The Best Coconutty Butternutty Rice Ever

I made this for lunch yesterday because I was bored, and trying to get out of a rut.  I’m glad I left my rut – this was delicious.  I had a small bowl of it plain, plus another few scoops over romaine lettuce that needed to be used up.

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The Best Coconutty Butternutty Rice Ever

Ingredients (makes 2 large servings or 3-4 small ones)

  • 2 teaspoons oil (optional)
  • 1.5 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Asian 5-spice powder
  • freshly grated ginger
  • 1 cup peas (I used frozen)
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (you could use light, but I used regular)
  • 1 cup water
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Heat the oil (or just spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray) over high heat in a medium/large pot.  Add the butternut, scallions, ginger, and spices.  Saute for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the peas and cook for another minute or two.
  3. Add the rice, coconut milk, water, lime juice, and s&p.  Bring to a boil, then simmer (covered) until the liquid is absorbed.  My lid has a hole in it for steam to leave, so I had to keep adding liquid as it was cooking.  This took about 35 minutes.  (Brown rice is slow.)
  4. Serve – with some steamed/sauteed greens would be perfect.

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I also made a new breakfast – granola, apple, and kamut puffs with almond milk.  It was really good, and the apple was huge so it took a very long time to eat.  It didn’t hold me like the oat bran does, but it was a nice change of pace.  I’m not really a granola person, but my local market has a homemade kind that’s decent.  I think it has coconut in it – yum 🙂  That’s miso soup in the mug.

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Linky link: I found a very cool article on Japanese Bento boxes and their history.  Bento boxes are a source of pride for those who create them (moms, girlfriends) and there is some rivalry between children and men as to who has the best bento.  The article is very interesting, and it’s a great look into Japanese culture.

Did your mom/dad pack your lunch?  What was your favorite thing that (s)he would make for you?

Go with the flow

I’ve been sick for almost a week now, but I’m finally getting better.  I decided to do some fun cardio this morning (dance-y video) followed by a detoxing yoga flow routine that I made up myself (30 minutes or so).  I’m even hoping to get in a walk later today – I miss exercising.

I’ve been feeling in a food rut recently.  I love what I eat, but I think I need a change.  Nothing too drastic, just less of the same foods over and over again (oat bran, kabocha fries), and more trying new dishes.  How do you motivate yourself to make and try new things?

I did try a semi-new idea yesterday – banana whipped oat bran.  I love bananas in oatmeal, but I was out of bananas until this weekend.  I made oat bran and stirred it vigorously to spread out the banana.  This bowl contained (and that’s miso soup in the mug):

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  • 3/4 cup oat bran, 1.5 cups of water plus a splash
  • 1/2 banana, chopped up
  • dash of salt (no cinnamon!)
  • big spoonful of Better’n Peanut Butter stirred in (probably 1.5 tablespoons?)

So far this has been my favorite bowl of oat bran ever. I made small bowls of this goodness to go with lunch AND dinner as well.  See what I mean about a food rut?  Once I find something I love I can’t stop eating it.

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I did make these new and interesting “fries” as a snack to eat with my unsweetened ketchupswiss chard and green beans.  I popped them under the broiler with some oregano and salt (microwaved the beans first) and they came out really well.  I tried kale fries once before but didn’t like them; swiss chard is much better.

Some giveaways

Ener-G’s Seattle Crackers

When I picked up my PB2 at Lite for Life the other day, I grabbed a couple of other goodies.  I found these crackers, made by Ener-G (they specialize in food for people with dietary restrictions).  Seattle Crackers are free of gluten, wheat, casein, dairy, yeast, egg, soy, and nuts. 

seattle-crackers

These crackers were light, crisp, and perfectly crunchy.  They have a unique flavor which probably comes from the flour varieties that Ener-G uses (hi maize corn starch, brown rice flour, montina flour).  I love them.  Unfortunately the package only comes with 4 servings and did not last very long.  They were expensive at Lite for Life ($6 something) so these will not be a regular treat.  However, I would really like to try to make them in the future.

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Seattle Cracker Ingredients: Filtered Water, Hi Maize Corn Starch, High Oleic Safflower Oil, Pear Juice Concentrate, Brown Rice Flour, Montina Flour (Perennial Bunch Grass, Achnatherum Hymenoides), Methylcellulose, Xanthan Gum, Salt.

Per serving (16 Seattle Crackers): 80 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 11 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 0 grams protein.

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Try them with PB2!  Both of these products are addicting.

Ener-G also carries Cinnamon Crackers, which I sampled in the store.  Light, crispy, and sweet (but not overly so), these crackers were nearly as delicious as the Seattle Crackers.  I prefer my crackers plain, so that I can add the flavoring which is why I chose the Seattles.  If you like the cinnamon sugar Stacy’s Pita Chips, check these out – they are a great (and healthier) alternative.  They are also free of gluten, wheat, casein, dairy, yeast, egg, soy, nuts, and rice.

cinnamon-crackers

Cinnamon Sugar Crackers Ingredients: Filtered Water, Hi Maize Corn Starch, High Oleic Safflower Oil, Organic Tapioca Syrup, Yellow Corn Flour, Xanthan Gum, Methylcellulose, Evaporate Cane Juice Sugar, Cinnamon Powder, Salt.

Per serving (10 Cinnamon Sugar Crackers): 70 calories, 5 grams fat, 12 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 0 grams protein.

I’ve had a lot of trouble locating Ener-G products in stores, and when I do they are ridiculously priced.  I would suggest ordering from the website if you’re going to buy these.  The shipping is reasonable, and they’re actually having a sale on the Seattle Crackers right now.  I’m debating if I want to spend the money because I am currently trying to be as frugal as possible… But if you try them, let me know!  OR if you have a recipe to make something similar, I will definitely try it out.

What are your favorite crackers?  Mine are these Seattle Crackers, but I also love Kavli’s crackers (which are cheaper).

Menu Plan Monday (vegetarian/vegan/macrobiotic)

mpm2-1Menu Plan for the Week of February 22 – February 28

Dinner ideas: (some are recycled from last week; when I was sick I got lazy and didn’t make everything I’d planned on)

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Lunches:

  • Whole wheat pitas with nut butter
  • Brown Rice Tortillas with cheddar
  • Salads
  • Grainy blends – oat bran, or whipped wheat berries

Breakfasts:

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  • Oat bran or oatmeal with cinnamon, banana & nut butter
  • Kamut puffs, almond milk, and fruit
  • Miso Soup (1 cup boiling water, 2 teaspoons miso, handful of wakame)

Desserts:

banana-dessert

More great menus can be found at Organizing Junkie!

I ate some Greek yogurt at midnight last night when the macrobiotic experiment was over… but I woke up bloated and full-feeling.  I think I might have to try staying away from my beloved yogurt for a while longer.

Enjoy the Oscars and have a great night.  What’s on your menu plan this week?  Anything new?

PB2, How I Love You

I bought two jars of PB2 last week, and they are nearly gone.  The first was gone in 2.5 days.  I’m being a bit more conservative with the second jar because this stuff is expensive.  I got my PB2 at a small specialty food store called Lite for Life in Santa Clara, CA.  The damage: $6.49 per jar.

pb2_new_label2

Oops – I ate this on my macrobiotic experiment even though it had sugar in it.  Justification – the sugar content was very minimal, and PB2 has no preservatives.

PB2 is powdered peanut butter. You add water and mix before eating.  You can also add the powder to other recipes – like oatmeal, pad thai, or salad dressing.  I used it in my Vegan Mac and Cheeze instead of nutritional yeast.  PB2 has some very cool nutritionals, and a stellar ingredient list.

Ingredients: Roasted peanuts, salt, sugar.

Per 2 Tablespoon serving: 53.2 calories, 1.87 grams fat, 3.4 grams carbohydrates, 0.48 grams fiber, 5.65 grams protein.

PB2 can be as creamy or thick as you like, because you control the amount of water added.  It spreads easily, and has a very pleasant taste.  It’s much less sweet than flavored nut butters (though still slightly sweet).  If you like natural peanut butter, you should try PB2.

When I reviewed Better’n Peanut Butter, people commented that it tasted too fake, sweet, or artificial.  I don’t think that’s the case with PB2 – it does lack the fat content, but the added sugar is minimal and it does retain some of that “natural” taste.

Here are some of my favorite ways to eat PB2:

  • Dipping sauce for Ener-G’s Seattle Crackers (review to come) and in a creamy peanut buttery salad dressing
  • 38-crackers-pb2-salad

  • With oranges
  • 40-pb2-orange

  • With Asian pears
  • 39-pb2-asian-pear

  • With blueberries
  • 43-pb2-blueberries

  • Vegan Mac and Cheeze (with wheat berries, cauliflower, and swiss chard)
  • 41-vegan-mac-and-cheeze-cauliflower

  • Plain, of course!  My most recent favorite dessert – 4 tablespoons of PB2 mixed with water and savored slowly.

How do YOU like your PB2?