Spiced Brown Rice Pudding

We’ve been graced with a mild fall this year; most days are sunny and balmy, the brilliance of the orange trees enhanced by the watercolour blue skies.

The warm weather has  been a bit of a mixed blessing, making it all too easy to ignore the approaching winter. So last week when the first frost struck, it left us quaking in our boots, literally.

A bowl of comfort food was in order and rice pudding was the obvious choice.

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Butternut Squash Wild Rice

It’s been raining here, steadily, for days. We need it, so I shouldn’t complain, but the temperatures have finally started to release their grip on us, and we are aching to spend more time outside.

While my kindergartener could happily splash around in the rain, the baby doesn’t get to experience that for a while yet, unless I want to introduce him to his first cold.

So that means I retreat to the kitchen, cooking up things that try to balance out the gloom. Soup is often a go-to, but when you have kids, there’s only so many meals per week that you can serve just soup. Instead, I try to change out our side dishes to match the season.

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One-Pot Lemon Chicken and Zucchini with Rice

Written by Megan of Stetted.

My son just turned five the other day, and while that means we have yet to dive into the busy world of elementary school, I’m already having horrifying visions of homework and sports and fundraisers and PTA meetings.

OK, it’s probably not as bad as many of the parents I know make it seem (please don’t tell me if it really is that bad) but I am still trying to get a head start on planning for the future by building up a repertoire of dinners that are easy to make, don’t use a sinkful of dishes, and are family approved. One-pot meals to the rescue!

We’ve talked about one-pot meals on Simple Bites before – they can range from classics in the slow-cooker to quick stovetop dishes. But my favorite way to make a one-pot dish is to use my dutch oven.

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Favorite fall recipe: Slow-cooker {lazy} cabbage rolls with brown rice & herbs

Scarcely two weeks ago I wrote of clutching tightly to summer, but over the past few days, I’ve relinquished my grip, and admitted to spotting yellow-tinged leaves among the trees lining our lane.

At the markets, I can feel my excitement growing over the pallets laden with magnificent new squash of all varieties, and may have been caught snapping iPhone photos of a particularly attractive stalk of brussels sprouts. Obviously, fall is getting into my head.

I’ve trading shorts for leggings, wrapped an orange scarf around my neck, and donned my favorite mid-season gray jacket. Thus bundled yesterday, I joined the family for a Sunday walk along the river where the boys dashed here and there among the tall oaks, stuffing their pockets with fallen acorns and collecting brilliant yellow poplar leaves. The cool sting of the wind on my temples was revitalizing; a much needed stimulant for my groggy mind.

The combination of a week of rainy weather and an dramatic political sequence of events, not to mention kissing both my boys off to school, has left me tired and melancholy, looking to comfort food for a lift. The daily table d’hôte of summer salads and berrylicious desserts has been swiftly replaced with roasted root vegetables and bowls of steaming, creamy polenta.

To help pick me up further last week, I pulverized cinnamon and cardamom seed together to add to brown rice and coconut milk for a rich, spiced rice pudding that we ate by the bowlfuls, topped with the last peaches of the season. Then pale green heads of cabbage, firm to the touch and frugal to the pocketbook, caught my eye at the market. One handsome noggin made its way into my kitchen, and, not long after, into my slow-cooker for a simple, and utterly satisfying dinner.

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Recipe: Baked Brown Rice Pilaf

We’re a little over three weeks into the new year which is long enough to put your food resolutions to the test – if you made any. In this January edition of our Eat Well, Spend Less series, we’re taking a look at those goals and how we’re measuring up.

I recently shared my intentional food goals for 2012 (and loved reading yours in the comments!), and the one that I have to address daily is eating well for baby.

Diet in the third trimester is requires a bit more thought than usual for one obvious reason: I’m always hungry. Snacking takes on a whole new meaning, shifting from a casual appeasing of the munches to a full on survival tactic.

Thanks to an ever-growing uterus pressing on my stomach, I can’t comfortably eat a regular sized meal. Often my plate holds the same amount of food as my preschooler – and I’m feeling stuffed after the meal; hence, I eat small meals, but more frequently.

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