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.

The Tale of Two Turkeys – 2021

T-Day this year was at our house and it was just the second time in nearly 20 years we hosted. For many years we traveled to Texas and one year we ended up in Owasso OK. But this year The Texans came north. We had a small gathering of five humans and one Aussie. Shopping for a small dinner crowd like this should have been simple. But as the Great Pandemic continues to affect aspects of our lives we all have not experienced I had to go to multiple stores to find what I needed. The sandwich meat and cheese purchase was left for the last day of shopping the day before T-Day. And as I circled the store searching for bargains I stumbled upon a refrigerated display of fresh turkeys.

Yup. Dried pasta is 50% more expensive per pound. A tub of strawberries was over $6.00 at the same store. Ground beef was seven times the price per pound. So I could not resist. I bought the little fellow.

nOn Sunday I roasted Turkey Two. I decided to cook the bird and freeze portions for future meals. My mind has been wandering to the many ways of making leftover turkey palatable. But it’s not been easy since we are tired of turkey right now. So in no particular order here’s what I learned this year shopping for the feast.

Take Home Lessons

  • During The Great Pandemic in the midst of shortages you will find items overbought and undersold in the stores. Take advantage of these situations if and when you find them. I’ve come across similar price reductions in different stores usually in the refrigerated departments. As an example, BOGO imported Danish Havarti with the sell by date out in March 2022. I guess none of my neighbors like Harvarti.
  • Be flexible. If you have to have strawberries you’ll pay up for them. But it might be time to eat other fruits that are more reasonably priced. Like bananas, apples, or those tiny oranges. Dried fruits work well too.
  • Eat lower on the food chain. I picked up a pound of dried black eyed peas for $1.50 because you have to have black eyed peas for New Years in my part of the world. Eat more beans because they are good for you and good for your checking account balance. Learn to like beans.
  • Add more meat-free meals to your diet. Yesterday for lunch I had Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew. Dinner tonight will be a massive mutant baked sweet potato and a side salad. You don’t need meat at every meal. Over the holiday weekend I happened to mention making Butternut Squash Enchilada Casserole. The reaction from our guest was priceless. I guess some people don’t like squash.
  • A six pound turkey doesn’t have a lot of turkey in it. This little fellow was kind of like a huge chicken only bonier. Still, I think I have enough cooked bird in the freezer for three more entrees.

Yup. Looks large but not a lot of meat.

Heart Healthy Small Bites

Beyond the novelty, insects can offer heart-healthy nutrition, too. A January 2021 study in Critical Reviews in Food Science Nutrition said edible insects may have “high superior health benefits” due to high levels of vitamin B12, iron, zinc, fiber, essential amino acids, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and antioxidants. Rao pointed to crickets as a source of protein through their muscle-bound hind legs used for jumping.

Eating the right insects can provide nutrition … and might be good for the planet — https://www.heart.org/en/news/2021/10/22/eating-the-right-insects-can-provide-nutrition-and-might-be-good-for-the-planet

The American Heart Association states not all views expressed in American Heart Association News stories reflect the official position of the American Heart Association. But they published this story and it sure looks like an endorsement.

Cricket pancakes anyone?

Cricket pancakes? HAHAHA.

Three Bean Chili Super Bowl LV

chili madness

Before we get to this year’s chili recipe I’ve decided my Three Bean Chili Madness was a pain in the rump to make because I cooked the beans and meat/veggie mixture separately. This year’s version is more of “everyone in the pool” which truly becomes less of a pain in the rump. So here we go.

  • This chili cooks all day long but I didn’t use a slow cooker.  I was hunkered down in the house and the chili got the stove top treatment. You could easily use a slow cooker but you would still need to brown the meat and veggies before everyone goes in the pool
  • The beans get an overnight soak and a quick rinse before adding to the pot. Don’t make the same mistake I made. I soaked six cups of dried beans and had way too much beans. So approximately 3-4 cups of soaked beans went into the chili while the remainder is being turned into Sopa de Frijol con Vegetal – Updated 11.10.20
  •  This is a mild chili and you can add heat to your liking. Always easier to add the spice than to put too much in and figure out later how to tame the flame.

So now that you know this is not a pain in the rump recipe…

1 T extra virgin olive and 1 T grape seed oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large green pepper, diced
2 tsp garlic powder or several cloves fresh garlic, chopped (or both)
1 tsp each oregano, paprika, chili powder, cumin, dried cilantro
1 can (15 oz) stewed tomatoes
1 can (15 oz) no sodium chicken broth1 small can mild green chilies
3 T tomato paste
1 C each dry Mayocoba beans, pinto beans, and cranberry beans
1 lb ground turkey 85/15
Salt & pepper to taste
Cayenne 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 beans.  Drain again and set aside.
  3. In a large stock pot heat the oils and saute the onion, celery, and green pepper until softened. Add the chopped garlic and saute for another minute.
  4. Add the meat and brown.
  5. Time to toss everyone else into the pool.  Spices, tomatoes, paste, chilies, broth, beans.
  6. Simmer for several hours.  Stir occasionally.  Add more water or broth if the chili gets too thick. Adjust your seasonings.
  7. Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, and your favorite hot sauce.
  8. Yum.

More odd tips

Don’t add salt until the end.  The Mayocobo beans will break apart and make this chili creamy and thick (unless you add more broth or water).  The recipe will make approximately eight servings.  I used chicken broth and as the chili cooked down and got too thick I added vegetable broth.  Note you can use either fresh or dried garlic. I used both. You can never have too much garlic.

Don’t forget to make Texas Corn Bread because if you forget it, you’ll regret it.

Black Eyed Peas – Pandemic Version 2020

Aliens wearing headlamps skinning up a mountain somewhere Aspen CO

I make black eyed peas once a year for New Year’s Day.  For good luck and good leftovers. 

I was at the grocery store yesterday and a lot of the shelves were bare. New Years plus an upcoming Oklahoma ice storm with predictions of up to 8 inches of snow sent a lot of people to the stores to clean out the shelves. I didn’t realize at the time that this year there would be no Badass Black Eyed Peas for the New Year. Not a single package of ground turkey. The only ground beef in the meat section were 10 pound rolls. I was fortunate to find some 80/20 in the butcher case. This too was almost gone. I forgot the bacon. The celery looked bad (but I knew I had one stalk left at the house). This year’s black eyed peas was definitely a Pandemic Pantry version.

Before we get to this year’s throw together recipe here are a few odd tips and tricks for this year’s version.

  • The beans still need to simmer for several hours.
  • The beans get an overnight soak in filtered water and you will change the water several times before preparation
  • Everyone in the pool? No, not this year.
  • Unlike other chili recipes this recipe has hints of chili.  But due to limited ingredients this year’s black eyed peas will be more chili-like.

So now that you know this isn’t Badass here’s what I had to do.

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 14 oz can tomatoes with chilies
1 qt no sodium chicken broth (or more, see odd tips)
2 T tomato paste
1 lb black eyed peas
1 lb ground beef 80/20
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. Turn burner up to high and heat up a large stock pot. When the pot is hot brown the beef and break up well. Don’t add any oil to the pot because you’ll have plenty of fat in the 80/20.
  4. When the meat is browned take off the burner and drain well.
  5. Bring the pot back to the burner and turn heat up to medium. Add the onion, celery, green pepper, garlic and saute until softened about five minutes. 
  6. Add the spices and saute another five minutes.
  7. Drain the beans (it’s OK if there’s a little water left).
  8. Now toss everything else into the pool.  Tomato paste, broth, tomatoes with chilies and the beans.
  9. The chicken broth needs to barely cover all of the ingredients.
  10. Bring to a boil then simmer for several hours with the pot partially covered.
  11. Check the pot and stir occasionally.  Add more broth as the peas cook and the dish thickens.
  12. Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, and your favorite hot sauce.
  13. Yum.  Makes about 10-12 servings.

More odd tips

Don’t add salt until the beans are cooked through and soft.  There is plenty of salt in the chili powder and broth so salt last.  As you adjust the seasonings you may want to add more chili powder and/or oregano.  I tend to use garlic powder (my less than top secret favorite flavor enhancer). I also added dried cilantro. I would have used beef broth but I didn’t have any. As the dish thickens add more broth (I had an open container of organic vegetable broth so this is what I used).

This dish might taste better on day two but I haven’t even tasted it on day one yet.

Texas Corn Bread of course.

Genetically Modified Pig OK to Eat

“It shouldn’t have been approved until they had adequately addressed the allergenicity of the product,” said Jaydee Hanson, policy director for the Center for Food Safety.

FDA approved its first GM pig for consumption, potentially safe for red meat allergy sufferers — https://thecounter.org/fda-approves-first-gm-pig-galsafe-red-meat-allergy/

What’s in that sausage?

Frankenpig. This too shall be placed on my Never to Eat List along with…

Genetically engineered salmon goes on sale for the first time – New Scientist

Pandemic Pantry One Bean Chili

chili madness

See Three Bean Chili Madness for my odd tips and tricks for making chili. Or not. Up to you.

It’s snowing today so clearly chili had to be made. I made a trip to the grocery store yesterday but didn’t have chili on the brain so I was missing some ingredients. I know I had two green peppers in the fridge but somehow I used them both yesterday. No worries because part of the Pandemic Pantry mindset is to use whatever is on hand, improvise, and try not to waste any food. So if you don’t have two cups of leftover sauteed onions and peppers sitting in the fridge, it’s OK. Use a fresh pepper. No stewed tomatoes? No problem, use what you have on the shelf. Sub ground beef for ground turkey. Let your provisions and imagination be your guide.

1 T extra virgin olive or grapeseed oil
1 /2 medium sweet onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cups leftover sauteed onions and green pepper from last night’s dinner of faux fajitas OR 1 large green pepper
2 tsp garlic powder OR 2 cloves fresh garlic chopped
1 tsp each oregano, paprika, chili powder, cumin
1 can (15 oz) stewed tomatoes
1 cup low sodium beef broth

1 small can mild green chilies
3 T tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1 pound dried pinto beans
1 lb ground turkey
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 OR use the quick soak method of bringing to a boil, cover and let sit for one hour.
  2. Drain then add fresh water to the beans.  Bring to a boil, add your soup recipe seasonings, then lower the heat down to a simmer.  The seasoning for the beans is based off my Sopa de Frijol con Vegetal soup recipe.  Leave out the tomatoes until later.  (No salt and no chili powder yet).
  3. Allow the beans to simmer for several hours.
  4. In a different large stock pot heat the oil and saute the onion, celery, and green pepper (if using fresh) until softened. Add the garlic (fresh or powder) and saute for another minute.
  5. Add the meat and brown.
  6. Add red wine and cook off the alcohol.
  7. Add the stewed tomatoes and break up the tomato chunks into smaller chunks. Add tomato paste, stir well and simmer until mixture thickens.
  8. Time to toss everyone else into the pool.  Spices, tomatoes, chilies, broth, cooked beans.
  9. Simmer for several hours.  Stir occasionally.  Add more broth if the chili gets too thick.
  10. Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, and your favorite hot sauce.
  11. Yum.

More odd tips

Don’t add salt until the beans are cooked through and soft.  If your chili powder has salt in it I would add after the beans have softened. The recipe will make approximately eight servings. You need Texas Corn Bread with this or ANY chili. I’m not kidding. As always this chili is mild because you can always add the heat but if you make the chili too spicy to begin with…good luck. I had some kidney beans but decided not to put them in this chili.

This recipe is not in the book pictured.  But I always flip through the book to see what other cooks put in their chili. Besides, I love the cover.

Mid-afternoon seasoning adjustments

You’ll need more than one cup of broth. I’ll end up using between one and two cups to get the consistency where I want it to be. I might change the OR for garlic powder and fresh garlic to AND. Added more onion powder, chili power, dried cilantro, salt and pepper. The beans are soft and will get softer because I’m letting the chili go another two hours on the stove.

More Random Thoughts on Sunday After Thanksgiving 2020

Sunday 11/29

Never get too high, never get too low. Trust the Process which has been developed and refined for nearly 45 years of weight loss followed by weight gain followed again with weight loss… The Truth Machine today displayed 177 and I am both pleased and relieved. I survived another Thanksgiving feast! Reading this you might think I’m compulsive about my weight. Guilty as charged. You get kind of obsessed with your weight when you never want to be 370 pounds again, ever. I am 70 inches tall. In high school I was the shortest (and heaviest) power forward on the hardwood. I had a decent shot but was better at rebounding because I took up so much space. I was also Captain of the tennis team but that’s a whole other story.

The roller coaster of shifting weights has been the story of my life. A constant struggle. A battle between the food within reach and my brain, one saying yes, the other saying well, here we go again. Part of the problem of losing a lot of weight is complacency. Knowing what works and what to do is not the same thing as doing that thing. I got lazy and allowed myself to balloon back up to 200-205. The Truth Machine had lost its policing effect. My brain started rationalizing, hey it’s a hell of a lot better than 370! Besides most people gain weight as they age…

I’m old enough now to remember what life was like before unsocial media. One (of the many) things I dislike about unsocial media are those dumb ass reminders in your online photo collections: One Year Ago Today…Two Years Ago This Week, etc. Well, at Thanksgiving this year for me, this unsocial media feature got a bit less unsavory.

“I saw a Memory on my photo timeline the other day. We were on the beach in Rhode Island and you looked heavier than you do now.”

“You mean fatter.”

“Not fatter, just heavier. You look really good now.”

And this ends the story of the best Thanksgiving ever observing Covid-19 pandemic guidelines while preparing turkey in a way you’ve never done before. Random Thoughts the Day After Thanksgiving 2020. The turkey turned out great and I got validation my weight loss efforts were working (again). The Mojo is back. I’ll be working on my book for a few hours today.

Random Thoughts the Day After Thanksgiving 2020

Friday 11/27

Remember the Mantra: never get too high, never get too low. The Truth Machine this morning stared back at me with the number 179. Yes, we had a very good Thanksgiving how did you know? Too much sugar, too many calories, too much of a good time. But remember the mantra. I’m convinced my number will come down again. Maybe not today or tomorrow but the number will come back down.

A random encounter at the grocery store may have changed my Thanksgiving turkey buying habits forever. As I was mindlessly staring at the frozen birds another shopper came over, excused himself and reached for what appeared to be a very small turkey breast. He already had one in his other hand so I just had to ask,

“What is that?”

“Boneless breast. My wife doesn’t want any other type of turkey for Thanksgiving and told me to get two.”

I picked up one of these from the freezer section and examined it. I’d never seen a boneless turkey breast roast before. Bone in yes, boneless no. What the hell why not? I bought one only to be told by MY wife when I got home to go get another one so we can have leftovers. Which I did. The only picture I snapped was the pre-roasting picture. I didn’t take a picture when the turkey came out of the oven because the turkey skin didn’t brown but the veggies in the pan did.

Uncooked and not recommended to be consumed without cooking first.
  1. Defrost for two days in the fridge.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  3. Remove the outer wrapping, pat dry with paper towels and do not remove the string webbing holding the breast meat together in a roast shape.
  4. In a roasting pan scatter chunks of onion, celery and carrots (peeled or unpeeled, up to you).
  5. Season the veggies well. I used salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, and parsley ( I couldn’t find any rosemary or that would have gone into the mix). Sprinkle the veggies with some olive oil.
  6. Place the roasting rack in the pan, spreading the veggies enough so that the rack sits firmly in the pan. Position your breasts so that they don’t fall through the rack.
  7. Rub olive oil (or melted butter, your choice) on the breasts. Season well. I used the same seasonings as in Step #5 with the addition of onion powder. No rosemary unfortunately.
  8. Tent the pan with aluminum foil and roast for 1.5 hours. Remove the foil at this point and continue roasting for another 30 minutes. (broil for five minutes if you want to try and get the skin brown for pictures).
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 15 minutes, foil tent back on to keep the meat warm. Using a pair of kitchen scissors carefully cut and remove the string webbing.
  10. Slice and serve.

Each boneless breast is approximately 3 pounds and will provide 4-6 servings. Since our Pandemic Inspired gathering was 4 adults and 2 Tiny Humans we had plenty of turkey for leftovers. Two of the four adults are dark meat aficionados and we sacrificed our personal preferences for ease of preparation. Everyone was quite pleased with how the boneless roasts delivered very moist and flavorful turkey.

Mmmm…good turkey!
Just avocado for me please.