Monday, April 13, 2009

Wheat Germ & Red Lentil

Mommy Paula gave me some wheat germ and red lentil; available at NTUC or Unity under Organic Food section.

What is wheat germ?
Wheat germ is one of the most nutritional products available. In fact, wheat germ contains 23 nutrients, and has more nutrients per ounce than any other vegetable or grain. The word germ does not have anything to do with bacteria; it simply refers to germination. The germ is the reproductive part that germinates and forms the wheat grass.



Nutritional value and health benefits:
1) Wheat germ is very high in protein. It contains around 28 percent protein and has more protein than can be found in most meat products.
2) The amount of nutrients that are contained within wheat germ seems endless. It contains more potassium and iron than any other food source. Also found in great quantities are riboflavin, calcium, zinc magnesium and vitamins A, B1 and B3.
3) Another important vitamin found in wheat germ is vitamin E. Vitamin E is a very important antioxidant. It is helpful in preventing the body's aging process and also to prevent heart disease. Vitamin E also helps to prevent blood clots and is needed to strengthen the body’s immune system.

Method:
1) Sprinkle a small amount over Kady's cooked food. Don't let it overheat.

(Some info. are extracted from http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-wheat-germ.htm)

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What is red lentil?
Lentils, which are related to peas, have been providing nutrition to the human race for a very long time! In fact, there is evidence of their cultivation dating back as far as 6,000 BC! They are believed to have their origins in south west Asia and northern Syria. The lentil is a bushy annual plant of the legume family, grown for its lens-shaped seeds. A variety of lentils exists with colors that range from yellow to red-orange to green, brown and black.




Nutritional value and health benefits:
1) Lentils contain high levels of proteins
2) Apart from a high level of proteins, lentils also contain dietary fiber, Folate, vitamin B1, and minerals.
3) Health magazine has selected lentils as one of the five healthiest foods.[5] Lentils are often mixed with grains, such as rice, which results in a complete protein dish.
4) Lentils are one of the best vegetable sources of iron.


Method:
1) They are usually simmered, covered, in 3 parts water or stock to one part lentils. The cooking time for red lentils is about 15 minutes
2) Cooked lentils freeze well, particularly the mushy variety!
*Consider this - babies in Indian cultures, where the lentil dish dhal (or dal) is a staple food, are regularly fed lentils from the time they start solids.


Easy veggie and lentil baby food puree
• 1 tbsp red lentils
• 2oz (1/4 cup) sweet potato, peeled and diced
• 2oz (1/4 cup) chopped cauliflower
• 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
• roughly 6 fl oz (3/4 cup) milk - (use breast milk or formula if you prefer)

Rinse the lentils, then put all the ingredients into a small saucepan. Bring to the boil.
Next, lower the heat and simmer the mixture until the lentils are cooked and the veggies are tender (about 20-30 mins). You can always add a little more milk if the mixture begins to dry out.
Put the mixture into a food processor and blend until smooth!
This dish freezes well - but remember, you should NOT freeze any dishes containing previously frozen breast milk.



Lentil baby food puree with fruits and veggies
• 2oz (1/4 cup) red lentils
• 1 leek, sliced
• 1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
• 4oz (1/2 cup) cauliflower florets
• 8 fl oz (1 cup) chicken stock
• 1 small apple, peeled, cored and chopped

Saute the leek for a few minutes in a little oil.
Pour in 6 fl oz (3/4 cup) of stock, then add the lentils and bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 mins, then add the sweet potato.
Simmer for a further 5 mins, then add the cauliflower and apple.
Simmer for a further 10-15 mins, until all the veggies are tender. If the mixture dries out, add more stock as required.
Puree in a blender if necessary.



Lentil baby food - lentil soup with apricots
This sweet and savoury soup makes a tasty treat for the entire family!
• little olive oil
• 8oz (1 cup) red lentils
• 1 small onion, diced
• 1 carrot, peeled and diced
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• 26 fl oz (3 1/4 cup) water
• 4oz (1/2 cup) dried apricots, chopped

Heat the oil and saute the onions and carrots for around 10 mins, until tender.
Add the cumin and stir thoroughly, then reduce the heat to very low. Cover the vegetables and leave to "sweat" for 8-10 mins.
Add the lentils and enough water to cover the mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20-25 mins, until the lentils are cooked and the carrots are tender (you may need to add more water during the cooking time).
Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Pour the mixture into a food processor and add the apricots, along with the remaining water.
Puree until smooth.


(Some info. are extracted from http://www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.com/lentil-baby-food.html)

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