Making Rice In A Crock-Pot: The Slow Cooker Rice Recipe You’ll Want To Try

I don’t have a rice cooker. I just don’t like the idea of a single-purpose machine cluttering up my home. Besides, I’ve always made instant rice, and I can handle that simple task in the microwave in five minutes. Who needs any other kind of rice?

Then, I discovered that jasmine rice tastes so much better than that instant stuff — and has a much better texture too.

When I learned that you can make perfect rice in a Crock-Pot in just a couple of hours, I was sold on the idea. You see, I often make pork or beef roast in my slow cooker — and it’s the best way to make pinto beans or black-eyed peas. But I don’t use the machine nearly as often as I should.

Based on some recipes I found online and tweaked to work even more perfectly, here’s how to make rice in a Crock-Pot:

Easiest-Ever Slow Cooker Rice

2 cups jasmine rice
3 1/3 cups water

Add rice and water to the slow cooker and stir. Cook one and a half hours on high, stirring at least once or twice during the cooking time.

Rice should be fluffy and just done when the cooking time is complete, but it will become stickier as it sits in the slow cooker (off or on warm) waiting for serving time.

Note that stirring when you first add the rice and water to the Crock-Pot and stirring at least once along the way are crucial to the success of this recipe. Also note that I don’t add any salt. Once you’ve experienced rice without salt, you’ll develop a whole new appreciation for the taste of it.

This will probably be exactly like the steamed rice you find at your neighborhood Chinese buffet — and better in taste and texture than you’ll get from most rice cookers.

You can make any other kind of long-grain rice the same way. Brown rice will work too, although you might need to increase the cooking time.

The rice from this recipe is perfect for making fried rice. Just heat some sesame oil in a skillet, then add the rice along with some garlic powder and ginger powder and season with soy sauce. Add leftover or frozen mixed veggies, any cooked meats you have sitting around and even a scrambled egg if you want. (Reheat the meats and veggies in the same skillet before cooking the rice if you want, and scramble an egg in advance in the skillet too.) Nothing makes a better quick-and-easy lunch than some leftovers turned into a flavorful fried rice.

Extra slow cooker rice can be frozen and reheated in the microwave. Just add a couple of tablespoons of water to the bowl or container when reheating so the rice will steam back to life.

Who knew making rice in a slow cooker was so easy? If I’d known this years ago, I would have never bothered with that instant stuff.

Sweet Tomatoes And Other Buffets Depress Me Too

I’m generally a very happy person these days, but the quality and quantity of food we eat does make me sick at times.

When I wrote a few weeks ago about Why Trader Joe’s Depresses Me, I also had another depressing food experience in mind. We recently visited the Fort Worth location of Sweet Tomatoes, an all-you-can-eat soup, salad and bakery place that we had visited at other locations before.

The food when we visited for an early dinner a few weeks ago was dried out, stuck to its serving utensils, overflowing from its containers and generally looking terrible from lack of care and attention. But never mind that the quality and presentation at this location was inferior to the others we had visited, it was the experience in general that bothered me.

We once frequently visited buffets and other all-you-can-eat restaurants, and I often ate way too much. While I’m sure Sweet Tomatoes — which focuses on salad and soup and offers no entrees and few meat choices — would object to be lumped in with ot

her buffets, it’s still an accurate term for this chain that serves big bowls of sloppiness rather than carefully prepared portions of whole foods.

We had visited looking a rare treat, the kind of high-end experience we had found at the chain before. What I got was a stomach ache and strong sense that even being in the place was a betrayal of my commitment to simple living.

Although few people were in the restaurant when we visited, the ones who dined near us reminded me of the overweight, undereducated people I remember from my years of buffet dining.

I was upset about the high price (although I didn’t pay), upset about the low quality, upset about the old memories and especially upset that visiting had been my idea. My stomach felt like I remembered it used to feel every day, my brain seemed less sharp and my head ached.

I was overfed on low-quality food, and I was depressed.

As I said in my post a few weeks ago, we deserve better than what we’re getting. We deserve good food made by people who care, and that means we deserve food prepared in our homes by hands that serve us with care and compassion.

This post isn’t about Sweet Tomatoes or any other buffet chain. It’s about how sad our way of dealing with food makes me.

I won’t be visiting Sweet Tomatoes again, so I unsubscribed from the company’s email list and unliked its Facebook page.

That company is no longer part of my life, and I’m a better person because I’ve moved on.

Recycled Books In Denton, Texas Hangs On, But…

I was about to say that bookstores around here are dropping like flies, but I don’t see many flies anymore — and there aren’t many bookstores left to drop in the Dallas /Fort Worth area.

Surely the largest and most well-known of the remaining independent bookstores in Texas is Recycled Books, housed in a large light purple semi-historic building on the courthouse square in Denton, Texas. Despite the failure of many independent bookstores in recent years, it hangs on.

But why? I can’t imagine that the store could be profitable, and it’s hard to see how the dilapidated building can hold together under the weight of all those books for much longer.

I visited Recycled Books on September 4 for the first time in at least a year. Or maybe it’s been a couple of years since I stepped through that old glass door. Time flies when you’re out in the fresh air rather than in a stale old bookstore.

A few things have changed in the multi-floor, multi-room space since I was there last, but the general vibe is still the same: old-fashioned, quaint, tired and somehow still a bit inspiring.

Since I made my living

itle="selling books online" href="http://bookrescuer.com/is-selling-books-online-still-a-viable-career/ ">selling books online for several years and still move a few volumes when I can find some worth selling, bookstores have a special place in my heart. I used to spend lots of time in Half Price Books locations around the state, and I watched as they changed from quaint and fun to corporate-chic and soulless. That chain is based here in the Metroplex and has been a part of my life for at least two decades, but it’s declining as a place of interest for me.

I can see that Recycled Books is declining too. The first thing that caught my attention was the stench when I walked in the front door. It used to smell old and used, but now it smells moldy, damp and unsanitary.

As I looked around the place, I noticed that a particularly nice little room at the back of the shop with a window that looked out over the town had been closed off. Was the weight of the books too much for it? Did the leaky roof finally cave in? Did the owners need the space for something else? I didn’t ask, but it was a disappointment to see a part of the store unavailable.

In the huge basement, the stench was unbearable. I managed only a brief walk through this subterranean dump ground before I had to move back into the relatively cleaner air upstairs. While I was down there, however, I noticed that many metal shelves had been added since I was down there last, making it more difficult to navigate and a bit less interesting to explore. Is the store still selling books or has it turned to only collecting them?

I also noticed that some doorways seems to sag or twist more than when I last visited, and some floors squeaked in new places and slanted more than I remember. I concluded that the old girl isn’t just showing her age, she’s falling down. I wondered if it was even safe to be in there anymore. What will have to happen before the building is condemned?

Still, though, the dedication of the store’s owners and the idea of an archive for antiquated printed information is a bit inspiring. Like libraries, bookstores aren’t really necessary anymore, but I admire those who maintain them against the odds.

I’m inspired by people who take deliberate and definite actions guided by their souls rather than by common sense. The willingness of some people to go against common sense is responsible for some of the world’s most remarkable — if ultimately pointless — creations.