homemade favourites with barley.

Happy holidays and stay tuned for more nourishing Barley Balance posts in 2015!