Sunday, January 16, 2011

Healthy Comfort

We all need down time and something about cold winter weather makes us want to hibernate, curl up in our beds with warm fluffy blankets and live in our flannel pajamas. Instead of trying to fight this feeling and be productive, sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is to not only allow us these simple comforts, but embrace and savor them to the fullest extent. Whether comfort for you is a warm cup of tea, curling up with a good book, or watching a funny movie, remember to take time to appreciate all of the simple and wonderful things life has to offer. Give yourself space for quiet time to reflect and listen to what your body says you need. Nurture and honor yourself by listening and doing what you really need to be happy, healthy and fulfilled.

During my down time I realized what I really needed was a nice warm bowl of stew. Here is the recipe. Enjoy!

Comforting Rice and Mung Bean Stew

1 stamp sized piece of kombu seaweed
1 cup brown rice
2/3 cup mung beans
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 onions, large diced
1 stalk of burdock root, cut into chunks
3 carrots, cut into large chunks
1/4 large kabocha squash 
sea salt
  1. Put the brown rice and mung beans in a pressure cooker with 5-6 cups of water (depending how thick you want the stew). (If you don't have a pressure cooker, use a large stainless steel pot and cook the ingredients for longer until the beans are soft.)
  2. Rinse the kombu and put it into the pot, bring the pot to a boil, then put the lid on the pot and lock it in place to build the pressure.
  3. Let the pressure rise until the pot is under the right amount of pressure. Then turn the flame down to low and let the pot simmer for 40 minutes.
  4. While the rice and beans are cooking, put the sesame oil in a large saute pan on medium low heat. Add the onions and saute for a few minutes. Then add the burdock and carrots and satue. Cover the pan for 5-7 minutes and stir occasionally. Then add the squash and cover again. If the vegetables get stuck to the bottom of the pan then add a little bit of water to help it cook. After the vegetables have cooked for a few more minutes, turn off the flame.
  5. After the rice and beans have cooked for 40 minutes, turn off the flame and let the pressure come down. Take the top off the pot and add the sauteed vegetables and a few generous pinches of salt. Mix the pot, put the flame of high until the pot boils, then put the top on the pressure cooker and bring it to pressure. Then simmer again on low for 10 minutes.
  6. Turn off the flame, let the pressure come down, and serve with a garnish of your choice. I used mustard greens for my garnish.

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