The Best Way to Freeze Cooked Rice and Other Grains for Easier Reheating

For quicker weeknight meals, packages of pre-portioned cooked grains stashed in the freezer are one of our secret weapons. No waiting for rice or other grains to cook while your dinner companions prowl hungrily around the kitchen. No need to plan ahead. No need to do much more than pull a package out of the freezer and carry on with making the meal.

Source: How to Freeze & Thaw Rice, Quinoa & Other Whole Grains

The article says the vacuum sealer is optional, but seems like it’d be the weapon of choice.  A sealable plastic bag will take up less space in the freezer, and most importantly, it will thaw much more evenly later on. You won’t be left with frozen grains in the middle of your rice clump while the outside is ready to eat. You can also write the quantity and day it was cooked right on the bag.

Bring a Pot of Water to a Boil Faster by Microwaving Half of It

We love a great big labor-intensive all-day cooking project as much as the next crew of food writers, but that doesn’t mean we’re above cutting corners—especially when those corners save time and effort without compromising deliciousness. And yes, sometimes we even buy pre-made tomato sauce. From last-minute meals to do-this-all-the-time hacks, here are our go-to cooking cheats. May they serve you well.

Source: Staff Picks: Our Favorite Kitchen Shortcuts

I have to make some hummingbird food, and it takes a while for 6 cups of water to come to a boil…

Someone should run a test comparing the time and energy consumed for various techniques.

  1. Do as above, microwaving half until 200 degree F, and placing half on the stove top for heating, then combining and cook.
  2. Microwave all the water to say 200 degrees F and then place the water and pasta on the stove top to complete the cooking.
  3. Heat the water in two pans on the stove top and then combine and cook to completion.

Which leads to another question; what is the comparison on electricity use? Am I spending more money to microwave half my water than if I had heated it all on the stove?  Consider that electricity use will be different depending on the cooktop.  Microwaving the entire thing is the most energy efficient solution, short of an electric kettle. If you have an induction stove, it will be close. (note that this doesn’t account for the fossil fuel -> electricity conversion or the variance in fuel costs).

Make Your Own Plant-Based Meal Replacement Powder to Save Money

I have a love/hate relationship with protein powder. I love that it helps make my daily smoothie more filling and meal-like. I love that it’s a quick and easy way to get a nice dose of the recovery-helping macronutrient after a hard workout.

But I hate the price. And I, more often than not, hate the ingredient list. There are definitely more natural protein powders out there, but the price is just so restrictively high! And the rare times I found a natural protein powder that wasn’t exorbitantly expensive, it was exorbitantly gritty, earthy, and generally not delicious.

Source: Homemade Plant Protein Powder

This is not “protein powder” – it is ground up legumes. It’s got more carbs in it than it does protein. Also eating raw lentils and raw rice is extremely problematical for a lot of people. They can actually interfere with the absorption of other nutrients.  Phytic acids can definitely be a concern for some folks (particularly raw vegan folks).

I would recommend to soak the rice and lentils first for few hours, drain the water and heat it in deep pan without adding anything until rice starts popping. Don’t forget to stir it continuously during heating to have uniform heat distribution. This should solve issue of rawness.

Otherwise, buy whey protein in bulk from vendors like Bulk Supplements or Powder City.  Generic protein powders with no brand name – they don’t cost as much, but they’re of the exact same quality (if not higher). They all come with Certificates of Analysis.

Speaking to those of us on blood thinners, based on previous information I highly recommend cooking the lentils vs raw.  There is vitamin K in lentils, just noticeably less if they’re cooked.  There’s vitamin K in brown rice as well, but a trivial amount.  There’s no vitamin K in steel cut oats.  Provided you cook the lentils and are OK the phytic acid, you should be OK.

I got a coffee/spice grinder years ago, for grinding sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame seeds that I use in breakfast.  I read a lot of reviews were available, and my assessment was that they were cheaper and replaceable.  Almost all reported failure at some point, so I just picked the best I could at a place with a great return policy.  So far, so good.

Breastfeeding? 10 Superfoods for You and Yours

When you’re breastfeeding, time and convenience are huge. Who has time to whip up complete meals? Don’t stress! These nutritional powerhouses are quick and convenient.

Source: 10 Breastfeeding Superfoods

I have two caveats for the list:

  1. Spinach/Swiss chard/broccoli are high in vitamin K.  The article mentions these for calcium but sardines, tofu and sesame seeds are a better source.  Soy beans and lentils are a better source of iron too.
  2. Be aware of the arsenic concern associated with rice

Arsenic in Rice: 11 Facts You Need to Know

We first heard the bad news in 2012. Rice contains arsenic, Consumer Reports proclaimed in a riveting 2012 study. But it left us with a host of questions: Which types of rice have the highest levels of arsenic? Which have the lowest? What about other rice products, such as rice milk and cereals? And what about other grains?

Source: Arsenic in Rice: 11 Facts You Need to Know

There’s two key points:

9. Don’t rely on an “organic” label—rice grown organically was found to have the same arsenic levels as “conventionally” grown rice. While organic rice may contain fewer pesticides, arsenic levels are still high.

10. You can cut your exposure by thoroughly rinsing rice before you cook it, and draining excess water after it’s cooked. Consumer Reports recommends a 6-to-1 water-to-rice ratio, rather than the standard 2-to-1 ratio. Yes, rinsing and draining rice might wash away some vitamins and minerals, but the rinse-and-drain technique will remove about 30 percent of the arsenic.