Forbidden Rice

Forbidden, or black rice, is full of antioxidants and is much better for you than white rice! It is a good source of iron and fiber, as well as the antioxidants, anthocyanins (cancer fighters). To learn more, follow this link for more in depth info from CNN. As the article states, this rice is a bit chewier or has more ‘bite’ to it than white rice that many people are used to, but I really like the texture and you can’t beat the nutritional stats as far as rice is concerned. The author also talks about grinding the rice into a powder and adding it to other dishes, which I plan on trying as well. Have any of you experimented with this grain? What did you make?

Last Friday night we went to our friends Drew and Laura’s house for dinner. They made us delicious veggie kabobs on the grill and I was in charge of bringing a side dish, so I made up the following rice dish to bring along.  Feel free to add more pineapple if you like a lot of it, as it really adds to the dish.

 Antioxidant-Rich Forbidden Rice

  • 1 cup Forbidden Rice
  • 1 ¼ cup water or vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp. Oil
  • 1 ½ cup chopped Red Onion
  • 1 ½ cup Chopped Sweet Potato
  • 1 ½ cup Chopped Yellow Bell Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. minced Garlic
  • 1 cup Shelled Edamame
  • ½ cup canned pineapple with juice
  • ¾ tsp. Ground Cumin
  • ¼ cup Lime Juice
  • Salt, to taste

– Rinse the rice until the water runs clear.

– Place the rice and water/broth in a pot with a tight-fitting lid and bring to a boil.

– Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. Then let sit with the heat off for 10 minutes.

– Meanwhile, sauté the onions for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle them with salt, then add the sweet potato and garlic and continue to sauté until the sweet potato begins to soften. Add the bell pepper and cumin.

-Once the rice has cooked and the bell pepper is just beginning to cook (still a little crunchy!), add the rice and edamame to the veggies.

– Stir in the Pineapple, juices and salt, to taste, just before serving.

The green edamame really popped in this dish!

Why You Should Soak Your Nuts

Nuts are delicious, healthy, and a great addition to a wide variety of recipes. Not only do they taste great, they are an excellent source of protein and healthy fats! We like to get a variety of nuts in our diet because each type varies in the kinds and amounts of fats they contain, and also obviously vary in taste. Some of our favorites are walnuts, hazelnuts and pecans, but we basically like all different kinds. We’ll be posting about nuts in several recipes in the future, but we wanted to discuss preparing them first (and there may be a recipe as well..).

While nuts do contain healthy fats, these fats can be ruined by heating them at high temperatures (kind of like ‘smoke points’ with oils), and are not as easily absorbed when the nuts aren’t soaked.  From what we’ve read, nuts contain ‘enzyme inhibitors’ that protect the nut.  This means that our body isn’t able to break down that inhibitor and is therefore not going to get the true nutritional value that the nuts can provide. It also is harder to digest them this way.  After we started soaking our nuts we felt better after eating them. Previously, they gave us somewhat of a stomachache, which disappeared after we soaked them.

So; how do you soak them? Basically the nuts need to be covered with saltwater for several hours, which we do before going to bed. It takes all of five minutes to do this so really it isn’t difficult. Depending on the type of nut, the amount of salt and soaking times vary, but overall they’re not tremendously different. For the water it’s a 1:2 ratio (nuts:water) and the salt depends on the amount of nuts you use. One site that we’ve found helpful for this is here.

Nuts placed in tupperware ready to have salted water added to them for soaking overnight.

After soaking them, rinse them well and feel free to eat away! You can add them to oatmeal, eat them plain, put them in some yogurt, whatever you desire! However, if you do make a big batch, it’s nice to dehydrate them and then store them in the fridge or freezer so that they last longer (especially walnuts). We like to use mason jars to do so. 🙂 Again, dehydrating them takes about a 12-24 hour process, but the hands-on time really isn’t long at all. You just dehydrate them until they are crunchy again.

Why dehydrate and not cook in the oven? As mentioned earlier, this actually can alter the fats of the nuts (by breaking chemical bonds), making them less ‘heart-healthy’. If your oven is able to bake at a temperature of 170°F or below, however, it is safe to do so. It just depends on how long you want to have your oven on!

In other news, we went shopping a couple of weeks ago and found these:

Planters Almonds

While they looked (and probably taste) delicious, there is added sugar from both corn syrup and brown sugar, and there is extra oil as well. Corn syrup? Really? While they aren’t what we’d call ‘horrible’ for you, we would much prefer to make our own!

So the moral of the story is………. Soak your nuts! And then try the following ‘recipe’.

 Pumpkin Pie Spice Mixed Nuts

We used soaked almonds, walnuts and pecans for this recipe but feel free to mix it up with your favorite kind of nut and vary the spice according to your taste. The spices really stuck to the nuts well because they had just gotten rinsed after they were done soaking. No oil necessary!

  • 1-2 cups mixed, soaked nuts.
  • 1-2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sucanat (we ground ours in a coffee grinder so that it was more of a powder, which allowed it to stick well)
  • Salt

Spread the nuts onto a dehydrator sheet and sprinkle with the spices, sugar and salt (to taste). Dehydrate at 105°F for 12-24 hours, or until crunchy. This combination lends a light taste of spice with a sweet and salty finish.

 

Sucanat ground in the coffee grinder.

 What are your favorite ways to enjoy nuts? Sweet or savory, we really can’t get enough!