The Prince’s Apricot and Almond Rice Pilaf and a #FreeRead

There is a scene in THE PRINCE’S GAMBLE where Prince Alexander decides to show FBI Agent Kathleen Martinez just how liberated a man he can be by making her dinner. I guess he hoped to woo his way into her heart by way of her stomach!

I shared the prince’s sour cream chicken recipe a couple of Tuesdays ago and now I’m going to share the recipe for the apricot and almost rice pilaf he made!

Apricot and Almond Rice Pilaf

Ingredients:

2 cups rice (you can use brown rice. I also wash the rice several times but that is a matter of choice)

4 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)

1-2 onions (medium to small. You can substitute shallots here!)

1/2 cup diced apricots

1/3 toasted slivered almonds

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions:

Heat the butter and olive oil in a pot. Add onions and saute until onions are translucent, but not brown. Add the rice and cook until just turning golden. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce to a low simmer and add the diced apricots. Once all the liquid is absorbed, fluff with a fork and add the toasted almonds. You don’t want to add them too early because they will get mushy!

Serve with the sour cream chicken or any kind of chicken. You can also use brown rice or quinoa in the recipe. Possibly even check out using couscous.

As for the free read . . .

Rum running, white slavery, money laundering, ghosts, murder and mysteries along the Jersey Shore! Now you get a free read of A GHOST OF A CHANCE when you purchase THE PRINCE’S GAMBLE. Plus, you’re helping out a good cause since my share of the proceeds from the sales from now until March 1 are being donated to the Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief fund. Help rebuild and restore the Jersey Shore and get some fun Jersey Shore reads while you do! THE PRINCE’S GAMBLE is now available for sale at Amazon (http://amzn.to/WGsxKy), B&N (http://bit.ly/WxipEv) and Kobo (ht.ly/fBKN0) as well as a number of other online retailers.

Confessions of a Carboholic

Back on one of the Tuesday Tips I mentioned that I was battling the bulge again and some of you asked for me to let you know how I was doing.

Well, I am doing great! I’ve lost 6.5 pounds in about a month. I feel better and my clothes are starting to get loose. I’m counting the minutes until I can drop a size.

But to accomplish that I had to do some soul searching and realize something very troubling – I am a carboholic. Worse yet, that being a carboholic was so not good for my system. All that bloating and big belly started to go away as soon as I curtailed my carbs.

I did that in part with that wonderful book my daughter gave me — Eat This, Not That. I have the supermarket edition which is great because it lays out in no nonsense fashion what to buy and what not to buy and the reasons for those choices (although there is one with which I do not agree and more on that later).

First I cut back on my carbs and the carbs that I eat are lower in fat and sugar and higher in dietary fiber. Fiber is wonderful because it fills you up and keeps you from having that empty sensation.

How did I do that? Thomas’ Light Multi-grain English Muffins. At 100 calories per muffin, they have only 1 gram of fat and 8 grams of dietary fiber. In the mornings I will have it with a smear of one of those Laughing Cow Light Cheeses – also great! Only 35 calories per little wedge, but packed with flavor.

For Sunday pasta meals, we switched to Barilla Whole Grain Pasta (suprisingly on the Not That list, but I don’t agree). With 200 calories per serving, it has only 1.5 grams of fat and 6 grams of dietary fiber. Plus, it’s tasty unlike some other whole grain pastas.

At lunch I make sure to have veggies of some kind, whether alone or with grilled chicken, or a sandwich made with a muffin, low fat cheese and low fat ham (not a big turkey fan which would help, I know) or chicken.

For snacks – nuts, nuts, nuts. A handful of almonds (approximately 12), cashews or walnuts are a great snack at around 3 pm.

At night we try to keep it simple. Grilled steak, chicken or eggs with veggies and a salad. Actually, we’ve been eating a lot more eggs. They are not as bad for you as people think and if you buy some Eggland’s Best or another high quality egg, they are packed with vitamins and have lower cholesterol than regular eggs. I always look for a sale on them and stock up.

For a late night (around 8 pm) snack, I’ve been making our own desserts – like a low fat fruit-packed ambrosia — or having a small handful of Brookside Dark Chocolate Covered Pomegrantes. I get a 2 lb bag at Costco and they are absolutely delicious. 22 pieces are about 200 calories, but I stick to about half that amount because they are so decadent and dark chocolate and pomegrante are packed with anti-oxidants.

Adding all those fruits, nuts and veggies has gone a long way in helping as well. They keep me feeling fuller and I’m not having those horrible hunger pangs that wreck most diets. In fact, I’m not even thinking about this as a diet anymore, but as a lifestyle change because I can see myself eating like this for the rest of my life.

So, that’s my confession about being a carboholic and how I’ve changed some of my habits. I’ve also been going to the gym regularly and that’s been a big help. Any increase in activity is good for you, including a brisk walk!

Hope today’s Thursday Thoughts might be of help to you. 🙂