keep on cooking.

 

Everyone needs a good support system.  Someone who cheers you on through life.  A friend.  A coworker.  A spouse. 

Parents who see you through the good.  The bad.  The downright ugly.

 

 

My parents have seen me through a lot.

They’ve seen me through my choice to become a vegetarian (although now that I think of it, dad did seem to grill a lot of my favorite salmon dishes during this time…hrmmm…)

They’ve seen me inhale a plate of baby back ribs, a bowl of caramelized onions and a (literal) half of a chicken, all in one meal.  No comments.

 

 

My parents have seen me through heartaches and tears, hugging me through the toughest of college friend breakups. 

They’ve cheered me on in my proudest of moments.  Watching my service dog puppy graduate.  Watching ME graduate.

And, really, they have put up with a lot.  Especially in the kitchen.

(in case you were wondering, they did *not* like the kombucha, but I honestly think it’s an aquired taste!)

 

 

They’ve tasted and sampled their way through countless flops and failures.

Breads that didn’t rise.

Cakes that didn’t release their death grips from the pans (I still haven’t quite gotten over this one!)

Cookies that turned into complete, unfixable, inedible wafers (dad said he still thought they tasted good, but in a fit of frustration, I just had to dump them!!)

 

 

And yet, they still urge me on.  They always ask me, “what’s for dinner?” with a spirit of unwaning enthusiasm.  And they continue to offer me the luxurious freedom of being able to cook up whatever catches my fancy.

 

 

And so, I’ve decided, that as long as they keep on tasting—as long as they keep on cheering—I’ll keep on cooking.

Through life’s major disasters.  Life’s ups and downs.  Through broken dishes, serious imperfections, and flying mushrooms. 

Keep on cooking.

 

Roasted Vegetables Over Rice

Serves 3-4

Thankfully, there’s not much to mess up about this one bowl meal (unless, of course, you drop the bowl…oops!)  You could also double the veggies and save the leftovers for another meal.  They will go lovely with omelettes, over quinoa, or as a filling in your favorite wrap.

The vegetables in this meal are as versatile as the grain on which you serve them.  Use quinoa, brown rice, couscous, et cetera.  For the veggies, use red bell peppers, eggplant, zucchini, turnips…Just have fun with it.  Enjoy it.  And keep on cooking.

  • 1 lb. of brussel sprouts, cut in half
  • 1 lb. mushrooms, sliced thick
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • pepper
  • balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup dry brown rice, cooked
  • 1 15oz. can of diced tomatoes, drained
  • garlic powder
  • chopped avocado, garbanzo bean salad, and/or feta cheese (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 
  2. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.  Place veggies on sheet and top with olive oil and pepper.  Place in oven for 10 minutes.  Stir, drizzle with balsamic vinegar, and return to oven for another 10-15 minutes, or until browned and cooked to desired doneness.
  3. Meanwhile, mix the cooked rice with the can of drained diced tomatoes.  Liberally sprinkle garlic powder into mixture.  Stir. 
  4. In individual bowls, place rice on the bottom, top with roasted vegetables, and finish with your favorite toppings (chopped avocado, garbanzo bean salad, feta cheese, et cetera.)  ENJOY! 😀

Question: Who do you most love to cook/bake for?  I absolutely love cooking for family and friends, but I also enjoy cooking just for me. 😀

rice and shine

I’m convinced that leftover brown rice is the most quintessential item in my fridge. 

I like to think how economical I’m being when I eat my leftover rice.  How I’m saving nickles and dimes by not throwing it out.  By not eating something else instead.  But really, I don’t think this is exactly true.  Usually I end up making a double batch of brown rice, just so that I’ll be guarenteed to have leftovers.  😉

Brown rice is quickly becoming one of my most favored breakfast these days.  

It has the ability to soak up any of the flavors that you choose to mix it with.  Especially when we’re talking an actual overnight bath in the fridge!!  I like to focus on the sweet factor for breakfast, so bananas, cinnamon, nutmeg, and chopped apples became my flavors of choice for this morning. 

And, really, let’s be honest.  Leftover brown rice with pumpkin, bananas, apples, walnuts, yogurt, and spices is far more interesting and exciting than plain jane brown rice with your chicken.

Overnight Pumpkin Rice Pudding

This breakfast has the potential of becoming whatever you desire.  Focus on sweet by using blueberries, raisins, apples, pears, bananas, etc.  Eat it cold.  Eat it hot.  It’s delicious both ways.

OR, take the savory route by reheating the rice in a nonstick frying pan with some scrambled eggs, veggies, and chili powder.  Leftover brown rice is as versatile as you want it to be! 😀

  • 1 c. leftover brown rice
  • 1/2 ripe banana, sliced
  • 1 small apple, diced
  • cinnamon and nutmeg (plenty)
  • 2 T. soymilk
  • 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
  • 6-oz. plain yogurt
  • toppings: 2 T. walnuts, honey or agave to taste
  1. Mix together first 6 ingredients.  Let sit overnight.
  2. The following morning, mix together the rice mixture and yogurt.  Top with walnuts and honey or agave to taste.
  3. ENJOY! 😀

Question: What are your plans for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday? 😀

Breakfast Bonanza, day 6. “it started with rice.”

In the back of the fridge—along with the peanut butter, ketchup, and jug of soy—there is usually a big ol’ batch of brown rice.

I consider rice to be one of my favorite “go-to” foods.  I like mixing it with salsa and beans, and calling it lunch.  I like mixing my rice with peas and serving it alongside baked cod for dinner.

And, apparently, I like rice for breakfast too.

I like to follow the habit of using up most leftovers within 3 days, so I decided that brown rice was a good candidate for this morning’s meal.

Layer 1: About 1 c. of brown rice

Layer 2: An apple, diced

Layer 3: 1/2 of a smashed banana (I needed the other half for lunch’s almond butter sandwich!)

Layer 4: 2 T. soymilk + cinnamon and nutmeg + ground flax

Stir, stir, stir.  And into the fridge the batch of sweet rice went. 

With busy, early mornings, the overnight soaking method almost always sounds like a good one.  Besides, rice is not a naturally sweet tasting grain, and I’ve found that it tastes best when allowed to chill out with some of the other flavors. 

The following morning, I pulled out the rice concoction, added some extra soymilk to loosen it all up, and gave it a few minutes in the microwave.  As a side note, this would probably make a great chilled breakfast for the summer too.  But that was not  meant for this morning.  No.  This morning, I kind of liked the thought of enjoying a warm, melty breakfast bowl.  You know, that point where the apples begin to soak up the cinnamon, forming a melty layer of ooey gooey sweetness.

 

And then I topped it all off with walnuts and coconut.  Delicious.

Spiced Apple Breakfast Bowl

Usually I’m a stickler when it comes to cooking brown rice.  Nothing ruins rice like cooking it too slow or too quickly (starchy, starchy, starchy!)  But in this case, the starchier rice actually tastes better!  Think of it as being a little like a risotto.  For breakfast.  And not too fancy, making it perfectly suitable for any old morning.

Tart apples and sweet bananas bring balance to the entire dish.  But have fun and create some of your own new tasty combos! 

  • 1 c. cooked brown rice
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger
  • 1 T. crushed flax
  • 4 T. soymilk, separated
  • toppings: walnuts and coconut
  1. Mix rice, apple, banana, spices, flax and 2 T. soymilk together.  Place in fridge overnight.
  2. Next morning: Add 2-3 T. soymilk  and stir together.  Heat in microwave for 2-3 minutes or until hot.
  3. Top with walnuts and coconut.  ENJOY! 😀

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My food service rotation for my dietetic internship has been going really well. 

Today, my preceptor (aka, the school’s food service manager) was holding a beverage sampling for the kids to try. 

And she gave me permission to take whatever I wanted from the kitchen and serve it up to the kids for a taste testing.  I was so excited until I realized that I had about an hour or so to come up with a new recipe that would feed at least 600 kids.

After much searching, I found cans of kidney beans.  Cans of garbanzos.  All natural salsas, fresh bell peppers, peaches, shredded carrots, red onions, corn.  Crushed red pepper.

And lots of garlic to liven things up.

Lo and behold, a spicy bean salsa was born.

I felt a little nerveracked to be feeding the kids something that I made up on a whim, based on what the kitchen had on supply for the moment.  But I made it look as pretty as possible with some catering dishes, served some corn chips on the side for dunking, and called it a day.

The verdict?

The kids loved it.  One girl commented that she hated vegetables but she loved the salsa.  A teacher said the flavors were “lovely and beautiful together.”  One boy made a face that he didn’t like “health food” but went back for seconds after trying it.

Suddenly, I realized how good Jamie Oliver must have felt when people enjoyed his food. 😉  It was such a fun experience, and I found myself sighing with relief by the end.

I have tomorrow off!!  Whatever will I do with myself? 😉  Actually, I have a lot of homework to catch up on, as well as putting together a powerpoint presentation for next week.  AND, I need to find a killer cupcake recipe for my sister’s housewarming party.  Any ideas?

Question: Do you enjoy cooking for other people?  Do you find that friends and family have similair tastes to your own?