I am so happy today is Friday. Like so, so, so happy. Do you want to know why I’m so happy that it’s Friday? Because Peter and I leave for the Dominican Republic tomorrow morning! I just have to get through work today, and then I’ll be basking in the warmth and sunshine for the next 4 days. After the crappy Wisconsin weather we’ve been having lately (especially this snow!), I can’t wait.
To get ready for our trip, I knew I needed to try on my summer clothes again, and I had been avoiding this little chore like the plague for the last couple of weeks. You see, I got married this past September, and I am a total stress eater, so I had gained quite a bit of weight (for me) over the year or so leading up to the wedding. Last summer, I had had to buy new shorts because my old ones no longer fit. Not exactly a fun revelation for me.
After the wedding hubbub finally died down, I started running again, but wasn’t seeing a change in the number on the scale. It was then that I finally decided it was time for a diet overhaul. I joined Weight Watchers back in November, and it even though it hasn’t been easy, I have definitely seen progress. These days, I’m not crazy strict when it comes to my diet like I was when I first started out and I rarely count points on the weekends. But the changes I’ve made (no alcohol during the week, except for certain situations, cutting back on eating out, trading out unhealthy snacks for things like fruit and yogurt, etc.) have definitely made a difference.
In addition to watching what I eat, I also run 3-4 times a week (I’m up to just over 3 miles at a time, which is amazing to me considering when I started out, I couldn’t even run a mile), and I do yoga twice a week. Although I still have a bit to go to get to my goal weight, I now weight less than my pre-engagement weight, which makes me very happy.
Nonetheless, I was nervous to try on my summer clothes again. I’ve still been wearing the same winter clothes this whole time; they’re just looser now than they used to be. But yesterday, I finally bit the bullet and pulled on my shorts from last summer. They were huge! Like uncomfortably big. So I tried on my shorts from the summer before, the smaller ones. And they actually fit! And my swimming suits didn’t look half bad either. I was so relieved and it put me in a good mood all day.
To keep in line with my healthier eating habits, I decided to give brown rice another try a couple of nights ago. We eat a lot of rice in our house, mainly because it’s such an easy side dish, but the only time I had tried to make brown rice on the stove top ended horribly. I (incorrectly) assumed that brown rice cooks the same way that white rice does. I ended up with rice that was very undercooked and crunchy.
Although they are obviously extracted from the same grain, brown rice has had only the outer hull removed, while white rice has also been milled and polished to remove the bran layer and the germ (thanks again Wikipedia!). Brown rice is considered a whole grain and is a much healthier option than white rice due to the high fiber content and the abundance of vitamins (most of which are stripped from white rice during the polishing process).
Because my first foray into brown rice turned out so terribly, I was a little wary about trying to make it again. But I had seen a recipe that suggested baking the brown rice instead of cooking it on the stove, so I decided to give it a shot. What’s the worst that could happen?
Instead of another disappointment, I was pleasantly surprised with how well this rice turned out! It was light and fluffy and done to perfection. I couldn’t get enough!
There are two important points to take note of when making this perfect brown rice. The first is to make sure that you wrap the baking dish tightly with foil to ensure that none of the moisture evaporates during the cooking process. Otherwise the rice won’t cook completely. Second, once your rice has been cooked, remove the foil and cover the dish with a thin kitchen towel. This way the steam can escape without dropping back down into the rice and gumming it up.
Even though it takes a while to bake, this is a super simple side dish that will pair well with anything from chicken to fish to pork.
Perfect Baked Brown Rice
- 1/2 cup dry brown rice
- 2/3 + 1 tbsp water
- 1/2 tbsp butter
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 375. Spread rice in a small oven-safe baking dish.
- In a small saucepan, bring water and butter to a boil. Remove pot from stove as soon water begins to boil. Pour over rice and stir together.
- Cover baking dish tightly with 2 layers of regular aluminum foil or 1 layer of heavy duty aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour.
- Remove baking dish from oven and remove aluminum foil. Fluff rice with a fork, then cover dish with a kitchen towel and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper to taste and serve.
For larger amounts of rice use:
1 cup rice – 1 1/3 + 2 tbsp. water – 1/2 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cups rice – 2 1/3 cups water – 2 tsp butter
2 cups rice – 3 cups water – 1 tbsp butter
3 cups rice – 4 2/3 cups water – 4 tsp butter
Inspired by: Our Best Bites