Which rice is better? the rice you'll eat!

There is a lot of discussion about rice, white rice vs brown rice vs wild rice and there is a lot of research to support wild or brown or even tri-colour. I am of the opinion that the best rice for you is the rice that you will eat on a regular basis and for our family that happens to be white rice. Even how you cook it can be controversial because of the arsenic that can be present which is also related to where it is grown. Some people prefer to use the simple rice cooker and some recommend a rinse and then double boiling. We use both methods depending on the time available and the lazy factor. We do try to buy rice from a less polluted area and one of the most polluted areas is in the USofA - information in a 2012 report states the following:

White rice grown in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas, which account for 76 percent of domestic rice, generally had higher levels of total arsenic and inorganic arsenic in our tests than rice samples from elsewhere. Within any single brand of rice we tested, the average total and inorganic arsenic levels were always higher for brown rice than for white.

So do your research and buy rice from the areas with lower arsenic, if you can, and more importantly be sure to wash your rice before you cook it and if you are concerned then do the double boil method which is as simple as washing the rice, put it in a boiling pot of water for 5 minutes, then pour it through a sieve, bring another pot to a boil and cook for another 5 minutes. Drain it again and put back in the pot, with the lid on to rest while you finish the rest of the dinner. We love our rice cooker, so simple, and as we like our rice a bit sticky we put a tad less rice than the one to one ratio called for and it makes a delicious burrito bowl base or chili base or veggie sushi rolls too.

Which pasta is better? the pasta you'll eat!

The same question arises when it comes to pasta and we have always loved our pasta. Personally, I prefer whole wheat pasta and, of course, that is the most recommended for health, however, my honey loves his normal pasta and so we do a combo. One meal will be whole wheat penne, usually, occasionally spaghetti or fusilli and the next meal will likely be a spaghettini primavera. It is his turn to cook when it is spaghettini time. Do check the labels when you buy pasta as you want to watch for pasta made with eggs... we pass on that.

Making your sauces to put on pasta is a great way to make a tasty meal and for plant-based eaters the options are endless. Avocado with artichokes, or mac and cheese made with cashews and the basic ingredient needed in every kitchen, NUTRITIONAL YEAST. Tomato based sauces are simple and quick and adding lots of tasty veggies and greens like spinach adds lots of vitamins and minerals and yes, proteins. One of our favourites is pesto and there is not a drop of olive oil in the recipe that I use.... mmmmm so good. This creamy avocado cashew pesto is amazing and kudos to Anja Cass and the amazing recipes she has made and shared with all of us!

In the past, before eliminating dairy products from our lifestyle, the main reason to eat pasta was for the parmesan cheese. One layer on top and then after eating the top layer another layer was added and, in all likelihood, a third layer too. This was probably the hardest change we chose to make. There is a solution and although it is not exactly the same it is close enough. We make our own parmesan alternative and it is made from almonds (or cashews), nutritional yeast, a bit of salt and some garlic and onion powder. Delish! There is even a nut free version.

So is it mandatory that you use whole wheat pasta? It is better and yet the overriding message is the best pasta is the pasta you will eat and if you take the time to make the toppings delicious and healthy and innovative then your family is unlikely to complain.

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