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Rice Pudding

It's been a long week. A long week of work filled with frustration, failure, small glimpses of hope that keep me pushing on, and more hours than I want to or get paid to work. In these weeks I feel like being an adult stinks, but then I deem Friday night's supper choice nachos and being an adult and getting to determine that I can have nachos for supper, makes the world a slightly better place again.

I'm a morning person. One of those can't stay in bed has to get up and get my most productive hours in before noon, kind of people. This week has required too many a late night and my days and nights have become a little confused. So last night, at 11:15, which is much later than I can normally keep my eyes open, I found myself wide awake craving something warm comforting and a little sweet. The key to late night cooking has to be the ingredient list. I am motivated to sit over a stove and mix and stir and measure, but not motivated to go to a grocery store. So I play the game of what sounds good....google a few dozen recipes for this thing, determine I do not have the proper ingredients and move on to the next thing that sounds good.

Last night pudding was sounding good. But not just any pudding. I wanted one full of texture and flavor, that I could eat warm (I wasn't intending to stay up all night!) and comforting like childhood. Rice pudding fit the bill. Growing up, on the rare occasion we had white rice with a meal (Dad fought in Vietnam and says he's eaten enough rice for a lifetime) the leftover rice would promptly go into a bowl, be doused with cream, sugar, and a bit of cinnamon and Dad and I would enjoy this rice pudding of sorts for dessert.

He's where I get my love for all things cream, sugar and butter. It's all his fault, and with some of the concoctions of snacks and desserts I make with those ingredients, it's amazing that I'm not 300 pounds, but I guess you don't really know what I look like..I may be 300 pounds. Tune into the next season of biggest loser...if there's a ginger who loves to cook..it might be me :)

Until then I'll most likely keep indulging, but this recipe, it's not too bad. I think it actually qualifies as healthy, and I just ate a bowl for breakfast, so I'm going to deem it healthy at least. You can all reach your own conclusion.

I generally followed Dave Lieberman's Arborio rice pudding recipe found on foodnetwork.com. But one step in particular just seemed unnecessary. He suggests bringing the rice to boil in water first, then quickly drain and add it to a the simmering milk mixture. Just seemed like more dishes than I wanted to dirty..who am I kidding, I just didn't have any clean dishes and only wanted to wash one pot to make this recipe. I've since learned that the water boil is supposed to make the rice softer because the sugar in the milk mixture make the skin a little more firm. I actually enjoy the texture and bite to the rice, so I'm keeping the recipe the way I made it.

Almond Arborio Rice Pudding

4 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup arborio rice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Combine frist 3 ingredients in a large pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes. Stir occasionally for first 25 minutes and then constantly for the last 15 to keep rice from sticking to bottom of pan. When rice is aldente remove from heat and add in flavorings.

Pour into sealable glass container and refrigerate, or spoon into a cereal bowl and eat warm...I'll let you guess what I did.

Makes 4 servings.



Banana Ice Cream

This stuff is like a science experiment. It's transformation is unbelievable. My bf asked multiple times what else was in it. Go now and peel and place a couple of really ripe bananas in the freezer...yes, you were saving those for banana bread and Yes, this is waaay better. We'll get to the details in a minute, but go...then come back and read the rest of this.

So it's really quite simple. You take the frozen deliciously ripe bananas out of the freezer and pop them into the food processor. I just got a food processor attachment for my stand mixer for Christmas and was super excited to try this out.

Process the bananas until they turn magically into a thick cream consistency. It really takes quite a bit of time in the food processor to get it all evenly smooth. Don't give up. Push that button until smooth perfection arrives.

With a spatula, scrap all of the yumminess into a sealable container and put back in the freezer.

Serve like you would ice cream with all the toppings you want. My favorite is this one.

This is so amazing. I think that I could make this switch for ice cream forever, plus its all natural, super low in fat, and no added sugar.


Getting Organized

Along with the many items included on my list of 'to-do's for this year, organization is always something I'm working on.

Along with the gluten free baking came the need for lots more powered ingredients in my cabinets. There used to just be flour, whole wheat flour, and sugar. Now the list looks more like: Xanthan gum, potato starch, corn starch, tapioca flour, and at least a couple gf flour mixes. Not only is it a pain to keep all of those boxes in the cabinet or on the counter (ugly), but their all contained inside of plastic bags inside of their boxes, and when I try to pour them out half of my expensive flour ends up caught between the bag and the box and then most likely ends up on the counter or floor (I'm sure this only happens to messy me).

So, my mom came to the rescue and got me these perfect clear canisters for my collection of flours.

Since every ingredient is so different, but looks relatively the same I simply cut a portion of the box label out, punched a hole through it, and strung some twine through it. I love the way it looks, clean and simple, yet classy and organized.

Now if only my spices were so neatly kept...