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Keep it simple.

I've been all about the throw-it-together with whatever lurks in my fridge kind of meals these days.

I enjoyed this one for dinner, a few weeks back when the weather was a tad warmer: 

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Brown Rice, sauteed carrots, celery & radish, steamed kale and corn, and baked squash and leeks.

This meal took surprisingly little work, despite the fact that it included multiple dishes. A perhaps obvious tip, when making multiple dishes, is to start the longest cooking one first. Timing is everything, after all.

1.  I baked a butternut squash in the oven for ~50 mins @400F.

My method for baking squashes is: Cut the squash in half, take out all the seeds & gunk, rub a bit of salt on the flesh, and place cut side down in a baking dish filled with about 1/2-1" of water. Bake at 400F for 30-40 mins. Then take out, dump out the remaining water, flip the squash over, and put it back in the oven for another 15 mins or so. So yummy!

2. Once the squash was in the oven, I rinsed the brown rice & got the pressure cooker going. Once up to full pressure (2 bars in my lovely dear kuhn rikon) I cooked it for 35 mins, then let it naturally release for 15 minutes. If you're new to cooking brown rice check out: brown rice dainty pig style version 1 (boiling) & version 2 (pressure cooking).

3. While the squash & rice were cooking, I washed some kale, and some corn on the cob. I cut up a carrot, celery stalk, and a few radishes.

4. After 20 minutes or so, I put a cut up leek (with a bit of sea salt and olive oil) in the oven for about 25-30 mins in a separate little dish.

5. When the squash was done, I turned the oven off, and kept it inside the oven until everything else was ready. I prepared 2 pots for the corn and kale.

6. When the pressure was down on the rice, I took the lid off and let it sit in the cooker for ~5 mins (this helps it from sticking!).  While the rice was cooling, I put the corn into a few inches of boiling water (that i started while the rice pressure was coming down). Once the corn was done, about 4 minutes later, to save dishes I put the celery, carrots, and radish into the same water. I added a tiny bit of shoyu and let cook about 4-5 minutes, stirring. Meanwhile, I steamed the kale in a few cm of water.

6. Serve everything up & feast! Bonus: most of the veggies in my fridge got used!

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Fast lunch - rice cake heaven.

Sometimes rice cakes make the perfect lunch.

They're great, because they last for a long time in the cupboard, and they are a wonderfully crunchy gluten-free option for me. Also, they are tasty with pretty much any topping, sweet or savoury.

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For lunch, I usually go the savoury route, and one of my favourite things is making a mock-hummus with whatever beans I have on hand, and some sort of greens.

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These were organic black beans, mixed with a tiny pinch of cayenne, lemon, and olive or flax oil. I topped it with some fresh pea shoots. The only problem is...how do you eat it without everything falling off? Well, here's the best solution I've found:

Transient

Yup. Nori---that thing you see on sushi. Simply rip up a sheet into 4 squares, and use 2 squares layered on top of eachother per rice cake. It makes it like a sandwich, while providing tons of tasty good-for-you minerals. And it's much, much easier to hold.

Another favourite combo I've been enjoying recently is:

  • pumpkin or sunflower seed butter
  • mustard (the wholegrain kind with apple cider vinegar)
  • sauerkraut (traditional, no vinegar kind)
  • a giant pile of lettuce
  • nori on top

The good thing about eating some fresh raw greens is that the watery nature of raw veggies is more yin, compared to the contractive yang nature of rice cakes. 

I usually cut up a few carrots, celery, and radish to munch on along with the rice cakes. Sometimes I steam the veggies on side---just depends on my mood.

My favourite brands for rice cake ingredients are: 

Side note: I've found the best price for these ingredients to be at iHerb -- especially for the rice cakes. Even living in Canada, the prices are so low that including the shipping, it's still cheaper than most store prices. I usually order a box from iherb every couple of months, filled with my favourite macrobiotic goodies, teas, and natural organic soaps. Using my code  ROP008 at checkout will get you $5-$10 off your first order. 

Do you like rice cakes? What do you put on them?

A quickie.

T & I had a flashback to our Japan days while eating dinner the other night.

A quickie.

Lovely

Japanese Mushrooms

from the

Asian Supermarket

are the star of this simple stir fry.

Very loose directions:

SautΓ© some minced ginger and a sliced green onion in a teeny bit of toasted sesame oil.

Add in 2 packages of 

Bunashimeji

mushrooms.

Let them cook for a few minutes with the lid on. 

The mushrooms let go of a lot of liquid and create a bit of a sauce. 

Add in some cut up carrots and daikon, and a tiny splash of tamari.

Put the lid back on and sautΓ© / steam for a few minutes.

Add in broccoli stems for a few minutes, along with a tiny bit of water.

Add in the broccoli crowns.

Last but not least, add in some kind of green---I'm going to say collards, but any will do!

Simple, fast, and delicious.

We ate it with brown rice (duh).

A quickie.

We ate this almost every week night while we were living in Japan.

We tried many different vegetable combos, and different kinds of mushrooms.

We never got sick of it, because the different kinds of mushrooms give SO much flavour.

What's do you like to put in your stir fry?

What's your favourite kind of mushroom?

How to make a macrobiotic meal in less than 10 minutes.

I had a long day of teaching yoga yesterday morning. Then I went out to a garden centre to get soil, because I am going to start my first garden this year! But while I was in Spring mode, and looking at gardening supplies, the weather suddenly changed and it became really chilly and grey and windy.

hrmph. Thanks, Spring.

By the time I came home, it was after 2pm, and I was freezing cold and really hungry.

How to make a macrobiotic meal in less than 10 minutes.

I knew that I wanted something dense, stew-like, and warm. And I knew that I was too cold and grumpy hungry to cook for long :)

I opened the fridge, and saw a random assortment of veggies, and then I discovered the golden ticket: leftover millet! Millet is delicious, and not only is it actually golden, but it has many consistencies, depending on how you cook it. The day before, it was simply pan-toasted and then pressure-cooked. We ate it for lunch, topped with a squash sauce.

For my quick lunch I threw the leftover millet in a pan with some water, and brought it to boil while chopping up a few carrots, and some parsley. I also found some organic corn kernels in the freezer. I threw all the veggies in, and once it was boiling, I brought the temperature down, and simmered with a lid on for about 6 minutes. Then I stirred in a tiny bit of tamari, and let cook for another 4 minutes.

10 minutes later, after topping with a bit of black sesame, I was eating a lovely bowl of...millet & vegetable stew? Or perhaps it was more like Millet & Vegetable Porridge? Either way, it was pure bliss. And warmed me right up!

How to make a macrobiotic meal in less than 10 minutes.

Yum!!! The best thing you can do to save yourself time is to cook grains with leftovers in mind...always make more than you need, so you have cooked grain ready to use for quick meals.

My two favourite & SPEEDY ways to create meals using leftover grains are:

β™₯Boil with more water to make a thick porridge or stew--->can be savoury or sweet (great for breakfast). You can add anything you like (veggies, beans, fresh or dried fruit for breakfast, miso or tamari for flavour,herbs, etc). You can add as much liquid as you like, making it into a soup like if you prefer.

β™₯Pan fry with some  veggies (green onions and mushrooms are a divine combo) in a tiny bit of toasted sesame oil  & tamari

Of course, you can simply steam leftover grain and eat them plain too. Something I also often do.

I have made countless varieties of grain & veggies porridges as quick meals: rice + leftover bean + parsley. Quinoa + celery + carrot. Millet + Squash + miso. etc. etc. All yummy!

So I guess since this post is on a Thursday, this week's Thursday Things is about valuing time! Save yourself time by creating quick meals using leftovers!

What's your favourite way to use leftover grains?