Comfort Food: Dairy Free Friendly Rice Pudding

Hello there! 

I can't believe I haven't posted in such a long time. It has been a busy couple of months. Before I post the recipe, I thought I'd give a quick update for those who are interested. Our little family is finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with student living...hooray! My husband is graduating from Physical Therapy school in a month...YES! We've been married for six years and have been students that whole time, so to say that we are excited for this next phase of our life is an understatement. My husband accepted a job in Utah so we will soon be heading north! I am excited to have more access to good quality whole foods (they are cheaper too!) and a big yard to start a garden in! We are busy de-junking and packing while trying to stay cool in the summer heat. We are moving into a 1200 square foot rental house which we plan on living in for a few years so we are really trying to simplify our life...I love it. Purging feels good!

On the food front, we recently began eating grains again, formally going off of the GAPS diet. We may return to it in the future but the stress of the diet was really weighing me down. It is a lot of work having three kids four and under, trying to move, and trying to take care of myself and my sanity all at the same time! It was hard for me to "give up" because I am a perfectionist, but life has been much happier for me. I don't stress as much about food and although Max's problems are not gone, he seems to be doing fine with grains. We are remaining gluten free (no question on that!) and are mostly dairy free as well (if we use milk, it has been cultured into yogurt or kefir). Max had some additional allergy testing done where we discovered he has many environmental allergies, so we are definitely still "battling" and trying to improve his health but thankfully, he does not seem to be bothered by them. We plan to see a holistic doctor in Utah recommended by a friend once we have the funds to do so. We are really enjoying eating some of our old foods again and I have to admit it's been nice being able to buy more packaged things when we find ourselves in a bind. I am blown away by how many gluten free options there are now! So much more than even a year ago when we started GAPS. I have been trying to think of fun things to do with my kids since we are pretty much stuck indoors and mentioned to Max that maybe we could go to a bakery. There is a gluten free bakery in Scottsdale, so I brought up the website and showed him the choices. He saw the donuts and I asked if he'd like one, to which he replied "Those aren't healthy!" I had to chuckle...nope...they're not...but they're okay for a very special treat! It was cute to hear that some of what I teach him does in fact rub off (most days I feel like nothing I say gets through!). 

2012 is the year that I am working on improving myself. It's been a year of ups and downs but being halfway through the year now and looking back, I can see that I'm getting better! The fog of my depression has lifted, I am learning to be vulnerable, I am opening my heart to let in more love, and I am letting go of old pain and sorrow. One of the best things I've done for myself this year is to begin seeing a therapist. The strides I have made personally with my depression and overall sense of well-being are incredible. Nothing I have done - nutrition, supplements, etc - compare to how much being in therapy has helped me. There is a stigma attached to seeing a "shrink" but quite honestly, if you find yourself struggling with things that you just can't shake, especially things that root back to your childhood like me, I'd encourage you to seek out help from a therapist. It has changed my much that I am thinking of getting a degree in psychology when my kids are older! I can't get enough of watching things like this. Fascinating. Alright, I got pretty personal there but remember, I am working on vulnerability! 

Anyways, life is good. And with is a super yummy recipe for rice pudding. My husband found a version from Fresh and Easy that he loves but I couldn't eat it because it had dairy in it. I decided to make one that is dairy free that I could eat (a side note, it is not completely dairy free because it contains butter but I do okay with butter so I eat it...if you want it to be strictly dairy free, use something like Earth Balance soy-free spread). 

Dairy Free Friendly Rice Pudding

4 cups water
2 cups short grain brown rice

5 cups coconut milk
3 cups rice or almond milk
1/4 cup butter or coconut oil

2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon

Bring the water to a boil and add the brown rice. Simmer for 10 minutes, then drain the water well and put the rice back into the pot. Pour in the coconut milk, rice milk, and butter. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover with a tilted lid, and simmer until the liquid is mostly absorbed. This will take about an hour. Stir two or three times to prevent the bottom from scorching. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, honey, vanilla, and cinnamon. When the liquid is mostly absorbed, pour the egg mixture into the rice and stir well. Replace the lid and let sit for about 15 minutes, then serve. This is wonderful hot, warm, or cold! It is very mildly sweet, slightly chewy, and makes a wonderful breakfast or dessert!

*To make the rice even more easily digestible, soak it in a bowl of water with a big splash of lemon juice for 12-24 hours before cooking. When ready to cook, drain it and use as directed.