Yesterday was my birthday, which means I’m only two years away from being able to answer the question, “Do you qualify for the senior discount?” in the affirmative.
The first time I say, “Yes, I’m officially old” to the kid behind the counter, you can be sure there will be salty tears stirred into my 20% Off Cup o’ Joe. (I know, the fact that I refer to coffee as “Joe” already dates me somewhere pre-WW2. But I thought I’d start practicing speaking Old People Talk. I want to get a leg up on fitting in with the AARP’s version of high school seniors as we gather in packs at the mall — before it opens, wearing sensible shoes and fanny packs, to walk around it ten times.)
But before I hit the ol’ double nickel birthday, I’d like to give anti-aging my very best shot. I am friends with and have worked with brain doc and Public Television guru, Dr. Daniel Amen. His latest book, Use Your Brain to Change Your Age, is packed full of research, stories and tips to stay young. If I were forced to sum up the entire book in two points, it would be:
1) Eat nutrition-packed, brain-healthy food. (Colorful fruits and veggies are our best friends in the anti-aging/anti-disease corner.)
2) Exercise. (Walking 30 minutes a day five times a week wards off dementia like a miracle drug.)
In August, I started a regular exercise routine, and though I am no where near svelte, I like the endorphin rush from moving in the morning, know I’m getting blood flow to my brain, and feel my endurance improving. Thanks to my Darling Daughter the Vegan, I’m discovering all sorts of yummy, creative ways to put more antioxidant-rich plant-based foods into my day. Yesterday, I decided to start my new birthday year off by becoming an EOD Vegan: Every Other Day Vegan. Periodically, I’ll report in and let you know if I’m aging backwards or losing any of my ample backside.
Thai food is one of my favorite vegan-friendly sources and last week I enjoyed a lunch of two amazing hot-spicy curries with my friend Lucille. When the waitress asked if we’d like to try Sticky Rice and Mango, since the mangoes are in season and “oh so sweet!” – we were game. And boy, am I glad we were. Fresh sliced mango with a side of almost translucent slightly sweet “sticky rice,” with a warm creamy coconut sauce over all, was delicious.
Making Thai sticky rice involves more time and contraptions than I’m willing to give or buy, but we adore Jasmine rice that I make in my $13.00 rice maker purchased at Wal-mart.
(Commercial here: rice makers are awesome! You just pour in the rice and water, flip a switch and no burned rice, just perfect little fluffy grains, and all in about 15 minutes.) So I invented the following “Quicky Sticky Jasmine Rice & Mango” recipe – which I liked just as well as the original Thai dish. It makes a light, sweet ending to a Spring or Summertime meal.
Quicky Sticky Jasmine Rice & Mango
1 cup uncooked Jasmine rice (Jasmine rice imparts an amazing aroma and taste.)
1 ¼ cup water
1 can coconut milk, full fat (will be divided)
2 T. organic sugar
4 small mangos
Optional: 2 T. shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened, divided.
¾ t. salt, divided
About 8 mint leaves for garnish
Into rice cooker (or pan, if you are cooking the rice on the stove top), put jasmine rice, ½ t. salt, water and ½ cup coconut milk and 1 T. coconut if you like. (Use mostly the liquid portion of the coconut milk to go into the rice, saving the majority of rich cream that rises to the top of the can, for the sauce.)
Into a small sauce pan, pour the rest of the coconut milk/cream from the can. Add 2 T. sugar, and if desired, 1 T. of shredded coconut, and ¼ t. salt. Stir and heat until creamy hot and sugar is dissolved. Set aside to let warm slightly.
Peel and slice mangoes, arranging them on pretty plates. You can cut them any way you like, but as you see in the picture, I cut them near to the seed, in two halves, then sliced the halves but keeping the shape intact. The dish in this pictures is enough to serve two, so I used one small mango for two people.
When the rice is done, ladle about ½ cup of the sweetened warm coconut milk over it, and stir. This will help make it “sticky.”
Pack the rice, about 1/3 cup or so, into a small cup (I used a Japanese tea cup that I first sprayed with vegetable oil), carefully turning upside down onto the plate next to the sliced mango.
Ladle some of the coconut milk over the rice and drizzle on mango as well. Serve any leftover coconut sauce on the table to let the guests serve themselves more if they like. Garnish with sprigs of mint.
Variations: Try with other tropical fruit like pineapple or banana. Berries would also be yummy. Makes a delicious light breakfast as well. Try with brown Jasmine rice.