Sunday, October 28, 2018

Coconut black rice pudding

About a year ago, for our 10th anniversary, we went to the UK, and when we were in Scotland, we stayed at the shockingly comfortable, minimalist Ibis hotel, just 'round the corner from the church/market place on the Royal Mile. This hotel was easily one of the best we stayed in on our trip, but after we cruised the mile, and slept in the you-should-probably-get-one-of-these-mattresses (we did!) bed, there was one more surprise awaiting us. At breakfast.

In the clean, Ikea-organized breakfast room surrounded by windows, were square white ceramic trays of nutty breads, cheeses and all sorts of European morning-type foods. And then, there were small glasses full of a purple something-or-other that turned out to be rice pudding.

I couldn't even tell you why I took one, except that I couldn't stomach much after the 24 hours of travel, and aside from toast, was sort of desperate. And then I spooned up some of the purpley rice and my goodness. It was lush, it was nutty, toothsome, and sweet, but not too much, and my stomach said, hey, that's what I've been looking for. Let's have two.

And so I did.

We stayed there for three days, and I had some each day, and then, like the whole of Scotland, it was gone in the blur of a propeller plane, as we left for Ireland.

Every now and then, I've had a craving for it, so finally I had to have the recipe. I'd grilled the breakfast lady at the hotel about what was in it, and all I got was milk and rice, and I'd asked if there was beets in it (because, hello, it was bright purple) and she said no, and I was stuck. So, I went to the last-ditch option: the Internet.

Lo and behold, the item I was looking for was coconut milk black rice pudding. There's some other name for it, but that's the gist, and the key to the color and everything else is this Thai black rice that you'll have to excavate from your local natural food store. For me, that was Fresh Thyme, on the bottom shelf. Specifically, it's the Lundberg Black Japonica rice, and it's lovely.

More or less you boil it with water and coconut milk and a smidge or more of sugar, and voila, purple rice pudding. I used this recipe, pretty much to the letter, and I'd list it out here except for that I have no improvements. Just one suggestion, and that is to make it at your earliest convenience.

More later. :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Wednesday, October 17

Hello again! We were busy this weekend with that contraption up there - will let you know when the ensuing article is being published! And with painting, and whatnot with the house. We're still unpacking boxes. I sense it may never end. And now, to what's up lately...

Recently received "Together: Our Community Cookbook" in the mail - love it so much. The photos, the recipes, everything is put together so nicely that reading it is like taking a rest in a lovely easy chair on a sunny day. Looking forward to making the recipes, especially the breakfast and desserts. :)

This may have stemmed from my interest in the royals... cough. (WhatMeghanWore, WhatKateWore, and please don't forget OnHeir. You're welcome. Settle in!) However, I love that Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, is using her position to highlight women using their voice. It's awesome.

The best thing I've made recently is Half Baked's apple cider - honestly, just do whatever this girl says - and also, apple cake from Smitten Kitchen, which is turning out to be an annual favorite.

Have taken a break from running, but will get back to it soon with a few races coming up. This is a great time of year to run - the weather is perfect. The light, however, leaves something to be desired. This is especially true in the country, I'm finding. Break out your headlamps, folks. Although, the view of the stars is hard to beat.

Books! I swear, I'm getting my library card this weekend. Or next. But soon! In the meantime, did you know there's a book version of the Mortal Engines movie that Peter Jackson is rolling out? Planning to read it next. Also, if you're obsessed with Outlander, the ninth book may be out next year. Only Diana Gabaldon knows, however.

Have been crocheting, and trying Amazon's Prime Wardrobe, and also preaching about voting - get your ballot and VOTE - and reading other stuff, so there will be more later. Have a wonderful rest of the week!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Tuesday, October 9

And, we're back, roughly a year and five months later. Exactly a year after my last post, we bought(!) a house, and now we live in a totally different state and town, albeit with the same gigs and friends, etc.

We're in the country, officially, and have a bit more space, which the dogs enjoy immensely. It's shocking how much time the process of moving house can take. I feel like we spent six months getting the house ready, a few months going through the actual pain of selling, buying and moving, and another six recovering. The math doesn't shake out, but you get me.

That dish up there is courtesy of one of our many trips over the past year or so - I think it's a reuben quesadilla? We went to Scotland and Ireland (more on that later) last fall, then to Niagara Falls in early summer, and a quick jaunt to St. Louis this fall. So, lots to write about!

And books, of course, although I've fallen into the world of podcasts and may never return. And running. And possibly, a new website coming soon!

For now, for your Tuesday tips, here's a couple food items I've been perusing.
  • Did you know that reducing food waste will be part of the battle against climate change? A couple things we're doing to help that along - freezing chopped veggies to prevent spoilage, packaging meat in usable quantities, repacking bread so it doesn't go bad, making breadcrumbs, etc. Did you know you can chop and freeze celery leaves for soup?
  • Apples keep really, really well in paper bags. We bought 20 pounds three weeks ago, made a ton of cider, apple cake and have frozen some for apple pie. Plus we've been eating some every day, and they have been in the paper bag on the counter this whole time.
  • Breakfast burritos can save your mornings and your budget. For real! I'm using this recipe by Smitten Kitchen - who went through some serious research for it. Have changed it up, using sweet potatoes, steak and turkey sausage. Haven't felt the need to get breakfast en route for the past two weeks. Coffee is another story...
And that's it for today, but planning to keep writing, and eventually all this will be in another space soon! :) 

Monday, May 8, 2017

May 8

This is one of my favorite photos from Costa Rica. It's the entrance to Las Vueltas Lodge where we stayed for about a week last December, visiting friends. It's beautiful there. And colder than one might expect. And warmer by the fire. And magical.

And the weather isn't predictable. Nothing is. It's wild. In the best possible way.

It's a miraculous growing space. Promptly after we arrived home, we started a compost pile. 
In winter. And planned out the garden. Powerful stuff.

It's also tropical and warm and sunny. It's everything at once.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

April 25

Read some writing advice recently to "write what you want to read" and I thought, "surely not". Because how would you absorb the winding path that is the things I want to read?

Then again, here's what I have been reading and checking out lately. It's not the stack of library books I returned at the eleventh hour, I can tell you that. Although Harry Potter and The Cursed Child was a trip in the best possible way and worth the fine!

Instead, the links I linger on seem to be focused on running. Mostly because I've been running more. For the first time in a long time, I ran over the winter. Like, outside. This sounds crazy, even during a mild winter like we had this year. And it wasn't much - just Saturdays and some weight/yoga/crossfit classes on Tuesdays, part of a Fleet Feet Davenport Winter Warriors training program I joined with friends. I missed some thanks to a fabulous sinus infection and various, but I did run while we were in Florida for a week.

Spring returned and with it, the 5K races. The first one was on St. Patrick's Day weekend. I'd been running 3 miles most Saturdays and thought nothing of it. I waved my friends on - "see you at the end!" - and while I knew I'd been running a bit faster, I didn't expect to finish the race much differently than any other year. That is to say, slowly.

But then, I finished. And got my ticket. Where it said I had a 11.23 min. split. And I thought, "holy shit." Because about a year ago, I was rocking a 13.5 minute mile pretty hardcore. And that was on a good day.

So, here we are. I'm running with people now, which is a totally new experience. I even do drills and crossfit-y stuff from time to time. I also have new aches and pains - the bonus of any healthy stunt. And a new stretching regimen, courtesy of my sister and niece.

It's neat.

Running links: Sara, a certified running pro person, writes a blog and enewsletter which comes along every now and then with some good advice, and excellent links to send you to new places in the internets. The enewsletter called Huffing and Puffin. And there's a picture of a puffin. Love. Lauren's a retired pro runner person who has some informative stuff on her blog about running, naturally, but life in general.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The magic in every day

Hi there.

Today I'm finding, per Carol, the magic in every day.

Today I had fabulous customer service from the local AAA - couldn't be fixed, but they gave it the college try. Maybe even the graduate try. In the 32-degree cold.

River City Tire called when my car didn't show up right away - wanted to know if everything was okay. Called back to make sure they had it right about the problem.

Duluth Trading Co. was willing to send me a second order - for free - when the post office lost my order. Order was found - no worries, they said. Just send the second one back. Trust. 

Went to Crossfit tonight and was not super happy about it. Kept hearing Phil say, come on, team! Part of a team? At Crossfit? Yep. Caring. 

What does this show? It's people who matter. People who care. As Maria of Northern Star fame said so long ago, you've got to take care of your people. I think if we keep taking care of our people, we'll be okay.

We are one of many on a planet of billions in a galaxy of amazement and stars. We aren't going anywhere. We're here for the long haul.

Go forth, folks, and care for your peeps.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Risotto over the fire... in print (!)

Hi there.

Today's blog is not on this blog. It's over here, on the Radish website. There's also a lovely print copy of the Radish at a Quad-Cities magazine rack near you.

Enjoy! :)