Tag Archives: brown rice

Fast, Easy + Flavorful. Can It Be Done?

Tonight I have a meat-free dinner treat for you 🙂

This is actually a variation on one of the first recipes I came up with in the kitchen just a little over 2 years ago…

Spicy Black Beans & Coconut Rice

I can vividly remember making it for the family the first time The Man went on vacation with us.  It was as big a hit then, just as it is now.  For such a fast & easy recipe, it delivers some serious flavor punches!

With a combination of sweet coconut rice and spicy black beans w/ tomatoes, this meal is a perfect blend of tastes for the mouth.  And it’s about as easy as dumping some cans into a pot and cooking some rice.  Love it 🙂

Tonight I made a spin-off of the classic version, a variation based on what I had in the cupboards, because we’ve all been there now haven’t we?!

The foundation:

Beans and rice.

The original uses white rice and black beans.  Tonight I used brown rice and kidney beans.  It’s all about being flexible, right?

To get the bean mixture ready I chopped up some onion and a scotch bonnet pepper (slighty obsessed).

And cooked in olive oil until tender.

Note that the original recipe does not call for this step.  I was just feelin’ a lil’ crazyyyyy tonight 😛

Then in goes the tomatoes and beans.  These were boxed tomatoes leftover from another recipe adventure, which I stashed in a ziploc in the freezer.   Knew I’d find a good use for them later!

I drained and rinsed the beans this time too, but do what ya want, I’ve done it both ways.

Then I added a cup of water (which you would omit if you didn’t drain beans) and some spices – tonight was oregano and cinnamon.  Plus black pepper.

Guess I was feelin’ a lil’ spicyyyyy or something? 😉

While the rice cooked I let this simmer uncovered until it got nice n’ thick.

Speaking of the rice, I love cooking rice with coconut milk, seriously such a sweet treat!  If you’ve never tried it – you should.  Probably, like, tomorrow 😉

I use a water to coconut milk ratio of 1:1.  So if the amount of rice I’m cooking calls for 2 cups liquid, I’ll use 1 cup of each.

P.S.  Remember my heavy whipping cream trick from last night?  Works the same with coconut milk!  This stuff came straight from the freezer.

Once the beans are nice and thick and the rice is done, all you do is pile them up and dinner is served!

Dare I say that this is better than the original?!?!

It’s true.  Wow.  The cinnamon really gave it that extra touch which paired wonderfully with the sweet yet nutty brown rice.

Loved it.  Something about this dish is so warm and comforting.  A mild spicy savory paired with sweet just makes my taste buds happy I guess 😀

Reasons I love this meal:

1.  It is so easy.  Takes 30-40 minutes of pretty unsupervised cooking to make.

2.  It is so versatile.  You can use whatever types of the “foundation” you have on hand.  Plus add whatever spices tickle your fancy.  Same goes for the peppers, I’ve used jalapenos before and they are wonderful too.

3.  It is not only healthy, but also extremely frugal.  Beans and rice, when combined, make a complete protein.  Plus both ingredients are extremely easy on the wallet.

So there you go!  A wonderfully easy recipe that I hope you’ll enjoy 🙂

But maybe not as much as you’ll enjoy this… who knows?

A Fanatic Holiday treat…

Scary lookin’ picture right?  (I was playing with the camera haha :P)

But seriously, this is one of the most wonderful things I learned from my mother over the years.  From about November through February I keep a pot of apple juice and cinnamon sticks on the stove.  Heat to a low simmer and your house will smell heavenly, always.  Trust me.

I catch The Man turning this on all the time… guess I know where his priorities lie 😉

He actually requested that I buy a hot plate so I can put this in the den.  I’m not kidding.

Tonight’s Version of Spicy Beans & Coconut Rice

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 scotch bonnet (or any hot pepper), diced
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • boxed or canned diced tomatoes (I used about 12 oz.)
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup + 1/2 cup water
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk

1.  Cook onion and pepper in olive oil until tender. 

2.  Add tomatoes, beans, 1 cup water and spices.  Bring to a boil then turn down to med-low and let simmer uncovered until thick, about 30 minutes.

3.  In the meantime, prepare rice according to directions using coconut milk ratios noted above (I used 1/2 cup rice to 1/2 cup coconut milk & 1/2 cup water tonight for 2 servings).

4.  Serve beans atop rice!

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Crash & Burnnnnnn :/

Well, bad news.  Fanatic computer = crash and burn.

Yep, nothing recoverable either.  It’s been a fabulous morning to say the least.

Anywho, these things are only material and life must go on… however I am really going to miss those few files and pictures that I didn’t backup and that I’m going to have to recreate 😦

But as they say, when the “going gets tough” the “tough get going cooking (?)”

So that’s what I did yesterday.  Stress relief via kitchen… is there any better way?

Here’s what I came up with 🙂

Spiced Brown Rice & Bean Salad

I wanted to come up with a delicious & healthy meal option for lunches this week – and since we had a large bag of my favorite brown basmati rice on hand, I knew just what to do!

We had plenty of fresh veggies on hand so I got to choppin’while the rice was cookin’ —>  cucumber, onion, tomato, red bell pepper.

I also chopped up some fresh basil & lemon basil plus gathered the dressing ingredients —->  apple cider vinegar, olive oil, coriander, cumin, salt, pepper.

Once the rice was cooked, I allowed it to cool for a few minutes before adding in the beans, veggies and herbs.  I mixed the dressing in a separate bowl and drizzled that on top as well.  Then gave the salad a nice big stir!

Yum!  Such a great mix of flavors & the cumin/coriander addiiton really kicked it up a notch 😉

I’ve had it for 2 meals already, ooops!

Spiced Brown Rice & Bean Salad

  • 1 cup(uncooked) brown basmati rice
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 can northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • handful basil, chopped
  • handful lemon basil, chopped

Dressing

  • 4-5 tblsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • 2-3 tsp cumin
  • 2-3 tsp coriander
  • sea salt
  • pepper

Cook rice according to directions, allow to cool for 10-15 minutes once done.  Chop veggies/herbs and drain/rinse beans, add to cooked rice.  Mix up dressing and drizzle over salad, stir to incorporate.  Serve!

There was also some light baking on the agenda… I just couldn’t resist 😛

That would be a chocolate cake cookie topped with peanut butter coconut drizzle! 

Yea, they were that good 😉

Alright, well see ya back later.  I have a fun recipe on the menu for tonight, one that I’ve been curious about making for quite some time now!

It’s all in the wine? ;)

Last night after an awesome Core Yoga session from YogaDownload (anyone else love this site as much as me?!?!) I came up with a stuffed pepper recipe on a whim that both The Man and I have deemed the “best version yet”!

He thinks it was the inclusion of sausage vs. the usual ground beef that kicked it up a notch… I’ll attribute it to the addition of the wine to the recipe this time around 😉  But whatevs!

Sausage Stuffed Peppers w/ Tomatoes & Wine

  • 2 green peppers
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • fresh fennel
  • fresh basil

  • Italian pork sausages (local!)
  • cooked brown rice (about 1 to 1.5 cups)
  • white wine (about 1/4 cup)
  • S&P
  • sprinkle of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp EVOO
  • cheese (I used Parm & Mozzarella)

These sausages are the best – all REAL meat (no weird parts ewww) and from my favorite Amish farmer at the farmer’s market who is leaving me after this week…. nooooooooooo!

Saute up the onion in the EVOO for about 5 minutes, S&P of course.  Then add the sausages, which I removed the casings from and made into “ground sausage” – cook until close to done.  Add in the chopped tomato and garlic at the end and season w/ S&P again (all about the layers people!)

Then in goes the pre-cooked brown rice and your herbs, plus a dash of white wine for flavor & moisture!  I also sprinkled some red pepper flakes in the mix as well 😉

While the rice mixture is cooking, give the hollowed out peppers a quick bath in some boiling water for about 5 minutes to soften up.  Then stuff with the rice mixture, layering some cheese of your choice on both the bottom and the top!

Into a 375F oven for about 20 minutes and you are good to go 😀

I added some Frank’s hot sauce to top mine and served it with a fresh tomato/basil/balsamic salad.  So “summer” of me, right?! 😛

I’m really going to miss these North Carolina tomatoes once they are gone, I think they have Virginia tomatoes beat as sad as it is to say…

Alright friends, hope you’re enjoying your week and see ya back soon!

Tofu Homerun!

Hey friends! 

Well I made it back from the dentist in 1 piece, 2 fillings later… the dentist, hygienist & I talk food/blogs too since they know about my love for cooking and I really enjoy it!  Well, not the filling part, but the talking about food part 😉

And I’m so glad that ya’ll loved the homemade ancho chile sauce & tomatillo adventure from yesterday as much as I did, it made for some lovely lunch leftovers today too I might add!

On tonight’s menu was a little adventure with tofu

Nasoya Organic Cubed Super Firm Tofu to be specific.

After seeing IGE prepare tofu this way I have been wanting to try this method with a recipe of my own.  Perfect night to do so considering post dentist “soft” foods are definitely on the agenda 😉

I prepared a marinade using the following ingredients

  • 1 tblsp virgin coconut oil
  • 2 tblsp San-J soy sauce
  • 1 tsp tamarind concentrate
  • 1.5 tblsp agave nectar
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Put the marinade in the microwave for just 10 seconds to melt up the coconut oil and blend flavors.

I wish you friends could just take a lil’ whiff of this sauce… holy yum!  I had to do the “finger test” to taste haha – and oh yea, this hit the spot 😀 

Let this do it’s thing in the fridge for about 10 minutes or so!

Sweet coconut, salty soy, sour tamarind, tangy ginger & garlic… I mean if that’s not a playground for the taste buds then I don’t know what is?!

Then baked these at 400F for about 30 minutes until they were ‘crispy’ & perfect.

The smell of this cooking was enough to make me drool, I don’t know how to describe this flavor blend but it was FABULOUSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

I also sauteed up some summer squash with olive oil, garlic, onion & basil

Served with some brown rice this was a perfectly rounded meal that hit the spot 🙂

VERDICT?  Loved it!  This marinade was phenomenal, will be doing this again oh yes.  This was definitely a tofu homerun!

Did you know that I never thought I liked tofu until experimenting with it lately?  I really am learning the different ways to prepare it and I think I am hooked 😀  This is by far my fave way to eat it so far, for sure!

The Man had a leftover local burger w/ tater tots since I wasn’t sure that tofu was gonna cut it…

…. howeverrrrrr he eyed the tofu after arriving home and even took not 1, but 2 “tastes” 😉  His words, “this stuff really isn’t bad”

I am still in shock 🙂

Speaking of local foods, we watched Food, Inc. yesterday and must tell you that I am in love with this movie.  I think that every American should be required to watch this as it really sheds the light on the reality of how our country is eating. 

I felt like much of it I had been exposed to thanks to this wonderful food & blogging community, but I think it was a real eye opener for The Man.  The film really reaffirmed my goals to eat local, eat fresh and consume foods that are not concocted in a lab.  I was so excited that he really supported these goals and now really understands why I am so passionate about them! 🙂

I also found myself telling my hygienist about the movie, which she had never heard of before.  She was very interested honestly in the film & I hope will watch it!  Just think, if even 1 person changes their eating / shopping habits but then they get another person to do the same, it’s like the concept of “pay it forward” where so many people could eventually be affected! 😀

Okay okay enough of my blah blah blahing, it’s time to announce the winner of the Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender!

Congrats Yasmin!

Email me over your shipping information so that the folks at CSN can send your blender on it’s way!

Alright everyone, I”m outta here… off to the new job spot tomorrow (5 minute commute whatup!) so am excited to see what’s in store for me….

Plus I think I’ve found the perfect cocktail for our Cinco de Mayo party, so I must go do some “taste testing” if you will, hey, quality control is important! 😉

I see some mango, coconut & mint goin’ on in there….

See ya then & enjoy your night!

Have you seen Food Inc.?  Have you told your family/friends/acquaintances about the film?

 

Coming home to surprises!

Well hello there friends!

It was back to reality today upon packing up and leaving Baltimore after a fabulous weekend at FitBloggin 🙂

Oh and in case you want proof of our post-dinner/bar-outing-Whole Foods-pitstop… here it is!

IMG_4005.JPG IMG_4006.JPG

I seriously had the. best. time.  And met some many wonderful bloggers!  I feel so grateful that I got to have this experience & look forward to more events like this in the future 🙂

At least I have some “souveneirs” too to remember everything too…

Maybe you’ll have your chance at trying something from FitBloggin soon?  Hint:  It’s not pictured 😛

After an uneventful train ride home (yessss! vs. train ride drama on the way up there haha) I was greeted at the Richmond train station by The Man!

With the most gorgeous flowers 😀

And then we went to the car, and he surprised me with Lucy Dog in the back seat!!!  I started crying, I was so freaking happy and I just couldn’t control it (who does that?! the crying of course…)

And to top it all off, look what he had in the front seat for me…

I felt like the luckiest girl in the world!!

Sometimes men can really surprise you, no? 😉

This weekend really made me realize how many wonderful things I have in my life with the blog, with my family & friends and with my love.  I am so thankful 🙂

After a quick stop at Subway (don’t ask, I had been craving this since 8:30am and my body wasn’t having it any other way haha – so bossy!) we finally settled in at home.

Not for long though, bc there was groceries to be gotten!  So I did that.  Good times, saved $24.  Booyah 🙂

On the dinner horizon was a thought of shrimp stir-fry.  Guess that sushi dinner really got my Asian tastebuds flowin’?

I decided that a pre-packaged sauce wasn’t in the cards tonight, it was gonna be a homemade kinda night!  So I picked up some fun new things at the store too that I was dyin’ to try out.

The Sauce

Stirred together to get to know each other for a while a few minutes while the rest of din was prepared 😉

The smell was INTOXICATING.  Why have I never tried this ginger paste before? or this type of soy sauce? or this blend of flavors?

I got to chopping up the veggies needed for the remainder of the dish

And got to stir-fryin’!

  • 2 onions, chopped into larger pieces
  • 1 package frozen broccoli pieces
  • shrimp (I used 1/2 package frozen)
  • black pepper
  • 1.5 tblsp veg oil

Add 1 tblsp oil to the hot wok, then the chopped onions for a few minutes until they begin to turn golden.  Then drop in the broccoli & some fresh cracked pepper and cover, stirring occasionally, until the veggies turn deliciously “stir-fried” in appearance.

Remove from wok.

Stir fry the shrimpies in the remainder of veg oil for just a quick minute or two (don’t cook all the way, but get some pretty color on them!)

Then add the veggies back into the wok along with the prepared sauce.  Let this warm through, covered, for a few minutes to finish cooking the shrimp & allow the flavors to blend.

Cooked up some Uncle Ben’s brown rice (quickie style) to serve with

And dinner was served right on up!

Plus a small taste of Sriracha to kick it up a notch!

So how was it?

  1. Loved loved loved the sauce.  So clean & simple, the flavors were amazing.
  2. The quick cook Uncle Ben’s rice was plump & delicious, really turned out nicely.
  3. Ginger paste is nothing to be wary of, it’s fabulous!  In fact, here’s how it looks 🙂

Pretty cool, huh?

Alright, well I guess you know what’s in my immediate future 😉  New Moon, hello!

Time for some QT with my handsomest.  I hope all of you had a wonderful weekend & to my homegirls from FitBloggin – I am so happy that I met all of you, hopefully we’ll see each other again soon!!!

Night friends 🙂

Comfort classic wins again!

Good evening my friends!

Well, I think the fever has left the proverbial building and only a less than terrible throatache remains… I’ll take it. 

Tastebuds = still a bit off 😉  Plus it still isn’t 100% fun to eat quite yet – I forgot to mention that I scalded the roof of my mouth (never felt such pain) on a microwaved egg white (never doing this again! gets dangerously hot!) this weekend which is brutal when I swallow…. I’m my own worst enemy?! hahaha I tell ya

All I wanted tonight was something easy to chew/swallow  a basic, home cooked meal – so sue me 😛

Tonight’s plans included chicken that I had defrosted, and here’s how it came together:

  • 2 chicken breasts, chopped
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 package frozen broccoli
  • 1 can Health Valley Organic Cream of Mushroom (obsessed?)
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • EVOO, S&P

This recipe is a breeze, even with medicine head & fever delerium – trust me 😉

First get started with the brown rice, cook according to directions which takes about 40 minutes.

Then prep the veggies:

  1. chop onions
  2. mince garlic
  3. microwave frozen broc in a touch of H2O for about 3 minutes to partially cook
  4. chop chicken

Then just put it all together, 1 layer at a time!

Saute onions in EVOO for a few minutes until translucent, throw in garlic for another minute and then finish with the broccoli.  Lil’ S&P never hurts either!

Add the chicken, which I do by pushing the veg to the outer edges of the pan and throwing the meat in the middle to brown up – less pans to wash, yes please 🙂

Once the chicken is browned a lil’ then give it a good stir and add the can of cream of mushroom soup.

Now all you have to do is cover this bad boy ’til the rice is done and you are ready to assemble!

Rice

 

Broc Veg mixture

Shredded cheese

About 10 minutes in a 375F oven (or until cheese is melted) and you got yourself 1 cheesy delicious, comforting meal!

 

Works like a charm every time… even if I did have to chew it to a mush before it went down the hatch hahaha (tmi?!) 😛

Dessert shall be my new bff ricotta, topped with syrup & pumpkin pie spice ❤

Since I don’t have my buddy here to watch American Idol with me 😦  He has his first basketball game, came home with some snazzy new kicks and was off…!

Alright ya’ll, time to snuggle up with Lucy before an early bedtime.  I really want to make it to work tomorrow (hear that impending snowy weather + throat?!)

And thanks again for ALL YOUR SUPPORT these past few days with the tonsil/throat issues, you guys are seriously a huge part of the support system that keeps me going during these ‘less than stellar” times, if you will – and that is something I can never thank you for enough!

Have a lovely night everyone 🙂