Normally, I'm not a big fan of kitchen gadgets. I got rid of our breadmaker, our ice cream maker, our toaster oven--I hate how much room they take up for how little I use them. But too many failures in the rice department lately had me loudly wishing for a rice cooker. My little angel (Brad) heard my wishes and presto! Just like that I am a proud owner of a rice cooker. I tried it out tonight and I AM IN LOVE! I just put the rice and water in (of course I added some boullion, onions, and cilantro to it, too) and closed the lid. When the bell went off, I had perfect, fluffy rice, just like I've tried to make but always messed up. It was yummy brown rice, but fluffier and sticker, like I love. Mmmmm...
Speaking of yummy, I have a favorite summer salad/dip that is healthier than guacamole (I always put too much sour cream in my guac, so it's not so healthy), but more tasty than just plain salsa. The picture has it in individual scoops, but I just leave it in the bowl and scoop it out with a spoon or a chip.
Black Bean, Corn and Avacado Dip
2 cups frozen sweet corn (thawed)
1 can black beans (rinsed thoroughly)
1 cup salsa or picante sauce (I prefer mild, but I suppose you could go hotter)
1 small bunch green onions, diced
1 avacado, sliced in little chunks
Juice of a small lime
1/2 cup (or so) cilantro, chopped.
Combine all ingredients and toss well in glass bowl. Let sit for one hour in the refrigerator to meld flavors. Serve with chips (I like the lime Tostitos myself)
Another great recipe I got from a new friend in my ward is cake mix cookies. They're so easy! Just use any cake mix, add two eggs and enough oil to make cookie batter consistency (around 1/4 cup). She had used a white mix and dipped them in little confetti candy to make cute sugar cookies. I just had on hand a yellow cake mix, so I added choc chips. I think it'll be fun to try out different mixes. (I've done this kind of before, making homemade oreo cookies, but that recipe called for shortening instead of oil--the oil is TEN TIMES easier!) I think I'll try using applesauce instead of the oil for a low-fat version. They stay really moist, too. Now, don't get me wrong--they do not replace a really good choc chip cookie in taste, but they score MAJOR points for convenience and ease.