On Resourcefulness and Rice Pudding (Top 9 Allergen Free)

Dear Joey,

You might want to ditch calling me Scratch and swap it for a name like Resourceful Rachel instead with all the re-purposing I am doing in the kitchen. We are using up leftovers like crazy, waste not, want not and all. I feel just like Aunt Daisy.

You’ve heard me tell the stories about Aunt Daisy, right?

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Grandma Teague tells them best: Aunt Daisy’s quirky kitchen ways are legend in our family. That sweet woman never wasted a thing: she scraped every morsel off of unfinished plates and slumped bits of roasted chicken and corn casserole and spaghetti marinara into emptied-out jelly jars and tucked them all into the freezer, unwilling to watch any of it go to waste.

Every so often she cleaned out those shelves and plunked it all into a soup pot to make a stew, of sorts–mixing together tidbits from everyone’s plate and transforming months’ worth of leftovers into that night’s dinner.

Grandma says her mother used to tell Aunt Daisy to spring for a pork chop once in awhile.

Ok so fine, I haven’t gotten into the habit of doing that, exactly, but we are being pretty hard core about making the Goobies finish their food. If their plates aren’t clean by the end of the meal, we wrap it up and serve it again at snack time–or worse, breakfast. The idea of seeing beefy quinoa soup again at breakfast is enough to make Addie slurp down her whole bowl, but Emery refused to touch it until his tummy hurt at bedtime a few nights ago. He decided eating soup was better than going hungry.

You would think he’d remember that when he refused to eat much of his dinner last night. He wolfed down the meat and left everything else, saying he would rather eat it for breakfast. (It took him three hours to choke it down this morning. Cold rice, cucumber salad and green beans don’t make a very appealing morning meal.)

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As he sat at the counter crying, he complained and bargained to no avail while I stirred together a fresh batch of Rice Pudding for everyone else. It might have been cruel, but it reinforced the point. Cold, crunchy rice drizzled with coconut aminos pales in comparison to a bowl of warm, comforting rice pudding.

He cried harder when I scooped some into little glass bowls for the girls, dusting their servings with a little bit of cinnamon, its aroma wafting toward him as he asked for ketchup to make his leftovers go down easier.

I felt so mean.

Eventually that boy finished his dinner for breakfast, just in time to have rice pudding for lunch. And he marveled over it, giving me two big thumbs up.

Rice pudding is not fancy, and Mia says it’s a whole lot like oatmeal. But its decadence makes it so much comforting than a bowl of warm oatmeal is (even though I do see her point). Addie says we should top it with whipped cream and eat it for dessert sometime.

No one disagrees.

Need to use up leftover rice? Add some canned coconut milk, sugar, cinnamon–and if you’re feeling generous, add a bit of vanilla extract too, and you’ll make your household smell like heaven on earth. Trying to save the vanilla for special occasions? Just leave it out. Ditto with the cinnamon if cinnamon isn’t your thing. The end result is still divine. Swap out any other milk variety if you want to–regular dairy milk works, of course, and other non-dairy milk substitutes will work too, but I whole-heartedly recommend using full fat canned coconut milk to make it extra creamy and comforting.

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