New Year, New You.
This sentiment seems to be how many people approach the 1st of each calendar year. Some of us even wait until after the 1st to talk about what we need to work on to become a better . . . fill in the blank. A few of us reject the concept entirely, constantly reminding ourselves to strive to be our best every single day.
This simple dessert is bound to put a person in the mood for sweaters and bonfires. Serve with a mug of hot cider and embrace the chill in the air.
For those of you in warmer climates- this rice pudding is also delicious served cold with a spot of thick coconut cream.
Checking out cookbooks from the library offers some fantastic inspiration. We are fortunate to have a wonderful library in the town close to where we recently moved. It is super jam packed with hundreds (thousands!) of cookbooks. I only pay attention to the books with beautiful color photos. I flip through them frantically… and I drool.
So, as I was browsing through my recently borrowed Cafe Vietnam* cookbook by Annabel Jackson, a beautiful trio of dumplings caught my eye.
They made me think of mochi, and how I have been DYING to make mochi since I was 16! Given that mochi often pops up all over vegan blogs, I should have made some by now…
but, I never had rice flour.
And then I thought to myself, “I have rice flour now (slap to the forehead). I always have rice flour now!”
So without any further hesitation I knew I had to make some little rice dumplings- of some sort. On my way to the kitchen I saw a perfectly ripe banana… which is a rarity at our house because they tend to get eaten up quite fast. So I wondered, “what would happen if I just combined everything that was going through my brain at this exact moment?”
Well, folks… this recipe happened.
And, it was good. Very. Very. Good.
Recently, an overwhelming craving for a “Chicken n’ Rice” dish from my childhood came sweeping back over me. As a child I usually made my own version, which was one of the first dishes I ever loved as a wee person. Obviously it was pretty easy to make, and from what I remember… very addictive.
It literally was some cooked long grain rice mixed with a can of unaltered Cream of Chicken Soup. I distinctly remember it being a lovely pale neon yellow and pretty salty. :)
I guarantee you I ate waaay too much of that stuff as a kid. So, I finagled up a newer, and less scary version of my childhood staple. It brings back memories, but I added some maturity to the whole mix with veggies and stuff.
As we were eating this “new and improved” version … my husband (who has eaten plenty of the canned-soup rice in his lifetime) and I both agreed that it hit the spot for nostalgia. It definitely requires a few more steps than the original dish, but the other way seems a little too easy to me.
My niece is on Spring Break from college, and we were talking about the access to good vegan food while living in student housing. She said I was tantalizing her with recipes that she couldn’t make. Poor hungry girl. I admit, most of my recipes would be pretty hard to prepare without an oven. :\
She needed nutritious and delicious food that could be made on a tight budget, with little effort. So, she came over to my kitchen and helped me create a recipe for when she returns to her dorm.
This is a simple rice and quinoa blend with a creamy almond sauce. It’s filling too.
The entire dish can be made with just a blender and a microwave, in about 25 minutes. And, it boasts just 10 ingredients that most people will have in their pantry. Okay, maybe not most people, but the ingredients are pretty common vegan staples.
The entire experience was also very helpful for me, because my oven actually broke the other day. (Yes, I totally freaked out). Happily, I have learned that it is possible to cook quinoa and rice in a microwave; therefore, there is no need to panic if you are without a stove.
So, this post is dedicated to all of you wonderful readers -without ovens or rice cookers – who are hungry for a yummy home-cooked meal.
Forbidden rice is so wonderfully amazing. With its chewy texture and deep purple hue, it is as striking as it is tasty.
If you have not yet experienced the taste/texture/greatness of Forbidden rice, it’s worth tracking down. It is, without a doubt, the best rice I have ever enjoyed… and it’s practically black. Very cool.
Since it is New Year’s Eve, I find it necessary to offer up a nice black-eyed pea recipe. Black eyed peas are traditionally eaten in the United States on New Year’s Day to bring prosperity for the upcoming new year. This recipe is similar to a traditional Hoppin’ John recipe but, it has a few extra goodies. I left out the tomatoes on this one, and of course, there are no animal ingredients.
This is a simple, filling, one dish meal that can be whipped up relatively fast, provided you have many different pots and pans handy. I like to start cooking all the other stuff while the rice and beans are cooking. This saves lots of time, but creates a quite bit of stove top clutter. The ingredients can be subbed out based on what you have on hand. Feel free to use brown rice or quinoa instead of basmati, add or subtract whichever veggies you’d like, and season to taste. Just don’t leave out those black eyed peas!
This is a simple and elegant dish that will work in just about any circumstance, whether it be a main dish, side dish, or holiday take along. I was inspired by looking at some beautiful photographs of foods from Iran. I love the color combination of the pistachios and cranberries, along with the lovely orange-y hue of the rice. The good thing about this dish is that you can prepare all of the mix-ins while your rice cooks… so I would definitely classify this as a quick meal. It took me about 35 minutes (using a rice cooker) to make it all come together, and my kitchen smelled absolutely wonderful. This was the first time I tried anything remotely close to this, and it was so easy, I will be making this over and over again.