Fall is back. Back with all things I love: slow cookers, back to school, scarves, the desire to get cozy and a new sense of routine (with a few bumps along the way). When I was asked if I would like to try out one of Ricardo’s slow cooker recipes I jumped at the chance. When I saw slow cooker rice pudding I was sold. I used to think both rice pudding and tapioca pudding were gross. Once I tried rice pudding I quickly changed my tune. Rice is normal food, tapioca ball things are not. Still in the gross category for me.
Now that my oldest is in school I have more time with my middle, Sawyer. He was the perfect assistant to help with this recipe. Middle children are sneaky. They grow up when you aren't looking. Everything is anticipated with the oldest: walking, talking, school. The middle is who they are right now, I am so much more in the moment with him. So he surprises me when I notice the passing of time. My husband picked him up yesterday, he was so long. We were both gob smacked. So sneaky. The third is a whole other story. He has three molars. We just noticed them. Yikes. We catch on, eventually.
On a side note: moving forward most of my blog posts will feature iPhone snaps. I realized that I was blogging less because in the chaos of my life the simple act of grabbing my digital SLR camera was too much. I don’t think you are here for the beautifully styled food photos anyways. You are here for ideas and my undeniable wit and charm, right?
So onto the rice pudding recipe...
1 cup (250 ml) arborio or other short-grain rice
1 cup (250 ml) 10% half and half
4 cups (1 litre) 3.5 % milk
1 pinch salt
3/4 cup (125 ml) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
Cinnamon to top
In the slow cooker, combine the rice, cream, milk and salt. Cover and cook on high heat for 2 hours. Add the sugar and vanilla and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Let cool partially. Serve warm with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top, or cover and chill.
Turned out beautifully; creamy, perfectly sweet and cozy. I prefer it a little warm, it is easy to reheat in the microwave. All my kids liked it and I may of even converted my husband to the “not the gross food I thought it was" category. Of course you can add raisins or nuts or whatever you feel like. I took it to work for breakfast one morning with almonds and raspberries thrown in. I played around with the milk and cream in the recipe to use what I had on hand. I also decreased the sugar a bit, because why not. As you can tell by the brief directions, this is simple. Great chance for your kids to help out.
So I hope the start of your fall has brought good things with it.
Here we are....the eve of the first day of kindergarten. Big day for Hudson tomorrow. I could say all the usual stuff: time flies, he was just a baby, etc. But really I am just excited for him. I had such a postive experience at school and I am hoping the same for him too. It is going to be an adjustment for sure. The Monday to Friday, the driving, the lunch making.
Knowing what I know about Hudson I think his biggest challenge will be focusing enough to eat his lunch. All the other kids around, so much more fun to make farting noises than eat. My goal is to send mostly finger foods that are quick to eat and easy to handle.
I wanted to share what I bought to prepare for the long haul of lunch making. I feel like being prepared is half the battle. I have been purchasing things over the summer so Hudson had time to practice opening and closing. Plus I am a wee bit weird and want things to match.
Everything, unless otherwise mentioned, was purchased at Superstore. I didn't want things to be too precious. If and when they get lost I don't want to be out $30 per piece. I did label everything.
So top left is his zip up insulated lunch kit. beside it are two mini-icepacks. Middle right are two reuseable, velcro food bags. Good for foods like crackers, apple slices, grapes and sandwiches. Bottom right are silicone muffin liners. These are great to put inside other contains filled with dips (hummus, guacamole, nut butter) or little items like rasins, cubed fruit, veg and cheese. They are flexible so they can be molded around whatever else is in the container. Bottom left is re-useable squeezie bags. These are great for smoothies, yogurt and applesauce. I ordered these online from a company called Squooshi.
Top right is a thermos. I will be sending mostly spaghetti and homemade chicken noodle soup, his two faves. Middle right is two straw based water bottles and finally some fun shaped containers.
Again we have some larger assorted containers. Bottom left is a dinosaur bread/sandwhich cutter.
I re-purposed an old tote to store all this gear together. It is in a low cupboard. Hudson knows to return his empty lunch kit back into the bin at the end of the day.
We have been doing some chatting about what he would like to bring in his lunch. He is by far my most unadventuresome eater. I have frozen portions of pizza and chicken noodle soup at the ready.
I will share some of his lunches on Facebook and Instagram so make sure you follow along. Feel free to share your ideas too.
Tomorrow, the big day. Good luck my son, I know you are more than ready. And good luck to all your kids, and of course to you. We are going to need it.
Tiffany McFadden, RD