Rice and Beans, with a Twist

So, I’ve been making a very conscious effort to change the way I eat. Some may think this has something to do with a New Years resolution, but I promise it doesn’t. I just got out of an almost-five-year relationship (personal life-wise), and I’m close to ending another long-term relationship (i.e., grad school). Neither has exactly been easy, and it’s been taking a toll on my body. I have developed no less than three distinct stress-related (and high-caffeine-induced) conditions over the past five years, and have even had to spend months in physical therapy. The last six months I have been stress eating/drinking, and if other people haven’t been able to tell, they’re lying.

I’ve been getting increasingly fed-up with this, and have decided to get my body back. My caffeine has been reduced to 20 ounces of regular coffee a day (which–considering two months ago I daily was drinking 1-2 pots of coffee, 1-2 cans of Coke Zero, and maybe an energy drink–is a HUGE cut). I am drinking alcohol approximately once every two weeks. I’m not buying food except at the grocery stores. And good food too. I cannot remember the last time I had bread, or pasta; instead, I now have a steady supply of zucchini, onions, peppers, spinach, and tomatoes in my refrigerator. I do a minimum two days of cardio and two days of yoga every week.

In the spirit of eating more healthy foods and not eating out, I’m bringing lunches to work. A surprising (to me) number of my colleagues also bring their lunches to work, and so noon o’clock in the lounge can get pretty crowded.

Keeping the protein high and the fat low, I decided to make rice and beans. But, naturally, I can’t do anything that simple; there had to be a twist. Namely, instead of using just water to cook the rice, I used a mixture of approximately 50% water and 50% lite coconut milk. It was my first time working with coconut milk–and I have to say, it’s REALLY GOOD. I think I’m going to have to start making smoothies or something. I could drink that stuff all day.

This meal really belongs in the “stupid simple” category. It also is extremely affordable–by my calculations I made one dinner and two lunches for a grand total of $7. This is great for people who are lactose intolerant or who have gluten allergies. Naturally, if you wanted to remove the sausage you could serve this as a vegetarian/vegan dish.





  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed
  • 8 ounces lite coconut milk
  • 8-12 ounces water
  • 3 links sweet Italian sausage (optional)


  1. Place the rice and the liquids in a pot and bring to a boil.

    Really, taking pictures was futile.
    Really, taking pictures was futile.
  2. Simmer the rice for approximately 12 minutes. Then add the beans to the mix.
  3. When the rice/bean mix is almost done, cook the sausage links.
  4. Slice the sausage once done, add to cooked rice/bean mixture and serve.

    One of my lunches
    One of my lunches

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