Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Gluten-Free Currant Scones

My mom is visiting next week.  It's time to brush up on the gluten-free recipes.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, she has celiac disease, but fortunately there are so many gluten-free options.  I'm trying some home-cooked-from-scratch treats...all gluten-free.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Lights, Camera, Action! Sportsmanship Award Night Out!

"Hello, Rock Star!  Welcome to Disney 365!"

Last night was a big night in our little girlie's life!  Along with the 8 girls from her soccer team, she was treated to hair, make-up and dinner on the town (Disney Downtown) compliments of AYSO and Disney.

Recap:

In November she entered a Cars 2 Sportmanship essay contest sponsored by AYSO and Disney. In one hundred words or less she had to write what sportsmanship meant to her.

Here's her essay:

Sportsmanship

By Ari

In soccer there’s always going to be a winner and a loser but good sportsmanship helps every player have a great time. This year our team used dance to bring other teams together. We did a dance called the “Cupid Shuffle.” After games, we’d ask the other team over and dance together. It was a great time to celebrate and have fun! While dancing we forgot who won or lost and just enjoyed the moment laughing. While walking off the field the girls always left smiling. That’s what having good sportsmanship is all about. 



Monday, January 23, 2012

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread


Last week, our history study touched on the Potato Famine in Ireland during the mid 1800's.  During this time period nearly one million Irish died and another million left the country.  Approximately 800,000 of those who left, emigrated to the United States.

Today, my girlie made traditional Irish Soda Bread as a cooking activity wrapping up our Irish Potato Famine study.  This bread is SO TASTY!  It would be a great addition to a St. Patrick's Day meal also!  We'll remember this recipe next month as we plan our special Irish meal.

The Most Interesting Thing I Learned This Week...Jan. 16-20, 2012

Last week was an exciting week.

Historically speaking, last week honored the birthdays of Martin Luther King, Jr., Benjamin Franklin, Daniel Webster, and Robert E. Lee!

On Tuesday, January 17th we were blessed to attend a presentation given by none other than Benjamin Franklin.  Coincidentally this happened to be the birth day of the famous American.

The kids also started 3-week courses on the Constitution and Earth Science focusing on geology.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Thai Cuisine Lemon Grass Cookbook: Red Curry Chicken



When planning the dinner menu for this month, I had a different cookbook in mind for this week, but sometimes well-made plans need to be changed.

Moosewood Cookbook: Sweet Potato Pancakes



I love sweet potatoes!  I love them grilled, roasted, boiled, etc.  When I discovered this recipe in the Moosewood Cookbook, I thought, "How could I go wrong?"

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Moosewood Cookbook: Polenta Pie




Despite what nutritionists, diet specialists or hard core gluten-free groupies say I cannot seem to shake my love for pizza!  I've heard it said, if you refrain from eating something long enough you'll lose a taste for it.  I beg to differ, or my taste buds beg to differ!  No matter how long I stay away from pizza (and root beer), when I splurge and enjoy them I feel like my food-love bank is FULL!  They're the BEST!

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Best Thing I Learned This Week...Jan. 9-13, 2012

We're trying something new.  We might need good wishes to succeed in this endeavor, but the goal is to video the best tidbit learned by each child each week. They've been experimenting with videoing each other and I'm hoping to improve public speaking skills.

So here goes week one:

Braeden
video
Jaron
video
Ari
video


Somewhere down the line they may get a little more fancier, but for now this is as good as it gets.


Happy Learning!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Good Luck Grub Style Quinoa-Stuffed Cabbage Packages

Quinoa-Stuffed Cabbage Packages



Even though I've moved on to the Moosewood Cookbook, I still have Grub on my mind.  There was a recipe I wanted to try because it's part of a "New Year's Eve Good Luck Meal."  It is Quinoa-Stuffed Cabbage Packages.

I love quinoa (pronounced keen-wah).  It's one of those super foods hitting the grocery stores and popping up in more and more recipes everywhere.

Most people think it's a grain because it looks like one, but it's actually a seed grown high in the Andes Mountains in South America.  Although many Americans know little of it, it's actually and ancient food enjoyed by the Incas.

One cup of quinoa has about:

220 calories
38-40 grams carbohydrates
8 grams protein
3.5 grams fat
5 grams of fiber
and high in folate, magnesium (great if you have migraines), phosphorus, iron and copper and manganese

According to the Mother Nature Network:
Quinoa is stocked with life-sustaining nutrients all across the board, including all eight essential amino acids. There are other highly beneficial compounds, vitamins and minerals in this food that the Incas reverently called "chisaya mama" (mother of all grains).
 
Vegetarians would do well to incorporate quinoa into their diet often. It’s difficult for vegetarians to get all eight essential amino acids and an adequate source of protein from one food source. Usually, vegetarians and vegans need to combine foods like beans and rice to acquire all the essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein.
 
Those with gluten sensitivities or wheat allergies can rejoice in eating quinoa as it contains no gluten or wheat. (Spanish conquistadors during the South American conquest suppressed quinoa production, as it was associated with what the Spaniards perceived as non-Christian, indigenous, ceremonial backwardness. Thus, wheat was cultivated in the Andes region.)

With all that goodness in one food, no wonder it is considered a superfood AND included in the New Year's Good Luck Meal!

According to Grub, and tradition, "Each cabbage leaf represents $1,000 that you will see in the New Year, so eat up!"  I think I've eaten 2 cabbage rolls, and another 6-7 cabbage leaves for good measure!

Quinoa-Stuffed Cabbage Packages

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa
coarse sea salt
1 large green cabbage head
12 chives
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 tablespoons fresh orange juice
4 garlic cloves, minced and sautéed in olive oil for 1-2 minutes until golden
1/4 cup currants
1/4 toasted walnuts, chopped
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
freshly ground white pepper

Quinoa

If it is not pre-rinsed, rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer under running water and drain.  Combine the quinoa, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 cups of water in a large saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until all the water is absorbed.  Let the quinoa steam with the lid on for 15 minutes, then remove the top and cool.

Cooked Quinoa


Cabbage






Meanwhile, bring a large, deep pot of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt. Prepare a large bowl full of ice water.

Cut the core from the cabbage with a small paring knife.  Drop the whole cabbage into the water and boil for 5-10 minutes, remove the cabbage head, and removed the softened outer leaves.  Shock the leaves in the ice water (ice bath) to set the color and stop the cooking.  Return the cabbage head to the boiling water to soften the next few layers of leaves, remove them, ice bath, and then continue with the rest of the cabbage.  Drain and pat the cabbage leave dry with paper towels.  To save time and paper towels I gently spun the leaves in the salad spinner.  Worked great!  Set aside.

Ice Bath

Bring water back to boil and add the chives.  Blanch for 10 seconds.  Remove them and place in ice bath.  Drain and set aside with cabbage leaves.

In a large bowl combine the olive oil, lime juice, orange juice, garlic, currants, walnuts and parsley.  Mix well.  Add the cooled quinoa and toss well.  Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste.  Add white pepper to taste.  At this point, this is an EXCELLENT QUINOA SALAD!  You could serve this as a side dish if you like.  It's GREAT!

Dressing for Quinoa 

This would make a GREAT Quinoa Salad/Side Dish

Back to Packages...

With a sharp knife, cut the thick part of the stem from each cabbage leaf.  Place heaping 3 tablespoons of the quinoa in the center of each cabbage leaf.  Fold the sides toward the center and fold up each end of the leaf into a compact package. Wrap a chive around the narrower side of each package and tie it up into a knot. Serve on a platter with seam side down.

Rolling the cabbage package is like rolling a burrito.  Lay out cabbage leaf.

Place quinoa in center.  Fold in one side...

Then the other...

Roll up the bottom then bring down the top portion.

Wrap it nicely in the chive

Such a cute little package!

Good luck!  Or better yet, Good Health!


Yum!

Friday, January 13, 2012

This Week: Moosewood Cookbook's Basic Corn Bread



Choosing a meatless cookbook to focus on seems rather counter to our mostly paleo lifestyle, but the popularity and appeal of the Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen cannot be overlooked.  Her recipes use healthy, natural ingredients much of which would fit in the Zone or Paleo food program.

The first recipe I'm showcasing this week is Basic Corn Bread.

Who doesn't love corn bread?

It's a must with chili or other hearty soup/stew.  Corn Bread screams comfort food!

This recipe is a variation from the traditional; it calls for buttermilk or yogurt instead of milk.

I used Arrowhead Mills Organic Yellow Corn Meal and 1/2 buttermilk, 1/2 organic vanilla yogurt.  For the sweetener I used coconut sugar.  It's subtle and went well with the sweetness of the vanilla yogurt.

Basic Corn Bread- The Moosewood Cookbook

Ingredients

Butter to grease the pan

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk or yogurt (I used 1/2 cup buttermilk and 1/2 cup organic vanilla yogurt)
1 egg
3 tablespoons sugar or honey (I used coconut sugar)
3 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8-inch square pan (or a 9-10 inch cast-iron skillet) with butter.



Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl.  Combine wet ingredients, including sugar/honey, separately.  Stir wet ingredients into dry, mixing just enough to thoroughly combine.  Spread into the prepared pan.

Dry Ingredients

Dry and Wet...combine

Batter, ready for the oven

The batter is relatively thick- much thicker than other cornbread recipes I've tried. No cause for concern; it turns out great!

Bake 20 minutes, or until the center is firm to the touch.  Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Fresh out of the oven

So moist...perfect!

Thank you Mollie Katzen for a GREAT recipe!


Enjoy!

Raising "Different" Kids

I love our kids.  More than life itself.

Before I was a mom, I knew I would dedicate my life to raising up godly, respectful, blessed children.  If being a MOM was a recipe I knew the main ingredient would be LOVE.

With each child, I gave them a song during my pregnancy.  Our oldest son's song is "Blessed" by Elton John.  Drawing from the lyrics of the song, I knew he'd be blessed; I'd give him my best; I promised him that.

When you commit to raise children, promising to give them your best, you make choices and sacrifices along the way.  I can't say I know how they will turn out as adults, but it is my desire to raise kids who are different.  By different I mean they don't fit in the "teenager" box or the "terrible two's" box or whatever other box the world wants to put them in.  Too often the world wants to place our kids a box.  It is our hope that they are who God says they are.  They are gifts packaged by God, different from any other kid who has hit this earth!  I'm honored to be given the gift of being their mom.

Parenting = Leaning heavily on God and His Word. My plan in parenting was simple: pour vast amounts of love on our kids, correct self-centered behavior and teach them compassion for others.  Along the way, in addition to love and compassion we hoped to teach them honor, respect, courtesy, kindness, generosity and more.   We acknowledge their gifts and celebrate the way God made them.

There are times I look at them completely honored.  Now I'm the one who is blessed.

Last night, our kids displayed their kindness, compassion and caring hearts.

I'm not sharing this to blow my own horn, but to celebrate what I see as the "different" behavior I had hoped and prayed for.

The kids accompanied me to the CrossFit gym for my workout.  They are so patient! They've endured countless hours at the gym waiting.

Last night's workout consisted of:

3 Rounds
800 meter run carrying 35 pound weight
3 rope climbs up a 15 foot rope
12 thrusters (I did 55 pounds)

So they wouldn't be bored, I suggested they run with me.  They love to workout, and jumped at the opportunity.

I found carrying 35 pounds while running is really tough.  Actually, it was more of a shuffle.  Our kids are incredible encouragers.  Throughout the run, they consistently repeated, "Go, Mom!  You're doing great!"

I forgot to mention we were running in the dark.  I make it a practice to never run alone in the dark.  I've mentioned numerous times about safety while running; running alone in the dark is not a good idea.

I have a friend, Suzie, who attends the gym at the same time.  Suzie is incredible. She's made amazing progress!  She was running alone last night when I was with the three kids.  I noticed during round two of the workout, our younger two kids were close to my side, but my oldest was holding back.  I sensed he was keeping tabs on Suzie making sure she was okay.

By round three, he was jogging alongside her offering encouragement.  He finished round three with her.

When she walked in, she breathlessly said, "You're kids are awesome."

This melted my heart.

He is different.

How many teenage boys would hold back not looking to run for their own glory, but to ensure the 40-something made it in safely?

His heart is HUGELY kind and compassionate!

I love that!

I didn't tell him to run with Suzie.  He just did it.

Developing your child's character isn't something you set out on a weekend to build. It's something that takes place everyday as you invest in your kids. It takes time, patience, and diligence.  It's not easy, but so worth it!  Be encouraged!

I read this quote the other day and it seems applicable:

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Grub Recipe #3: Rosemary-Butter Biscuits



Sitting in my favorite rocking chic, inhaling the fresh scent of rosemary and slowly savoring recipe #3 from Grub.

This kids keep repeating in their best Martha pronunciation, "I smell a 'Herb'."

Yes , my loves, you do smell a herb.

Rosemary.

One thing I love about living in Southern California is the abundance of rosemary shrubs.  I love walking past a rosemary shrub and rubbing my hand along while activating the aroma.  It's heavenly!

It reminds me of what I dream cottage living in Avonlea would be like.  Specifically, when I think of such herbs I think of gardens and tea, leading me to think about Anne and Miss Lavendar Lewis.  I think Anne, Diana and Miss Lavendar Lewis would have loved these biscuits.

Today's selected recipe is truly scrumptious!

If I wasn't counting points and limiting wheat and gluten, I would have inhaled most of these delicious biscuits!  I'm practicing my best self-restraint right now!  It's difficult to say the least!

Rosemary-Butter Biscuits

Ingredients

3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon organic raw cane sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons fresh minced rosemary (I used between 1-1 1/2 tablespoons)
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into bits, plus more for serving
3/4 cups organic whole milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Sift flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt into large bowl.  Stir in the rosemary.  I used less than the 2 tablespoons suggested because I wasn't sure how our kids would like the flavor of rosemary.  I didn't want the rosemary to overwhelm them.  If you or your kids love herbs go for the 2 tablespoons or if you're enjoying a hearty fall meal I think the 2 tablespoons would be great!  With a pastry cutter or fork, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal.

Sifting the dry ingredients

Cutting in the butter with a pastry blender.  A fork would work also.


Add the milk all at once and mix with a large spoon just until the dough forms into a ball.  With lightly floured hands, knead the dough on a lightly floured surface just a couple of times, until it all comes together.

Roll out the dough about 1/2 inch thick, and then cut with a 2-inch biscuit cutter or drinking glass.  We went with a drinking glass that measured about 2 1/2 inches in diameter.  Place the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet a few inches apart from each other.  Bake until the biscuits are golden brown on top, about 15 minutes.



Remove from oven, cut a widthwise slit halfway into each biscuit and add a thin sliver of butter.  Serve hot.




We made 13 biscuits with our 2 1/2-glass.  If you're following Weight Watchers, each biscuit is 3 points.

Grub Recipe #2 Sweet Potato Fries



There are some recipes when I glance at the ingredients I know we're in for a REAL treat.  There are other recipes, like Martha Stewart's homemade marshmallows that were so good I thought I'd never buy store-bought marshmallows again, but sadly, they've never had a second go-around.  There are some recipes I know will culminate into something I'll never like, so they'll never be attempted.  Then there are those I will try, they appear simple and worthwhile, but the truth is the recipe will never make it to the repeat file because of either hard-to-find and/or expensive ingredients, excessive time to prepare, or there's a convenient alternative that suits us fine.

Such was the case with Grub's Cinnamon-Dusted Sweet Potato Fries.

I'm glad I tried this delicious recipe, but don't plan on making again anytime soon. Don't get me wrong, I prefer making all things from scratch and these yummies were all-natural, made from scratch with healthy ingredients, and ever-so-tasty. This little number would also meet paleo parameters- the only ingredients were sweet potatoes, coconut oil, sea salt and a little cinnamon.  They were a HUGE hit with the kids and I ate my share of the tasty treat, but they seemed time consuming.  Not all at one time, time-consuming, just cut wait, pat-dry, fry, wait, fry, etc.

Perhaps if I had a deep fat fryer they would have proved easier to make, but then there's the oil issue.  The recipe called for the sweet potatoes to be fried in coconut oil.  I love cooking with coconut oil, but it's a bit expensive to use for deep frying.

So, with the expensive oil combined with the frying time, perhaps I won't be making these again soon.  Furthermore, we can buy tasty Sweet Potato Fries at Trader Joe's, pop them in the oven and have a yummy side dish in about 20 minutes. Another option I was thinking about while making them was the sweet potato chips.  Easy!

Furthermore, I roast and/or grill fresh sweet potatoes often and I like the taste of those just about as well as these.

If you're interested in trying something new, I'd say give this recipe a whirl.  They're very tasty and simple, but be prepared to put a dent in your $6-$8 jar of organic coconut oil.

Cinnamon-Dusted Sweet Potato Fries

The recipe stated prep time was 10 minutes.  Perhaps I was distracted, but it seemed to take me much more time than 10 minutes between peeling, slicing, soaking, patting, etc.

Ingredients

4 large sweet potatoes (about 4 pounds), peeled
Coarse sea salt (I used Kosher salt)
Organic, unrefined coconut cooking oil, for frying
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon (we didn't use the cinnamon- they were great without)

Cut the sweet potatoes into slices about 1/2 inch thick, then cut them lengthwise into the shape of slim fries (we went for the chip shape).

So thankful for the Cuisinart!



In a large bowl, combine the sweet potatoes with 1 teaspoon salt and enough cold water to cover by a few inches.  Cover and refrigerate for at least  1 hour, or overnight.



Thoroughly drain the sweet potatoes in a colander.  Pat (tedious work this patting is!) them well with paper towels until completely dry.

They were pretty!


Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan or deep-fryer over medium-high heat until it reaches a temperature of 325 degrees, 6-8 minutes.  (Details, details...I just heated oil and fried).  Fry the potatoes, in batches, until lightly browned.  Remove the fries from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate.  Increase the heat to high until it reaches 375 degrees, then add the par-fried potatoes (AGAIN, I have to fry?), in batches, back into the oil and fry until crisp, 2-4 minutes.  Again, remove the fries from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate.  Dust with cinnamon and serve immediately.  I didn't use the cinnamon.  I just dusted with Kosher salt and they were TASTY!

I was really stingy with the coconut oil as you can tell!

After first round of frying

Done and ready to eat!

Yum!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Communication: Are You Hearing What is Being Said?

Communication.

Good communication is imperative in successful friendships, marriages and parent-child relationships.

But, even with the best intentions and willingness to listen sometimes what is begin said isn't what is heard. 

I can't even tell you how many times my hub will say something, but what I hear is completely different from what he intended.  

Effective communicating and listening can be really difficult.  One perfect example occurred yesterday with our oldest son, The Teenager.  NOTE: What I heard and what was being said were two completely different things.

We were at Target.  We had just walked in front of the video/electronics section heading toward the toy section so our Lego son could look for Lego figures.

As we passed the electronics section, our oldest son blurted out in a loud voice, "ARE WE BROKE?"

I was a little shocked he would ask that right in the middle of the store, especially since it came out of the blue.  It's true there have been some financial struggles lately with a number of unexpected expenses coming up, but we're by no means broke.  Why would he ask such a thing?

I told him to be quiet.

Then he said it again, "ARE WE BROKE?"

UGH!  Why does he keep repeating it?  People at Target do not need to hear this.

Then he said it again, "ARE WE BROKE?"

I gave him the, "Do not repeat that again!" look.

He then gave me the, "Mom, what's your problem?" look.

I said, "Do not say that!  There is not a problem.  We're fine!  Now stop it!"

He looked at me quizzically.  

Then there was silence and we headed to the toy section.

After about another minute or two, he kind of whispered, "Mom, are we broke?"

Why won't he let that one go?

I then looked at him and said, "Honey, we're not broke.  We're fine."

He then sighed and said, "No mom, Our Wii broke."

Oh...our Wii broke.

Whew!

He wasn't trying to frustrate me.  We just didn't understand each other.

He kept saying, "Our Wii broke,"  but I was hearing, "Are we broke?"

My poor son!

How many times do we hear one thing, while our kids (or spouses) are saying something completely different.

As parents we need to really pay attention to our kids (and spouses), ask for clarification if necessary and make sure we are understanding each other before jumping to conclusions.

Listen to your kids (and spouses).  What they're saying may not be what you're hearing at all.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Grub's Wild-Style Salad



I can't believe it's Friday already!  What happened to the week?  Oh, yeah...we started school again.  Busy days!

In our homeschool, Fridays are fun days set aside for catch up, unlimited reading, field trips, cooking, projects and just playing.  We all love Friday!

By the end of the week, our brains are worn out so we've designed Friday to be our day of learning that is less about books and more about life.

Today we played beauty shop; I cut my girlie's hair.  She's now proudly sporting "long bangs."  One of our boys caught up on math, while another buried himself in his Tim Tebow book.  Did you know Tim Tebow and all his brother's have chin scars?  That's important boy battle scar information!  Furthermore, Tim Tebow's mom made placemats of states, presidents, the periodic table and more!  Learning was something the Tebow kids did while not even realizing it.  That's my kind of teaching!

Most importantly, I had some cooking time!  With Adele Radio playing on Pandora I made the first of my three recipes selected from the cookbook GRUB.

This salad is called Wild-Style Salad.  It looks like something you'd pay $7/cup at Whole Foods' salad bar. It's a beautiful salad filled with many healthy ingredients. It is vegetarian/vegan.  The only protein source would be the wild rice (7 grams/cup) and the minimal amount from the cashews.

The recipe calls for extra-virgin olive oil.  The flavor was so great without it, I didn't add it.  Although I workout 5-6 days per week, and watch what we eat, a few extra pounds have crept back into my life.  I'm back to counting points with Weight Watchers.  My focus will primarily be sticking to a paleo food program, but I still need to feed the rest of the family healthy whole/clean food.

I input the ingredients for this salad into the Weight Watchers recipe calculator. Three-fourths of a cup is 4 points; this is without the olive oil.



Wild-Style Salad

Salad

1 cup wild rice, rinsed and soaked overnight in the refrigerator
coarse sea salt
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/4 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions (I used green onion)
1/2 cup cashews, toasted and chopped

Dressing

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Sea salt
Freshly ground white pepper (I just used black pepper)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (optional)

For the Salad

Combine wild rice with 3 cups of water in medium saucepan over high heat.  Bring to boil, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until water is absorbed.

This is my beautiful new pot.  Thank you Jama!
Rice cooking away...put the lid back on.  It's not done yet.

Remove from heat; transfer to strainer; rinse under cold water until rice is completely cooled.

In a large bowl, combine cooked rice, bell pepper, carrots, celery, raisins, scallions, and cashews.


Yummy snack foods!

Combine rice, vegetables, raisins, and cashews


For the Dressing

In a small mixing bowl, combine vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, maple syrup, garlic, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and white pepper (to taste).  Mix well.  Slowly pour in olive oil, if using, whisking until emulsified.

This is the dressing, minus the olive oil.

Pour the dressing over the rice and toss well.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to allow flavors to combine.



Remove the rice from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!