Monday, October 22, 2012

Honey Rice Pudding

Have you ever tried something for the "wrong" reasons? I know that sounds weird but really, have you? You know when your head says that it probably isn't a good idea and your gut also isn't sure but you keep coming back to it? That was me last night when I was trying to decide on a recipe for rice pudding. (I know, Rice Pudding? you ask. How anti climatic. But yes, as the title suggests, we are talking about rice pudding.)

With my major effort towards no food waste, last night I made a huge pot of rice (in my rice cooker because I burn rice. Seriously. I burn it every time. Every time! I can cook other more complicated recipes but not rice. Go figure.) I knew that I was going to make a crock pot recipe of Chicken Tikki Masala this week and I was at the end of my bag of rice so I cooked it all up with coconut milk. Well that turned into about 13 cups of cooked rice! Last night I made black beans and rice (using one of my jars of beans from the freeze). There was a lot of rice still left over. I mean a lot. As I put away the extra, I realized that there was more than enough for dinner and another recipe and another recipe. Normally I throw it into our breakfasts but I have the extra beans and rice for that. So I decided to make rice pudding.

As always, I had to go online to find a recipe with honey or maple syrup because the one I grew up with uses sugar. I found three that made me want to make it up for a midnight snack:
Grandma’s Honey Rice Pudding
Rice Pudding
Tibetan Apple and Honey Rice Pudding

Then I stumbled upon this recipe from Bread and Courage. To be completely honest, the recipe didn't strike me as "gotta try that" but her words really resonated with me. How many of us can relate to these words:
"I’ve spent too many years in the adolescent doldrums, where caring for myself was an afterthought, or worse, an admission of weakness. Not only did I regularly ignore feeling sick, I regularly made myself sick. My body was a thing to be used and worn-down... "
I know how awful that sounds but it is true. I don't think about myself until I am running a fever and down for the count. How many us mothers, wives, women just don't take care of ourselves? We feel selfish taking care of ourselves. How many articles do we read in women's magazines that are about a woman who didn't, then had some death defying illness and lived because she changed her ways and started taking care of herself? Oh and of course then she urges us all to slow down and to take care of ourselves first. I read one every month, maybe from a different magazine but at least one a month. And every month, after I finish the article I think to myself: Wow and I need to take care of myself a little better. And then the kids start to cry or I need to throw a load of laundry in and I am off again. The article I read becomes a distant memory, perhaps a few points stick but overall I have moved on.

Her words drew me in and I read and reread her words:
"When I was little, my grandmother gave me chicken soup and grapefruits with brown sugar and honey-lemon cough drops whenever I was sick. My mother rubbed my tummy and sang me lullabies...  I decided it was time to do right by me: so I bought lots of citrus, cooked up some soup and stuffed my pockets with Halls.

Maybe it was the fact that I ate nearly 3 cups of warm, milky rice in a single sitting. Maybe it was the fact that I put myself to sleep by rubbing my bulbous tummy and humming Tchaikovsky’s Peter and the Wolf. Or maybe it was the thought I had of the women who have cared for me, and the happy thought that I can be one of them." 
She reminds me of the things I want to be. I want to be a mom (and hopefully a grandmother someday) that takes the time to care for her children. I want to be a friend who is there for others. I want to be someone who inspires others, just as this author inspires me. And I want to take care of me. And I feel guilty just writing that, not matter how true.

The recipe, with its cardamom, raisins and walnuts didn't exactly appeal to me. Even as I looked through other recipes, I was drawn back to this one. My husband and I talked about it, googling the exact flavor of cardamom. It isn't something I usually cook with. I do, however, own a small container of it for a long ago never tried recipe. My only real impression of the spice is my memory of its sweetness from the henna I had on my hands and feet for my wedding.

Despite my worry that I would be wasting food when no one ate breakfast, I couldn't not make it. So last night, I put the honey, butter and spices into a jar so that it was ready the next morning. I also set out the raisins on the counter.

Here is the recipe I followed:

Rice Pudding with Honey and Spices from

Rice Pudding with Honey and SpicesMakes 4 servings
2 c cooked white rice
4 c soy milk (or cow’s milk, if you prefer)
1 T butter (optional)
½ c honey
1 t cinnamon (plus more for garnish)
½ t cardamom (plus more for garnish)
½ t salt
½ c raisins
½ c chopped walnuts

Place rice and milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
Decrease the heat and simmer about 10 to 15 minutes, until mixture thickens.
Add honey, spices (and butter) and stir to combine then turn off the heat.
Add raisins and continue stirring for a few minutes, until raisins plump.
Sprinkle with walnuts and additional spices just before serving.

When I got up, I put the organic whole cow's milk and rice into the pan and brought it to a boil. I simmered it for 15 minutes (it looked too juicy at 10). I pulled out a small scoop for L2 (he is under one so no honey for him), before adding the honey, butter and spice mixture to the pan. I mixed everything together and let it stand for a few minutes while I got out bowls and cleared the table.

I sprinkled the top with some cinnamon and crushed up walnuts (rescued from a nut mix) and served it warm.

The verdict? First, I took time to just relax and ponder while I was cooking this morning. Since I had mixed up the spices ahead of time I didn't have to try and do that while cooking. It seems like a small step but it was really nice to just stand and be. Fifteen minutes of uninterrupted time in the morning is uncommon but today, luck or fate or the universe was on my side. I forgot the raisins but the pudding was delicious. We all really enjoyed it. The nuts do make a difference and I will make sure to keep more on hand for next time. Also, my husband said that it was a little too sweet for him (while he was enjoying his second bowl mind you). I didn't think it was sweet at all (I guess it was sweet since it wasn't not sweet) but the cardamom was the main flavor for me. It would make an amazing dessert. It was a little more soupy than I would prefer but as it cooled, it was less soupy and more pudding like. Perhaps because my rice was fresh and super moist? Either way I loved it and am looking forward to having seconds tomorrow.

What decisions, no matter how small, have you made for reasons that aren't logical? Comment below.


  1. Elizabeth, thank you for linking this in to Food on Friday. We are now starting to get quite a collection of rice/grain dishes together. Do stop by some of the other links to check them out!

    Ps I have just signed up to follow your blog via Google Reader. A follow back to Carole's Chatter would be wonderful – or have you already followed? Cheers

  2. Sounds delicious. And everyone keeps singing the praises of honey and cinnamon when you are sick, so this would be a great breakfast for someone who is under the weather.

  3. What a wonderful reminder to be good to ourselves too! I can't wait to try this recipe, as I have an unopened jar of cardamom burning a whole in my spice rack.

  4. The recipe sounds delicious. Thank you for sharing on Wildcrafting Wednesday! My only change will be to use brown rice and raw cow's milk. (Can't bring myself to use GMO, thyroid supressing, precocious puberty causing, soy milk.) ;)

    And you are so right about not caring for ourselves. Thank you for the reminder. :)

    1. I am 100% with you. I don't use soy ever. We use organic whole milk.


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