Thursday, February 26, 2015

Endometriosis Diet - Coconut Rice

I love to cook. I believe that anyone who stumbles upon my blog and spends any amount of time on here would agree. I also love to read, and I love to experiment - so it is natural that the two would go hand-in-hand at some point, right?
As a life-long survivor of endometriosis, I am ever on a quest to find ways to make my quality of life not merely bearable, but also enjoyable. You can actually begin reading my story here. And since endo is so closely placed to the digestive tract, I can't help but think that what my endo-sisters and I choose to eat has a huge impact on our symptoms.
So, long story short? I am now completely gluten-free, as I've tested it out and gluten definitely exacerbates my endo flares. I am also completely red meat free, and very limited in dairy products. And that limit in dairy means that one comfort component of food for me - the creaminess that comes with using butter and heavy cream and cheese is limited or eliminated.

So imagine my delight when I was reading Love in the Time of Cholera, in which they referenced Coconut Rice several times over, and I immediately went to my Pinterest board titled "Food from Lit" to look for recipes of coconut rice. I tried it, was mostly pleased, and have tweaked the recipe several times over since then only to find that:

  1. I love coconut rice (my version) AND
  2. It helps my endometriosis AND
  3. It is SO CREAMY!!!!
This makes me downright giddy! To have flavorful, creamy rice with no dairy in it! How fabulous is that?

Here's your ingredients: I go for the highest fat content I can find in whatever brands the stores have - and I never knew there were so many brands of coconut milk in our area. The "official" recipe called for jasmine rice, but I've also done this with long-grain, etc. It works with any white rice, but the jasmine helps with the pearly, creaminess of it all. Don't forget your sea salt - adds flavor without sodium, and fresh garlic.

Open the can of coconut milk - if the fat is coagulated on the top, be careful as you begin to scoop it out or it will cave in suddenly and splash everywhere. You want to save as much fat as possible from the can. I put it in a recycled Kool-Aid container and use the lid to measure. I used two lid-fuls, which is approximately 2 cups of rice.
Add about 2 teaspoons of salt and chop up your garlic. I love garlic, so I must have it strong enough to easily taste - I use at least 2 large cloves, or, as in today's case, 4 small cloves. If you're not a garlic person, reduce that amount. Stir all the ingredients together.

Here's the beauty of my method of cooking rice. Or rather, the Filipino method of cooking rice. I lived with a Filipino family for a summer one year when I was in college. They taught me that, regardless of what any recipe book says, if you're making white rice, it doesn't matter what measurement of rice you've used - you simply add water until, when you insert your finger into the pot, and you barely rest your tip on the top layer of rice, the water comes to your first knuckle.
Really. And I've tried to follow the recipes. It doesn't matter if I use my microwave rice cooker, my electric rice cooker, or cook rice on the stove, this methods works better than any recipe you can follow. You will not have dried out white rice if you follow this method.
I will say this - after you add water (rinsing the rest of the fat out of the can and into the pot!) and put the pot on the stove, stir everything really well - the grains stick to the bottom faster with the coconut fat. You want to loosen everything so that the rice doesn't burn. Turn the burner on medium high to get the water warm, stir again and cover. Reduce the heat to low and set a timer for 25 minutes.

You will be greeted with creamy, garlicky deliciousness when the timer goes off. Turn off the burner, stir, perhaps adding a splash more water, and set the lid back on so all moisture can be soaked up by the rice.
I know that coconut macaroons can be helpful for those who suffer from IBS. And since endo symptoms are so closely related to IBS, I tend to think this is a similar reaction. Every time I've eaten coconut rice, even if I've gorged myself on it, I do not feel ill the next day. The book, Love in the Time of Cholera, called for fried fish with coconut rice. I haven't made the fried part, but I have made baked fish and fish sticks with it, and it does go together very nicely.

Let me know if you try this! Happy Cooking!!

Coconut Rice

2 cups of white rice
1 can of (high fat) coconut milk
2 teaspoons of sea salt
2-3 cloves of garlic (to taste)
Water as needed

1. Chop the garlic, and add the garlic, salt, can of coconut milk and rice to a pot.
2. Stir the pot, and add water until, while inserting your finger, the tip of your finger touches the rice and water reaches your first knuckle.
3. Stir well and begin to heat.
4. When the water starts getting hot, cover and turn the burner to low. Set a timer for 25 minutes.
5. When the timer goes off, stir well and add a splash of water. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Return to Blogging, More Snow & Memories, And a King Cake Surprise

My goodness - I am rather embarrassed by the length of the break I took. It was, by no means, deliberate. I've been trying to handle a bit more this year and, though I've had quite a few posts that began in my head, they never quite made it to fruition on here. Please forgive me.

So, it was a year ago that we had our most recent snow day. A year ago on Valentine's that Syd and I baked a homemade heart shaped cake (one square and one round pan) and whipped up homemade buttercream frosting, dyed pink, for Daddy when he got home. A year ago that my then 4 year old discovered the joy that comes with playing in the clean snow, building forts, climbing piles and drifts, and throwing snowballs at Mommy as she shoveled.

And now, it is Fat Tuesday after Valentine weekend and we're home again, two days in a row (after shoveling, I am thinking it will be 3 - our roads still haven't been touched), thankful for Daddy and hoping he makes it home safely. He wasn't able to get the jeep this time, so I again went out to shovel as much of the driveway and street as possible so he could get in this evening. The biggest difference is that Syd has been ill with some weird virus - so, though I'm in better shape than I was last year, I'm a bit more worn out.

Regardless, a load of bed sheets and towels are now clean. And dishes are done. And shoveling is halfway finished. If we have another day off tomorrow, it will be completed then. It took me 2 days last year, too. And hopefully, one more day home will fully remedy Syd before we have to worry about school again.

So, what do you bake when the weather is/was nasty? Cookies? Brownies? We wanted something different, and since we've been home with a sick child and didn't make it to the grocery store this weekend, it needed to be something I could make with what I had. Enter, King Cake! It is, after all, Fat Tuesday! I found this recipe, which seemed easy enough. Aside from what the title says, though, it was not 'quick.'

Here, Syd is helping Mommy mix the dough. He's adding the eggs.

One of my favorite memories as a child was helping my mother knead the dough to her homemade wheat bread. Oh - so soft and warm. And I would always sneak a tiny piece. She let me have a tiny ball all to myself to knead, eat, bake - do with as I saw fit. I want Syd to have those feelings as he grows. and I want him to know some basics to cooking. Here, he's experiencing kneading for the first time. He loved getting flour everywhere and dusting off his hands like a master chef!
 My first attempt at a braid - I undid this, stretched the pieces out longer and tried to make a tighter braid. See below...
Leftover from Syd's Star Wars birthday (TRULY ashamed I didn't post any of those! I may do so retroactively...) I used blue edible glitter to help spruce up the King Cake - I don't know that I have enough powdered sugar to make the frosting, so I thought this would help. Here, the dough is rising for a second time.
Aaaand - baked. Now cooling on a rack. I can't wait to hide a little Lego guy inside and frost it, adding more sprinkles. I hope Steve is pleasantly surprised, and I hope he understands the true sentiments behind our little endeavor.
I put a movie on before heading out to shovel. I came in about an hour later and found this. Poor little guy. But, several hours later, he seems to be feeling much better, so let's hope that was the trick!
What have you gotten up to on your days off, if you were happily surprised by this storm (which was quite far reaching!)? How did you fill your days, or relax, or surprise family? Share below!

I hope you all stay safe and happy and warm as our Polar Vortex of 2015 continues. Happy Shoveling and Baking!