Rice and beans may be a struggle meal, but there’s a reason so many gravitate to this humble dish. It’s filling, it’s nutritious, and it’s cheap. Given the right preparation and a few seasonings, rice and beans can also be delicious and satisfying. Beans are basic, but also infinitely versatile.
I’ve known for quite some time that beans are a poor person’s meal. But in all of my years on the planet this is the first time I’ve heard of beans referred to as a struggle meal. Well struggling or not everyone should be eating more beans for the health benefits.
There are a growing number of diet choices that promote healthier eating. Common among several of the most-well known diets (e.g., paleo, Mediterranean, vegan), is an emphasis on the consumption of plant-based foods (sometimes alongside animal protein, sometimes without), and the avoidance of added sugar, refined grains, and ultra-processed foods. There is increasing evidence that consuming more plant-based foods is beneficial to our overall health, especially our immune system health. There are also data indicating that consuming more plant protein than animal protein is healthy for both ourselves and the environment.
There was a head of green cabbage in the fridge that needed to be cooked. So I made a simple saute of cabbage, onions, carrots and garlic then put the entire veggie mix back into the fridge for another day. I spend quite a bit of time being creative with food items in the pantry/freezer/fridge in preparation for massive food shortages in the near future. My WFH coworker likes soup for lunch and I’ve frozen single servings of different soups so we could have different soups together for lunch.
This soup starts with leftover sauteed cabbage. You can always make this soup by starting with a veggie saute if you don’t have leftover cabbage. I always have vegetable broth in the pantry and there were cooked chickpeas in the freezer.
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one can, drained and rinsed)
Everyone into a small pot
Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer.
Simmer for about 30 minutes
Makes about two servings
Salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the quantities of spice to taste also. I tossed in some extra garlic powder because I like garlic. Red pepper flakes or hot sauce if you’re into spicy. Subbing pasta or rice for the chickpeas would work nicely (if you can’t or won’t eat beans). This soup freezes well.
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.”
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
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.
In the morning drain then rinse the beans. Drain again.
In a medium size pot heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Saute the onion, and green pepper until softened about five minutes. Add the garlic and saute another minute.
Add your spices, carrots and saute another minute until aromatic.
Pour the can of stewed tomatoes into the pot. Break up the tomatoes with your stirring spoon.
Add the beans and enough broth to barely cover the beans.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Four packing companies control 80% of the cattle industry. Another fine example of profits before people (and animals).
This weekend the writing Mojo returned. I’ve begun exploring bits and pieces of writing from the past and abandoned my pursuit of perfection. A few hours of work, rewrites, and editing produced two short “potato chip” chapters of The Future Best Seller. You’ll find new chapter links in the top menu.
Originally from New York, Dr. Belardo relocated to Philadelphia after college to start her medical career. She earned her medical degree (MD) from Drexel University College of Medicine, then completed her 3 year Internal Medicine Residency at Temple University Hospital where she became board certified in Internal Medicine in 2017. Dr. Belardo completed her 3 year Fellowship in Cardiovascular Disease at Lankenau Heart Institute in 2020. She is dedicated to being a cardiologist that in addition to traditional medicine, focuses on lifestyle modification, and evidence based nutrition, in order to prevent heart disease. Dr. Belardo is a Preventive Cardiologist in Newport Beach California.
If you come here often you’ll notice I am not about reinventing the wheel. When I find useful information I pass it along with full credit to their authors. The tips listed by Dr. Belardo are not new news but may be very useful for your individual health improvement goals.
At Xmas I was at my favorite DIL’s house in Owasso OK (don’t tell Chelsea). While making a cup of coffee I noticed the packaging on a loaf of private label bread that boldly pronounced
A Plant Based Food
A study by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy revealed 7% of Americans surveyed believe chocolate milk comes from brown cows.
I guess we have to tell people bread comes from plants.
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.
Attention readers: I take no credit for these recipes and I do not get compensated for highlighting this or any other blogger’s work on my site. This is another Giant Electronic Sticky Note that serves as a reminder to try these recipes because I love lentils.
I’m at the age where I need more Giant Electronic Sticky Notes to remember stuff. I need reminders and other mental prompts to tell me I own Laura’s cookbook and need to fix some of her recipes. This post makes four Giant Electronic Sticky Note reminders to myself to expand my vegan and vegetarian meals beyond my world famous Wheat Germ Veggie Burgers.
Which reminds me. I should post my latest Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew experiment. (If my chickpea stew is not a link that means I’ve not posted it yet).
“Keep a diary or journal. Record your reflections on your life experience in a journal. You will find this simple practice to be invaluable in your quest for wisdom.”
Warren Bennis (March 8, 1925 – July 31, 2014) was the distinguished professor of business administration and founding chairman of the Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. He has advised several U.S. presidents and more than 150 CEOs. Bennis is author or coauthor of more than 20 books on leadership, change, and management.
The spirit of the writer is different from the spirits of other artists. Writers are quirkier. Maybe not as quirky as painters or the artist who builds things out of toothpicks. These artists qualify as top of the heap quirky. The spirit of the writer who has lost 200 pounds and kept (most of it) off for nearly 50 years also qualifies for top of the heap quirky. The Digital Truth Machine display showed 176 one week ago. So I went to my journal searching for the raw truth. Well, I found things like “the weather got hot back home in Oklahoma and there’s nothing like a really cold beer on a hot day…” Trouble in Paradise.
I didn’t realize just how many bad habits I allowed back into my life. My own words should have been enough to make me stop and change. But knowing what to do and actually doing it are two different things… Before our Colorado trip I was 168.
7/18 Last night M&M’s and some chocolate drizzled popcorn. I woke up this morning tipping the scale at 170. I’m not sure how much longer I can cheat like this and not gain any weight but I’m sure enjoying whatever time I have before I need to start restricting certain foods and drinks.
8/19 Well maybe I need to hit the panic button. Last night I snacked, drank beer and managed to stay clear of ice cream. Surprisingly I am lighter this morning and I feel fairly thin despite my lack of willpower. After a year of stringent measures I lack the discipline to avoid beer. Again, if it’s not in the house it’s much easier to avoid consumption. Lesson learned, over and over again.
8/22 It’s been nearly three months since our Colorado vacation where I abandoned all self-discipline and started drinking beer again. I managed to put on three pounds last month while boasting that my weight hadn’t changed a month ago. I’m not close to hitting the panic button but we all know why I’m gaining weight.
8/23 I put on four pounds in less than a week.
On 9/11 I hit The Panic Button.
Let’s count how many Gary’s Rules for Weight Loss got ignored. Eat only when hungry. Portion control. Snack but not too much and only healthier foods. Beer, sugary and other things you shouldn’t have in the house got into the house. My journal and fading memory produced the following list of what I did to myself: dairy whole milk, full fat yogurt, beer, wine, Cheez-Its, peach cobbler, potato chips, beer, granola bars, M&M’s, cookies, cakes, brownies, beer, AND a half gallon of ice cream that was purchased for a Tiny Human visit that ultimately got consumed by the Big Human. I had stopped keeping a food journal. There might have been other food and drink that I’ve forgotten about.
Welcome to my world. I need to ensure the new suit I just bought for a wedding in November won’t require alterations.