I spent my teen years babysitting at least once a week, and even being a nanny for a summer. These days, AAM and I will drive around my old town, and I will point out that I know the interior of this random house or that. I always found it interesting to be inside other homes and see how they chose to make a house a home. I was always too honest (read: scared) to snoop, but I enjoyed making observations from neutral spaces like the couch or the fridge door. The pantry and fridge always fascinated me because each home stocks things so differently. As an Italian American, I didn’t understand half of what I saw. Babysitting 5-7 hours at a time, while running 50-70 miles a week, I would get hungry and wander into the kitchen looking for the least problematic item to pilfer. Whatever they seemed to have an inordinate amount of, I would cook up. This was partly to save them the trouble of immediately needing to replace the food, but mostly my fear that I would get in trouble for taking the wrong food. My favorite was the summer I nannied, the mom kept a decent supply of Uncle Ben’s rice pilaf, something I did not eat much of growing up. Easy to make and pretty simple to clean up, I definitely ate an unhealthy amount of pilaf. To the point that when I came home with a stomach ache one night, my mom made fun of me for not realizing that boxes of rice pilaf every day was not good for me. What can I say, I was a college student. We now ask our babysitters what they would like to eat, and of course to my frustration, they all decline food.
These days, we don’t buy Uncle Ben’s, but I still like to whip up a good rice pilaf, however, my recipe has grown up with my tastes. This vegan recipe is a twist on the traditional rice pilaf. Wheatberries are a whole grain that has a natural protein, a fantastic good for you pantry staple. They also happen to be really tasty, with a nutty and sweet flavor that go well with the mushrooms and almonds in the recipe. Paired with a roasted vegetable, this could be a simple weeknight dinner. It is also a great side in a bigger meal for guests.
- 1 cup wheatberries
- 2.5 cups of water
- 1 portobello mushrooms, chopped
- 1/2 cup carrots, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup of almonds, sliced
- salt and pepper to taste