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Macro Monday: Cozy Porridge Breakfast

There's nothing better than a comforting, warm breakfast on a chilly Fall morning. 

For me, this always means one thing: porridge. 

There's something about it that just feels right, this time of the year. 

And the best part is all the kinds of toppings you can choose from...basically it's a blank canvas kinda breakfast, and you're the artist. 

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You get to decorate it however you like, with whatever ingredients are calling to you on that particular morning. 

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I've made pumpkin oats, apple oats, peanut butter oats, long cooked raisin oats---all of these were delicious as the flavours were cooked into them...but sometimes my favourite is just a simple grain porridge with fun things on top.  

This recipe is SO simple you can't even really call it a recipe. Especially cause I've been using a rice cooker to cook it ;) 

Rice Cooker Porridge

I've been lucky enough to be staying at a house that has a rice cooker, just like the one we had in Japan. While I so dearly LOVE my pressure cooker oats, and regular old stove-top porridge, when you're pretty busy and not in the house much (I've been working away from home these days), having a rice cooker with a timer is like winning the lottery. You get to wake up to warm, perfectly cooked porridge, just waiting for you to devour. 

Assuming your rice cooker has a porridge setting, you're golden. 
If it doesn't, you'll just have to play around a bit, simply by trying it on the brown rice setting (my guess) but with more water (5-6x as much as the grain) than you'd use for making regular brown rice.

 

Brown Rice & Steel Cut Oat Porridge

I used:

  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1/2 cup sprouted brown rice (it has a shorter cooking time) 
  • 5-6 times the amount of water as grain (we measured it according to the level on the rice cooker pot). 
  • a pinch of sea salt

Literally put the grains into the rice cooker pot, rinse and swish it everything until the water is no longer cloudy, and then fill the water up to the designated line. Sprinkle in a bit of sea salt, set the timer, and go and live your life.  <3

If you do not have a rice cooker, you could do this on the stove. Simply bring everything to boil, and then let simmer (stirring occasionally to prevent sticking). If you are using sprouted brown rice, it'll probably take around 30 minutes. But the longer you let everything cook, the creamier it'll be, so if you have the time, it's worth the wait.

TOPPINGS

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This week I've been craving things a little on the sweeter side, so I've been using some maple syrup on my porridge. The above bowl had chia seeds, flax, cinnamon (a must), and maple syrup. 

Some Favourite Porridge Toppings:

  • Sunflower seeds or sunflower seed butter, cinnamon, and maple syrup
  • Toasted hazelnuts, and lemon zest
  • Flax oil and dulse (don't knock it till you try it) 
  • Blueberries, cashews, and hemp hearts
  • a bit of almond / soy / coconut milk with cinnamon and maple sugar
  • Top or stir in some peanut butter and cinnamon (and a bit of raw honey if you like) and not like I've tried it or anything, but word on the street is that some dark chocolate and peanut butter or almond butter is supposed to be a good combo ;)

I'm sure there are about 50 more combinations I've tried.

When I have more time I want to make my pressure cooker whole oat porridge .
But for now, I can't get enough of this easy warm & delicious rice cooker breakfast.

What do you like to put on your porridge? 

Macrobiotic Black Rice Recipe

Often people associate Macrobiotics with brown rice. While the Macrobiotic diet is incredibly varied, brown rice does play a strong role, as it is a very balanced food that is easy to digest and full of nutrients. This week, we're taking brown rice out for a joy ride, and cooking it with something new: black rice!

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Macro Mondays: Black Rice

Black rice is very very healthy! Like other whole grain rice, it is rich in fibre & vitamin Bs. But black rice kicks it up a notch, because it has tons of anthocyanin antioxidants because of it's dark colour, just like blackberries & blueberries. These dark plant antioxidants are potentially cancer-fighting. Black rice is also known as purple rice or forbidden rice, and has been revered in China for centuries

A big THANK YOU to my lovely friends Kenji & Harumi for sending it to me all the way from Japan :)

Me, super happy because I found a Japanese parcel in the mailbox!

Me, super happy because I found a Japanese parcel in the mailbox!

It might have taken a few months, Kenji, but I finally made it, and we loved it!

This was my first time cooking it myself, and I can't wait to make it again. We made it in the pressure cooker with short grain rice (2 parts short grain 1 part black rice). We both thought that it added a really nice rich & sweet flavour. In fact, our leftovers disappeared really quickly!

Macrobiotic Black & Brown Rice [3 cooking methods]

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Please Gather:

  • 2 cups short grain brown rice, rinsed
  • 1 cup black rice, rinsed
  • 3.5 cups spring water

Soak the above for about 6 hours or overnight (you can soak it right in the Ohsawa pot, if you're using it, or in the pressure cooker, or in the saucepan if you're boiling).

Once it's done soaking, you're ready to cook!

*Please always follow your own pressure cooker's directions!

Version #1 - Ohsawa Pot

  1. There needs to be 3.25 cups of water in with the rice, including the soaking water. I usually have to add in about 1 cup more fresh spring water after it's done soaking.
  2. Add a pinch of salt, put the lid on the Ohsawa pot, and lower it into the pressure cooker. I usually add about 3-4 cups water to the pressure cooker, and rest the closed Ohsawa pot on the trivet that came with my pressure cooker.
  3. Put the lid on the pressure cooker, and bring to full pressure. Turn heat down to the lowest setting to maintain full pressure, and cook for 30 mins. Take off the heat, and let the pressure come down naturally (10-20 mins).
  4. Fluff up & serve.

Version #2 - Pressure Cooker with no Ohsawa Pot

  1. You need there to be 5.5 cups of water in with the rice, including the soaking water. Add whatever you need to make up the difference.
  2. Bring the rice to boil in the pressure cooker with the lid off.
  3. Add in a good pinch or two of sea salt.
  4. Fasten the lid, and bring it up to full pressure (2 bars in my kuhn rikon).
  5. Keep on the lowest heat to maintain full pressure, and cook for 30 minutes.
  6. Take off the heat, and let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes.
  7. Release any remaining pressure, and then fluff up & serve.

Version #3 - Stove Top (boiling)

  1. There should be between 5-6 cups of water in the pot, including the soaking water. You will most likely need to add 2 cups of fresh spring water.
  2. Bring to boil, and add a pinch of salt.
  3. Lower temperature until it's only simmering, and put the lid on.
  4. Cook for 25-30 minutes, watching to make sure it doesn't bubble over.
  5. If you need to add a bit more water, you can!
  6. Take off the heat, and let the rice rest for 5 minutes in the pan, then fluff up and serve.
  7. This is pretty much my basic brown rice, dainty pig style!

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It's purple. It's pretty. And I bet it would taste dang good with some adzuki beans in there too & topped with black sesame. And since my idea wheel is turning, I'm thinking that it's sweet flavour would make it amazing in rice pudding.

Have you ever tried / made black rice?

Oh-I love my-sawa pot.

Well...it's Thursday, and I haven't done a Thursday Things post in awhile.

Did I ever show you what my lovely man T got me for Christmas?

An Ohsawa Pot ( A ceramic pot that is meant to be placed inside the pressure cooker).

An Ohsawa Pot ( A ceramic pot that is meant to be placed inside the pressure cooker).

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The Ohsawa Pot makes whatever it is you cook --- and so far I've tried apples, brown rice, millet, and adzuki pumpkin stew --- taste even yummier than in the pressure cooker alone. I believe part of the reason for this is that it keeps all the moisture inside the food. Also, the ceramic pot reduces the slightly metallic taste that the pressure cooker can impart into food. (Truthfully, I never really noticed any sort of metallic taste from the cooker until after I tried cooking in the Ohsawa pot, and then again without it, and noticed how different the same dish tasted). Plus, you can soak the grains, cook them, and serve them all in the Oshawa pot...and then pop it right into the fridge to store the leftovers.

So far, i'm super happy with it, and haven't cooked a thing in the pressure cooker without it since. The above dish, stewed apples with ginger & cinnamon, turned out fabulous, and it was my first attempt at using it. The ratios for water change a bit, so i'm still experimenting to get the perfect recipe---i'll let you know when I do.

But honestly, the tastiest thing to emerge out of my Ohsawa pot so far, is simple brown rice. I didn't think brown rice could get any tastier, but both T & I cannot get enough. Super Yum. Expect my new recipe soon. Until then, try my recipe for brown rice dainty pig style version 1.0 (stovetop) or version 2.0 (pressure cooker - no Ohsawa pot).

Have you ever cooked in an Ohsawa pot?
Any tips or favourite recipes?

** Also, I've finally put up my Resources Tab, with a link to Macro & Non-Macro blogs, websites and books that I enjoy. If you'd like to be included & are not up there yet (i'm slow, sorry! still working on it!), please let me know!

Have a great day.
xoxo

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?

Typical Macrobiotic Eats.

Whole Grains + Vegs = happy tummy & happy mind.

I plan my daily meals around these two things.
Then I add in some root veggies, round/ground veggies, and some greens.
This is often enough, as is.
But for variety and to make sure I get protein, I have some beans or fish, and nuts & seeds.
And for minerals and flavour, some seaweed.
Here was my lunch the other day:
Nishime-style Root Veggies
 Comforting and soothing. 
Boil for a long time in a small amount of water.
 Add a bit of kombu and tamari for flavour.
Very grounding.
Crispy steamed kale. 
A burst of spring, and some upward moving energy.
Brown rice.
Pressure-cooked to perfection.
The backbone of the meal.
Garnished with tamari-roasted pumpkin seeds.
Perfection in a bowl.

How can something so simple & so healthy be so drool-worthy?

Tip: drink the water left from steaming your veggies. 
A delicious and warm way to get all your vitamins!

Mushroom Leek Gravy

A rainbow of colourful vegetables provide the perfect crunch, in-between bites of creamy mushroom leek gravy covered brown rice.

Mushroom Leek Gravy

Leeks are a new-to-me vegetable. I tend to not eat many onion-family vegetables, usually only stepping into the territory with the occasional green onion. But since signing up for an organic veggie box delivery every two weeks, I decided to give them a try.

Mushroom Leek Gravy

I decided to explore. Create something new.

I had some brown rice, and steamed veggies, and wanted something a little more rich and creamy. Something with a bit of comfort factor. And it needed to take less than 20 minutes to make, because I was hungry.

Mushroom Leek Gravy

Mushroom Leek Gravy

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound mushrooms of your choice, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 leeks (washed, bottom beard cut off, and sliced into thin rings)
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1 Tbsp tamari
  • 1.5 cup water
  • 1.5 Tablespoons arrowroot powder (or kuzu)

Directions

  1. Add 2tsp sesame oil to pan, and heat to medium-high.
  2. When the pan sizzles, add in the leeks, and let saute for about 5 minutes until browned.
  3. Stir in the mushrooms, and the thyme.
  4. Place a lid on top, and let saute for about 8 minutes. Checking every few minutes, adding a bit of water if sticking.
  5. Add in the tamari, and let cook about a minute.
  6. Pour in 1.5 cups water.
  7. Dilute the arrowroot in a bit of cold water, stirring out any lumps. Add to pan.
  8. Let cook another 5 minutes or so, stirring frequently until gravy is thickened.
  9. Add in the 1 tsp toasted sesame oil for flavour.
  10. Serve over top brown rice and steamed veggies (recommended vegs: broccoli, carrots, daikon).
Mushroom Leek Gravy
Mushroom Leek Gravy

YUM!!!

To steam veggies;

Place daikon and carrot chunks in an inch of water in a pot. Add a teeny pinch of salt. Bring to boil with lid on. Add in broccoli. Let cook for about 2-3 minutes. That's it!

Brown Rice:

If you need to know how to make brown rice, check out

this post for boiling method,

and

this post for pressure cooking

.

Mushroom Leek Gravy

Lucky me---my veggie box is coming this week. This one is definitely a repeat :) 

Brown Rice Version 2.0.

Sometimes the simplest things are the best.

But, I'm sure you know this already.

In spirit of enjoying my time during the weekend, and being a little less adventurous in the kitchen, this post is dedicated to the perfectly simple meal.

Yup.

It's Brown rice. 
Pressure cooked with a little wakame.

2 ingredients I can just never get enough of.
So without further adieu, here's 

Brown Rice Dainty Pig Style 
             Version 2.0 
(Step-by-step guide to the best pressure cooked brown rice)

Please gather:
4 c. short grain brown rice, rinsed and drained.
7.5 c. cold water
a few pinches of salt
a couple of inches of dried wakame, cut into small pieces.

Directions:
1. Add half the rice to the pressure cooker. 
2. Smooth rice over with hand or a spoon to make it level. 
3. Take a couple inches of dried wakame, and break into a few  
   small pieces. Place in some cool water. Let sit a few minutes.
4. Scoop out rehydrated wakame. Place on top of rice. Then cover 
   with second half of rinsed rice. Again, level rice with hand.
5. Pour wakame soaking water, plus enough extra water to equal 
   7.5 cups, SLOWLY down one side of the pot, so water 
   doesn't disturb the rice. Some wakame might rise up, no prob.
6. Add a couple of pinches of salt.
7. Lock lid, and bring to high pressure over high heat.
8. Cook for 30-35 minutes on high pressure.
9. Let pressure come down naturally (takes about 10-15mins).
10. Take lid off, shake condensation into rice.
    Let rice sit in the pot a bit, at least 5mins.
11. Smile. Express Gratitude. Chew. Feast.

♥ please note: always follow the directions and safety instructions provided with your own pressure cooker, and make sure your cooker is big enough for this much grain (adjust accordingly).
wakame is recommended, but not necessary! 

If you put a crystal in your window, you get magic rice!

If you don't have a pressure cooker, don't fear. 
There are lots of old photos and instructions for boiling rice here: my step-by-step guide to making boiled brown rice, dainty pig style.

*Step-by-step Photo Tour*
Gather the rice. (4 cups)
Rinse it. Let it drain.
Wakame.
Cool! Seaweed!
Cut it up.
Soak with cool water for a few mins.
Put half the rice in the pot.
Scoop out wakame from water, lay on top of rice.
Cover wakame with rest of rice. Smooth over.
Slowly pour in water.
(7.5 cups total, including wakame soaking water)
Add sea salt. A couple pinches will do.
Put on cooker lid. Bring to high pressure.
Cook away on high pressure for 15-50mins.
I prefer 30-35mins.
The longer you cook, the crispier it'll be.
Let pressure come down naturally.
Shake condensation from lid into rice.
Let sit for about 5 minutes in pot.
Scoop out into bowls or containers.
Mounds and mounds of glorious rice.

yup. 
that's it.


Eat some warm (super yummy), then re-use the rest over a few days reheating by steaming, or in soups, or by adding a tiny bit of water and boiling for porridge, or lightly frying with a bit of oil and vegs.


A (real) man's breakfast.

So my guy has been totally digging brown rice for breakfast.

In the winter months, he ate brown rice with umeboshi and sesame, miso soup, and a fried egg every morning.

These days, he has been on a new, Korean-inspired, breakfast kick.

Let me introduce you to the dainty pig household's kimchee Bibimbap!

Here's what you need:

- some cooked brown rice *we save leftovers from dinner

- kimchee

- shoyu (soy sauce)

- mirin (rice cooking wine)

- sesame seeds

- cooking oil or butter

- 1 egg

I forgot to take photos of all the steps, sorry.

1. Heat up a pan and add some cooking oil (we like sesame oil).

2. Throw the brown rice on and cook for a while (~3 minutes?).

3. Add in a splash of shoyu, let it cook in until absorbed.

4. Add in a splash of mirin, let it cook in until absorbed.

5. Crack an egg on top and mix it in, stirring it around.

6. After the egg cooks for a few minutes, get the kimchee ready. We just eyeball it, stirring in about 2-3 heaping tablespoons?

7. Last step is adding in some sesame seeds, about a tablespoon.

Eat hot, and enjoy your spicy, protein, fibre, and calcium packed breakfast!

YUM!!!

I can't eat egg, but I love kimchee and enjoy it on top of brown rice quite regularly.

Fermented foods are great for your belly, and are an awesome way to start your day off.

When you order a bibimbap in a Korean restaurant, they serve it to you in this piping hot bowl, with the raw egg just cracked. You need to stir it all around to cook the egg. The bottom gets all crunchy, and is amazing (so I've heard!). There are usually some veggies like garlic scapes and cabbage in there too. You can choose kimchee style like the one we make, or sometimes other ones with meat etc.

Have you ever had a bibimbap?

Do you like Korean food?