Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
I desperately want to tell you that the recipes I am about to share are very complicated. I want to tell you that you must be a culinary wizard to make them, and that you also must have deep pockets to be able to afford them.
But all of that would (of course) be a lie, because none of this is true (and I didn’t really want to tell you those things!).
Given that most of the world subsists on inexpensive healthy staples like rice, beans, and veggies, it is easy to see why it’s not so bad when they taste this darned good!
Hope is not what we find in evidence, it’s what we become in action.
~ Frances Moore Lappé
The 3 recipes included in today’s post are the perfect base or accent to any curry dish. Or really anything you fancy to go with it, for that matter.
Rice is naturally gluten-free, and there are so many varieties to try. Brown, black, red, white. When lightly toasted over heat (with oil) prior to boiling, it makes the final product light and fluffy – pilaf style. Rice that won’t stick together!
A simple rice dish paired with a crisp light raw salad, and your favorite condiment makes for tasty filling eating for pennies (unless you want to drop coin on something luxurious to top it with – totally your call!)
The search for truth is more precious than its possession.
~ Albert Einstein
Cumin Spiced Rice with Peas:
- (1-2) tbsp butter, ghee, or vegetable oil
- (1) tbsp cumin seeds
- (1) cup white basmati rice
- (1.75) cups cold water
- (1) cup frozen green peas
- (1/2) tsp salt
- pepper to taste
Heat a medium saucepan to medium heat and add butter, ghee, or oil. Once the butter is melted or the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and cook, stirring the entire time, for about 1 minute. Be careful not to burn these by having them on too high heat!
*Note: if using this cooking method with other rices (most notably brown rice), the end result will be heavier. White basmati rice is ideal for this cooking style as it is naturally absorbent and fluffy – thus making it a light foil for heavier foods to go with it. If you do try it with brown rice, try using the lower amount of butter or oil.
Add the dry rice and cook, on the heat, stirring for about 5 minutes. The rice kernels will start to turn opaque and white. Be careful not to burn the rice by stirring pretty much every 10-15 seconds or so.
After 5 minutes, or the rice is consistently turning color (it will look flecky), add the cold water. Cover and bring to a boil on high. Once the water boils, turn the heat to low (without removing the lid), and cook, covered, for 20 minutes.
During the last 7-8 minutes of the rice cooking time, add the peas and allow them to cook atop the rice as it cooks (do not stir). Simply open the lid quickly (have the peas pre-measured!) and pop them in as quickly as possible.
After 20 minutes is up, turn the heat off and let the rice sit in the covered pan for 3-4 minutes. Once ready, fluff the rice and peas together with a fork and add the salt. Voila!
Ready to serve straight from the pot or transfer to a serving bowl and take to the table!
Brussels sprouts have been a long time fave of mine.
They are cheap, available (pretty much) year-round and boast the same health benefits as their other cruciferous family members (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and yes, KALE!). They are pretty much a superfood in every sense of the word, and I adore them for their underdog status as one of the most ‘disliked’ vegetables out there.
The truth is (IMO), they taste great roasted, steamed, and here, completely raw!
If you’ve never tried them this way, I highly suggest you do – this salad is light and delicious while providing a gorgeous fresh contrast to your cooked dishes. I also love this little number wrapped in my fresh tacos with a little avocado and salsa too….but that is another post entirely!
Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad:
- (6-8) good sized fresh brussels sprouts
- (2-3) tbsp good quality olive oil
- (1-2) tbsp apple cider vinegar (can sub regular vinegar just reduce to 1 tbsp to start)
- (1) tsp fresh finely grated ginger
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh cilantro leaves for the top
Start by buying the freshest brussels sprouts you can find. These guys are basically baby cabbages, and I almost prefer eating these in a salad over cabbage – they take up so much less space in the fridge too!
Wash the sprouts and peal and discard any rough outer leaves. Starting at the top of the sprout, with the stem end down, use a sharp knife to shred/slice the brussels sprouts as thinly as possible, one by one, into rounds as thin as possible. Separate the ‘slices’ with your hands and to a bowl.
Toss with olive oil, vinegar, and ginger until well mixed – massage gently with your bare hands to ensure the shaved sprouts soften up a little. Taste to add salt.
Serve in a lovely dish garnished with cilantro leaves and optional black pepper. You might be surprised who eats this and likes it! It is a pretty good disguise for this much maligned little wonder
Can you tell I am a big fan of the sprout? Love’em….
The past has no power over the present moment.
~ Eckhart Tolle
A word (or two) about condiments:
Having good condiments in the house can become a bit of a fun hobby. Anyone out there a bit of a condiment collector?
It’s easy to do and there are just too many ways to liven up simple healthy food that it is mind-boggling (including this chutney I cannot wait to make). Really!
When I eat spicy Indian food, I always order a round of cooling Raita (Indian Yoghurt Dip). If you eat yoghurt, chances are you could have a regular stock of plain yoghurt in the house on a regular basis.
Here is a 2 second condiment that can make a good meal (just a little) better. There are many ways to make a Raita, but here are a few suggestions to get you started!
- (1) cup plain yoghurt (pictured here is super thick Mediteranean style)
- (1/4) cup grated or finely chopped peeled cucumber
- pinch or two of Garam Masala spice mix, or ground cumin (about 1/4 tsp)
- salt to taste
Mix all together in a bowl until just mixed. Do not over mix if you can help it!
That’s it! Serve immediately and make it as needed – Raita will keep but only for a day or so in the fridge, so small batches are best
Enjoy this meal with friends, family, or anyone you want to share it with..
with or without broiled naan bread.
Who says food has to be complicated or expensive to be good?
Simple pleasures are the last healthy refuge in a complex world.
~ Oscar Wilde
Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity, reduce selfishness, have few desires.
~ Lao Tzu
I know it is (perhaps) (just a little) corny, but when I think of sharing food, I often picture the world sitting around the table with me.
I picture wide smiles and hear happy sounds. This is why I cook food, and it brings so much joy to share it!
Live simply so that others may simply live.
~ Mahatma Gandhi
Living with (just a little) less can be easy. Especially when it is this good!
I hope you’ll enjoy these ideas or use them as a launching pad to devise your own creations with these basic universal staples, and I’d love to hear your suggestions or favorite takes on the above.
This notion of sharing simple food is deep in the spirit of Not So Fast…the idea that there is enough food for all.
In the next week, I’ll tell you the story (and the results) of Carla and Chris’s 40 day trial of ‘going without’. I’ll tell you what they did, how they did it, and what it will mean to others (and yes they ate like kings the entire time!).
I can’t wait to share this with you all!
- What is you favorite cheap staple or go to budget meal?
- Do you have a favorite easy & frugal dish that is too good not to share?
I’d love your suggestions and they might just come in super handy in the future – so do let us know!
Only a life lived for others is a life worth while.
~ Albert Einstein
You know how much I adore your feedback and stories.
I wish you all could come and have a seat around my table……but for now I’ll be happy to receive your comments..…..even if I can’t see all your lovely smiles!
Yours in Less,