Life Lately

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Twenty fourteen is off to a fast and exciting start for our family. First, our lives forever and wonderfully changed with the addition of our sweet little rump roast. We spent the first few weeks of the year in a sleep-deprived, love-drunk, terrified-first-time-parent stupor. All the while, Robert and I finalized our decision to move back to the area we grew up as Robert was presented with a great career opportunity to open a satellite office for his engineering firm. We put our house on the market and, wouldn’t you know it,  it sold within 2 weeks. We are very thankful that our house sold so quickly in the cold, snowy chill of this Ohio February; but it also solidified that this move is a reality.

I will admit that it was a very difficult decision for us to make. We’ve lived in Columbus for the past 6 years and I have grown to adore this city. My heart is full of local pride in this place where we started our careers, where we bought our first home, where we developed lifelong friendships with some amazing folks,  and where we welcomed our first child into the world. I am a sentimental sap and I can’t help but have a hard time leaving the city where we’ve lovingly planted our roots. Columbus is a thriving area with lots of culture and a strong sense of community. There are so many fun things to do and see and a good amount of delicious restaurants in which we can feast.

I’ve shed a fair amount of tears as we prepare to move on and it took me a good deal of time to embrace what our next chapter holds. It will be a big transition reintegrating into rural, small-town life. We will be closer to Robert’s family and I have some very dear friends from high school that still live in the area; and it will be very nice to reconnect with them on a regular basis. We will have more space to roam and to grow and Smith will have the opportunity to explore in the woods, get dirty, build forts, fish, and ride his bike.

Though we will be further away from some of our beloved friends and family and we will not have the access to the conveniences and luxuries of city-living, we will still be our little family of three. And, just like one of my culinary idols, Ina Garten, wrote in the beginning of one of her cookbooks: “My home is wherever Jeffrey is.” Robert and Smith are my “Jeffrey,” and wherever we are all together is what fills my heart with joy. On to the next big adventure!

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The Best Baked Brown Rice

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My friends, do you find yourself leery when you see a recipe labeled “the best” or “the only recipe you’ll ever need for…”? I, too, become leery. Too many times I have ended up disappointed with the results and cried foul on the misleading label. However, I make an exception for this brown rice.

I’ve attempted a few different methods of making brown rice and I am always left wanting something more. That is, until the fine folks at Cooks Illustrated cracked the code. And it really is quite simple. If you can boil water and preheat an oven, you can make this scrumptious and healthy side dish.  Also- I like to double this recipe to have extra rice on hand for making fried rice or to have as leftovers the next day. It’s quite tasty reheated.

It feels good to be slowly getting back into the cooking scene. Our camera is usually smoking from all of the pictures I snap of this little ham ball. 🙂

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Baked Brown Rice

Yield: 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups long grain brown rice
  • 2 1/3 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

1. Adjust the oven rack to middle position; Preheat oven to 375 degrees and make sure the oven rack is in the middle position. Spread rice in 8-inch square baking dish.

2. Place water and butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil. As soon as the water starts boiling (letting it boil to long will cause evaporation and affect the ratio of water and rice), remove from heat and stir in salt. Carefully pour water over rice. Cover baking dish tightly with doubled layer of foil. Place in the oven and bake rice for 1 hour, until tender.

3. Remove baking dish from oven and uncover. Fluff rice with dinner fork, then cover dish with clean kitchen towel. Let the rice stand 5 minutes. Uncover and let rice stand 5 additional minutes. Enjoy!

Note: If doubling the recipe ,use a 9×13 inch baking dish and keep the baking time the same.

Source: A Veggie Venture, originally from the magicians at Cook’s Illustrated