30 Minute Fried Rice

Some months are busier than others, and this has been a busy month.  A traveling husband, a busy season on the blog, chores that know no end, and three blessings who always keep me on my toes no matter what the day of the week it is. (What’s this you call a weekend? Time off, what?).

At the beginning of the month, I sat down and planned simple meals that would come together in about thirty minutes or less. My idea of a good meal plan in a busy season is one that is quick, yes, but also delicious and appealing. Otherwise, if I’ve planned meals that I don’t actually feel like eating, we will just end up going for convenience foods that satisfy the craving of the moment. Of course, I also give myself the buffer of stocking the freezer with nitrate-free hot dogs and frozen potstickers from my favorite warehouse store.

30 Minute Fried Rice

This fried rice dish fits that bill.

It’s a recipe that is one which is the result of a lot of trial and error. Over the years, I’ve learned a little about how to make a good fried rice dish. I’ve served up plenty of ho-hum dishes, plenty of overcooked meat, and plenty of vegetables that were either too hard or too mushy. I finally have it down.

The components are cooked individually. This ensures plenty of contact with the hot pan, which is essential when cooking food over higher heat in a short amount of time.

P.S.  This is a 30-minute meal as long as you have cooked the rice ahead of time. You can cook it a day or two in advance, maybe make a double batch and then set aside some for this meal. The rice should be cool, not hot, when you put it in the pan to fry. We prefer brown rice for health and taste, and baking it in the oven is the only way I make it now. The rice consistently turns out perfect and it just requires about 5 minutes of hands-on prep, then an hour to cook in the oven. Easy peasy.

P.P.S. Sesame oil. Perhaps something you don’t have already in your kitchen, but it’s pretty essential to getting the right flavor in a good fried rice or lo mein dish. Splurge (a little) on a bottle and it will last you many nights of healthier-than-take-out Chinese dishes.

P.P.P.S. (Because I can’t stop with the addendums tonight). When I took these pictures, I used venison medallions. I’ve also used flank steak and chicken breasts. The vegetables are also rather interchangeable. Just pick vegetables with a similar hardiness.

30 Minute Fried Rice

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Perfect Baked Brown Rice

Healthy options are great.

…when they taste good.

…and when you know how to make them.

Brown rice can be one of those irritating I-know-I-should-eat-it-but… foods where you’ve tried it but it was either too gummy or too crunchy or took too long or too just not very good.

If you’re in the camp where you’ve written off brown rice as something people more granola than you can happily keep, can I suggest you give it one more try?

It is in fact healthier. Brown rice still has all the good nutrients in tact, whereas white rice has been stripped and often bleached to achieve that white color.

And it can be easy. Really easy.

5 minutes of prep. 1 hour in the oven. And that’s it. Perfect brown rice every time. You can thank me later.

Perfect Baked Brown Rice

This recipe is for a double batch. Because it just makes sense to go ahead and make twice as much to use for another meal later in the week. A quick lunch burrito bowl? A side with grilled salmon? A dish of fried rice?

And, many thanks to Cooks Illustrated for teaching me how easy brown rice can be. Where would I be in the kitchen without Cooks Illustrated?!

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Travel Jewelry Roll

This post is a part of 31 Days to a Handmade Christmas & is teaming up with Taking Route for a fun giveaway!

Traveling can be stressful. Actually, anytime I try to leave the house with my three children and arrive at our destination in a somewhat punctual fashion can be stressful. Throw in taking things along with us, and the situation can get downright crazy. All the while your husband is checking his watch like somehow repeatedly looking at it will slow time.

I’ve read somewhere that the more kids you have, the less you feel like you have to bring along when you get out of the house. I can certainly agree with that for errands and day trips. But as soon as we start planning to be gone longer than a day, the list of things to pack starts to get higher than my kid can count. (Bad example, actually, he can’t get very far yet…)

Whether or not you have kids in tow, packing lists and organization are good ideas. When you’re on the road, space is at a premium. A little organization can mean the difference between having perfectly coordinating necklaces and earrings and having nothing to wear because you couldn’t pack your entire jewelry box before your family left without you in a dust cloud of vacation-induced punctuality.

Plus, it’s never a good idea to leave jewelry laying around when you’re at home or away. And it’s definitely not a good idea to leave a pair of your favorite earrings on the back of the toilet no matter where you are. They just might happen to find a watery grave at the bottom of a septic tank (ask me how I know…).

Travel Jewelry Roll

This week I’m teaming up with my friend Denise from Taking Route (an awesome blog about the expat life) to give you all a chance to win this jewelry roll and give you instructions to make your own. Right now, Taking Route is featuring stories about traveling and living overseas. And, you guys, the stories are really funny and great. You can check out the series (and read about my own travel tip) on the blog.

Be sure to enter to win this awesome handmade travel jewelry roll and then read below to find out how to make one for yourself or as a great handmade Christmas gift. Don’t thank me now, thank me when your 3 year old can’t flush your earrings because they’re perfectly secure in the zipper pocket of your pretty jewelry roll.

There are many ways to enter:  

like both This Pilgrim Life and Taking Route on Facebook;

follow us both on twitter; share the Giveaway on twitter (do this each day if you like!)

or tell us “If you won an all expense trip to anywhere in the world, where would you go” in the comments section.

At this time we can only ship to a valid U.S. address but if you live outside the U.S., we can gift wrap it and send it to anyone you like.  Get ahead on your Christmas shopping!

The more entries you submit, the better your chances of winning!

Click here and submit your entries!a Rafflecopter giveaway

keep reading to find out how to make your own…

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