Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year, New Experiences!

My mom always told me that what you do on New Year's Eve sets the stage for how you will spend the coming year. So, the last couple of years I've gotten adventurous in the kitchen on New Year's Eve.

For dinner this year, I cooked a new pasta dish I'd found on Pinterest (but I wasn't as excited about it as I thought I'd be, as the sauce turned out a little loose and the arugula in the dish kind of dominated the flavor). It wasn't bad, but it wasn't blogworthy.

So I turned my attention to dessert. Before making dinner, I'd cooked up some barley in preparation to make another recipe I'd seen on Pinterest -- a rice pudding-style pudding that used barley instead of rice. But as I started to gather the other ingredients, I realized the recipe had some flaws that rendered it unusable. So I peeked around at some other recipes and created one that I thought would work ... and it did!

The end result reminded me a lot of rice pudding -- but with the added bonus of knowing it had the nutritional value of the pearled barley (8 g of dietary fiber and 5 g of protein per 1/4 cup of the Arrowhead Mills barley I used).


• 2 rounded cups cooked pearled barley
• 2 cups low-fat milk (I used 1%; you probably could also use non-dairy milk)
3 Tbsp light agave nectar
• 1.5 oz. (snack size) box raisins -- about 1/4 cup (optional)
1/2 to 1 tsp cinnamon (I like lots of cinnamon, so I used 1 tsp; it was very cinnamony)
1 Tbsp butter or butter substitute
1/2 tsp vanilla

• Combine barley, milk and agave in a pan; cook over low heat, stirring frequently
• After 15 minutes, add raisins; continue stirring frequently
• 15 minutes later, add cinnamon; continue stirring frequently
• 10 minutes later, add butter; continue stirring frequently
• Depending on your desired consistency, the total cook time will be 40 to 50 minutes; when pudding looks like it is within five minutes of being done, add vanilla
• Let cool slightly; serve warm (I'll find out in the morning whether it's also good cold!)

1/1/12 ADDENDUM:
I actually think I like it better cold than warm ... so serve it either way, depending on your preference!