Resolute or Not? & Whole Grain Pilaf

Can you believe it? It’s been almost a month since you vowed to exercise more, drink more water, drink less wine or coffee or both, call your mom every Sunday or eat more vegetables. Sound familiar. No? Maybe you wanted to start a journal, practice yoga, get out of debt or a myriad of other self-improvements.

Unfortunately, if you’re like most people with good intentions to improve, your resolve has already started to crumble. Let me guess, your running shoes have been sitting in the closet since the second or third week in January. The last time you called your mom was New Year’s weekend. Your journal has four entries and your eating habits, well, they’re more or less unchanged.

Is it time to feel like a failure? Absolutely NOT! Depending on what study you read, as few as eight percent of us actually keep our resolutions. If you’ve slipped, you aren’t alone. And, if that resolution is really important to you, you’ll get back on track.

A lot of people don’t bother make resolutions. Some, definitely not me, don’t need to. They are perfect. Or at least they think they are. I’d guess another group is tired of making the same-old, same-old promises that they can’t/won’t/don’t keep. They’ve given up. As for the rest? Since I’m often among them, I’d like to think that we have become more or less comfortable with our imperfections. Isn’t there some line about being perfectly imperfect. Or is it imperfectly perfect?

Why am I so haphazard when it comes to resolutions? It’s not that I don’t want to improve; I do. If pressed, I’ll even come up with an answer. Take this year. A deadline was looming and I felt the need to write something (anything) down. I did a little research and joined the popular table. I claimed I would enjoy life to the fullest in 2016. Hardly original, enjoying life was this year’s number one resolution.

I should have gone with sit-ups, push-ups and weight training three times a week but I wasn’t ready to commit; at least not in public. Instead I took on this big idea which means lots of different things to as many people. If I’m serious, and I’m not sure that I am, I’ve got some thinking to do.

For starters, what does living life to the fullest even mean; or at least what does it mean for me. Do I join a motorcycle gang, skydive or take an exotic trip? Should I gather up a bunch of lists of must-read books, tackle any I’ve missed and reread my favorites? Do I look inward and meditate twice a day or surround myself with vibrant, interesting people or both? Maybe it’s as simple as eat, drink and be merry. Nah, it must more than that.

My life is good now but, heck, it could be better. Coming clean, I confess my resolution was both expedient and glib. To make it more, to make it real, I’ll need some time to figure it out. That said, I’m not starting from scratch. There are a couple of things that I’ve determined already. First, full is not busy; I’ve got plenty of busy. Next and in the same vein, a huge bucket list is not the answer. At least not for me. Finally, one thing is more or less certain in my full life. With apologies to Harley fans, there is very little chance that motorcycles will be involved.

Here’s to a full life and bon appétit!

Whole Grain Pilaf
Rich in protein and fiber, whole grains and nuts make a hearty and healthy pilaf. If one of your resolutions was to eat healthy, try this delicious side dish. If not, try it anyway! It’s that good. Enjoy.
Serves 4-6

1/4 cup wheat berries
1/4 cup brown rice
1/4 cup wild rice
1/4 cup red quinoa
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1-2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine
1-2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
Garnish: fresh chopped parsley

Put the wheat berries in a jar, add 3/4 cup water, cover and store in the refrigerator overnight.

Put the wheat berries, brown rice and wild rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse well under cold water.

Put 4 cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil. Add the wheat berries, brown rice and wild rice, season with salt and pepper and cook for about 30 minutes.

Put the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse well under cold water. Add the quinoa to the wheat berries and rice and continue cooking for 20-30 minutes or until tender.

Strain the grains through a fine mesh sieve and drain well. Depending on how well you rinsed them to begin with, the grains could be sticky. If you like, rinse them under cold water and drain well. Reserve.

While the grains cook, lightly coat a large skillet with olive oil and heat over medium. Add the onion, carrot and celery, season with salt and pepper and sauté until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Stir in the wine and simmer until reduced by half.

Can be made ahead to this point, cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate separately for up to a day. If prepping ahead, reheat the vegetables in a large skillet before continuing.

Add 1-2 tablespoons butter to the vegetables, melt and stir to combine.

Add the grains and hazelnuts to the skillet, toss to combine and sauté until piping hot. Transfer to a serving dish or individual plates, sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve.

Print-friendly version of this post.

One Year Ago – Tartelettes au Fromage avec Saucisse et Poireaux (Cheese Tartlets with Sausage & Leeks)
Two Years Ago – Chicken, Sausage & Bean Ragù
Three Years Ago – Spicy Tequila Chicken Wings
Four Years Ago – Caribbean Black Beans
Five Years Ago – Fettuccine with Escarole, Radicchio & Mushrooms
Six Years Ago – Cassoulet
Seven Years Ago – Caribbean Fish Stew

Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

How are you doing with your resolutions? Are you resolute or not? Feel free to share!

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2016

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