It’s getting hot in here!

Ladies and gentlemen, it has begun! I, Sara Ann Hefty, at the age of 30, have begun to cook. And by cooking I mean more than burning popcorn, microwaving leftovers, and boiling water. I’m talking real, honest-to-goodness cooking. With a stove. It’s getting intense!

And it took some planning. And a trip to the grocery store. But, once I got into it all, things went swimmingly. And I have to say, I rather enjoyed myself. So, without further ado, please allow me to introduce to you, my very first experiment in cooking, thee one, thee only: Versatile Rice Pilaf! (The crowd goes wild!)

Oh, and here’s the recipe now!

Versatile Rice Pilaf

Prep Time:
5 minutes

Cooking Time:
55 minutes

Servings:
4

Ingredients:

1 cup brown rice
1 tsp oil or butter
2 cups broth or water
2.5 cup nuts or seeds
1 cup fresh vegetables, chopped
herbs and seasonings to taste

Directions:

1) Heat oil/butter in a heavy skillet with a tight fitting lid on medium heat.

2) Add rice, stirring for 5 minutes or until grains are lightly roasted.

3) Add broth/water, cover tightly and cook for 45 minutes.

4) Stir in vegetables, nuts, herbs cover and continue to cook for 5 minutes.

I chose to start with this recipe because I looooooove rice! LOVE. RICE. However, aside from some wild rice soup and hot dishes I ate while growing up or dining out, the vast majority of the rice I’ve consumed has been white rice. And, as we all know, white rice just is not nutritious. Brown rice, yes. White rice, not so much. So, I went and tried a new grain – brown rice. The best part? I paid just a $1.59 for an entire bag. Inexpensive AND nutritious. I’m liking this!

The other reason I really liked this recipe is that it is flexible. I got to chose what to use. I went with brown rice, olive oil instead of butter, filtered water instead of broth, two cups of cashews, half a cup of flax seed, half a cup of orange peppers, half a cup of yellow peppers, and gomasio for taste. I’ll introduce you to gomasio in just a bit!

I added a bit of oil to the skillet and let it warm up on a medium heat:

Then, I measured out a cup of rice. What I realized AFTER the fact is that I should have cleaned off the rice in a bowl of cold water prior to cooking it. Rice is dirty! Live and learn. So, here’s the rice just after it was added into the oiled-up skillet.

Five minutes later, I added in two cups of filtered water and covered the skillet.

With 45-minutes to spare, it was time to measure-out the rest of my ingredients. Here we have the two-cups of cashews and half-cup of flax seed.

Followed by the oh-so-fabulously colorful cup of orange and yellow peppers.

Then it was time to check out the gomasio. Now, this was my first time – ever – using gomasio. When I went grocery shopping at Sprout’s Farmers Market, I had absolutely no intention of picking up gomasio. Interestingly enough though, I had just read about it and randomly happened upon it while searching for sea salt and thought why not give it a try?

So, what exactly is gomasio? It’s a combination of sesame seeds, seaweed, and sea salt. Another way to look at it? Gomasio is a whole lotta much-needed minerals in one or two shakes without the sodium of table salt. Winning!

And believe it or not, by this time, 45-minutes had passed.

And most importantly, the rice was ready for Step 4 – stir in all the ingredients and let cook for five more minutes.

Clearly, I’m going to need to buy a big ole saute pan, because things got a little crazy squeezing all that tasty food into one frying pan. But I say, go with what you have and add on as you’re able. In the mean time, if anyone has any recommendations for cookware, please share! I have a few great resources, but would love to hear what you’re using!

Five minutes later, I was left with this eye-catching amazingness! I absolutely love how bright the yellow and orange peppers make the dish!

Then, after tasting a few DELICIOUS bites, I boxed up this goodness for another day! After all, it was just about midnight by the time I finished up. I’m a bit of a night owl. Always have been…always will be!

Down the line, I’d like to upgrade these plastic storage containers to glass ones. But, again, I’m one of those use-what-you-have-for-now kind of people and this does the job! Here they are sitting all pretty in the fridge.

My big plans for this round of thee versatile rice pilaf is to pick up some sweet and sour sauce and high-quality, organic, free-range chicken from Sprouts and use that to add some zest to the pilaf. What I’ve made is a great base, but I definitely want more flavor in my meal. I might not even do the chicken, and instead simply stick with the sweet and sour sauce. Om nom nom!

How are you cookin’ good lookin’?

About Sara


Sara Hefty (B.B.A. and H.H.C.) teaches workaholic women how to have it all and flourish without burning out, binging or being spiteful. As an expert in transformational health coaching, she holds women accountable for letting go of unwanted weight, being brilliantly nourished, grounded in truth and feeling confident, happy and playful every single day.

As a woman with her own weight loss story, wide-ranging family heritage of cancer, and a graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, Sara’s appreciation for convenient nutrient-dense food, personal growth, inspiring design, financial responsibility, and social entrepreneurship led to her “Pursuit of Ownership: Health, Home, and Legacy” model of heart-on-fire-hot empowered living.

Sara is the founder of PROJECT LUX and SaraHefty.com. She currently lives in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, with her husband Brian and hound-dog Raja.