amaranth bowls for breakfast, lunch or dinner

my daydreaming and brainstorming has caused a recent bout of forgetfulness and utter spaciness. last week, i was walking home from a physical therapy appointment (apparently there is a limit to how many root vegetables my neck and shoulders are comfortable chopping each week...) and realized just how intense my brainstorming state had become. i was managing to make my way towards home on auto pilot, but felt completely disoriented. i couldn't remember what i had done that morning but could clearly remember my dream from the night before - or was that reality? - and didn't remember sending an email that i was receiving a response to. i couldn't manage a clear train of thought for more than a few seconds. at first, i thought i was just loopy due to the deep breathing exercises and neck adjustment my therapist had just worked with me on. in other words, my head was literally just not on straight... later, i realized i was getting a head cold, which was contributing to my loopiness. but before the neck adjustments, before the onset of the head cold, i had been lingering in this lucid-dream state, so wrapped up in my own brainstorm that it had become disorienting. 

it's pretty incredible to realize that in the last few weeks i have found so much inspiration that my brain literally could not handle it all. i was trying to process the brilliance of dr.daphne miller's book 'farmacology' and was diving fast into pages of 'the third plate.' i was discussing ideas wit inspiring women through a local young female entrepreneurs group. conjuring up grand ideas with my brilliant and supportive mom over lunches and coffee. and listening to podcast interviews with women who truly inspire me. my brain was overloaded with encouraging ideas! 

the solution - besides hydrating and resting to manage the head cold - was to declutter my brain and organize my thoughts on paper. write out goals and set some action steps to guide me in the direction i hope to be heading with my career. i also directed some inspiration from listening to an interview with claire ragozzino on pure green magazine's podcast to create a few recipes for nourishing and grounding meals using amaranth. the first recipe was inspired by claire's maple-maca porridge recipe on her blog. the second, was a warming one-pot meal inspired by her discussion on ayurveda and eating simple, warming foods during the winter months. so if you've never used amaranth before,  go hunt it down in a natural foods store and delight in the unusual flavor and texture of this ancient grain. 

maple-maca amaranth porridge (adapted from vidya) ~ serves 3
1 cup amaranth grain
3 cups water, or swap out half for favorite non-dairy milk
2 tablespoons grade b maple syrup
2 teaspoons maca powder
1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup dried apricots or other unsweetened dried fruit, diced
1/3 cup hemp seeds

notes: i used equal parts water and homemade date-sweetened hazelnut milk for this particular batch (see my recipe for homemade almond milk and simply sub 1 cup of raw hazelnuts) 

bring water/milk to a simmer in a small sauce pan. add amaranth and simmer for 25 minutes, whisking every few minutes to prevent amaranth from clumping. stir in maple, maca, oil, vanilla and apricots and let simmer for another 5 minutes or so until amaranth is plump and porridge thickens. serve with additional almond milk and a few tablespoons of hemp seeds over each bowl of porridge. the porridge stores well, so you can make a batch ahead of time and add a bit of water or milk to gently reheat it in the mornings for a quick breakfast! 

amaranth and root vegetable indian curry ~ serve 5-6
1-1/2 pounds root vegetables (sweet potato, carrot, turnip, parsnip, golden beets)
1 small head cauliflower 
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic
1-1/2 quarts vegetable stock 
2 tablespoons ghee
1 heaping tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/4 or more teaspoon cayenne 
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup amaranth
juice of 1 lime

notes: this recipe was inspired by a bag of mixed root vegetables from a local farm that included carrots, parsnips, turnips, golden beets and jerusalem artichoke. you can use any blend of root vegetables, but i highly recommend adding sweet potato into the mix as well!

crush garlic and let rest for 10 minutes before adding it to any heat to preserve the medicinal qualities of raw garlic. in the mean time, brush off any dirt from root vegetables, but do not peel. slice vegetables into small cubes the size of hazelnuts. chop cauliflower florets into 1/4" strips and then roughly chop into smaller bites. 

heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat and saute diced onions for 5 minutes. add spices and garlic and saute for 2 minutes. add prepared vegetables, amaranth and stock to the pot. the vegetable stock should just barely cover the vegetables - adjust volume if necessary. bring soup to a simmer and cook covered for 25-35 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until vegetables are fork tender and amaranth is plump. remove from heat, add the juice of 1 lime, and let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.