Perfect Rice…Every-time!!

Perfect-Rice

 

Hello Lovelies,

Rice…Such an amazing food. It is inexpensive to purchase, full of flavor and easy to prepare.

However, is it really easy to prepare? For a lot of people rice preparation is their achilles heel. Sometimes the rice is too hard, sometimes it’s too soggy and sometimes it just doesn’t taste very good.

All that is about to change because I am about to show you how to make perfect rice every time.

Follow along as I walk you through my no fail recipe that will even make “Uncle Ben” jealous…

BML_0303

Here’s who’s playing the game today: Basmati Rice, Butter, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Water, Onion, Cubanelle Pepper, Johnny’s Garlic Seasoning, Kosher Salt and Pepper. (Fresh Cilantro is optional)

Beep, Beep, Beep…Personal Preference Alert: There are many varieties of rice to choose from. In this recipe I use Basmati Rice. I suggest you do the same so your ingredients and technique are the same as this recipe. You can branch out later with other rice varieties once you have mastered the basics.

BML_0310

To start, prep your veggies. Dice 1/2 an onion and 1 medium cubanelle pepper. Put aside.

A long time ago I discovered the cubanelle pepper and my life was forever changed. I have never been a big fan of red and green peppers, I think they’re flavor hogs. But not my darling cubanelle; he’s subtle with a slight sweetness, the perfect pepper. Just like my Papi’s the perfect husband…Aww – how sweet am I?

BML_0315

Next, pour 2 cups of rice into a measuring cup.

BML_0321

Now, drown the rice in water…

BML_0324

Allow the measuring cup to overflow.

Reach into the measuring cup with your clean hand or a spoon, as you continue to run the water.

Move the rice around so the starch is released from the rice and the water begins to run clear.

What’s up with my sink in this picture? It looks so dirty. I promise it’s just the way the water streaks reacted with the flash on my camera. I know you’ve heard that excuse a million times. But it’s true…really!

BML_0339

Once the water runs clear, it is time to empty the rice into a mesh colander to drain. Set aside.

Check out those bananas in the background, maybe I should make banana bread next?

Why am I distracted so easily? I have the attention span of a monkey…wait are those bananas? What am I saying?

BML_0348

Now that your prep work is finished, it’s time to have some super rice making fun!!

Set a saucepan on medium high, on my stove I turn the knob to #8. Your stove may be different – it’s just a reference.

Add 1 tbsp of butter and 1tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to the saucepan.

I always use salted butter in all my recipes just in case you couldn’t sleep wondering about that.

BML_0353

Immediately add the onions.

BML_0355

Then the cubanelle pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occassionally.

Side note: You can add your veggies immediately to your saucepan, in fact the sooner the better. You don’t have to wait for your butter to brown or bubble or sing or dance. Just turn on your stove and start tossing the veggies in the pan while yelling, “OPA”. It works – scientifically proven, somewhere I think…?? Why are you listening to me?

BML_0359

This is what you want your onions and peppers to look like. I can’t explain how good this smells!!

Well, actually you know I could but I’ve rambled enough, so I’ll keep this train a movin’ instead.

BML_0362

Add the kosher salt.

BML_0366

Add the pepper.

BML_0370

Add the Johnny’s Garlic.

Johnny’s Garlic is a mixture of herbs and garlic. I buy mine at Costco. If you don’t have any, you can use garlic powder. It won’t be exactly the same, but good enough for government work.

BML_0371

There they are; all the spices getting to know each other. I love when my spices make friends.

Now mix them up and let them cook for another 2 minutes.

BML_0374

It is time to add the rice.

Here is where the ancient family secrets come into play.

These next couple of steps are critical in separating rice from RICE!!

Prior to adding the water, you are going to fry your rice just a smidge. Please, listen carefully as these instructions are important!

Once the rice is in the pan, start stirring it around.

Turn the heat down a notch to medium and most importantly keep the rice moving so it does not burn.

Continue this for 2-3 minutes.

If prior to the 2 to 3 minute period the rice starts to stick to the pan or starts turning brown, then it is time to move onto the next step.

With this in mind, it is your judgement call. Watch your rice carefully because all stoves heat differently and all pans transfer heat differently. What works on my stove may be too much or too little on yours.

BE ATTENTIVE WHEN YOU COOK!!

BML_0377

Time to add the three cups of water to the rice.

Typically, the water to rice ratio is 2:1. I don’t use this formula, I use 1 1/2 : 1 as my ratio.

Aren’t I quite the rice rebel? This is as good as my rebellion gets…

BML_0381

Turn the heat to high and let the rice boil (uncovered) for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally.

BML_0384

Give your rice one last stir and immediately place the lid on the rice – TURN THE HEAT TO LOW!!!

Do not forget to turn the heat to low or you’ll have a bubbling mess all over your kitchen!! I speak from experience here, lots and lots of experience…Ugh – I’m having flashbacks!

Set a timer for 20 minutes and do not peak!!

Did you hear me? Resist the urge to peak!! Do not peak, Nada on the peakage, Nope to the looking, Nix on the gawking, No can do on the observing. I could go on…but why, there’s just no need for that! Capiche?

BML_0307

Hence, the reason you don’t peak, observe above.

Once your timer goes off … do NOT remove the lid just yet. Patience young grasshopper…

Pull the rice off the stove and set aside for 5-10 minutes.

Then, finally you can pull the lid off the pan and there you have it – perfect rice.

BML_0318

With a fork fluff the rice. The veggies will have congregated around the edges so you’ll want to incorporate them back into the rice.

Serve immediately.

If you would like, you could mix some cilantro into your rice for added flavor. Please note though, cilantro is an herb that people either love or hate. If they love it they REALLY love it, but if they don’t, it grosses them out. Check first – you’ve officially been warned; which is much more official than unofficial, so officially you been schooled and officially warned – unofficially – Thank you for your cooperation and understanding…

Until next time…I’m officially off the air.

Be blessed, stay blessed and remember if you don’t laugh at yourself someone will do it for you!

Love, L.

Rice

Ingredients

2 cups basmati rice
3 cups of water
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion – sweet
1 medium cubanella pepper
1 bunch cilantro – fresh (optional)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp johnny’s garlic
Method

Dice onion and cubanelle pepper. Set aside.
Rinse rice thoroughly, drain. Set aside.
Heat a saucepan on medium high heat.
Add the oil and butter.
Immediately add the onions and peppers and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add the kosher salt, pepper and johnny’s garlic (which can be substituted with garlic powder); cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Turn the heat down to medium and add the rice – stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes.
Add the water – boil for 2 minutes.
Cover and reduce the heat to LOW!
Set timer for 20 minutes and DO NOT PEAK!
Remove the rice from the stove.
Keep the lid on and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
Remove lid and fluff rice with fork.
Add cilantro to rice if desired.

Happiness Is Only a Mindset Away…

Blue Heron - LaurelsLovelyLiving.com

Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language,

and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. 

The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things,

and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things. 

~Elise Boulding

Stop and Smell The Roses Photo

Hello Lovelies,

I hope this Sunday finds you and yours happy and healthy.

Here’s my thought for the day – Enjoy simplicity.

I find simplicity especially necessary in a world that has inundated us with “things”.

Overstimulation from media, family, friends, work, social life and home life can become maddening.

Some time ago, we as a family decided to take a step back and try to “quiet” some of the noise.

Low and behold it has worked.  Immediately our close little family became even closer and the noise seemed to quiet itself.

My prayer for you and your family this beautiful Sunday is that you find just the right balance of simplicity to fit your life.

Until next time…Whatever’s good for your soul…do that!

Be blessed, stay blessed and remember if you don’t laugh at yourself someone will do it for you!

Love, L.

To Fight or Not To Fight – That is the Question….

Featured-Image-To-Fight-or-Not-Fight

Hello Lovelies,

Welcome to yet another beautiful day!!

Here’s a quick little (I like to think inspirational) story…

IMG_0818

I walked outside yesterday to let my dogs out and next thing I know my feetsies are soaked.

I looked down and was like, “What on earth?”

And then that ugly feeling overtook me…

You know the feeling..when you remember what it was you were suppose to remember hours ago, but clearly did not.

Like…Let’s say – in this particular case…TURN OFF THE HOSE that was filling your pool!!!

13 hours – 13 long hours our hose ran when it was supposed to only run for 30 minutes.

So, I texted my husband with these two photos and asked him if we forgot something.

This is yet another reason why I love my husband so very much.

His reply was, “Looks good, maybe just 5 more minutes then turn it off.”

He cracks me up!!

IMG_0819

Choices – Life is full of choices.

I’m not going to ask you how you would have responded because it is none of my beeswax.

But it is good food for thought – Think about it….

Blame fixes nothing, fights make people sad and mistakes are only human.

Let-Go-and-Let-God-II

There is a book I love to read and reference often, it is written by Albert E. Cliffe and it is titled “Let Go and Let God”.

You don’t have to have a specific religious affiliation to read it or even have a belief in general, it’s just good common sense advice.

This is a quote from the book I’d like to share, “In our daily contacts, therefore, we should try to keep away from arguments of any kind.  Arguments create bad feelings and often result in a sense of humiliation.”

I like that.  I enjoy harmony and balance and laughter and smiling.

I do not enjoy fighting or crying or blaming or feeling bad so I avoid these.  It’s working out pretty good so far.

squiggle seperator

Here is the added bonus…take a closer look at the above photo.

Did you even notice the clouds?

At first I didn’t either.  They took my breath away when I saw them.  I hope they do the same for you.

Until next time…You don’t always have to look up to see the sky.

Be blessed, stay blessed and remember to laugh at yourself or someone will do it for you!

Love, L.

16 Years of Marriage and My Heart Still Skips a Beat!!!

Anniversary Pic

To My Love,

What has been the secret to our success??

A success not too many are able to possess.

If you said communication is absolutely the key,

I would say I whole-heartedly, undoubtably agree.

But there’s more to this gig than just some nice chats,

In this game you must wear a lot of cool hats.

You are a master at knowing which is the right one,

When to be serious and when to be fun.

When I need an ear or just a good reality check,

Or when to say, “Honey, really…what the heck?”

You know when to hug me and just sit down still,

Or when I need a good old fashion thrill.

You kiss me with lips of a first date each time.

I close me eyes and feel so sublime.

When you touch me I still get chills up and down,

I am happy the most when you are around.

Together is when I truly feel whole,

You are a part of my inner most soul.

Thank you for all of the hats that you wear,

Not one is taken for granted this I do swear.

Lover, best friend and daddy you are,

To this family you truly are our shining star.

Thank you for allowing me to love you my dear,

Happy Anniversary on this 16th year.

I love you!!

Do We Really Have Limitations?

Hello Lovelies,

Let me provide you with a little musing to enrich your day…You’re welcome 🙂

Repelling

Remember to go to new heights…

Repelling 2

Remember to get wet…

Boys Repelling 3

Remember to create an adventure…

And most importantly recognize:

Kids DON’T REMEMBER their BEST DAY of watching TELEVISION!!

Get out, have fun and enjoy your family!!

Until next time…If at first you don’t succeed….DON’T skydive!!!

Be Blessed, Stay Blessed and remember if you don’t laugh at yourself someone will do it for you.

Love, L.

If you have any questions or would like to submit topics for discussion, I would love for you to email me at LaurelsLovelyLiving@yahoo.com.

Matzo Ball Soup – Part 1…The Balls

Matzo Balls Plated

There a few things in life that just make you feel good no matter what…

Pizza, ice cream, not having to leave the house on a rainy day and of course, a big bowl of matzo ball soup.

People running into things also makes me feel better (as long as they’re not hurt) but that’s a whole ‘nother story…what’s wrong with me??

Back to the task at hand – SOUP.  As long as I can stay focused you are about to have the best Matzo Ball Soup EVER!!

Matzo Ball Ingredients

The starting line up for today is as follows:  3 packets of “Matzo Ball Mix”, not to be confused with “matzo meal” (there are two packets per box – To risk stating the obvious – you will need two boxes equalling 4 packets, which gives you one to save for later), 4 eggs (I always use extra-large eggs in my recipes), 1/4 cup canola oil, 1/8 cup chicken stock fat (if you don’t have this ingredient substitute with canola oil), 1/4 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 tsp pepper .

You can see in the photo above the worlds most amazing whisk.  Papi got this for me as a gift and it’s by far the best whisk I’ve ever owned.  I take it with me everywhere, not really, that would be weird.

Coolest Egg Crack

To start, crack 4 eggs into a bowl, any bowl, it doesn’t have to be this bowl.

Oil Pour

Pour 1/4 cup canola oil into the same bowl.

Pepper

Here comes the pepper.

Salt

Then comes the salt…then comes the bride, not really it just sounded right so I went with it.

Just add the salt.

Schmutz

Then the chicken stock fat known as “schmaltz” in Yiddish.  Now you can sound really smart when talking to your friends about chicken fat.  You’re welcome!

Plastic Wrapping

Whisk it all together so it looks like this.

Cover with plastic wrap and let the mixture get its cold on.

Chill for at least 25 minutes.  If you can leave it longer that’s preferable.  The colder the better!!

Kitchen Helper Oso

As you look down at the dog sleeping on my foot, you will notice the crumbs on his back.

I fling food around when I cook, I also dance and say “OPA” a lot.  Am I sharing too much?

Scooping

When your matzo ball mixture has chilled it is time to make the balls.

I use a teaspoon scoop so they are all uniform.  As evidenced by the photo, this is the rough draft for your matzo balls.

Just scoop them out and plop them down – You’ll make them tight and pretty in the next step.

Rolling

See, what did I tell you.

Take the matzo balls one by one, give them a good squoosh in your hand.  Roll them until they are round.

I could actually eat these raw just like cookie dough.  How gross is that?

Flying Matzo Ball

Once your water is at a rolling boil it’s time to add your matzo balls.

Drop them in one by one. Swim my little one, swim for your life…

You have to admit this is really an awesome photo if I do say so myself!

Swimming Matzo Balls

Once all the matzo balls are safely swimming, it’s time to turn the heat down to simmer and place the lid onto your pot.

Set your timer for 20 minutes.

Fishing out Matzo Balls

When your time goes off, fish one of your matzo balls from the pot and conduct a taste test.

If you are satisfied, scoop out the rest.

I prefer to use a slotted spoon for this step specifically because I do not want to harm these little guys.

I set them on a plate until I am ready to slide them into my soup.

Dropping Matzo Balls

Onto the plate they go…

Matzo Balls Plated

And there you have it.

My sons kept coming in the kitchen trying to steal them.  I had to chase them away with a spoon so I could take this photo.  You’re welcome!

At this point, I have to use all my will not to gobble them down.

If you stopped right here you would have yourself a great meal.  However, I suggest you serve it with my soup recipe coming up next 🙂

Until next time…Keep being awesome!!

Be blessed, stay blessed and remember if you don’t laugh at yourself someone will do it for you!!!

Love, L.

Matzo Balls

Ingredients:

Step 1:  The Matzo Balls

  •   4 extra large eggs
  •   1/4 cup canola oil
  •   1/8 cup chicken stock fat
  •   1/4 tsp kosher salt
  •   1/2 tsp pepper
  •   1 1/2 cups Matzo Ball Mix (I use Manichevitz) – not to be confused with plain matzo meal.

Directions:

The Matzo Balls

  1. Bring 2 1/2 quarts (10 cups) to a boil in a stock pot.
  2. Combine the first six ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Cover with Saran Wrap.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 25 minutes.
  5. Once cold, roll into 1” balls.  I use a 1 teaspoon scoop for uniformity.
  6. Once the water is boiling add the matzo balls, there is no need to add oil or salt to the water.
  7. Drop the temperature to simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  8. Use a slotted spoon to remove the balls.
  9. Either eat them as they are or continue on to the next step to make the soup.