Great Grains

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Catching up on the weekend?


Good morning!  It’s cold out there, so let’s start off with a sunny flower picture from the summer.  Ahhh.


Last night, I found the owner of the stray doggie.  He was very grateful to have 10 year-old Fred back.  The Hus and I talked some more about getting another dog and decided to shelve the idea for now.  Our third dog discussion might have seemed spontaneous on the blog, but it’s really an idea we’ve been tossing around for about a year.  We’re going to wait a little longer, I think.




In the mix:


  • 1/4 cup cooked wheatberries
  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 banana
  • Cinnamon
  • Topping:  coconut


When making oatmeal with cooked wheatberries, just prepare as normal!  I like to make a stash of wheatberries and keep them in the fridge for moments like this.


Speaking of grains…


I’d like to share three great grains (I use that term loosely as quinoa isn’t technically a grain) that I’ve been loving lately.  Because everyone gets tired of brown rice, right?


From left to right:  quinoa, Israeli cous cous (AKA Ptitim), and wheatberries.


Quinoa (Recipes: Strawberry Fields Breakfast Quinoa; Pumpkin Spice Quinoa):  Quinoa is easily found in most grocery stores near the rice.  It’s a small, circular ‘grain’ (actually a seed) from a plant.  Quinoa is “highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%). Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), and like oats, quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source among plant foods.  It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest.”  (Source)  You can toast raw quinoa (see Pumpkin Spice Quinoa recipe) or boil it; boiling only takes 5 minutes.


Israeli Cous Cous (Recipe:  Toasted Ptitim):  Israeli cous cous is actually a wheat-based pasta formed into little balls.  You can find it near the rice or in the bulk bin aisle of most ‘healthy’ grocery store chains.  Like quinoa, I’ve toasted it but after boiling.  It can also be chilled and mixed with olives, herbs, veggies, and olive oil for a yummy side dish.


Wheatberries:  I’m just getting into wheatberries.  “‘Wheatberry’ refers to the entire wheat kernel (except for the hull), comprising the bran, germ, and endosperm. Wheatberries have a tan to reddish brown color and are available as either a hard or soft processed grain. They are often added to salads or baked into bread to add a crunchy texture; as a whole grain, they also provide nutritional benefits since they are an excellent source of dietary fiber.” (Source)  You can only usually find wheatberries in stores like Whole Foods or online. They are really great chilled, too!


What’s your favorite unusual grain and how do you love to prepare it?



  • Stacy @ Every Little Thing January 24, 2011, 9:18 am

    I have just started using quinoa and love it! It’s so much more flavorful than rice. I need some grain jars!

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday January 24, 2011, 9:19 am

    I sprout my own wheatberries to make sprouted grain bread.

    I also use millet, brown rice, or quinoa in my homemade breads.

  • Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks January 24, 2011, 9:19 am

    Mm, I love experimenting with different grains! I just made some out of this world granola yesterday, using quinoa, quick-cook steel cut oats (yay Trader Joe’s), and rolled oatmeal. The dense, crunchy texture provides a nice change of pace from regular granola.

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers January 24, 2011, 9:20 am

    I’ve never met a grain I didn’t love: wheatberries, quinoa, millet, bulgar… wheat berries are probably my favorite: I cook a big batch and then use them throughout the week for breakfast toppings or salad add-ins. MMm!

    • Caitlin January 24, 2011, 9:55 pm

      I’ve never tried bulgar I don’t think!

  • Liz @ Blog is the New Black January 24, 2011, 9:21 am

    Love the flower pic! nice and springy!

  • Kierstan @ Life {and running} in Iowa January 24, 2011, 9:25 am

    I am a huge fan of quinoa. That stuff is great. I think I need to give wheatberries a try soon.

  • Marina January 24, 2011, 9:27 am

    I’m glad you found the owner!
    My favorite is quinoa. It just goes so well in salads. I also like millet, and buckwheat, and barley…. well, I love all grains 😀

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg January 24, 2011, 9:27 am

    Aw, glad you found the owner of that cutie!

    I LOVE wheatberries– I love adding them to my greek yogurt and topping it with berries. Delicious chew.

  • Ashley January 24, 2011, 9:29 am

    I love quinoa, I’ve never had wheat berries though.

  • Gloria January 24, 2011, 9:31 am

    I love black rice. It’s amazing in sushi because it’s naturally sweet and gets nice and sticky when it cooks.

  • brandi January 24, 2011, 9:32 am

    We love Israeli Couscous (especially the whole wheat variety) It’s SO doughy! My husband isn’t a huge fan of regular couscous, but he loves the Israeli.

    And I use wheatberries all the time – so good and chewy.

  • LindseyAnn January 24, 2011, 9:32 am

    I admit, I haven’t really jumped on this bandwagon yet. The food budget around here is kind of limited, so my fiance and I are kind of hesitant to branch out too much in case we discover it’s not something we care for and wind up wasting it. I have been curious about quinoa for a while, so when things get better that’s first on my list to try.

    • Caitlin January 24, 2011, 9:56 pm

      You can get them in the bulk bins and they really aren’t more than rice! You’ll like different grains, I promise!

  • Val @ Balancing Val January 24, 2011, 9:34 am

    We made vegan burger patties out of millet at school which were so amazing!

    I am working on a recipe of my own with different flavors.

    I’ll let you know when I post it as you and the hus can both eat them 😉

  • Hope January 24, 2011, 9:34 am

    I really like couscous. It’s one of my favorite grains. I would love to cook with quinoa but it is so expensive here! I think I just need to splurge and buy it already 🙂

  • jen @ taste life January 24, 2011, 9:35 am

    I’m really getting into Quinoa and actually had no idea it was a seed! I’m glad I know. I also like millet and brown rice.

  • Kristy @ January 24, 2011, 9:35 am

    Quinoa! Prepared in apple cider with cinnamon, raisins, and walnuts! Sooo good!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) January 24, 2011, 9:36 am

    I love quinoa and coucous, but I have not really tried wheat berries. I need to get on that. I guess really the main reason is that my husband can’t have wheat, so I try to simplify things somewhat, but I think I should try them out. They seem right up my alley. I am glad you found the owner of the pup. Have a great day Caitlin!

  • Ann @ Day by Day January 24, 2011, 9:37 am

    Thanks for the explanation of the grains! My favorite of the three is quinoa but that’s just because it’s the only one I’ve had. I’m actually planning on making quinoa for dinner tonight! I really want to try wheatberries though. I want to change up my morning oatmeal and wheatberries sound like a good way to do it.

  • Elizabeth@The Sweet Life January 24, 2011, 9:38 am

    Great photo of the grains in jars–I love quinoa and am eager to try wheatberries. The pretty flower photo is much appreciated–it is currently 6 degrees where I am!

  • Camille January 24, 2011, 9:38 am

    Oh my gosh, I have been obsessed with Israeli Couscous lately. I have seriously been eating like, 2 cups of it per day 🙂

  • Kara January 24, 2011, 9:41 am

    Is couscous really a grain? In my understanding it’s made from semolina flour (just like pasta) and isn’t a grain. Just thought I’d throw that out there

    • Ellen January 24, 2011, 10:49 am

      Yeah i was just going to add this as well. Cous cous (even Israeli) is made from wheat flour and not a whole grain. Though if you like cous cous and quinoa and want to try something similar, give millet a try! It is a bit like a mix between the two, and really tasty.

      • Caitlin January 24, 2011, 9:56 pm

        Yup – a pasta!

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit January 24, 2011, 9:44 am

    I love bulgur and israeli couscous! They’re so easy to prepare. Never tried wheatberries though.

  • Morgan @ Becoming Rooks January 24, 2011, 9:49 am

    I love Israeli couscous, it’s a fabulous substitute for rice. I have yet to warm up to quinoa, but admittedly I have only ever tried it in tabbouleh. It just tasted so flat.

  • Beth @ DiningAndDishing January 24, 2011, 9:53 am

    I really love wheatberries and pearl cous cous – grains with a larger texture. Chewy and unique!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat January 24, 2011, 9:55 am

    I’m a huge quinoa fan (although it’s not that unusual any more!) and I love kamut as well. It’s quite nutty like wheatberries and makes a great addition to cold salads. I just wish it didn’t take so long to cook!

  • Carrie (Moves 'N Munchies) January 24, 2011, 9:59 am

    i love israeli couscous! i didnt really know wat it was, but always thought it was VERY similar to pasta.. and now i know why!

  • Katie @ peacebeme January 24, 2011, 10:00 am

    I love Israeli couscous!

  • Katie January 24, 2011, 10:02 am

    I <3 coconut, but I haven't had it in forever because I don't really like it super sweet. What kind do you get? The generic sweetened from HT or unsweetened. Right now I'm addicted to the coconut larabars. There amazing.

    • Caitlin January 24, 2011, 9:57 pm

      It was the super sweet kind 🙂 I love sweetened coconut much more than unsweet!

  • Ashley (The Vegetable Life) January 24, 2011, 10:04 am

    I love quinoa, I discovered it about a year ago and now I eat it all of the time! I am also a fan of plain brown rice because you can add so many variations to it!

  • Gracie (complicated day) January 24, 2011, 10:05 am

    It’s not really a different grain, but I’ve been using Jasmine rice for many years and could never go back to regular now. Jasmine is so fragrant!

  • Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) January 24, 2011, 10:09 am

    I love wheatberries, but have never tried making them… Earth Fare in South Park has a wheatberry salad on their salad bar that I used to eat all the time though- yum!

  • Sara (Miles & Manhattan) January 24, 2011, 10:11 am

    I nearly flipped when I saw the weim, so glad you found his owner, poor guy!I think 3 dogs is definitely a lot, considering you might want to be adding something…well…not-furry 🙂 in the near-ish future? 🙂

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman January 24, 2011, 10:14 am

    My favorite is quinoa since it’s so super fast to make. Brown rice is nice, but it takes so much longer!

  • Alexia @ Dimple Snatcher January 24, 2011, 10:16 am

    I have really been loving quinoa. Delicious and so much easier to cook than rice!!

  • Orla January 24, 2011, 10:16 am

    I love quinoa. I also love quinoa flakes. My other half ordered 2kg of it recently thinking it was quinoa but I use it for homemade granola. Adds a lovely nutty flavour to it (and helps with my protein intake)
    You are right about shelving the dog thing! I know what you mean. I want with all my heart to get a second dog and have been thinking about it for a long time (about a week after we got dog 1 which was a year ago) but I am really worried about how Charlie would react. We are working hard on socialising him with other dogs and some he is fine with. We are just worried that the one we would bring home would be the one he wouldn’t get along with!

  • Ellie January 24, 2011, 10:16 am

    Hi Caitlin! I love your blog and think you are very inspiring in so many way!! I had a quick question that I’m not sure if you already addressed or not at some other time. Did you decide not to go back to school? I wasn’t sure since you are so busy with book writing, etc. Just curious! Keep up the great work 🙂

    • Caitlin January 24, 2011, 9:59 pm

      Nope, definitely not going to back to school! 🙂 I guess it just wasn’t in the cards for me.

  • Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow January 24, 2011, 10:21 am

    Quinoa and I are lovers. Truly. It’s been a slow progression but now it is in full force.

    Though this morning I posted a great veggie dish with Israeli couscous…so soft and yummy that grain is:

  • Christina January 24, 2011, 10:21 am

    I love quinoa!! I’ve made a couple of recipes for dinner using quinoa that I’ve posted on my blog 🙂
    I made a super yummy quinoa salad filled with veggies and garbanzo’s then made a sauce and tossed it all together. I like adding hot and cold veggies (crisp and soft) so you get different textures and flavors.

  • Natalia - a side of simple January 24, 2011, 10:29 am

    I don’t even know where my life was headed before I was introduced to quinoa. The fact that it’s naturally gluten-free totally saved me, too! This is my favorite way to prepare it:

  • Sabine @ thefruitpursuit January 24, 2011, 10:29 am

    I always refer to Quinoa as a grain too.We eat it as a grain, right?

    great post Caitlin and I really hope to see a new (doggy) face appear here asap!

  • Megan January 24, 2011, 10:34 am

    I just bought some lentils and quinua for the first time. Never made or had either. If anyone wants to give me some tips, head over to my blog.

  • Kristina @ Life as Kristina January 24, 2011, 10:35 am

    I’m a quinoa lover!

  • Maren January 24, 2011, 10:46 am

    I love farro and quinoa!

  • Ryan M. January 24, 2011, 10:54 am

    I have 3 dachshunds and love it 🙂 I also am a volunteer with Dachshund Rescue of N. America and aways have 4th dog at my house looking for a new home. You could always volunteer with an organization before making that jump to a 3rd dog. Fostering is the best of both worlds. If you have any questions I would be happy to help!

    • Caitlin January 24, 2011, 10:00 pm

      I might foster – I’m thinking about it!

  • Ellie @ The Mommyist January 24, 2011, 11:12 am

    I love quiona. It tastes great and it’s a whole protein. Perfect for someone like me who may not be a vegetarian but almost never eats meat. We usual have it savory with dinner but it’s also great as a hot breakfast cereal.

  • Cyndi @ Weightless Life January 24, 2011, 11:17 am

    The husband and I have been thinking about getting another dog as well. However, every time we think we’ve made a decision something happens and we realize the time isn’t right. I’m afraid of quinoa, but I really should give it a shot.

  • Sarah (Sarah Learns) January 24, 2011, 11:44 am

    i love love love wheatberries! usually i just toss them in my oatmeal, but i have some pretty delicious savory wheatberry salad recipes. 🙂

    i also just discovered farro. i’ve only made one savory side dish with it so far, but i’m definitely a fan.

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) January 24, 2011, 11:44 am

    I’ve starting using quinoa lately, though I tend to add more water and make it more risotto-like. Otherwise, the little grains keep flying away! Argh!

  • Katherine: Unemployed January 24, 2011, 11:46 am

    I love Maison jars!

  • Amber K January 24, 2011, 11:48 am

    Quinoa, my favorite way to have it is:

    Baja Bean Quinoa

    (makes enough to bring to a potluck, adjust serving size as necessary)
    You can use whatever beans you like, I used three of my favorites.

    4 cups cooked quinoa
    1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
    1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
    1 can red beans, drained and rinsed
    ½ cup onion, diced
    ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

    ¼ cup red wine vinegar
    2 tbsp sugar
    ¼ tsp salt
    ¼ tsp pepper
    Add other spices if desired to taste: parsley, cumin, whatever you like.

    Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
    Combine beans, quinoa, onions, and cilantro in a large bowl and mix well.
    Pour dressing over mixture and chill in the fridge for at least two hours for flavor to fully sink in.

    • Caitlin January 24, 2011, 10:00 pm

      This sounds awesome!

  • Jess@atasteofconfidence January 24, 2011, 11:51 am

    Glad you found the owner!

  • Charlie January 24, 2011, 11:59 am

    I looove quinoa! I’ve been looking for wheatberries but can’t find any. And I just bought Israeli couscous and have to try. How do you prepare it?

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss January 24, 2011, 12:02 pm

    I’ve always wanted to try wheatberries but haven’t been able to find them ANYWHERE around here! Someday though. 🙂 Glad Fred’s back home too!

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey January 24, 2011, 12:10 pm

    I loooove quinoa! I’ve also been trying different kinds of rice lately, such as basmati. I love trying new grains!

  • Melissa @ Be Not Simply Good January 24, 2011, 12:13 pm

    My favorite is quinoa (though technically a seed as has been discussed). I like to have it with a stir fry. I also like cooking it in vegetable broth and adding a little onion, garlic and herbs. So simple; so good.

    I also really like using barley as a hot breakfast grain.

  • Sheilah January 24, 2011, 12:31 pm

    So glad the dog was reunited with his owner!

    I love quinoa, and I was taught a different cooking technique for it – if you soak it for awhile before boiling it (about 30 minutes, or longer if that’s what works for you), the shell kind of dissolves. You rinse it until there are no more little shell pieces floating around and then boil it in a 1:2 quinoa:water ratio. What you end up with is very fluffy – a different texture and a less nutty taste. Just thought I’d share it if anyone’s looking for something different to do with their quinoa.

  • Ashley January 24, 2011, 12:44 pm

    Where’d you manage to find the dog’s owner? So good that you were able to find his home & give him some shelter in the mean-time (cuz, like you said, it’s cold!)

    • Caitlin January 24, 2011, 10:01 pm

      I asked around and a neighbor correctly IDed his owner, we knocked and left a note!

  • Jennie @ Designed to be Fit January 24, 2011, 12:54 pm

    I’ve been dying to try quinoa but they don’t have it at my grocery store on base. I’ll have to make a trip to Publix and get a bag.

  • Kacy January 24, 2011, 1:47 pm

    I’m glad you found the doggie owner. It’s always so terrible to lose a pet, I’m sure they were so grateful you kept Fred safe and warm.

  • Clare @ Fitting It All In January 24, 2011, 2:16 pm

    I’ve been loving Barley lately! I make a batch of 1/2 barley 1/2 brown rice and use it all week. The mix of textures is great!

  • lauren January 24, 2011, 2:46 pm

    Do you buy these in bulk bins? I am usually so scared to buy a whole box of something/plus it is usually expensive, so I don’t go for it.

    • Caitlin January 24, 2011, 10:01 pm

      Yup! They have most of the grains mentioned in the post and comments section in bulk bix!

  • susan January 24, 2011, 2:58 pm

    i know you said you’ve tabled the idea, and i’m late to the discussion, but as someone who recently added a third dog to the pack, i thought i’d throw my comment in anyway…

    i think the biggest consideration in adding a 3rd dog is temperament. my doxie has what i call “short leg syndrome” and has to be the boss… so the only dog i could add to the pack would be a laid back/submissive breed. luckily i wanted a gentle giant, so i thought it could work. our newfoundland is over 1 yr. now, and the three seem to love each other. the 155 lb. newfie lets the 10 lb. doxie boss him around, and the 10 yr old yorkie just kicks back and watches… it has worked really well!

    also, big dogs are typically MUCH easier to potty train than little dogs (our newfie was potty trained in ONE WEEK). i could see that being more difficult when you already have other dogs… hopefully james and maggie will lead by example in that dept.

    if you have time/energy/money/willingness, and your current pack is well trained and easy to handle, i say… what are you waiting for??? =)

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) January 24, 2011, 3:58 pm

    I’ve never tried wheatberries, but I love quinoa. I’m not a huge rice fan, so it’s a great alternative.

  • Anne @ butter and bear January 24, 2011, 4:08 pm

    As a mom with three dogs, just let me say – three is too many!!! My husband and I got all three dogs before we had children and we love them so much. They were our children before we had real ones. But, now that I have two little boys -I have to say that three is too many. We, of course, will keep all of them and love on them, but with toddlers and infants crawling around, it is almost impossible to pay enough attention to all three dogs every day. Just my advice – wish someone had told me the same before we had kids.

  • mary (what's cookin' with mary) January 24, 2011, 4:35 pm

    I am a HUGE fan of quinoa! Funny and true story… Friday evening I went with B and some friends to happy hour and when we all got back everyone voted to go grab fast food or pizza and all I wanted was quinoa ?! They were all making fun of me, but hey… I crave what I crave! 😀

    My fav way to make it is in my rice cooker with broth. I def always make mine in broth to give it that added flavor. With out it I find it too plain. After its cooked, I add a little earth balance and nutritional yeast. Fri night was just like that and I also tossed in some leftover roasted b-nut squash. SO GOOD!

  • Maddie (Healthy Maddie) January 24, 2011, 4:35 pm

    Glad you found the dog’s owner! I love quinoa but have never had wheatberries. They sound great!

  • Jolene ( January 24, 2011, 7:07 pm

    I have a new found love for quinoa … I hated it the first time I had it!

  • Jenny (Fit Girl Foodie) January 24, 2011, 7:37 pm

    Love those oats! They look amazing 😀

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin January 24, 2011, 9:47 pm

    I just started cooking with bulghur and I love it! I’ve been wanting to try wheatberries, but I can’t find them anywhere.

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