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Seasons of Joy seeks to empower families to create peaceful rhythms and routines and joyful celebrations that follow the circle of the year. The blog also chronicles our adventures in living simply, loving exuberantly, and Waldorf inspired homeschooling.

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A Month of Mondays: Monday is RICE DAY!

So, I am hopelessly behind on this whole Month of Mondays. I knew this would happen. I actually kind of planned for it.

It’s cool.

800px-Brown_rice

If you’d like to learn more about Steiner’s indications for a grain each day of the week, I couldn’t do a better job than Carrie over at Parenting Passageway has already done. I will say that we don’t do it out of superstition or a belief that each grain somehow magically matches to each day. What I do believe is that we were blessed by our Creator to live in a world with many different grains to be consumed. I believe that whole grains are beneficial and that a variety of whole grains is even more beneficial. I know there is controversy about whole grains—do you soak or not soak? where should you source them? should you even eat them at all?—so I am happy that Monday starts with rice, one of the most uncontroversial and benign grains there is.

One of the best decisions I ever made was to make a big pot of brown rice on Mondays. We use this for everything. Throughout the week, I use it to stretch soup or make a quick stir fry to use up leftovers. It also makes a quick and easy side dish for pretty much any meal. I can add some beans, plop it on a tortilla, and serve it up for lunch. It also makes a yummy pudding. So many things to do with rice!

Why rice? According to The Waldorf Kindergarten Snack Book, rice “…acts on more on the digestive system than the nerve-sense system and therefore does not stimulate a wakeful consciousness.” It’s a gentle, bland grain for beginning your week. I personally find it to be a very nurturing and warming grain, reminiscent of baby days and nurseries. There are places in the world where the phrase “to eat” literally means “to eat rice” and for half the world’s population, rice provides over half of their daily calories.

Definitely choose brown rice over white. Milling and converting the rice to white removes 67% of the vitamin B3, 80% of the vitamin B1, 90% of the vitamin B6, half of the manganese, half of the phosphorus, 60% of the iron, and all of the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids. It all has to be added back in, or “enriched”. You can read more about the benefits of brown rice here.

Over the next day or so I am going to share some of my favorite recipes and ideas for including rice in your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Meanwhile, here are some quick and easy ways to prepare a big batch of rice to keep in your fridge for the week.

To make brown rice on the stovetop, rinse it first for about 30 seconds. Swirl it about to get rid of any debris. At this point you can let it soak for a half-hour or so, or not. I never do. Bring 8 cups of water to boil with a teaspoon of salt. When it’s boiling, add a cup of rice, stir, and partially cover for 30 minutes. The drain the rice and quickly return it to the pot, make sure the burner is turned off, and let the steam continue cooking it for another 20 minutes. I love this method because it takes the guesswork out of the moisture to rice ration.

If you prefer, you can make brown rice in a crockpot. You need two cups of brown rice and five cups of water. Add salt to taste, stir, and cook on low for 3 hours. Easy peasy!

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