I woke up this morning to a delicious aroma wafting ever so delicately into my bedroom. Wiping the sleep from my eyes, I thought about what this smell could possibly be…. after about five minutes of sniffing and drooling, I finally realized…
“Oh yeah! Overnight Black Beans!”
Last night, I pulled out the slow cooker and set it up so I’d have lunch ready at 6 am. Special thanks to Aunt Terry for our sweet crock-pot. So fancy!
You see, I am all about food prep/easy cooking these days. I’ve been ridiculously busy and I don’t see any signs of my schedule opening up…in fact, it’s only going to get busier in the next few months. So, in order to keep myself (and Farmer Ben) sane, I’ve been scouring some of my favorite food blogs, and discovering new ones, to find easy-to-put-together meals…and when that fails, I pester the hubs.
Luckily, we keep a supply of good staples in our house and that makes the whole food prep thing a lot easier. I can take no blame for this, Farmer Ben is totally responsible for keeping the kitchen well stocked and for that I am so thankful. He’s the best…and not a total space cadet like his wife.
Anyway, I was going to do a chicken crock-pot meal…but I over-estimated our chicken supply (see space cadet note, above). Black beans were next on the list.
Let me tell you, these beans were the such a good idea! So easy and soooooo gooooooooood.
The beans came out perfectly, just a little bit of crunch but not too hard and not too soft.
What you’ll need:
- ~2 cups dried black beans
- **3 cups chicken or vegetable stock (water will also work)
- About half an onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 Serrano peppers (I was going to chop but after squirting pepper juice all over myself, I threw them in whole).
- 1 tbsp. taco seasoning (cumin, pepper, paprika, salt, pepper, etc.)
- About 1/3 cup of Farmer Ben’s JD Barbecue Sauce (you could also use a hot salsa, chili sauce or a savory/spicy barbecue sauce–avoid the sweet stuff!)
What to do:
Rinse and drain beans. Pick out any stones/non-bean items.
Throw all the ingredients into crock-pot and give it a quick stir.
Turn crock-pot on low and forget about it for 8 hours (I started mine before I went to bed).
Serve over rice, with a fried egg or with tacos/nachos. Perfection.
**Note: Depending on how dry/wet you like your beans, adjust the liquid. These would have been just as good with 2 cups of chicken stock for a drier bean, I had some extra liquid but the beans were still firm and so not mushy. If you’re using 3 cups of beans (or a 16 oz package), use 3-4 cups of liquid.
I have a confession to make. It is a two part confession.
First , I made another batch of fro-yo bites today and they were tasty. A new favorite snack…better than the last.
-1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
-1small banana chopped
-1/3 cup dried cranberries
-1/3 cup dried coconut, shredded
-1 handful cocoa nibs (1/2 cup maybe?)
-1cup heritage o’s (or cheerios)
Mix in large bowl, scoop into ice cube trays and freeze.
The second part of my confession?
I happened to sneak a bite of the vanilla yogurt and–gasp!–I kind of enjoyed it!
I don’t know what to say. Was it a fluke? Or have I turned over a new leaf in the yogurt department? I just don’t know!
In other news… stir-fry for dinner. I am so spoiled!
Local beef, butternut squash, carrots, beet greens, red onion, mushrooms, garlic and Farmer Ben’s Thai sauce, cooked in coconut oil and served over rice.
What did you eat today?
Cheers! Happy eating!
A few nights ago, I stood in the kitchen, as I often do, holding the refrigerator door open and wondering what I was going to possibly have for dinner.
If you’ve been to my house, you know this isn’t that unusual.
If you’re my husband, this probably drives you crazy.
I pulled out the giant brick of Monterey Jack that’s been living in the fridge and ate a slice… then I took a few bites of Coffee Heath Bar crunch… mulling over what I was in the mood for….
I wanted something creamy. Something that reminded me of childhood… it was settled, I was going to make Tuna Noodle Casserole–which is kind of weird because this wasn’t something that was cooked a lot at my house–no big deal.
Except the thought of cream of mushroom soup nauseates me… not to mention the fact that we don’t keep anything close to that in the house… so I improvised.
This is what I came up with. The thing I love about this meal is that you use one skillet. How easy is that?
I imagine you could probably get away without pre-cooking the noodles. I’ll experiment and let you know.
Tuna Noodle Skillet
Serves ~6. Adapted from Eating Well.
- 4 cups whole wheat pasta, cooked (I used gobetti, elbows or egg noodles would also work)
- 2 cans tuna fish, drained (to give your casserole a little more moist-ness, use the stuff packed in oil). We use Wild Planet.
- 1/2 cup peas, canned or frozen
- 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp. smokey paprika
- A few good cranks of black pepper
- A few splashes Worcestershire sauce
- About a tbsp. of dill
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped,
- 1 cup Cremini Mushrooms, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock (chicken would also work)
- Scant 1/2 cup flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- ~1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- ~3/4 cup Monterey Jack, grated
- A few tbsp. Mazto meal or Bread Crumbs
What to do:
Position rack in upper third of oven and preheat broiler. 350-400 is perfect.
In a small bowl, combine tuna fish, peas, mustard, paprika, Worcestershire, pepper and dill. Set aside.
Melt butter in a large oven-proof pan over medium heat (a cast-iron skillet is perfect!).
Add in onions, mushrooms, garlic and carrots and cook until softened, about five minutes, stirring often to avoid sticking.
Add in vegetable stock and cook until it’s *almost* all evaporated.
Add in second tablespoon butter and let melt most of the way
Sprinkle in flour a little at a time and stir to make sure vegetables are evenly coated. The mixture will start to resemble a roux/paste.
Add in milk and black pepper (I like to use a lot, but use your best judgment).
Stirring occasionally to ensure that nothing sticks to the pan, bring to a simmer. And try not to slosh milk all over your stove.
Stir in tuna-pea mixture.
Stir in half of your cheese.
Let simmer for about three minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add in noodles and continue to stir for another minute (again, use your judgement here).
Remove from heat.
Sprinkle the last of the cheese and the meal/breadcrumbs over casserole and place in oven. *I actually grated the cheese directly over the pan….in case you’re feeling fancy.*
Broil until cheese is melted and casserole is lightly browned and bubbling.
Note: Be careful removing skillet from oven…not only is it hot, it’s also going to be HEAVY!
It was an amazing weekend for food. I can’t even tell you.
But I really want to tell you… so here are some photos.
The meatloaf cupcakes and rutabaga fries were served with Farmer Ben’s ketchup and NYS Red Wine. Homegrown goodness all around.
The Grilled Cheese was served with the spiciest tomato-like soup I’ve ever eaten (I say tomato-like because it actually had stewed tomatoes, vegetable juice, butternut squash, rutabaga, scallop squash and a million other things in it…including about half a jar of hubby’s super spicy chili sauce). So good!!!
Another win? Ben & Jerry’s BOGO! Hello Coffee Heath Bar Crunch (for me) and Boston Cream Pie (for him)!!!!
I also drank way too much coffee …but that’s nothing new.
Food-Winning all around.
What did you eat this weekend?
In my last post, I spilled the beans on what the hubs and I have been up to for the last three weeks. I also gave a brief explanation as to what the logistics of the Daniel Fast are… In my next post, I’ll discuss my personal experience.
This is the fun post. I’m talking about the food.
So, what’s been on my plate?
As you probably know, I am a huge breakfast person…as in, I can barely survive if I skip it. That being said, I stuck with oatmeal most days of the fast.
Because you can’t have dairy or sugar during the fast, I would just cook with water, then throw in some apples, cinnamon and peanut butter to spice it up a bit. Other days I would do bananas and pecans. It all works.
Toward the end of the fast, I started cooking the oats in (unsweetened) almond milk to add a little more calcium and iron. I’ve been tracking my food on MFP for a long time and was noticing that I wasn’t getting enough of the two. The almond milk definitely helped.
My main snacks were popcorn, apples and matzos with peanut butter.
The key to making this fast work is to plan your meals. It’s possible to go out for lunch or dinner on this plan, but it’s very difficult–Mostly because you never really know what restaurants are putting in your food. Thus, you want to plan ahead and cook a few meals at a time.
I tried to snap pictures of what I was eating throughout the 21 days. Apples and oatmeal aren’t very pretty, so here are a few photos of other meals. Keep in mind, these are all meat and dairy free; Vegan, with more restrictions.
I’d say we still ate some pretty delicious things!
Again, this isn’t everything, but it’s a good description of what our diet was like.
We ate a lot of beans, dark leafy greens, pasta, potatoes and rice. I’m not complaining. I love all of these things. We also ate a lot of tofu and tried tempeh in a few meals.
Peanut butter and apples became a staple (not that both of these weren’t before..but it was more pronounced).
We also experimented with seasoning and made sure to pack in a lot of veggies in almost every meal. I noticed that the amount of fat, sugars, and cholesterol I was eating dropped a lot, not that it was high before, but it was even lower in these three weeks.
I mentioned before that we didn’t have any coffee… I tried to trick myself by drinking hot water out of my coffee mug. It worked about half the time.
Anyway, stay tuned for my next post where I will give you a look into my personal experience with the fast.
Do you have any favorite vegan staples? Do you think you’d be able to give up meat, dairy, drinks and sugar for three weeks? What would you miss the most? Let me know!
Hope you all had a great weekend! Mine was a win for the most part. Saturday consisted of sleeping in, going shopping and having a giant lunch.
I was pretty excited because I am finally creeping out of “in between sizes” and settling into the smaller size. I also picked up an awesome new t-shirt, along with some work pants and a sports bra. All were much needed!
Sunday was my day off with Farmer Ben…and let me tell you, we both needed it! We started out with church, some napping (okay, I was the only one who napped…but who’s keeping track?) and an amazing lunch.
It was the kind of lunch that you have when you want something hearty but don’t have a lot of time….or just don’t feel like “cooking.”
As you know, I’m not big on boxed foods…but I have a serious weakness for Annie’s Mac and Cheese…especially with greek yogurt. So good!
Sorry for the lack of photos… I was in too much of a hurry to stuff my face. Oops.
Anyway, here is what I call “the Dirty Little Secret.” I justify it by telling the world that everything was local/from the garden except for the mac and cheese mix and olive oil.
Dirty Little Secret (Or Lunch in a Pinch)
- 1 box Annie’s Mac and Cheese-choose your own adventure on this one.
- 1 Medium Onion
- 2 Jalapenos, seeds removed
- 2 cloves garlic
- about a tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
- Optional:1 lb ground beef (or chicken sausage, turkey, beans, bacon, etc.-again, choose your own adventure)
- Optional: shredded cheese
What to do:
Cook your pasta as directed on the box of mac and cheese (to save time, boil water while you are prepping the rest) and set aside. Reserve cheese packet for later.
Roughly chop onion, jalapeno and garlic.
Throw them in a hot pan with some olive oil. Cook until softened, stirring occasionally so they don’t burn/stick.
Add in ground beef (or whatever you decide on)
Cook until your beef is browned, stirring occasionally to break up any big clumps.
If necessary, drain out excess oils/fat (we used a 90/10 grass-fed beef, so there wasn’t really anything to drain).
Add cooked macaroni and seasoning packet, along with some Greek yogurt…or sour cream if you’re feeling naughty. Stir until well combined.
We ate our’s like this, BUT if you want even more crazy goodness, pour your beefy mac into a casserole dish and top with shredded cheese. Cover with foil, removing for the last few minutes of bake time. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 until cheese melts/begins to bubble-maybe 15-20 minutes.
This will serve 4 people (better with a salad) or two extremely hungry people. We ate our’s in two sittings.
Again, this is just a quickly thrown together option, you could add in bell peppers, diced tomatoes, olives, whatever you want!
It’s only Tuesday, but I am already pretty happy about this week…between being on top of blog stuff (like new posts and updating all of my pages!), getting my sweat on during runs and getting caught up at work, I am kicking booty and taking names! I also have a shopping trip planned with some of the ladies from work. Cannot wait!
The GBN experiment is going well and I am pumped to show you this weeks gallery of gross-ness!
Yesterday was date night with Farmer Ben. It consisted of a delicious dinner (veggies from the garden/down the road, of course!), followed by stretching and a nice hilly run. It was pretty challenging but I think I have a new go-to route.
Here’s a look at our dinner:
We felt even better after we blew all those running calories on the biggest “medium” soft serve I have ever seen.
Note to self: Do NOT let Ben order me a medium again!
After ice cream we headed to the movie theatre to FINALLY see The Dark Knight Rises…Holy Moly. My mind was blown. Such a good movie and my love for Joseph Gordon-Levitt just peaked. Be still my beating heart! I know, totally late on the DKR commentary, but still. So good. I’m a bit tired today, but it was worth it.
Today will consist of work, work, and a night run…with a lunch date thrown in the mix.
Like I said, it’s shaping up to be a great week!
Lately, I haven’t been eating as well as I would like. It’s partly because I’ve been eating on the run and partly because I’ve been lazy about planning ahead.
It’s been all about beef, bacon, nachos, potatoes and cupcakes. Granted these are all grass-fed/local/from the garden…but I admit, I have been over-indulging.
Don’t get me wrong, I love greens but I have just wanted something a little more… meaty and cheesy.
So, in an effort to cut down on my carnivorous binge, I made some veggie burgers. I served them over greens with a quick yogurt sauce (greek yogurt, lemon juice, honey, dill and garlic powder).
These are super easy to make AND go really well with salad….so you’ll have plenty of room for shredded beef nachos later on… I’m only sort of kidding…
Lentil burgers are also totally good for you-packed with iron, protein, potassium, fiber and good fats!
Anyway, I used orange lentils in this batch but I would advise using black lentils instead–they are a bit firmer and will hold up better to mashing/mixing. You’ll need to rinse your lentils before cooking them to make sure any little stones are picked out.
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
2 cups cooked lentils (I cooked mine with our favorite Thai Stock from Wegmans)
1 15 0z can beans –I used great northern beans- garbanzos, black beans or pinto beans would also work
4 large eggs
1 to 1-1/2 cups bread crumbs
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
a few good cranks/pinches of black pepper and sea salt
Parsley-I used about a tbsp
A few squeezes of lemon
1-2 tsp. Smoky Paprika
1 tbsp. Olive Oil
- Olives–Ben and I stumbled upon Lindsay’s Naturals Green or Black Olives and they are amazing! We had a can in our cabinet so I threw some in for some added texture.
- Jalapenos–I’ll probably make these again just so I can throw in some fresh japs from the garden! YUM!
- Your favorite cheese-I used about 1/4 -1/2 cup of Cabot Mozzarella
What to do:
Combine lentils, eggs and salt in a large bowl– use your trusty dough blender or a fork to combine until your mixture is still slightly runny but chunky-it’ll look like really wet/chunky hummus. (You can also use a food processor).
Add in remaining ingredients (except olive oil), stir until just combined. Let sit for a few minutes so the breadcrumbs absorb excess moisture.
Your mixture should be wet, but still able to be formed into patties. If necessary, add in more breadcrumbs a little bit at a time. Or, for more moisture, add in more water/egg.
(I mentioned using black lentils instead of orange-I found my moisture to be REALLY wet/mushy with the orange and was out of breadcrumbs, so I added in some unbleached flour-it worked just as well).
When you have the right consistency, heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat, form patties and add to skillet.
Cook covered until bottom begins to brown-this took about 7 or 8 minutes. Flip and cook another 7 minutes until other side is lightly browned.
Serve over your favorite salad or on a bun as a veggie burger.
Makes about 12 burgers ~177 calories per burger. You can store uncooked patties in the fridge for up to a week.
Today I came home to a wonderful surprise. Farmer Ben had been playing in the garden and had some gorgeous veggies to prove it… and then, per usual, he turned it into a wonderful dinner for us to share. Take a look!
Cabbage rolls, cucumber, beets, tomatoes, and potatoes–all picked today!–paired with local eggs and some chili sauce (a Farmer Ben specialty) from last year’s peppers. I am so excited to enjoy this meal, it’s the first big pick from the garden, other than a few small tomatoes, herbs and tons of lettuce. Not pictured: beet greens and swiss chard… and a giant tomato! I hope you all enjoy your dinners as much as I am going to enjoy this one. Happy Monday!
Something amazing happened on Monday.
Ben and I harvested lettuce from our garden. It was the first time this season and I couldn’t have been more excited. We had red oak and pirate’s butter lettuce-both were delicious (especially when mixed with spinach and sunflower seeds, topped with maple mustard, tarragon vinegar and olive oil).
It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to use fresh ingredients, especially when grown by your own hand. I admit that in this case, it’s mostly Ben… but I get such pride when I see baby basil plants poking through the dirt or beans popping up and knowing that I helped the growing process and I love learning more each and every day.
The greens were a perfect addition to my favorite kind of lunch. It consisted of salad, salmon, dilly scrambled eggs, grilled scallions(also from the garden) and green olives. Ben and I picked off of one plate. and just enjoyed the different flavor combinations and the first tastes of the season… all these things that don’t necessarily go together, but combined..they just work.
This was perfect. I’m so looking forward to more salads and more fresh ingredients that we grow in our garden. I can’t think of a better way to nourish both body and soul.