Monday Musings… Millet Power!

I used to linger in the clothing stores, looking at items, trying to find a deal, matching stuff up… now I can be found in the various grocery stores in my area, reading labels, smelling produce and yep trying to find the best healthy, bang for my buck food!

That’s pretty much how I found Millet. I was picking up Quinoa and saw the Millet and so I checked out the little grain that looked much like Quinoa, and what did I find out?

For centuries millet has been a prized crop in China, India, Greece, Egypt and Africa, used in everything from bread to couscous, and as cereal gran, it is even mentioned as a treasured crop in the Bible.

This tiny “grain” is gluten-free and packed with vitamins and minerals. In fact, while it’s often called a grain because of it’s grain-like consistency, millet is actually a seed. This next little tid-bit will make my brother laugh because he has often said he would just buy me bird seed in bulk to eat! Well Millet is often used in birdseed mixture, but if you think it’s just for the birds, you’re missing out on important benefits of millet nutrition for yourself!

Millet hydrates your colon (keeps things moving), it is alkaline, keeping your body in better balance. Magnesium reduces chance of heart attacks, decreases migraines. Niacin, which can help reduce cholesterol.  Phosphorus in millet helps with fat metabolism, body tissue repair and creating energy (phosphorus is an essential component of adenosine triphosphate or ATP, a precursor to energy in your body). Whole grains, such as Millet, have been shown to decrease childhood asthma. These are just a few of the benefits offered up from this little gem. Not to mention it is inexpensive!!

IMG_4561             IMG_4560Just a couple of pics of the Millet I found at my local health food store. It can be bought in bulk many places and is often found in the ethnic or health food section. Look for organic hulled Millet.

Cooking Millet is similar to quinoa or other small grains, although the ratio of water or liquid is a little more instead of 2:1, it’s about 2:1/2 to 1. Some sources suggest soaking first, but I have never done that with mine.

So you might be asking now, what do I use Millet for? Anything, well anything that you would like. This is where it is quite similar to Quinoa too. It doesn’t have a huge flavor, maybe slightly nutty, so you can use it in all kinds of preparations where you might use Rice, Quinoa or another grain.

This picture shows you the cooked Millet. If I remember correctly this was one cup dry. I use it through the week for various meals as you will see below. Although I haven’t really developed a recipe for ya… sorry, live a little and use your imagination! Your taste buds will thank you!

cooked millet waiting to be invited to a party!
cooked millet waiting to be invited to a party!

This is my venture away from the typical breakfast smoothie. It was a chilly morning and I wanted cereal. So I heated up some of my Millet mixing with almond milk, added cinnamon, a little grade B maple syrup, gogi berries, and currents… and there you have it!

Breakfast bowl
Breakfast bowl

This was the dish I was going to make a recipe for, so sorry though I got home from my first yoga teacher training day and was so hungry I dove in and made a single serving of stuffed mushroom. I can tell you I sautéed shallots, red pepper, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes, (re-hydrated), nutritional yeast. Mixed in the millet and placed all in a Portobello mushroom top (gills scraped out) and put in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Promise when I make a batch I will give you a proper recipe, but I was cooking for one, and I know most people cook for at least two!

Millet stuffed portabello
Millet stuffed Portobello

I will tell you that little mushroom was yummo! I think the Millet on top was slightly crispy and nutty, and the underneath was more tender. Of course that’s just the technique of cooking the goods! Like I always say, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone in the kitchen.

With the Fall season upon us, I can think of endless uses for Millet. Seems in the cooler temps I gravitate for comfort dishes that use grains, or in this case a seed that looks and acts like a grain! So next time a dish calls for rice or quinoa think about letting Millet join the party, you will invite this little guy back for breakfast perhaps!




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