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Falling for Comfort Foods

Autumn is finally in the air—or, at least as much of that season as we can seem to muster here in the desert Southwest. While we haven’t yet packed away our shorts or pulled out the flannel sheets, we find ourselves gravitating toward the warmer, more substantial meals we typically turn to when the weather cools off.


This week, I sprouted some more pinto beans and then cooked them for just about an hour before using them in a hearty crockpot chili that—along with a batch of gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free cornbread—really hit the spot after a busy homeschool co-op day. (On Wednesdays, we usually have piano lessons in the morning, and then meet with friends in the afternoon to study chemistry, art and Spanish together.) Along with the sprouted beans and some of their cooking liquid, the chili included one pound of grass-fed beef, a diced onion, a 12-ounce can of tomato paste, and a mixture of herbs and spices that I threw in, unmeasured, until I liked the taste—such as chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, crushed red chili flakes, cayenne pepper and sea salt. We topped it with grated raw cheddar and sour cream. The cornbread recipe I use is an adaptation of one I received via e-mail from Living Without magazine’s free Recipe of the Week newsletter. (Click here to sign up for the newsletter and to view the recipes posted on the publication’s Web site.)


In addition to beans, I sprouted some organic soft white wheat I’d ordered from Azure Standard, dehydrated it in the oven, ground it into flour in my Vita-Mix and used it to make chocolate-chip cookies—adapting a recipe in Janie Quinn’s book Sprouted Baking. (Her recipe calls for maple sugar and carob chips, which I didn’t have on hand, so I used Rapadura—unrefined cane sugar—and Enjoy Life chocolate chips—dairy-free and gluten-free—instead.) I really watched the grains during the sprouting process to determine whether I was achieving the goal of truly sprouting (and not drowning) the grain, as I expressed concern about last week. After soaking the grain overnight, I did observe that the endosperm had emerged from each grain (whether because it was swollen or not), but I also observed definite growing shoots that could only be considered true sprouts. I’m calling it a success! The cookies I made with the sprouted wheat flour were delicious, and while I didn’t test them out on Kellen (they included dairy and eggs), I did manage to convince my sister-in-law, an officially diagnosed celiac (and a very brave one, I might add!), to try one. It’s been less than 24 hours since she ate it, and so far she is symptom-free. I’ll keep checking in with her over the next few days to see what, if any effects she experiences. At the request of my editor at Living Without, I’m on the lookout for a medical doctor specializing in celiac disease to interview about whether sprouting gluten-containing grains might make them tolerable and safe for those who are gluten-sensitive. It’s controversial, and so far I haven’t had much luck.

This post is part of the Tuesday Twister blog carnival hosted by www.gnowfglins.com. To link to today’s Tuesday Twister on that site, click here.

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1 Millie { 10.06.09 at 9:41 am }

I’m glad to hear about your results sprouting the wheat. And your chili sounds wonderful.

2 Wardeh @ GNOWFGLINS { 10.06.09 at 2:18 pm }

Sonya, the chili looks delicious. Glad you had more success than me. 🙂 The cookies look amazing – and yes, your friend is very brave. Awesome that you observed sprouts and that your friend is still symptom free. Thanks for participating – I look forward to what you share each week! Love, Wardeh

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