Grateful for Grains – 7 quick recipes you’ll crave

This weekend was super busy for me – you too?!

Yeah, thought so.

 

School started (for both my son and me) and I’m busy putting together a big launch plan for my book, Women, Food & Desire, which comes out 1/6/15.

 

And healthy food can (even in my house) feel like a chore when we have so much going on.

And yes – I still crave sugar when things get hectic, but I don’t feel good when I eat it – headaches, brain fog, bacterial overgrowth.

So my sweets need to come from real food that doesn’t drain me.

Quick Rice Pudding

I know when I have simple, healthy foods on hand, I can juggle the kid, work, and friend time much better.

 

So, I’m getting back to my food roots as we move into fall –

simple, humble, whole grain, brown rice.

 

I like to make a pot of brown rice and use it as an easy side dish or quick lunch.

 

Plus, whole grains help me keep sugar cravings at bay.

How?

Well, when you get enough complex carbohydrates, and chew them well, your body and brain get the energy they need, in a slow drip over the day.

 

So make up a pot of brown rice (or quinoa for the grain-averse) and use it 7 ways this week!

 

Simple pot of brown rice:

 

3 cups short grain brown rice

 

Rinse rice in 2 changes of water.

Put into a pot with enough water to cover by 2 inches.

Bring to a boil over high heat.

Lower head to low, and cover.

Simmer for 40 minutes.

Turn heat off and let sit for 20 minutes.

This allows the steam to keep cooking the rice.

 

 

7 quick recipes that re-use brown rice:

 

  • sushi roll up

wrap a ¼ cup of rice in a sheet of nori paper with a few shredded carrots and enjoy the hand held treat

Quick Rice Sushi Roll rice 2 rice 3

  • brown rice pudding with cinnamon

warm rice in a small pot with coconut milk, a few organic raisins and some cinnamon

 

  • stir fry with greens

heat rice in a pan with coconut oil and chopped bok choy, sprinkle with soy-free soy sauce, ‘coconut aminos’ or tamari

 

  • miso stew

heat 2 cups of water with 1 cup of rice, and whisk in 1 tablespoon chickpea miso for a quick soy-free soup

 

  • rice salad

toss leftover rice with your favorite salad dressing for a side dish

 

  • rice pasta

heat 2 cups rice with a little olive oil and 1 cup of your favorite pasta sauce and add favorite pasta veggies

 

  • rice balls with sesame seeds

roll ¼ cup rice on a plate with ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds and 1/2 teaspoons sea salt – yummy little rice balls!

 

 

As with every meal, give a little gratitude for your simple, whole-grain meal.

 

Research shows that gratitude practices, even a tiny “thanks for the grub!” over your miso stew, helps you feel more optimistic, lowers stress, and increases your happiness.

 

I know I’m grateful for my grains,

And I’m grateful for you, my online “clan of the crave bears” –

 

Have a beautiful week,

and enjoy your rice!

 

Xo,

Alex

 

P.S. chewing your grains is super important, especially if you suspect leaky gut or have any bloating or tummy issues. Chewing until your grains are almost liquid helps your body digest them better – and we want happy bellies!

 

 

Shredded Sweet Sprouts! Brussels Sprouts for the whole family

A simple side dish of Brussels Sprouts makes any meal healthier – but what if your kid won’t eat them?

Add a hint of sweetness with sautéed apples and a touch of maple syrup – they’ll be begging for more!

*A touch of maple syrup won’t degrade the overall healthy benefits of these powerful cancer-fighting sprouts, and 1 serving has 8-12 grams of fiber, which is more than many Americans get in a day! (You should aim for at least 30 grams a day, BTW)

Shredded & Sweet Brussels Sprouts Salad

Shredded & Sweet Brussels Sprouts Salad

Shredded & Sweet Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 pound Brussels sprouts, washed, dried and sliced into thin strips

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large tart apple, cubed and unpeeled

1 clove garlic, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons real maple syrup

1/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and salt and sauté for 8 minutes.

2. When the sprouts begin to brighten and turn a nice light green, add the apple, garlic, red pepper flakes, and maple syrup. Stir well and cook for another 5 minutes.

3. Once everything is heated through, but not too soft or mushy, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pecans, and pepper.

Serves 2-4 people

Inspired by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s recipe in Color Me Vegan

Veggies & Whole Grains That Kids Will Love

Even though I stock my house with natural food, keep fresh fruit on the table at all times, and offer healthy snacks at every turn, my son sometimes turns his nose up to my offerings.

I’ve noticed that Laken refuses beans in almost every state lately. He’ll eat lentil soup, but when presented with home cooked chickpeas, sauteed pintos or black bean soup, I invariably hear “I don’t like beans, Mama!” This is a little upsetting because I think he needs beans on a regular basis for protein and minerals. Eating a variety of beans provides iron, potassium and zinc, and I don’t like to feed him soy every day. Yes, he eats some tofu and organic, unsweetened soy yogurt, but I would rather not go overboard on the soy products.

I’m going to assume it’s just a phase – just like the four month stretch when he decided he didn’t like avocados anymore. Funny, he happily devoured avocados daily for 2.5 years, then one day decided they were no longer acceptable. It was probably my insistence that he “liked them before” that made him refuse.

Knowing that marketing to kids works (see Super Size Me!) when it comes to junk food, I thought “why can’t marketing healthy food work too?”

A few weeks ago I started making mixtures of veggies, beans and whole grains and pressing them into kid-friendly shapes using these awesome Japanese sushi molds and nori paper punches. If anyone knows how to make food cute, it’s the Japanese!

The recipe is really easy, and my son happily ate several pieces for dinner. Here’s how it works:

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup shiitake mushrooms

1/2 cup cooked chickpeas (any beans would work)

1 cup cooked whole grain (brown rice, quinoa, etc)

Directions:

- Saute the olive oil, garlic, mushrooms, and beans with a pinch of salt for 5 minutes over medium heat. I like to use a cast iron skillet which lends some iron content to the final dish.

- Combine the cooked veggies, beans and grain in a food processor and pulse 10 times.

- Press the veggie and grain mixture into the molds and hand pack them. Place molded animals on a plate and use the nori paper punch to create mineral rich nori eyes and a mouth.

These healthy, yummy grain animals are a perfect snack or side dish with some steamed veggies.

You can order sets like this here:

Avoiding Eggs, Little Chicks? Here’s How To Cook & Eat Without Them

The massive egg recall has prompted many families to avoid eating eggs altogether. With new brands being added to the “don’t eat” list daily (see here for updated list), it’s probably best to avoid these cholesterol-filled foods for at least a while, if not entirely.

If you have relied on eggs in the past for protein, and don’t know how to cook without them, here is a list of easy replacement options, taken from my book Living Vegan For Dummies:

For baking:

1/4 cup blended silken tofu = 1 egg

1 Tablespoon ground flax seeds plus 3 Tablespoons water = 1 egg

1 1/2 Tablespoons Ener-G Egg Replacer + 2 Tablespoons water mixed well = 1 egg

1/2 cup mashed or blended banana = 1 egg

1/4 cup soy yogurt = 1 egg