Jazzy InstantPot Wild Rice Pilaf

I got myself an InstantPot (deeply discounted during Amazon Prime days in August), and I’ve been experimenting with it. I’ve added wild rice and legumes back into my diet after eating Paleo (grain- and legume-free) for years, because my body functions better with the extra fiber. My doctor says they act as prebiotics, feeding healthy gut microbes. I feel good!

I’m loving wild rice! It’s got a nutty taste, a pleasing chewy texture, and is a native American food full of fiber.

I’m also loving InstantPot cooking. Even people who “can’t cook” can just follow the many recipes now available and come out with good food in not much time.

I’m a jazzy cook — I like to improvise from a master recipe, which this is. A pilaf is perfect for that: it’s a traditional Middle Eastern/Indian rice dish cooked in a broth, to which you add whatever you’ve got on hand that “goes with”.

fullsizeoutput_480I use the InstantPot’s Sauté function to soften a chopped onion (and/or shallots) and a couple of stalks of celery in olive oil or butter or ghee. You can add chopped garlic if you like, right before adding a cup of wild rice — garlic scorches easily. Mix well, sauté for another minute, and add 3 cups of mushroom, vegetable, or chicken broth.

I switch to Pressure Cook (high) and set the timer for 15 minutes, with the vent closed. When the timer goes off, I let it sit for 10 minutes and open the vent.

Then I stir the additions in while it’s hot! I like to add 1 cup of cubed cooked chicken, 1/2 cup pecan pieces, 1/2 cup dried cranberries, 1-2 cups roughly chopped baby spinach, 1 cup thinly sliced baby Portobella mushrooms, and 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley.

Mix well. The mushrooms and spinach should wilt from the hot wild rice. If not, put the lid back on the InstantPot and set it to Keep Warm.

Here’s the creative part:

  • Instead of chicken, add turkey or duck.
  • Instead of pecans, try walnuts or almond slivers or pistachios.
  • Instead of cranberries, add raisins — or sprinkle fresh pomegranate seeds just before serving for their gorgeous color, texture, and flavor.
  • Substitute chopped kale or chard (minus thick stems) or another mild green for the spinach.
  • Add any herbs you like. Sage, thyme, and rosemary would definitely work, in my opinion.
  • Adding green onions at the end adds flavor and color and texture.
  • To balance the sweet savoriness of the pilaf with cranberries, add a bit of a good tasty vinegar, lemon juice, or dry wine (not cooking wine, usually too salty). Add by the teaspoon and taste often to avoid adding too much.

Mix well. The mushrooms and spinach should wilt from the hot wild rice. If not, put the lid back on the InstantPot and set it to Keep Warm.

If there’s extra liquid, you can pour it off, add a tablespoon of chia seeds to thicken, or leave it soupy. To make it creamy, add cream cheese or sour cream to taste and stir well to melt and blend.

Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

I invite you to see what you have on hand, sense if it would fit well with the other ingredients, and experiment! Share in the comments what worked for you!

Being blessed

I feel a little guilty for not posting much recently. All is well! I am loving my life in so many ways, let me begin to count them.

I love being a massage therapy student, learning, practicing, integrating. I’m friends with several massage therapists and bodyworkers. It is so cool to hang out and talk shop with them now!

It’s wonderful to work on my friends, too. Even when I’m massaging them along with a video, I thank them for their patience, because every time I practice, I integrate more. My hands are becoming antennas!

Today it occurred to me that my trailer is like a really fun playhouse for a grownup. I didn’t have a playhouse when I was a little girl, and I’m enjoying the heck out of living in this trailer. My visitors yesterday, Katie and her dad, Don, noticed that it is just my size, and it does feel spacious enough to me at 5′ 1″ tall. Living here makes me smile. 

I’m still working on window covering decisions/installation and the sliding glass door/front deck entrance. I’m also testing 5 kinds of weatherstripping before settling on the best and longest-lasting. That’ll be a weekend chore to get done before the first cold front.

I was looking online today at chimeneas, imagining how awesome will it be, when it gets cold, to sit in my living room and watch a fire burning in a chimenea on my deck without the mess of having firewood, ash, or smoke inside. Looking forward to that fire trance…

The kale, chard, and collards I planted in September have grown large enough to start eating. The two inches of rain in Austin a couple of weekends ago was awesome. Plants love rainwater so much more than tap water.

There’s a mockingbird who lives near me who sings his heart out every day. I’m training my cat Mango to be an inside cat because he doesn’t behave well sometimes when I let him out. The monarchs are passing through.

I spent time last week updating my resume and making sure the same version appears on STCaustin.com, monster.com, LinkedIn, and so on. In other words, I got serious about sending a clear, consistent message out. The next morning, I got a call from a recruiter about a part-time technical writing job (very rare) at a really good company. I interviewed first (first or last are the best slots). By no means do I have the job, but it’s incredibly heartening to put my intent out there and get such a positive result so promptly. This has happened before. It’s almost scary.

I danced this morning at Ecstatic Dance of Austin. After several years of being away from dance, earlier this year I discovered this new group, whose energy feels clean, spacious, and not overshadowed by personalities competing for dominance. I feel that the bodywork, energy work, and awareness work I’ve been doing really shows up when I dance for over an hour with presence, pleasure, and skill.

My friend and fellow dancer Lakshmi Jackman says:

There is a shortcut to ecstasy. It’s called dancing.

Amen, sister!

I am feeling so grateful, lucky, and blessed to be connecting with some awesome people. New friends, old friends, family. People are showing me their awesomeness all the time now. Stunning, amazing awesomeness!

Is it because I’m in school learning how to do work I love?

Is it because the world is my mirror, and my happiness is being reflected back to me?

Is it because I’m finally getting the hang of managing my own life with skill?

Have I become more powerful than I believe I am?

I don’t know, but I am definitely feeling in love with my life.

Dare I wish for a couple of private yoga students? I love teaching, especially beginners, and miss it.

So that’s the news from Lake … hmm. Lake Well-Being. Thanks for reading. Blessings to you too.