Rice pudding is a well-known comfort food for many. I am not sure if it is the warm milk and creamy rice or if it is just Grandma's recipe that matters. It is a gluten-free favorite though, and I thought, I would try my hand at making the comfort food with a little fall twist of some homemade applesauce. After all, I do have apples and sauce coming out of my ears. I still had a half bushel of apples, and then yesterday I went to the orchard again and bought another bushel. I'm crazy! Crazy about apples. Especially Michigan apples that I can save in my basement to almost the new year. I miss them when they are gone, and so I do my best to save as many as I can. Homemade applesauce I use in many baking recipes and now that I have a babe that will appreciate the applesauce too, I feel like I need to try and make as much as I can.
This time of year I am reminded of how the work is to save food for the whole year. I try my best to save some fruits and veggies with freezing and canning, but I some how always feel like I can't get or do enough. Which brings up another topic or feeling of how perfection in the kitchen can sometimes overwhelm you and make you feel continually unhappy. I am talking about orthorexia here...even as it relates to food sensitivities and allergies.
Orthorexia is an eating disorder, fixation or and unhealthy over-concern to have a very strict or "righteous" diet. And many times I have seen this be the disorder that comes from people that have had a past eating disorder or anorexia or bulimia, and then they move from one un-health to the other.
I understand the fixation though if you are a gluten-free person... especially if you are new to it. You are trying your absolute best to live a life pure of gluten and you might have to appear to be a bit obsessive over it for a while until you get the hang of it (or until people and loved ones around you get the idea!) BUT, with all that said, I think it is a good thing to have a healthy reminder that food is just food, and that you are bigger than that, and your identity isn't whether you are gluten-free queen, a health junky or an obsessed health freak. Yes, I have been called all of these at one point or another, but it is a good reminder to me that I might need to take a step back and remind myself that I am more than just what I eat.
I am a strong woman, a child of God, a mother, a wife, a daughter. And, yes, I am a health counsellor, so I have the opportunity to encourage people to make the changes they need to start on a cleaner path to real food. But also, it is a gentle reminder that we must pursue balance and have self awareness that we are not all on the same exact path to health and that our "right" diet does not rule us. A sure sign of having an in-balance over your diet and how strict you are is whether or not you carry anxiety over what you eat or your family eats. Hear me correctly here, I am not saying that eating a pure gluten-free, dairy-free, or real food pure diet is a wrong thing...I happen to think it is a very great thing, but if the diet is causing you extreme anxiety and exhaustion, you may have to be reminded that it is not your identity. You are a creative, powerful and amazing individual and you may just need to be reminded that again and again. Food does not control you.
Food is your life source and that is why it is so important to not let it control you. If you let it control you then you will find less and less pleasure in eating, and food will become your enemy. Real, fresh and plant food is beautiful. It should be a pleasure to try and experiment. It should be a source of joy and bring a sense of gratitude. So, friends, I pray that you find a balance with your diet and if it seem to complicated...then return to the basics.
That is where this rice pudding comes into light. It is a simple, comfort food for the gluten-free soul and will bring a simple twist of spice that will have you forgetting the complexities of the gluten-free diet. I hope you find rest and balance today friend and know that perfection in the kitchen is not an art to be achieved, but rather the search for more balance, hope and healing surrounding food is worth the journey. Much love and light to you today!
Coconut Applesauce Rice Pudding Dessert Recipe
3 cups of cooked rice (I used Basmati rice, but small grain brown rice is another favorite)
1 TB of extra virgin coconut oil
1 1/2 cups of So Delicious coconut milk beverage (or make it creamier with 1 1/2 cup of pure fat coconut milk from the can)
1 1/2 cup of fresh homemade applesauce
4 TB of maple syrup (or coconut palm sugar)
1 TB of pure vanilla (or So Delicious French Vanilla Coffee Creamer)
1 ts. of apple pie spice (or cinnamon)
sprinkles of cardemon, cloves, and nutmeg
additional options: handful of either shredded coconut, craisins or raisins, or even more fresh grated apple for serving
NOTE: I like to make my rice pudding with already cooked rice (1 cup rice to 2 cups water, I add 1 TB of coconut oil and sprinkle of sea salt as well). But you can make this rice pudding with dried rice from scratch as well. Just add 1 more cup of milk and 1 more cup of applesauce and you should have enough moisture to come up with the same results.
Here is the steps to my rice pudding:
1. Cook the rice with a TB of coconut oil and a touch of sea salt. I actually made a big pot of basmati rice to have with my Apple Pumpkin Chicken Curry and had some leftover to make pudding with the next day. So I used 3 cups of already cooked (leftover) rice.
2. Put 1 TB of coconut oil in a medium pot, add the cooked rice, coconut milk and applesauce. Stir on high heat until the milk is bubbling, and then turn down the heat to a simmer. Add your spices and let simmer and moisture mix and soak in for about 20 minutes. After about 20 minutes, turn off the heat and add your other optional ingredients, and then let sit to cool for about 10 minutes before pouring into serving glasses or glass bowl to serve. You can either put in the fridge to stiffen up and serve chilled, or serve warm with a sprinkle of cinnamon and syrup. Recipe will serve 4-6 people.
Now for a review of the Rice Select Basmati Rice that I used. I was given a sample of this rice to try and then share what I think with you. To be honest I am not rice expert, and it really has taken me a while to make rice just right...but there are some things I like to see with what kind of rice that I buy and here are some great aspects to this Rice Select's Basmati...
-Rice Select, is a company dedicated to a gluten-free and vegan environment.
-Their product is "born and raised" in the USA so they are able to guarantee that it is not a mixed grain product. Plus they support sustainable agriculture with less waste, pollution and pesticides.
-They are not genetically modified, and they are a part of the NON-GMO Project, which is an amazing stamp of goodness these days now that our food is so processed and has so many questions about how it was made or "bred".
-The bottles that you buy the rice in are BPA-free, so you do not have to worry about a plastic wrap or bag or container leaking any chemicals into your rice. Plus, plus!
I also found that their basmati rice was full of rich nutty flavor and cooked very well without leaving too much grime or slime in the pot. I was very impressed with how versitle basmati rice can be. Perfect for a curry dinner, but also great for this pudding recipe, and adding to soups, stew, meatballs and more.
Disclosure: I was not paid to state my opinion of this product, but was given a sample from the company to try. The opinions are of my own and I was happy to support this company because of their devotion to providing USA born rice that is committed to being a NON-GMO product!
If you are interested in trying some of your own, the company's website offers coupons occasionally to print off here. Also, you can hear of samples and coupons by "liking" them on their facebook page, here. And, I would also look for it at your local market to see if it is carried close to home. If not you can always try it by ordering it off of their website.
ALSO.... last but not least, Rice Select would love to gift one of my readers with a nice tote and sample of their product, so if you are interested in receiving some FREE rice and a gift tote (HELLO, who wouldn't?) then all you must do is leave a comment on this blog post with your favorite way to use or eat rice (I love hearing your stories too ;) The winner will be picked from the most interesting rice dish or combo. Comments and entries will be accepted until Tuesday, October 25th, until 9pm EST. USA entries only, please.
Much love to you as always,