How To Decide if It’s a Lentil Soup Day

It’s a lentil soup day.

A lot of readers liked Spanish Style Lentils and so do I. But today I’m making my time tested lentil soup recipe which you can find here The Pandemic Pantry -Lentil Soup. Or if you’re feeling adventurous try one of the Lentil Recipes – The First Mess which to be honest I haven’t tried yet.

I’m glad I don’t need mushrooms because I used the one I bought recently in another dish.

Absolutely not an altered photo. Just one very large button mushroom.

I added more carrots and so far at the 30 minute mark I’ve used the entire quart of organic low sodium chicken broth. I did not use the mutant carrot because it went bad before I could use it.

You’re starting to see some interesting produce nowadays.

Today’s post was for the critic who complained about the lack of pictures in this blog.

Beans for Breakfast – 03.18.22

Abstract

Given the emerging health benefits of regular legume consumption, we hypothesized that the historically low legume consumption levels in US adults increased. We evaluated legume consumption patterns in US adults using cross-sectional data from the 2011-2012 and 2013-2014-year cycles of National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) and a 2017 cross-sectional, online survey of Oregon families named “Beans, Lentils, Peas (BLP) Survey”. We also compared legume consumption patterns between consumers below US dietary recommendations for mature legumes (<37.5 g/day, marginal), below levels showing nutritional and disease-prevention benefits (37.5-87.49 g/day, recommended); and levels demonstrating nutritional and disease prevention benefits (≥87.5 g/day; beneficial). In NHANES, legume consumption remained low in US adults and declined from 2011 to 2014 (mature legumes: 12.8 to 8.3%; dry beans: 10.0 to 6.5%). In BLP, less than 5% consumed legumes daily; approximately one-third did not consume legumes during the last month. Marginal mature-legume consumers ate a limited variety of legumes (dry beans and green legumes on a weekly to monthly basis). Beneficial amount consumers ate mature legumes daily or every other day and included chickpeas, lentils and dry peas to their legume mix. Our data suggest that legume consumption declined in US adults, warranting improved communication about the benefits of regular legume consumption.

Perera T, Russo C, Takata Y, Bobe G. Legume Consumption Patterns in US Adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2011-2014 and Beans, Lentils, Peas (BLP) 2017 Survey. Nutrients. 2020 Apr 27;12(5):1237. doi: 10.3390/nu12051237. PMID: 32349355; PMCID: PMC7281997.

Here’s a link to the study https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32349355/

My love of beans began when I moved to Texas and discovered fast food bean burritos. I’ve pretty much stopped eating restaurant prepared bean burritos since discovering my favorite local version has nearly 1200 mg of sodium in one burrito.

Too much sodium in my food tends to keep me in my fat jeans.

You can control the amount of salt in home cooked beans. If you are cooking with canned beans try the low sodium versions. Or if you are cooking with the regular canned varieties, rinse and drain several times before adding to your dish. This will cut down on the sodium content. Believe it or not, someone actually did a lab analysis on this:

If you’re watching your sodium intake, we have good news. In each case, draining and rinsing beans lowered the sodium by about 100 milligrams per ½-cup serving—or 20.7 to 26.5 percent.

Does Rinsing Canned Beans Remove Sodium? https://www.cooksillustrated.com/how_tos/11227-does-rinsing-canned-beans-remove-sodium

White Bean and Sweet Potato Stew

Sunday is a good Beanday. A day of rest. Maybe a few, but not too many errands. Hang out the rest of the day at home and make a pot of beans for the week.

This morning I was compiling a dried bean inventory so that I wouldn’t buy more of what I already have on hand. My beans are in various containers in the pantry and on the kitchen counter. Some packages of dried beans are unopened. My quick inventory told me I had green split peas, adzuki, black beans, black eyed peas, red and brown lentils, chickpeas, pinto, mayacabo, white beans, and an unidentified variety which I had to research to figure out I had Cranberry beans!

The white beans were stored in a plastic baggie and fearing they may have been in the pantry since the last time I made Wing and Leg Navy Bean Soup I thought I would cook them. After a triple rinse I quick soaked them (rinse, drain, pour boiling water over all and cover for one hour). Drain again, cover with fresh filtered water, a little onion powder, garlic powder, one bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to super low, and simmer for several hours.

Now I had a pot of beans before deciding what dish to make. After exhausting the possibilities I decided upon a White Bean and Sweet Potato Stew. My inspiration came from the same source as Spanish Style Lentils. So if you’re a visual learner, here you go:

Here’s a link to the original recipe – https://spainonafork.com/spanish-white-bean-and-sweet-potato-stew-recipe/

Here’s what I’ll eating all week.

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup canned stewed tomatoes
  • dash apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups cooked white beans
  • 1 large sweet potato peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 cups organic vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika and 1/2 tsp regular sweet paprika
  • freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium sized stock pot
  2. Add the onion, bell pepper and carrot. Saute until the onion is translucent. Add garlic and both paprika powders. Saute briefly for about a minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes, vinegar and simmer for five minutes. Break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Continue to simmer until the mixture thickens.
  4. Add the beans, sweet potato, and two cups of broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer covered for around 30 minutes. Check and stir throughout this process and add more broth to desired thickness and to prevent sticking/burning of the stew.
  5. When the potatoes are tender the stew is done. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and salt.
  6. Makes approximately six large servings.

Now I need to figure out what to make with the butternut squash I baked in the oven.

Spanish Style Lentils

I always wondered how they make lentils in Spain. So I went You Tubing.

Then my mind wandered and thought “I wonder if this chef has a website?”

Of course he does. https://spainonafork.com/classic-spanish-lentil-stew-recipe/

And since I’m feeling lazy today (while giving credit where credit is due) check out either the video or website for ingredients and instructions for the Classic Spanish Lentil Stew, known in Spain as Lentejas.

My tweaks:

  • no red pepper because I didn’t have one in the fridge
  • only two cloves of garlic plus granulated garlic to taste
  • 1/2 cup canned stewed tomatoes instead of tomato sauce (adds sweetness)
  • 2 carrots instead of one (because I like carrots)
  • 2 bay leaves instead of one
  • One quart organic vegetable stock instead of five cups (thicker stew, less soupy)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika and 1/2 tsp regular sweet paprika (watch that smokey paprika because it can be quite strong and overpowering)
  • no added salt

This is an excellent recipe if you are gradually adding vegan dishes into your diet.

The Boss liked it.

Beans for Breakfast – 02.13.22

There is reliable research that suggests that older adults need slightly more protein than younger adults do. A somewhat higher protein intake, especially when combined with resistance training can build muscle in older adults. This increased muscle can help to offset the muscle loss that is a part of the aging process. Muscle loss can increase the risk of falls and keep older people from doing the tasks they’d like to do.

Protein for Older Adults
February 03, 2022 The VRG Blog Editor – https://www.vrg.org/blog/2022/02/03/protein-for-older-adults/

I’ve lost those extra stubborn muffin top pounds. A dental procedure has limited my diet to soft foods. Peanut butter and soft whole wheat bread has been my savior the past few days. Cooked smashed beans too.

Breakfast today was cold cereal soaked in soy milk for about 10 minutes. Soggy cereal never tasted better.

I might make some Vegetarian Badass Black Eyed Peas – 2022 to have for the next few days. Filling, nutritious and smashable.

While no one ever said “I love going to the dentist” the silver lining is I’m back in my skinny jeans.

Applesauce anyone?

Another Reason Why Black Eyed Peas are Badass

UCR plant pathologist Gabriel Ortiz wanted to understand whether black eyed peas — a hugely popular food in many parts of the world — maintain their ability to attract good bacteria even after being subjected to modern farming practices. In many cases, plants heavily impacted by humans do not benefit as much from relationships with bacteria compared to their wild relatives. However, Ortiz and his team found that the peas maintained their natural ability to form beneficial relationships with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

University of California – Riverside. “Black eyed peas could help eliminate need for fertilizer: Popular legume attracts beneficial nitrogen-fixing bacteria.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/01/220120091144.htm (accessed January 20, 2022).

Totally Badass.

Vegetarian Badass Black Eyed Peas – 2022

Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com

I make black eyed peas once a year for good luck and good leftovers.  This year will be different. One of my goals for the year is to make black eyed peas more than once a year.

“What’s all the chopping I hear?”

“I’m making a vegetarian version of my world famous Badass Black Eyed Peas.”

“Hmm…”

This recipe makes four servings as I suspect I’ll be the only one eating it.

1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced
3 carrots, scraped and diced
1 large green pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 T Mexican oregano
1 tsp apiece cumin, paprika
1-2 cups vegetable broth
1 15 ounce can stewed tomatoes
1 cup black eyed peas (dried)
Salt & pepper to taste

  1. Place the dried beans into a bowl large enough to hold the beans when fully plumped up.  Rinse the beans with water several times.  Fill the bowl with fresh water and soak overnight.
  2. In the morning drain then rinse the beans. Drain again.
  3. In a medium size pot heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  4. Saute the onion, and green pepper until softened about five minutes.  Add the garlic and saute another minute.
  5. Add your spices, carrots and saute another minute until aromatic.
  6. Pour the can of stewed tomatoes into the pot. Break up the tomatoes with your stirring spoon.
  7. Add the beans and enough broth to barely cover the beans.
  8. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low. Partially cover the pot with a lid and let ‘er go for a couple of hours.
  9. Check the pot and stir occasionally to prevent sticking.  Add more broth as the peas cook and the dish thickens.

Salt, pepper, and favorite hot sauce. Season to taste.

End Notes

Note the process starts the evening before if you’re using dried beans. You can always substitute two cans of black eyed peas, drained and rinsed. If you use canned beans, decrease the cooking time on the stove top to around 30 minutes.

I reduced the quantity of dried beans because I think I’ll be the only one eating these beans. There was sufficient salt in both the canned tomatoes and broth so I felt no need to add any more.

Texas Corn Bread or serve over rice.

This dish was inspired by Suzy at https://www.themediterraneandish.com/black-eyed-peas-recipe-greek/.

If you have celery hanging out in the fridge add some at the same step as the spices and carrots.

Beans for Breakfast – 01/15/22

Someone wanted to make a German Chocolate Cake for her birthday. Third store, strike three. Not a single baking bar for this cake to be found. To avoid having the trip become an absolute failure I stocked up on some dried beans. Picked up more beans for my Badass Black Eyed Peas – 2021 and more chickpeas because I like chickpeas. Two pounds of dried beans cost less than three bucks. I love beans not just for their taste, variety and health benefits but also as an excellent way to stretch the food budget.

More Beans Less Beef

We don’t eat meat everyday. Whether you’re looking to improve your health, save money, save the planet, or save a few cows less meat is better. Not that dedicated non-meat eaters need another reason for their lifestyles here you go:

Source: Economists to Cattle Ranchers: Stop Being So Emotional About the Monopolies Devouring Your Family Businesses

Four packing companies control 80% of the cattle industry. Another fine example of profits before people (and animals).

Read more here: https://mattstoller.substack.com/p/economists-to-cattle-ranchers-stop?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjozODkzNjMwNiwicG9zdF9pZCI6NDIyMzI2OTMsIl8iOiJOYUxWSCIsImlhdCI6MTY0MjI1NzA0OSwiZXhwIjoxNjQyMjYwNjQ5LCJpc3MiOiJwdWItMTE1MjQiLCJzdWIiOiJwb3N0LXJlYWN0aW9uIn0.2IlNOUb3jKvQJb27eyofdRCYUa0igNDi1To8xbkyDPs

If you are a bean novice start here: https://usdrybeans.com/

I think I’ll makes some Sweet Potato and White Bean Hummus this week. It’s only around four years since I last made some.

Disclosure: I am not compensated for my fanatical obsession with beans but would gladly accept a sponsorship deal if offered one.

Badass Black Eyed Peas – 2021

Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com

I make black eyed peas once a year for good luck and good leftovers.  Two years ago I finally captured the recipe in this blog format. Last year due to supply chain issues there was no ground turkey so I used cow. This year there was plenty of ground turkey but I used stewed tomatoes and beef broth. The beans should turn out tasty but the voice inside my head says,

“Self.  You need to document the changes in the recipe .”

So I did. Here are the links to the earlier Badass posts.

Badass Black Eyed Peas and Black Eyed Peas – Pandemic Version 2021

4 slices center cut bacon
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 large green pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp each smoked paprika, chili powder
1 T Mexican oregano
1 T cumin
1 qt no sodium beef broth
2 T tomato paste and one 15 ounce can stewed tomatoes
1/2 lb black eyed peas (dried)
1 lb ground turkey 85/15
Salt & pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste

  1. Place the dried beans into a stock pot large enough to hold the beans when fully plumped up.  Rinse the beans with water several times.  Fill the pot with fresh water and soak overnight.
  2. In the morning drain then add fresh water to the beans. Change the soaking water at least twice.
  3. In a large stock pot fry the bacon in the olive oil until the strips are crisp and the fat is rendered.
  4. Saute the onion, celery, and green pepper until softened about five minutes.  Add the garlic and saute another minute.
  5. Add the turkey and brown, breaking up the clumps as you go.
  6. Toss everything else into the pool.  Spices, tomato paste, broth, and beans.
  7. The black eyed peas should be drained and the chicken broth needs to barely cover all of the ingredients.
  8. Bring to a boil then simmer for several hours with the pot partially covered.
  9. Check the pot and stir occasionally.  Add more broth as the peas cook and the dish thickens.
  10. Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, and your favorite hot sauce.
  11. Yum.  Makes about 6-8 servings.

Odd Notes

This dish will taste better on day two. At the two hour mark I tested for seasoning and amped the beans up a bit. The beef broth works well and now I’m glad I wrote this down because in a year I will have forgotten this substitution.

This year I reduced the quantity of dried beans because someone in the family once told me I put too much beans in my chili. So the 2021 version is meatier than in past versions.

Texas Corn Bread of course.

Happy New Year! I hope this dish brings you much good luck in 2022.