Friday, September 2, 2011

Do You Want Rice With That? Lots of Recipes. Pet Food.

For "Foody Friday:"
"There are many things in our society today that have a bad reputation...politicians, car salesmen, and carbohydrates.
But, you know that not all carbs are the same and we do not need to be pointing the nasty blame finger on all of them equally.

White Rice vs. Brown Rice and every other rice on the shelf.
If you've ever even spent 2 minutes in the rice aisle at your local grocery store, you know the varieties and the choices of rice are endless.   Are any of these a good option?
Brown Rice goes on the top of the "good" list (oh come on, you knew I was going to say that, right?)
Many people know brown rice is better than white, but why?
Well, although brown rice and white rice have similar amounts of calories, carbohydrates, and protein. The main difference between the two forms of rice is in the processing and nutritional content.

Only the outermost layer of a grain of rice (the husk) is removed in producing brown rice. To produce white rice, the next layers underneath the husk (the bran layer and the germ) are removed, leaving mostly the starchy endosperm.
Several vitamins and dietary minerals are lost when you remove this very important layer (especially Vit B1, Vit B3 and iron). Not to mention magnesium, where one cup of cooked brown rice contains 84mg of magnesium and one cup of white rice only contains 19 mg.
Another very important source of nutrition that is lost in white rice is fiber! This is so vital because fiber plays so many important roles in the weight loss process.
Fiber helps you to feel full for a longer period of time and if you are not hungry and feel satisfied, it's much easier to stick to your healthy eating than if you are starving all day.
Fiber also helps to control blood sugar fluctuations and the secret to weight loss is keeping your blood sugar and your insulin under control all day long.
Fiber helps your digestion. If you are not eliminating and moving your bowels each day, weight loss will be extremely difficult. I would even say for some people, impossible.
Speaking of keeping your blood sugar in balance...we should also consider the glycemic index (how a particular food affects your blood sugar) when considering our rice options. An easy test you can do right in your kitchen to test the glycemic index of a particular variety of rice is the "stickiness" test.
After you've cooked the rice, the easier it is to mush up into a ball (mushy), the higher the glycemic index and the faster it will cause your blood sugar to rise. This is why long grain brown rice is actually better than short grain brown will cause a slower rice in your blood sugar and in insulin levels.

How about every other rice option out there?   Here are just a few...

Basmati Rice Used in a wide range of Indian and Middle Eastern dishes, basmati rice comes in white and brown varieties. I suggest choosing the brown as the glycemic index of brown basmati rice is even lower than regular long grain brown rice. This one gets thumbs up.

Black Rice Cultivated in Asia, this rice is typically sold as an unmilled rice, meaning the fiber-rich black husks of the rice are not removed, making black rice very high in fiber. It's also naturally high in iron...a plus for those looking for iron-rich foods. This one gets thumbs up.

Jasmine Jasmine rice is frequently served with Thai and Chinese dishes. It is often compared to Basmati Rice and sometimes used in cooking interchangeably. Like basmati rice, it also comes in brown and white varieties. You probably already know what I'm going to say here (but I'll say it anyway), choose the brown rice variety. This one gets thumbs up.

Wild Rice Similar to brown rice, wild rice is less processed than white rice and as a result, obtains more nutrients, specifically protein, vitamin B1 and magnesium. Not quite as much of a winner as brown rice, but not the same as white rice, wild rice falls somewhere in between. Even still gets a thumbs up.
Which rice options get the thumbs down?
White rice, instant rice (especially the ones that go in the microwave), rice bowls (highly processed) and any other rice product that has added creams, sauces or tons of sodium.
Now, with all of this talk about glycemic index and sugar balance, you must remember the most important thing...
The glycemic index of a food changes drastically when combined with other foods. So regardless of your rice choice, it is essential that you combine your rice (a carb) with a healthy protein and fat.
Depending on your specified portion sizes, a ½ cup to a cup of brown rice can be a wonderful carbohydrate choice in your lunch or dinner alongside a tasty protein (maybe some wild fish) and some yummy vegetables (possibly some sautéed spinach).

Wow...did I really spend this much time on rice? Oh boy. And there are still so many other healthy grains to talk about."

Four Cheap and Healthy Grains

"We all know that cooking meals at home can save money. For some (like me), it’s a lot of fun, too, but it’s easy to get in a rut — which is where I found myself last year.
Brown rice was my go-to side dish, but there are only so many ways to cook the stuff before your taste buds get bored. That’s when I discovered a whole new world of grains that got me excited to cook again, many of which are now kitchen staples. If you’re ready for something new, try out these under-appreciated grains, each with a distinct texture and flavor.
Before combat, Roman gladiators ate barley, which was believed to give great strength and stamina. Non-gladiators can just enjoy it for its rich, nut-like flavor and health benefits. Barley is a good source of fiber, selenium, phosphorus, copper, and manganese.
Barley is often thrown into a beef stew, but it is certainly worthy to be a dish all on its own. Try Barley Stew with Leeks, Mushrooms, and Greens or Barley Salad.
Kasha is roasted whole-grain buckwheat or buckwheat oats and is commonly eaten in Eastern Europe (though in Slavic countries, the word kasha refers to porridge in general). Kasha is close to wheat in its nutrition content, though it’s gluten-free, and is high in protein, B vitamins, phosphorus, potassium, iron, and calcium.
Kasha is cooked the same way as rice, and it’s just as versatile. For a couple of ideas, try Wild Mushroom and Onion Kasha or Kasha with Browned Onions and Walnuts.
In the US, millet is most often recognized as the main ingredient in bird seed. But millet isn’t just for the birds; it’s a staple grain in Africa, India, and Asia.
Millet is high in protein—1/2 cup of cooked millet provides 4.2 grams. It is also rich in niacin, B6, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Like kasha, millet is a good option for those with gluten allergies.
To start cooking with millet, try out Curried Millet, Shiitake, and Corn Salad Restey or keep it simple with Hot Millet Cereal.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) isn’t actually a grain, but I had to include it anyway, and I’ve saved my favorite for last. While it is commonly thought of as a grain, it’s more closely related to leafy greens, such as spinach and chard.
Quinoa, however, is grown for its seeds, not its greens. Quinoa is a 5,000-year-old crop that was a diet staple for the Andean Incas, who referred to it as “chisaya mama,” or “mother of all grains.” It has a light, soft texture and a delicately nutty flavor when cooked.
Quinoa is full of nutritional value, containing all of the essential amino acids and more protein than grains. It is a good source of dietary fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, iron, vitamin E and several B vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids. Quinoa also is another gluten-free option.
One of my favorite recipes for quinoa comes from La Tartine Gourmande, a gorgeous food blog by Béatrice Peltre. (And by gorgeous, I mean that if it was possible to live inside a blog, I’d live in hers.) Béatrice was kind enough to provide the beautiful photos in this article and to let me share her black quinoa salad recipe on GRS. So, to get you started on some culinary experimentation, here is Béatrice’s quinoa recipe. Feel free to experiment and make it your own!

Black quinoa salad with ricotta salata and green zebra tomatoes

  • 2/3 cup black quinoa
  • 2 oz ricotta salata, diced
  • 1 oz finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 green zebra tomatoes
  • 3.5 oz French green beans
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red grapes
For the vinaigrette:
  • 1 garlic clove, minced finely
  • 1 teaspoon honey Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Rinse the quinoa under cold water and drain. Add to a pot with twice the same amount of water (2 x 2/3 cup water). Add salt and bring to a boil. Simmer and cover.
  2. Cook for 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Stop the heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool. Transfer to a large bowl; set aside.
  3. To prepare the vinaigrette, in a small bowl, combine the garlic and honey mustard with the balsamic vinegar. Add the oil and emulsify with a fork. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Prepare the other ingredients: Cook the French beans for 5 minutes in salted boiling water. Rinse them under cold water; cut them in 2.5 inch-sticks and set aside.
  5. Slice the cherry tomatoes and red grapes in halves and the zebra tomatoes in quarters.
  6. Combine all ingredients (quinoa, tomatoes, beans, avocado, ricotta, grapes, parmesan, and herbs) in the bowl and dress with the vinaigrette. Serve at room temperature or fresh.
Serves two.
Note: Most quinoa comes pre-rinsed to remove the saponin, which is a natural, but bitter, resin-like coating. It’s a good idea to give it an extra rinse in cold water before cooking it, as recommended in this recipe."

The Basic Quinoa Recipe

"This light and wholesome grain may be prepared quickly and easily with this basic method.   2 cups water + 1 cup quinoa.  
Place quinoa and water in a 1-½ quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all the water is absorbed (about 15 minutes).

You will know that the quinoa is done when all the grains have turned from white to transparent, and the spiral-like germ has separated. Makes 3 cups.
To prepare in a rice cooker, simply treat quinoa like rice. Add two parts water to one part quinoa, stir, cover (unlike rice you can stir quinoa a few times while cooking to prevent burning in the bottom of the pan) and when the cooker shuts off, the quinoa is done.
Revised Microwave Instructions:  We have tried this method and highly recommend it. 1 cup Quinoa, 2 cups water in a 2 quart microwave bowl. Cook on high 100% for 5 minutes and 60% for 8 minutes. Let stand for a few minutes and voila, perfect Quinoa.  The times might depend on the wattage of your MW.

For an energy saving method, combine 1-cup water to each ½ cup of quinoa in a pan. Bring to a full boil for 5 minutes, and then set aside, covered for 15 minutes.  
For additional flavor
, substitute chicken broth or vegetable stock for the water in any of the methods listed above. "
More and recipes at:

Why are Refined Grain Products Harmful?

"Refined grains and their food products are substandard foods for several reasons:
  1. They are excessively starchy and high in gluten.
  2. They are practically devoid of natural fiber.
  3. There can be up to approximately 25 different chemicals that are added to refined grains and breads products.
  4. Grains are fumigated.
  5. Bleaching chemicals are used.
  6. Artificial colorings and flavorings are used.
  7. They are nutritionally imbalanced.
Because refined grain products are nutritionally imbalanced, they are responsible for contributing to several degenerative diseases.
Calcium leaching from the bones and teeth occurs because of the altered phosphorous-calcium balance in these products.
Sugar and refined grain products are primarily responsible for tooth decay in this country, as well as being the major cause of brittle bones in the elderly."

Whole grains: Hearty options for a healthy diet, By Mayo Clinic staff

Find out why whole grains are better than refined grains and how to add more whole grains to your diet.

"Grains, especially whole grains, are an essential part of a healthy diet. All types of grains are good sources of complex carbohydrates and some key vitamins and minerals. Grains are also naturally low in fat. All of this makes grains a healthy option. Better yet, they've been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and other health problems.
The healthiest kinds of grains are whole grains. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that at least half of all the grains you eat are whole grains. Chances are you eat lots of grains already. But are they whole grains? If you're like most, you're not getting enough whole grains in your diet. See how to make whole grains a part of your healthy diet.

Types of grains

Also called cereals, grains and whole grains are the seeds of grasses cultivated for food. Grains and whole grains come in many shapes and sizes, from large kernels of popcorn to small quinoa seeds.
Whole grains. These are unrefined grains that haven't had their bran and germ removed by milling. Whole grains are better sources of fiber and other important nutrients, such as selenium, potassium and magnesium. Whole grains are either single foods, such as brown rice and popcorn, or ingredients in products, such as buckwheat in pancakes or whole wheat in bread.
Refined grains. Refined grains are milled, a process that strips out both the bran and germ to give them a finer texture and extend their shelf life. The refining process also removes many nutrients, including fiber. Refined grains include white flour, white rice, white bread and degermed cornflower. Many breads, cereals, crackers, desserts and pastries are made with refined grains, too.

Should I Eat Brown Rice Instead of White Rice? Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by our Medical Review Board
brown rice
Question: Should I Eat Brown Rice Instead of White Rice?
What exactly is brown rice? Which is better for the body, brown rice or white rice?
Answer: Brown rice is rice that has not had the brown-colored bran covering removed, so brown rice is considered a whole grain. Why remove the bran? Because most people prefer white rice since it is fluffier and cooks faster than brown.
Since brown rice still has the bran intact, it has more fiber than white rice. One cup of brown rice has 3 1/2 grams of fiber while the same amount of white rice has less than one gram of fiber. We all need from 25 to 38 grams of fiber in our diet everyday.
Brown rice also contains nutrients like magnesium, manganese, and zinc. White rice has reduced levels of these nutrients.
Cooking Brown Rice
White rice is still the usual rice found in restaurants, so you will probably have to get most of your brown rice at home. Brown rice takes longer than white rice to cook, so increase the amount of water slightly.
Brown rice doesn't have the fluffy texture of white rice, but its nutty flavor and chewy texture makes brown rice a tasty way to get fiber into your diet.
Recipes Using Brown Rice


With my little vacuum, little mop, and little mop bucket poised to clean more of this house, the phone rang.  It was Roni, that gal down the street, wanting me to take her to our town to cash her SS check when it came in the mail at noon, and then take her to Conroe.  Our mail comes to mail boxes down by the pool, so we don't know when it arrives  Not wanting to get involved in one of her all-afternoon-fiascos again, I refused.

Then a call to the Social Security office was a test of patience.  You know the drill: 
You walk around with a phone attached to your ear for ages, listening to loud irritating music, while letting the dog out, reading emails, making coffee, letting the dog back in, drinking coffee, going to the bathroom.  But you can't vacuum in case you don't hear them answer.  And you can't mop, in case the phone falls in the mop bucket!  Then when a real person eventually does come on the line, they can't tell you what you want to know, and say call your local office.  If the letter they sent me had said to call my local office, I would have done that in the first place!

Roni found out that the mail had run early, and begged me to take her to our little town.  So as I was out of eggs, I relented and took her.

Surprisingly, she didn't take long cashing her check, or going to the water company to pay her bill.
On the way home, a stop at Walker's feed store just north of town.  (Yes, the feed store on the freeway closed down, but we still have two more.)  This store sells eggs from the local farms, laid by chickens that run around like chickens should.   
Roni wanted to stop there too, and she bought farm eggs, cheap dry dog and cheap dry cat food.  She also bought a case of 24 cans of dog food for $9.50, but I looked at the ingredients, and it had chicken by-products, poultry meal and meat by-products in it.
"Do you really know what your best friend is eating? Have you looked at ingredient panel behind your pet's food?
If the answer is no, then we will teach you what to look for and what to avoid in your pet's diet in 5 easy steps:
1, Avoid foods that have grains in the top 5 ingredients because the main ingredients should be proteins and meats.
2, Stay away from the word gluten. Think of it as "glue" and this "glue" covers your pet's intestines.
3, Now, search for the protein source. If it says "Meat By-product", "Chicken By-product" is bad.
4, You should also stay away from "Meat Meal" or "Poultry Meal"
5, Preservatives like BHA or BHT should not be in their food and Propylene glycol (also known as car antifreeze) should not be used as a taste enhancer.
Now, go on and search the food's labels."

Roni offered me a couple of cans.  Well, I wasn't going to feed my Misty any of that canned food, and I took Roni took home.

The mop bucket and vacuum were patiently waiting for me, so I could carry on with my day.


Dizzy-Dick said...

You did your good deed for the day, or for the week, which ever you choose.

Gypsy said...

Penny, you are a handy person to have around, with a good heart to boot.