Simple, Fresh

21 Mon, 2011 § 10 Comments

The bulk food bins & I have bonded deeply the last few years.

You know it’s serious when your husband says,

“I’ll leave you to it – this is like Disneyland for you,”

before he darts off for the meat & cheese counters.

Buying bulk is less expensive & less wasteful, especially if you BYOB [bags].  It offers variety & a chance to try small quantities of something, by buying only what you need; this means your goods are likely fresher.  It also seems fresher to pour my grains, seeds, beans, nuts & dried fruit from glass rather than plastic bags or containers.

We keep a lot of our bulk items in our favorite snap containers from World Market.  I always have more bulk than I have containers for though, so I also store food in mason jars as well as reuse other food jars, which once held oils, pickles, etc.  Food storage does not have to be expensive; in fact, it can be downright cheap.

As long as it stays fresh, I am happy.

Dave is right: the bulk section makes me embarrassingly excited.  Whatever my food mood, I can generally fill it here.

Lately, my Spring [fever] mood has been light & distinct, using only a few ingredients to highlight simple flavors.

Five[or six]-ingredient grain salads.

[I have seen variations of these online but can’t find the links now.  Sorry.]

Lentils & Barley with Cardamom

  • 1 cup pearled barley
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 cup almond or hemp milk
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup coconut, toasted
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup cashews, toasted

Combine & rinse barley & lentils.  Combine with water & milk & bring to a boil.  Lower heat, cover & simmer 30 – 40 minutes until most of the water is absorbed.  Toward the end of cooking, stir in cardamom, salt & raisins.  Once water is absorbed & grains are cooked, allow to rest a few minutes.  Stir in coconut & garnish individual servings with cashews.

Tarragon Vinaigrette over Quinoa & Roasted Beets

  • 3 T champagne vinegar
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T tarragon [fresh if available; I used ~1 tsp dried]
  • ~6 medium beets, roasted
  • ~2 cups cooked quinoa
  • pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • sea salt & fresh pepper

Combine  vinaigrette ingredients & toss with quinoa & roasted beets.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper & top with roasted pumpkin seeds.  Tarragon is my new favorite combination with beets.  I can’t wait to get my hands on some fresh.


Do you shop the bulk section?  What has been your favorite find?

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§ 10 Responses to Simple, Fresh

  • dina says:

    yum yum! I re use jars to store everything, my favorite ones are ones from coconut oil, they are just the right size for some smaller amounts of bulk foods. I also got some huge jars from the DI used and just sterilized them, this way if almonds are on sale, I can buy 4 lbs and fill it up!

    The bulk section is the best and so is BYOB to do it. Good stuff. It would be nice if the bulk foods had even more of a selection, I’m just picky. I have to make a lot of my own stuff so it doesn’t have sugar and order things elsewhere that I can’t find in bulk or costs way too much.

    mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. good ideas Allie!

    • Allie says:

      4 lbs of almond?! You are hard core girl — & SMART. Coconut oil jars are perfect. Your bulk selection at Whole Foods is pretty good, isn’t it? Is the new one at Trolley open yet? I miss WFs. Guess what though? We’re getting a Trader Joe’s. WooWoo. Ok, it’s still about an hour & 15 away, but that’s not bad!

  • Natalie says:

    I live for the bulk bins. I would say it’s like my Disneyland, except I’m a little obsessed with Disneyland…for real. I think I’m going to have my 30th birthday there. No lie.

    I always get almonds, quiona, oatmeal, popcorn, spelt flour, maple syrup (does that count?), brown rice, spices, and sometimes baking ingredients (coconut, chocolate chips, etc). It makes life so easy!

    Thanks for sharing the recipe, I’m going to make it this weekend and I can’t wait!

  • Toni says:

    Unfortunately we don’t have this option here! Everything is pre-packed and obviously more expensive!

  • Julia says:

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one who gets that excited over the bulk bins. My Whole Foods has a pretty good selection (an aisle with half the aisle full of bulk bins) but I saw a picture on a blog the other day of a store with a bulk bin aisle that put WF to shame. I had bulk bin envy for a minute.
    Have a great week!

  • […] will complement the flavors a bit more as well; champagne vinegar would be good too — oh with tarragon!  Looks like I’ll be making more of this soon.  I plan to top it with hemp seeds & […]

  • […] each serving so I don’t get tired of one strong flavor throughout the week.  I like it with champagne-tarragon vinaigrette, simply a little flax oil & sea salt or maybe a splash of white balsamic; & sometimes, I […]

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