Eating dinner together as a family has always been important to me. I grew up in a family where eating dinner together most nights of the week was just something we did. Dinner was at six and a moment of each day where we all gathered together to share a meal (albeit a crazy meal). Believe me when I say it wasn't a picture perfect meal of a family gathered around a table laughing and enjoying each other's company. And while we did enjoy each other (for the most part) and there was laughing (mixed with some occasional arguing and a possible tear or two), it was also loud (I'm the oldest of nine), hectic, and left a lot of dishes to be done. But despite all its craziness, it instilled in me the importance of gathering those you love around the table.
There are few nights that my little family doesn't gather around our black round table to share a meal. Preston sits to my left and Noah to Preston's left. Todd sits to my right and Stella is sandwiched right between us.
Often the time together at our table is a little on the crazy side. It seems I'm constantly up and down, up and down, getting something for someone. Preston cannot seem to stay in his seat....ever. Most of the time he's standing or hanging half way off his chair and it drives me crazy! We've actually tired belting him to his seat to keep him sitting down....it didn't work. Noah has a tendency to belch at some point during the meal (even though he's threatened with getting no treat after dinner if he does), and if we can get Stella to finish her meal in a timely manner it would be a miracle. But, in between all of the craziness, the time we spend together at the end of the day gathered around our table is priceless to me.
As my kiddies grow I hope that each of them will remember the moments, memories, and craziness around our table and that someday they will gather their own little families around their kitchen tables to create memories of their own and to feed one another and be fed.
Mango and Brown Rice with Coconut-Ginger Dressing
2 cups uncooked brown basmati rice
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted
2 cups cooked black or red beans
1 ripe avocado thinly sliced
1 ripe mango, diced
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped + extra for garnish
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut milk
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
2 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Rinse rice in a strainer under cold running water for 30 seconds, swirling the rice around with your fingers. Combine rice with 3 cups water, 1/2 cup coconut milk, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan; bring water to a boil, then simmer, covered, for about 40 minutes or until the rice is tender. Transfer rice to a fine mesh strainer and run cold water over it until cool. Place strainer over bowl to drain at least 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl combine mango, red onion, and cilantro. Toss lightly to combine.
In a small bowl whisk together the dressing ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Place rice in bowl and top with beans, toasted coconut flakes, mango, avocado, and extra cilantro. Pour dressing over salad (you may not use all of it). Serve.
*I cooked my rice in a pressure cooker because it seems to be the most consistent and quick way for me to cook brown rice. For this recipe I combined 2 cups brown basmati rice with 2 cups water, 1/2 cup coconut milk, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Close lid securely; bring to high pressure over high heat. Adjust heat to medium-low or level needed to maintain a consistent rocking of pressure knob. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let pressure release through steam vent. Remove lid and fluff with fork.
*Instead of doing one big salad, I let each person in our family make their own individual bowl.
Recipe slightly adapted from Foodess
Recipe slightly adapted from Foodess