Thursday, November 24, 2011

Our Mostly Vegan Thanksgiving Menu

So it has been almost a year since I have had meat and 2 months since I have had dairy and eggs.  Well, I should clarify that I may have had muffins or other baked goods at the homes of friends… here and there and I am sure those ingredients were in there ( I don’t want my food convictions to break fellowship with people-lesson learned that from a friend).  Anyhow, I gave up my beloved nonfat mistos and my occasional egg breakfasts.  I have just read too much this year… seen a few more documentaries… etc. that has enabled me to move onto a different, vegan (?) journey. 

My goal is to eat and provide in my household a “strict”, whole food,  plant-based diet.  Though, in regards to the holidays,  I always told myself that I would have meat at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.   Well, as those holidays were coming upon us, I wasn’t sure if I could eat the turkey… oh, this has caused me sooo much turmoil!  I LOVE Thanksgiving and Christmas (I start listening to Christmas music in October—sad, I know…).  Having these holiday dinners without turkey just seemed so untraditional!  “… But, I just can’t do it… but it is not the same without it… but I can’t…” this is what was going on in my head for a few weeks!  So with all this inner dialogue and conflict, I decided that having the turkey was OK, especially since it was causing unnecessary stress.  I mean, it is just this one time (and maybe Christmas).  I was planning a trip out of town just so I didn’t have to think about making a meal—ridiculous.

I decided to have the turkey dinner, 2 days before Thanksgiving.  Getting a local, organic, free-range turkey was out of the question. I had friends checking in Northern VA for me… our Kroger’s, local health grocery stores were out.  Ironic…haha. That day I was checking my email and came across a Forks Over Knives (documentary sensation) newsletter update with a Vegan Thanksgiving Menu.  I quickly viewed it over on my phone as I was shopping in Kroger.  I bought the ingredients I didn’t have and went home.

2 days later, the below is what we had for dinner tonight.  The first 5 recipes are from Forks Over Knives.  I tweaked the recipes here and there… the originals have been cited with their website.  The last recipe is from the food editor and show, Ask Aida—I got the Pecan Pumpkin No Crust Pie recipe (mine with walnuts) a few years ago and had changed a few things as well.  I have made this no crust pie many, many times, and it just keeps getting better and better.  My little Brinley loves it… it is dairy free, but it still has eggs (free-range, organic of course!).

The one thing I would add to the first 5 recipes is lots of garlic and maybe a pinch of salt, here and there…. J Let me know your thoughts! Try them out… enjoy!

-Stuffed Acorn Squash
-Fall Harvest Chowder
-Green Beans and Brussels Sprouts with Maple Mustard Dressing
-Tempeh Italiano
-Berry Apple Relish
-Walnut Crunch Pumpkin No Crust Pie (Dairy free, but still has eggs!)

Stuffed Acorn Squash
Serves 4
4 medium-sized acorn squash, halved and seeded
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 medium celery stalks, diced
4 medium carrots, diced
[1/4] cup plus 3 [3/4] water or vegetable broth
[3/4] cup wild rice, cooked
[3/4] cup brown rice, cooked
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp. poultry seasoning (I used Mrs. Dash)
[1/2] tsp. dried sage
Ground black pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Place squash halves, cut side down, on 1 or 2 deep baking sheets filled with an inch of water. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes. When done, remove from oven, remove the water, and flip the squash so it is cut side-up.
3. In a medium pot, sauté onions, carrots, and celery in [1/4] cup water or vegetable broth until slightly browned, approximately 5 minutes. Add wild rice, brown rice, mushrooms, poultry seasoning, sage, black pepper, and remaining water or vegetable broth. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat and then simmer on medium-low heat for 30-40 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat.
4. Spoon rice mixture into each squash. Cover in foil and return to oven. Bake for 30-35 additional minutes, or until squash is tender. Serve warm.

*Original recipe by Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT-

Fall Harvest Chowder
Serves 8
6 cups vegetable broth or water
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2 small zucchini, diced
1 (16-oz.) package frozen corn
1 large sweet potato,  peeled and diced
4 bay leaves
2 tsp. dried thyme
½ lb. of frozen spinach, thawed

1. Over medium-high heat, sauté onion, carrot, and celery in 1/2 cup vegetable broth until slightly browned, approximately 5-10 minutes.
2. Add remaining vegetables, broth or water, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30-40 minutes.
3. Remove bay leaves from soup and pour into blender until mostly pureed. Add a little bit of the frozen spinach in each batch as you blend. Pour back into pot or a nice large soup serving bowl.

*Original recipe by Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT,-

Green Beans and Brussels Sprouts with Maple Mustard Dressing
Serves 4
1 [15-oz.] can cannellini beans, rinsed
[1/4] cup tahini
 [1/4] cup stone-ground mustard
3 TB Braggs Amino Acids
2 TB. 100% pure maple syrup
[1/4] cup nutritional yeast flakes  (great for Vitamin B12)
[1/2] cup water
1 to  ½ lb. of steamed green beans and Brussels sprouts.

1. Preheat oven to 400. Place all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth.
2. Pour over steamed veggies in a casserole dish and lightly mix together.
3. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes.  Serve hot.

*Recipe inspired by Chef AJ’s House Dressing-

Tempeh Italiano
Serves 4
[1/4] cup wheat-free tamari
2 TB. Balsamic vinegar
1[1/2] TB. Garlic, minced
[1/4] cup vegetable broth
1 TB. chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed a bit with your fingers
1 TB. chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme 1 tsp. dried basil 1 tsp. dried oregano
[3/4] tsp. ground fennel seed
[1/2] tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 (8-oz.) pkg. tempeh, cut into quarters

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking dish with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, combine tamari, balsamic vinegar, garlic, vegetable broth, rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano, ground fennel seed, and crushed red pepper flakes. Add tempeh cutlets, and stir well to evenly coat. Transfer tempeh cubes to the prepared cookie sheet, and spread out into a single layer.
3. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. Stir tempeh with a spatula, and spread out into a single layer again. Bake for 10-15 more minutes or until tempeh is golden brown around edges. Remove from the oven. Serve hot or at room temperature as desired.

*Recipe from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Gluten-Free Vegan Cooking by Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT, and Beverly Lynn Bennett.

Berry Apple Relish
Serves 4
1 pound fresh cranberries finely chopped
2 tart green apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped 
10 oz. package frozen blueberries, thawed and drained
[1/2] cup 100% fruit apricot jam
[1/2] cup 100% pure maple syrup
Juice of 1 lemon

1. Process the fruit ingredients in a food processor and pour into large bowl until well-combined.
2.  Mix in the remaining ingredients and pour into a deep baking dish and bake with the veggie casserole 15-20 minutes at 400, covered).  Or serve cold.

*Original recipe by Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT-

Walnut Crunch Pumpkin No Crust Pie (Dairy free, but still has eggs!)
Serves 8
3-4 tablespoons Earth Balance butter (or any vegan butter), at room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can organic pumpkin puree (not pie mix)
1 cup vanilla coconut milk
4 large eggs (free-range/local)
1 cup coconut palm sugar, 1/4 divided
1 tablespoon vanilla (or bourbon)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped walnuts (or pecans)
1/4 cup spelt flour 
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

1.    Heat the oven to 350 degrees F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat an 8 by 8-inch baking dish or pie plate with butter and set aside.
2.    Combine the pumpkin, coconut milk cream, eggs, sugar, vanilla, ginger, nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Whisk until evenly combined and pour into the prepared baking dish.

Walnut Crunch Pumpkin No Crust Pie-finished product!
3.    Cut the butter into small pieces and add to a medium bowl. Stir in the walnuts, flour, maple syrup and the remaining 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and mix until it holds together somewhat but still crumbles. Scatter the topping over the pumpkin mixture and bake until the edges are puffed and the filling is set in the center, about 55 to 60 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool to room temperature.

 *Original recipe by Ask Aida 

Ready to eat!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Carrot-Walnut Cookies (Vegan)

2 tablespoons of ground flax + ½ cup of boiling water
1 cup raw unsalted walnuts
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup sprouted spelt flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 carrots, grated
1 apple, grated
1/4 cup apple juice

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. 

Combine ground flax and water, set aside until it thickens—you can stir it.  Then combine walnuts, oats and raisins in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl and stir in flour, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger. Add carrots, apple, flax/water mixture and apple juice and stir until combined. Drop by rounded tablespoons an inch apart on the prepared baking sheets, making about 24 cookies. Press down on each cookie with the back of a fork to flatten slightly. Bake until tops and bottoms are lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. 

I am always trying to find recipes that are vegan, low-fat (or good fat J) and require no sugar… but taste yummy.  This is one of them!  My kids love ‘em! 

I was inspired by a Whole Foods recipe card I obtained this past week.  It actually called for 1 ripe banana, but my little kiddos ate the last of them for breakfast.  I assumed that the banana was not only used for extra sweetness, but as a binding agent… so I subbed in the flax-water mixture instead.  In general, if you are trying to cut back on using eggs in baking and would like a good substitute, the flax-water mixture works great!  :)  WF’s recipe also called for whole wheat pastry flour, but we have been in the habit of using sprouted spelt flour as our “main flour”.

Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Plain ole Whole "Grain" Biscuits (that everyone loves)

I am SO excited that my husband has jumped on the vegetarian train with me.  I "committed" to go all veggies (minus dairy/eggs) in 2009.  Since then--it has been up and down--well up until January of this year.  Since then, I haven't had any meat and we discovered that my hubs gets really sick/hives after eating red meat.  Now, we can't pinpoint that he has a "meat allergy" but we do know that something isn't right when he consumes it.  Since then, he has surprised me EVEN more in his food choices.  Sure, he still will have meat here and there... and as frugal as he is...on days he doesn't pack a lunch, he succumbs to the $1 Menu Temptation... ("My "Food Snob" self is embarrassed to admit this).  Though, I am proud to say that he ate a salad the other day.  WOW! WOW!

Anyhow--"Carol get to the point!"  

I have been making these REALLY easy biscuits for a long time... My husband used to hate them.  According to him, they tasted too healthy.  Haha.  But now, I made these biscuits when our wonderful "Canadian" family came down for a holiday last weekend.  Brinley liked them--always had.  I was so used to he and I eating them all.  Well, I made a dozen and they were all gone.  The babies even loved them!  These biscuits were a perfect side for my Italian Kale and Rice Casserole (with black beans hidden in the sauce to trick 'em all, mu-ahhh!).  Someday, I will get to post that recipe as well.  It is a family favorite!  Anyhow--back to biscuits:

2 cups of flour (spelt is my favorite, but I also use whole wheat, rye... really any whole grain flour)
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup oil (typically I use safflower or coconut oil-depends on the day)
1-2 tbsp brown rice syrup (or raw honey)
1/2 cup nondairy milk (I have used rice, almond, and coconut---all good.  You may need a little more milk as you knead)

Preheat oven 450 degrees.

Combine dry and then stir in the oil until it is crumbly-looking with a fork. In a separate bowl, combine the sweetener and milk and pour/stir into the flour/oil mixture.  If it seems a little dry, add a little more milk (or water) by the tablespoon. Make into a ball--you can either roll this out onto a floured surface or just leave in the bowl (which is what I do since it saves on time).  You can use a biscuit cutter if you rolled this out onto a surface.  I just use my hands and pat about 1/4 cups worth or so into a round-looking discs and place each onto my stone baking sheet. I like to put a piece of foil to cover them to help keep them moist while they are cooking--but this is optional.  Bake for about 10-15 minutes (longer if you lay the foil on top-unsealed).  Yields about 10-12.

My "Chubby Bubbies"-Eating the Pumpkin Biscuit Variation
I tweaked this recipe from Alicia Silverstone's "The Kind Diet" (p. 197).  I have mentioned this book numerous times on this blog.  It really is one my all time favorite cookbooks.  The "Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook" is one of my new favorites and there is a similar biscuit recipe that calls for sweet potato.  While I have never used sweet potatoes, I have added about 1 1/2 cups of organic canned pumpkin to this recipe, but I reduced the amount of milk and oil (1/4 cup each)... and added cinnamon.  My babies, Henry and Smith I think ate 3 each in one sitting!

Okay, I am too excited to share these biscuits and I am just rambling... so I will end on this note.  For breakfast, make these biscuits.  They pair so well with a cup of coffee!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A hot summer

This, by far, seems to be the HOTTEST summer EVER!  Though, I can appreciate it.  I am sitting at one of our local coffee shops, "The Whitehart", grading my life away... but it is so peaceful in here, it makes getting away from the family for an hour or two--worth it.  Solitude is a concept that is mostly absent from my life!  There are some people on their computers doing who knows what... Facebooking,  grading maybe??  Others are sitting together talking so quietly.  It is just so nice to see people engrossed in intimate conversations with each other, drinking the best DRINK known to man: coffee.  Being a wife, a mother of "3 under 3" (how corny-LOL), and working from home... I am taken away from developing deeper relationships with people.  I pray for little opportunities like this and I am thankful for friends that need things from me... and when I drop them off, we have deep conversations.

Okay, back to grading.  Go to Whitehart on a week night:

Christmas in July

I keep hearing snibits of "Christmas in July" parties, specials, sales... etc.  I am not really sure about that tradition-if it is something common around Virginia, but somehow Brinley was informed of this, haha.  It finally dawned on me... we had been listening to Christmas music for a little over a week and now we were reading Christmas books.  Last night Brinley wanted to read some stories about the birth of Christ.  We read two books and in both, there were illustrations of angels.  He was so attracted to these angels.  "Mommy, can you sing me a song about aaaaaaannngels?"(He says this with a smile that is so cute!)  So, when tucking him in to sleep, we sang "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and O Come all Ye Faithful".
Brinley and his cousin Rhiannon jammin' to Christmas music

This kid (Brinley) could be a DJ... I tell you, this strong-willed, strong-minded kid sure likes to tell me what to do!  Most of the time I stand strong, but when it comes to what music to listen to... he pretty much has good taste.  Right now we are listening to Christmas music... it is July (well now August)... and you know what, it actually lifts us up.  Personally, I LOVE Christmas. It has been a long, hot summer... sometimes depressing, quite honestly... but the beautiful Christmas music has given us all happy feelings. :)  I will take it any season!

A few personal favorite songs in "queue" via DJ Brinley: Constant Craving-K.D. Lang, Busted-Ray Charles, Gravity-John Mayer, Sweet Memories-Dean Martin... oh, and he loves all of Colbie Callait.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Davies 5, A redirection

I should change this blog's purpose to write about our daily life, struggles, praises... etc... oh and about food.  It has been, what, 6 months since I have last written?  I remember Jan/Feb being so exciting for me because I was able to be in the kitchen... I had control over my eating... etc.  Those moments of bliss were certainly brief and fleeting.  I could go on and on about what has happened since then, but, if you are reading this, I am sure you have already heard the rantings of this "tired mom".  And frankly, I don't feel like writing it out.
It would be typical for me to say "wow, time has really flown by", but I just chuckle at that thought.  NO-time has not flown by. In fact, this past year has been the hardest year of my life  (and I am sure my husband could attest to that). Life with  three babies (twin babies and a 2 year old-now 3 years old) has certainly made us "stronger"---haha.  What does that even mean?  Life with three babies has made us TIRED and somewhat isolated from others.  I can't  speak for my husband on that, but it is true for me!
So, for therapeutic purposes (hopefully not too self-centered),I am going to celebrate life's little joys on this blog, when and if I can.   After all, those little joys are given to me by our gracious and loving Father and the way I see it, it keeps me going during this hard season.  And, yes, those joys include food, recipe writing and testing and "flaxing" anything up. :)
Tonight, when putting Brinley to sleep, he made me laugh.  Our local minor league baseball team had a home game and at the end of the game (I believe), they had fireworks go off.  Our house is located just a few blocks from the stadium.  Anyhow, Brinley and I like to sing songs right before bedtime--"Twinkle Little Star" and other songs (mostly made up)... we were in mid-song when we were interrupted by the loud sounds of the fireworks going off.  We opened the blinds and watched them.  First--it was such a "melting my heart" moment watching him smile as the fireworks light flickered on his face in the dark.  Anyway, after watching such a sensational eruption of noise (the babies were sleeping), I tucked him in and he just kept asking, where the fireworks went.  "Mommy, where are the fireworks?" (me: blah, blah, blah) "What are they doing?" (me: blah, blah, blah).  He then exclaims, "I am going to eat fireworks!".  I laugh and say, "Are you going to sprinkle them with salt?"  He giggles and excited, he yells, "With ketchup, and dip, and hummy (hummus) with carrots, too!"
It isn't big deal... but to me it made me smile.  I love that kid!  We had a long day--while grocery shopping at Whole Foods, he certainly made a few scenes (example: does he really need to pick through the tea boxes and arranged them?--Ok, I am smiling now, but I wasn't smiling then).

So, I will write about food on here still--after all, it is my passion, but when and if I ever get on here again, I will not be driven by just one aspect of my life.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pickled Cucumbers

1 cup apple cider vinegar (I like Bragg, but you can use umeboshi vinegar or brown rice vinegar--really any kind you like!)
1/2 cup water
2-3 tbps of pickling spices
2 cucumbers, quartered lengthwise or diced-coined size

In a medium saucier, bring vinegar and water to a boil and then remove from heat.  In a mason jar (1 qrt or so), fill with the pickling spices and cut cucumbers and pour the hot brine over the pickles.    At this point you can seal it with a lid and  and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or up to a few weeks OR I cover it with a cheesecloth and rubber band and let it sit on my counter to ferment for about 24 hours and then I refrigereate it with the lid--though, you can let it sit on your counter for up to 3 days.

The pickles need air to ferment, that is why I use a cheesecloth.  Pickles are so good for your body as they aid in digestion.* (The Kind Life)

*I was watching Rachel Ray's show and she had all the ingredients on hand for a salty version of pickles... so if you would prefer this, try these ingredients (which are mostly in a pickling spice container):
3 cloves garlic, crushed or halved
A few fresh bay leaves
A small handful of fresh dill
1 Fresno pepper
1/4 red onion, chopped or sliced
A few black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seed, half a palmful
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds, half a palmful

Monday, February 14, 2011

Plan to Eat

Plan to Eat is having year subscription giveaway!  If you are a planner (or want to be) regarding shopping and meal planning, I would encourage you to sign up for their giveaway.  I, myself, have to work hard to be a "planner"... I think I am doing pretty good just soaking my beans and grains for the week--but honestly I never know what I am going to concoct that night or that evening.  The one thing I do know is that Friday night is homemade pizza night! :)  Anyhow, Plan to Eat seems helpful in the sense that it provides direction in buying groceries you need (not what you want or think you need and then it rots in the fridge).

So, what are you waiting for: sign up!  I am.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


We are aiming to cut back on buying cereals around here.  There are many great organic selections out there, but groceries have gone up!  Also, it is nice knowing that I can make something just as good and yummy for the family at a better price.  Here is my version of granola... change it up with the nuts, seeds, dried fruit... etc.  Have fun with it:

6 cups rolled oats, divided
1/2 cup ground flax 
1/2  cup rice bran (Ener-g has a good brand)
1  cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup sesame seeds 
1 cup chopped slivered almonds
1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1-2 tsps of cinnamon
1/2 cup safflower oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the half of the oats into two 9 x 13 into baking dishes, and bake for 10 -12 minutes.  While the oats are toasting up, combine flax, rice bran, dried cranberries, seeds and almonds in a bowl.  In another bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients (wet).  Take the toasted oats and pour them into a large bowl.  Pour and stir the dry flax mixture into the oats until well combined.  Then slowly add in the wet ingredients and stir until well combined.

Take the mixture and spread and divide the of the mixture between the two baking dishes.  Bake for 10 minutes, stir and then bake for another 5 minutes or so.   Then allow the granola to cool in the baking dishes.  Store in an airtight container (I like to use my large mason jars).

I was inspired by The Kind Life recipe, “Mom’s Granola”.  There are a few things I changed: not using sugar granules, but adding brown rice syrup, rice bran, ground flax, dried cranberries… etc.  This is so yummy!  Enjoy!!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Loco for Cocoa

I have this love affair with dark chocolate (and natural peanut butter).  I can’t get enough of it.  In fact, I am so addicted, that I eat a small piece of 70% Dark Chocolate every afternoon (my favorite brand right now is Endangered Species).  I usually sit down and have this piece of chocolate with a cup of a Good Earth spice tea.  It meets my insane, “need to be controlled” cravings.  Though, I have “taken it up a notch” with unsweetened cocoa powder…

In the last few years, dark chocolate has had a positive buzz.  The cacao bean itself is known for having antioxidants that help your circulatory system, skin, heart, brain… to name a few*.  I challenge you to incorporate chocolate (or unsweetened cocoa) into your recipes.  Yesterday, I had a smoothie with a cup of cherries, almond milk, ½ teaspoon of vanilla, 1 teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa, and a tablespoon of almond butter—delish!  Don’t stop there—add a tablespoon or 2 to chili recipes or bean soup recipes (along with your ¼ cup of ground flax to meet the ALA Omega 3's for the day)!  I even added a tablespoon to my homemade tomato sauce when making pizza last night for my family—they didn’t even notice. J

*Check out the February issue of Delicious Living at your local health food store!
I love food-photo captured by my husband laughing at me b/c I am so focused. :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

What do I eat for breakfast?

I had a few friends ask me this last night... so I thought, hey, maybe you all want to know... (I am sure you don't care!  LOL!)

This morning I had a Banana Almond Smoothie and steel cut oats for breakfast.
Smoothie:  Take one medium sized banana, about 8 oz of almond/rice milk, a teaspoon of green tea leaves, a pinch of cinnamon, tsp of of pure vanilla extract and about a tablespoon of almond butter—blend until smooth.   

Oats:  The night before, measure your desired amount of steel cut oats (I do about ¼ cup) and add water (1/2 cup of water to a ¼ cup of oats).  Let this soak overnight and it will cook in 5-10 minutes.  You may have to add a little water as it cooks down.  Forgot to soak?  You can cook the steel cut oats, but they take longer, or you could just used rolled oats with the same measurements.  Anyhow, once your oats are cooked, I add about a tablespoon of natural peanut butter.

What a balanced meal to start your day!  You have a serving a fruit, whole grain, lean protein, good fats, and spices/seasonings that will keep you satiated until lunch time.  I look forward to breakfast every morning!  I always have the above breakfast but change up the fruits (berries, pears… etc) and of course, change up my spices—I always have nut butters.  I love a Cherry Smoothie with cardamom and a freshly grated nutmeg—it pairs well with peanut butter or almond butter or even ground flax (a good fat –and fiber)!

After eating, I love to sit down with a good cup of coffee… which is what I am drinking right now… 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Bean Cooking Chart

I have seen better charts for cooking beans, but this one is an easy look-sy.:)  I ran out of my cooked chickpeas yesterday, so today I am cooking up a batch of Adzuki beans (and a batch of wild rice).  I can't wait for lunch! 

Bean Cooking Chart
Dried Beans (1 cup)
Soaking Time
Regular Cooking Time
Pressure Cooking Time
45 - 50 min.
15 - 20 min.
Black (Turtle)
45 - 60 min.
15 - 20 min.
Black-Eyed Pea
1 hr.
10 min.
1 1/2 - 2 1/2 hr.
15 - 20 min.
45 - 60 min.
not recommended
1 - 1 1/2 hr.
10 min.
Lentil, Red
20 - 30 min.
5 - 7 min.
Lentil, Green
30 - 45 min.
6 - 8 min.
60 - 90 min.
not recommended
Lima, Baby
45 - 50 min.
not recommended
1 - 1 1/2 hr.
8 - 10 min.
Pea, Split
35 - 40 min.
not recommended
1 1/2 hr.
10 min.
3 hr.
15 min.
White (Great Northern, Marrow, Navy, Pea)
45 - 60 min.
4 - 5 min.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Preparing for the week

Ok, this post will be short, but I have had it on my mind to tell y'all all week what I do...

Every weekend I like to prepare some foods for the week.  Since we do use dry beans and beans are our main source for protein/iron, it is nice to have something to grab out of the fridge.  I also like to have whole grains everyday (not just oats).  Some grains take a longer time to cook... it is nice to have things "on the go".  We are all busy around here, and especially at dinner time, my twins like to sing loud :) and Brinley likes to run around the house like crazy... it is a little chaotic, needless to say.

Anywho... we cook a cup or 2 of dry beans and 2-3 cups of a whole grain every Saturday (or Sunday) which, for both usually almost doubles the servings.  This week our meals have quinoa and garbanzo beans (AKA chickpeas).  Last week we had meals with lentils and brown rice.  My husband isn't a big fan of garbanzo beans, so I usually mash them into whatever I am making.  He loves this Italian Quinoa recipe I have (he likes tomato-based foods like pasta...etc), so I usually just mash the chickpeas into the sauce which make for a creamier consistency.

So what foods do you try to get into your family?  How do you sneak 'em in? (if you do).  What are some tips you can pass on to me on preparing for the week or what routines do you have...etc?