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Love:

Do you like rice pudding? Until this week I didn’t, I am really funny about textures, soggy bread, tapioca, bloomed chia seeds- ick! I had always put rice pudding in the same category, until now.

I am a part of Slow Food Utah’s book club, what is great about our book club is that all the books we read are about food. Our last book was ‘An Everlasting Meal, Cooking with Economy and Grace’ by Tamar Adler. When we meet for book club we usually bring dishes based on something featured in the book, this particular book had a number of recipes to choose from but for some reason the Rice Pudding was speaking to me. I have never made rice pudding and as I said I don’t even like rice pudding, but for some reason I was compelled to make it. I changed quite a bit of the recipe to appeal to my needs and what I had on hand, which is exactly the premise of the book. This book is so hopeful in learning how to make a meal using what you already have in your house or in other words, learning how to just wing it and not necessarily having to follow a recipe.  This book teaches you to use what you have and even has recipes for when you mess something up, like we all do. Even those of us who blog and cook all the time mess up, but learning how to recover from those mess ups makes all the difference in your pocket-book as well as your confidence.

This rice pudding is delicious! It is warm, comforting and healthy which is always at the top of my list. I had everything on hand which was a major bonus, and even my friend Amber Billingsley head pastry chef at Vinto loved it. Amber is an award-winning pastry chef, had I known she was coming to book club I probably wouldn’t have brought dessert! I am however grateful she was there to help me. Also grateful that I got over my fear of rice pudding and added a new recipe to my list of how to use up what is leftover. Enjoy!

Food:

Black Rice Coconut Pudding w/Dates serves 4-8

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2 1/2 c. leftover rice (I used Forbidden Rice)

3 c. canned coconut milk (full fat)

1/4 c. pure maple syrup

3/4 c. chopped medjool dates

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. cinnamon

few healthy grates of nutmeg

healthy pinch of real salt

*top with coconut butter (you can find this at Whole Foods or Good Earth, usually next to coconut oil)

Directions:

1. Combine all the ingredients in a medium heavy bottom pot. Let it heat to just under a boil. As soon as you see the first bubbles, lower the heat to a quiet simmer.

2. Cook with the intention of the rice absorbing everything. (I kept mine a little juicy) After 50 min, it should be very pudding-y, with a tiny bit a swim left to it. Hot or cold it is delish!

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Nutrition:

Black Rice/ Forbidden Rice- The purple color is associated with anthocyanin antioxidants, which are also found in blueberries, but with more fiber and more vitamin E present than in the berries. Plus black rice even outdoes the healthful properties of brown. Here is another recipe using Black Rice.

Dates- Dates are one of the best natural sources of potassium, an essential mineral needed by the body to maintain muscle contractions, and smooth functioning of the heart muscles. As potassium does not get stored in the body, a regular consumption of dates will continually replenish the body and aid in maintaining a healthy nervous system and the right balance of the body’s metabolism. Calcium and magnesium present in the dates ensure healthy bone development and energy metabolism. Important vitamins, like vitamin A and a variety of B-complex vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, etc) help fight off many infections to maintain and develop a healthy body. Dates contain vital amino acids that aid in smooth digestion and the adequate nicotinic content in them helps cure intestinal disturbances. Here is another recipe for dates.

Coconut Milk- 1. helps maintain blood sugar 2. keeps skin and blood vessels flexible and elastic 3. aids in strong bones 4. helps prevent anemia 5. relaxes muscles and nerves 6. helps control weight 7. decreases risk of inflammation 8. helps lower blood sugar 9. helps maintain healthy immune system 10. promotes health of prostate gland. Here is another recipe using coconut milk.

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