If you're like me, you're a creature of habit who sticks to a few favorite breakfasts every morning. Oatmeal or egg whites and a pancake are my current faves on alternate days. This is an improvement- there was a time when it was oatmeal every single day.
Those of you that are more adventurous, who eat something different every morning, I tip my hat to you. I know what I like and I want what I like, and it doesn't often vary.
But sometimes even I need something a little different.
I am a huge fan of Bethenny Frankel, the natural food chef and reality TV star of Bethenny Getting Married? and the Real Housewives of NYC. Her dry and sometimes prickly humor appeals to me, and I see my own sarcasm in hers. She's also not shy of sharing gory details, and neither am I (when I think they wouldn't be abhorrent). Anyway, my interest in her drew me to peruse her website and, among other things, the recipes listed there. In the breakfast section is something she calls "Healthy Brown Rice Breakfast," using cooked brown rice and other spices, fruit, and milk for the morning meal. I liked the idea; I've had quinoa and polenta at breakfast, but had yet to try brown rice.
I wanted to take it a step or two further to simplify the process and make it more like rice pudding. We like rice pudding around here, and this is a much healthier version without white rice and the added sugar. The following day, I topped my rice with more soymilk, some peanut butter, and the last of a batch of Suite Apple Granola.
This technique- cooking in water then adding the milk and spices later- yields a lighter mixture than traditional rice pudding, but you're not missing out on anything. To make it more dessert-like, substitute 1/2 cup soymilk for the water while cooking, or add extra at the end along with some sugar. I left mine unsweetened and portioned it so each serving can be sweetened to taste. You could leave it plain one day, add brown sugar the next, maple syrup the following day.
Brown Rice Pudding
2 cups water
1 cup brown basmati rice, rinsed thoroughly
1 cup vanilla soymilk (or regular milk)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
In a small heavy-bottomed pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the brown rice, return to a boil, then adjust heat to medium low and cover. Simmer for about 40 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the rice is fluffy. Stir occasionally to redistribute the water.
Remove the pot from the heat and add the soymilk, dried cranberries, cinnamon, and vanilla and stir thoroughly. Most of the liquid should absorb.
Place in the fridge or pre-portion into four containers before storage. When ready to eat, add additional soymilk and reheat in the microwave for 30 seconds to one minute to soften. Stir in brown sugar or maple syrup, and other toppings of choice like chopped nuts, nut butter, or fresh fruit.