Coconut Brown Rice Pudding with Maple, Pistachio and Fresh Plum

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Rice pudding is one of those desserts that gives you that stick to your bones feeling that comforts you on a blistery night. The problem with most rice puddings however, is that it literally sticks to your bones… and your stomach, thighs, and ass. Can I say ass on here? In any case…I have created an equally as comforting dessert but without the added dairy, refined sugar and unhealthy fats.

There’s a lot of people who just really can’t do the whole brown rice thing. The ‘healthier’ taste can really ruin a good sushi meal, or a simple meat and rice dinner. Personally, brown rice has a nutty delicious taste, and white rice… well it kind of tastes like nothing. Which is why sushi places will add beer and sugar , and Chinese food places will fry it up (yeah…thats why it’s so delicious!) So I put this one to the test with Zach (the BF) and his brother in law who really just cant do the whole brown rice, bread and pasta. Let’s just say I prevailed with flying colours. Both of them polished off their bowls with only one remark… “some raisins would of been nice.” No comment about the brown rice taste! WAHOO! So hopefully if you’re trying to get a loved one a little healthier, this may be a good start. The fresh tart plums and crunchy pistachios are a perfect contrast to the creamy rice pudding. It really helps cut the richness of the dish, and leaves you truly satisfied. For a little extra sweetness and earthy delicious flavour, the maple syrup takes it to another level. If you like the classic version, then omit the toppings and just add raisins and maybe a little extra coconut.


A few important notes about this dish:
1. It does not keep well in the fridge! The rice gets a little hard and just does not have the creamy rice pudding effect. So it is best to serve this fresh and warm!
2. Sweeten to your liking. I used stevia to sweeten mine which was just enough with the added maple syrup poured on top. If you don’t have stevia on hand, feel free to use 1/2 cup (or to your liking) of any natural sweetener. Coconut sugar or pure maple syrup would work beautifully!
3. This is an amazing option if you are on a budget! All the ingredients are SUPER cheap and ones you most likely have in your pantry.

As always, this recipe is free of gluten, dairy and refined sugars! Also it’s perfect for vegans! C’est tous. Bon appétit and have a beautiful weekend! Love you all!

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Ingredients:

•1 cup brown rice (not the quick cook variety)
•5 cups almond milk (if you use vanilla flavoured then you can omit adding vanilla)
•1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract, or the seeds of one vanilla pod
•1 tsp ground cinnamon
•1/2 tsp liquid stevia or 1/2 cup coconut sugar or other natural sweetener of your choice
•1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt (or sea salt)
•3/4 cup coconut cream (the thick part from the coconut milk from the can!)
•1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
•1/4 cup roasted pistachios (roughly chopped, for garnish)
•4 tbsp pure maple syrup (for garnish)
•1 plum thinly sliced (for garnish)

4-6 servings

Directions:

1. Bring rice, salt, and almond milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat and partially cover for 10 minutes.

2. Remove lid, add cinnamon, stevia (or other sweetner) and vanilla. Over a low simmer, stir rice occasionally for another 20-30 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Once rice is tender, add coconut cream and shredded coconut. Stir until combined and taste. Adjust seasonings as desired!

3. For an individual serving, add about 1/2- 3/4 cup of rice pudding. Top with 1 tbsp pistachios, a few slices of plum and a drizzle of maple syrup! Remember to serve warm.

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Sweet Potato Chilli

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I don’t know whether this constitutes as chilli or a stew but either way it is one of the easiest, cheapest and most satisfying meals to eat when the cold weather comes around. I have been making this dish for about four years now and can basically do it with my eyes closed. It is such a staple in my household, it practically blends in with the fridge.  What is so great about any chilli or stew is that you can add just about anything and it will still taste pretty great so long as the spice is there. If you have vegetables or meat that are reaching their expiration date, you can throw them into the pot and extend their life for at least another week or two. Whats best is that this dish actually tastes better with age. Just like a homemade sauce, the flavours are more enhanced a day or two later and it can be enjoyed throughout the week.

I do not add meat to this chilli because it is already packed with enough protein from all of the beans, which makes it a great option for #meatlessmondays or for those trying to reduce their animal protein intake. And to be honest, you don’t really miss it. I normally make Zach a huge container to take to work to eat throughout the week. This kid loves his steak more than the average, and this chilli is one of his favourites!

Beans are high in antioxidants, fiber, protein, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Eating beans may decrease the risk of diabetes, heart disease, colorectal cancer, and can even help with weight management. Because they are rich in protein and carbohydrates you will be left feeling full and satisfied without any added fat. The sweet potato will give you lots of vitamin E and potassium. I even add a little turmeric to mine for added anti inflammatory benefits. Feel free to interchange the sweet potato with butternut squash (equally as delicious). Serve with a fresh salad for a complete meal or over some brown rice after a good cardio workout. My mom loves it over brown rice noodles or stuffed in a baked potato! Dee-lish. Bon appétit!
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Ingredients:

• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic (about 3 cloves)
• 1 yellow onion finely chopped
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp pepper
• 1 tsp turmeric
• 1 tsp chilli powder (you can add more if you like your chilli smokier)
• 1 tsp paprika
• 1 tbsp ground cumin
• about 1 lb chopped carrots (8-10 carrots, make sure they are bite sized!)
• 2 sweet potatoes chopped (can interchange with squash)
• 2 large cans of whole tomatoes (I buy San Marzano)
• 2 cups of cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
• 1 cup cooked red kidney beans
• 1 cup cooked canellini beans
• 1 heaped tbsp of tomato paste
• 1 tbsp hot sauce (I use Frank’s Red Hot) *optional
• 2-3 drops stevia (optional)
• bunch of fresh cilantro (for garnish)

Directions:

1. In a huge stock pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Sautée onion until translucent about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and spices. Sautée for another minute.
2. Add carrots and potatoes and cook for 5 minutes. If you find they are sticking to the pot, add more olive oil.
3. Add tomatoes and pierce using a wooden spoon. If you like tomato chunks, don’t break them down too much! Add tomato paste and hot sauce and bring to a light boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer uncovered and cook until you can pierce the potato and carrots easily with a fork (about 20-30 minutes).
4. Add your beans and allow to cook for another 10 minutes until the water from the tomatoes is mostly cooked down. If you are using canned beans, make sure to rinse them really well! Make sure to taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. If you like a sweet and spicy chilli, add a little bit of stevia!
5. Serve with fresh cilantro as a garnish!
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Kitchen Pantry Organization

Photo 2014-08-18, 3 40 57 AMOrganizational skills have not always come easy to me. A so-called ‘organized mess’ pretty much ruled all areas of my life until I reached my 20’s. As I started working with children, I realized the importance in keeping all areas of your life organized to ensure maximum potential and success is reached. So now, as I teach children to colour code, label, staple, highlight etc… I make sure to do the same for myself. And let me tell you, this same model holds true in the kitchen! An organized pantry will make cooking and baking SO much less stressful and will elevate your potential for increased success!

Not only will organization make you a better cook, you will be surprised how much money you will save. The amount of food we throw out in North America is absurd. As individuals, one way we can diminish this waste is by starting in our very own homes. Often, we throw out lots of food because we can barely see whats in our fridge, pantry etc… So we all opt to what is in the front row, because who wants to reach to the back? Another reason why there is so much waste in our homes is because we often buy multiples of things.  How many of you have bought the same pantry items over and over again because you believed there was none at home? I have bought quinoa, rice, flours, chia seeds and so on, in abundance simply because I didn’t have a clear view of what was in my pantry. The truth is, I have wanted to organize my pantry for years, but like many of you, I put it off. Because who really wants to spend their day off doing that?

Im here to tell you that taking those three or four hours on a rainy Sunday will be one of the best decisions you make. Especially if you are working with limited storage space or a smaller fridge/freezer, this will change your life! It might seem that putting ingredients into jars and storing items in baskets will only cause confusion and frustration in the future. But as time goes on you will notice how quickly ingredients come together and put away for all your meals.

Organization in any form should be tailored to your needs. So my tips for how I organized my kitchen might not be the way you choose to do yours. For example, if you never use chia seeds, there is no point in putting them on your eye-level shelf. If you never bake, you may want to store your baking items in a storage cupboard. It really is your place and should be all about you! That being said, it still might be difficult to know where to start. So here are my tips for how I got started!

Clean Eating Goddess Tips for Organizing Your Pantry

1. Start by taking everything out of your pantry and laying it out on the floor or kitchen table (wherever there is more room). Depending on how much food you have accumulated over the years, you may need to make labeled stations to get things organized. Simply use a cue card, piece of paper, tape (or whatever you have around) and make desired labels. Some sections will include: baking, cereals, sauces, snacks, spices, nuts, grains, oils, pastas, drinks, vinegars etc…

2. Once you have placed all of your pantry items in its appropriate category, quickly sift through best before dates and toss anything that has gone off. If you aren’t sure about something, my rule of thumb is to just throw it out. If you are questioning it to begin with, then its probably best to just buy a new one.

3. The first items I tackled was anything left in unsealed bags. We all have been there trying to get our measuring cup inside the almost empty bag of flour. Not only does it create a mess, but our food isn’t kept at its ultimate freshness. It is so much easier to have those kinds of items stored in airtight jars and/or containers. If it can take you years to go through a bag of flour, then make sure to date the jar with a label or directly on the cap. I moved all flours, nuts, grains, seeds, powders and any other items that were in a half opened bag such as coconut flakes, protein powder and dried lavender. Nuts and seeds can go rancid pretty quickly so it is best to keep them in the freezer if you don’t plan on using them in the near future. If you have loads of half opened bags of chips, crackers etc… I bought regular old clothes pins to seal up what I have. Or for a few extra dollars you can buy special bag clips (links found below). Cereals also tend to go stale pretty quickly if you aren’t eating them within a weeks time. Make sure to close them well with the clips or you can use special cereal storage containers (link below).

4. I got a great tip on how to save money on jars from the amazing organization specialist/interior decorator Ashley Shaanan. So many of us recycle tons of perfectly reusable jars from various items such as pickles, sauces, coconut oil etc… She suggested that I de-label all of the jars by soaking them in hot water overnight and then scrubbing the label off. To make the caps more beautiful and useful, she suggested spray paint chalk which will turn virtually any surface into a chalkboard. This makes labelling your jars a whole lot easier! I chose to label my jars with kraft tags and butchers twine (links below) but I still sprayed the caps of my old jars as a backup (plus they look a lot better!). Of course, you can still always buy beautiful Mason or Kilner jars which I love! (link below)
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5. Now that everything is labeled it is time for you to cater your pantry to your individual or family needs. Storage baskets are a great way to not only save room, but they also make it super simple to find exactly what you’re looking for. I have baskets for all grain products such as rice, pasta quinoa etc… I also have one for all of my baking supplies such as flours, vanilla, sugar, baking powder etc.. As a home cook, I have built up quite the collection of spices and seasonings and it became impossible to find what I was looking for. By putting the various spices in a basket, I am able to sift through what I need. A great idea is to label the tops of the spices so you can pick out exactly what you are looking for without wasting time checking the labels. Other baskets can include packaged snacks, canned goods, sauces, oils+vinegars, and  fresh produce such as garlic, onions, bananas etc.
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6. Store the baskets and other ingredients based on what you and your family uses most. If you eat snacks, cereal, seeds, nuts, and spices everyday then make sure to put those items at eye level. Heavier items should remain on bottom shelves so that no one gets hurt in the process of taking them down!

Below you will find a list of my some of my favourite accessories for organizing my pantry. Check it out!

 

CEG’s Favourite Pantry Organization Accessories
1. Kilner Jars
2. Mason Jars
3. Chalkboard Spray Paint
4. Kraft Tags
5.  Butcher’s Twine
6. Storing Baskets
7. Large Glass Jar for storing items in bulk. Looks beautiful on your counter!
8. Cereal Keeper plus Easy Pour
9. Clothes Pins to keep open bags sealed! Cheap and cute way to keep your food fresh!
10. 1 L Mason Jar. Where I keep my granola at all times. Looks amazing on the counter or window sill.
11. Bag Clips

 

I hope these tips have inspired you to get the kitchen pantry you have been dreaming of! If you have any questions about your own pantry please feel free to contact me by commenting on this post or reaching me through my contact page.

xx-

Jen

Ps. If you live in Montreal and don’t have the time to get this done but so badly want your pantry to be as organized as mine, have no fear! Reach out to me through my contact page and let me do it for you!

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