Another electronic sticky note. I am always on the hunt for new recipes to try AND a method to remember where the hell I filed those recipes. Hence, the electronic sticky note series of blog posts. I also use https://getpocket.com/en/ to save webpages for reading later or to save source material for my posts.
Beans on the shelf in my pantry.
Although I prefer to use dried beans for my dishes I can’t ignore the ease of opening a few cans and having a meal on the table in less than an hour.
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.
Krista Navin has been a vegetarian since she was a teen, and says these imitation meats have been creeping onto more menus. It really hit home when Burger King replaced its veggie patty — made by vegetarian stalwart brand Morningstar Farms — with the Impossible Whopper. “I find those types of burgers uniquely off-putting,” Navin says. “I think they have actually done a really good job making them like the real thing and that is exactly the thing I don’t want.”
Results from the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil), which included participants aged 35 and older, showed that higher intake of UPF was significantly associated with a faster rate of decline in both executive and global cognitive function.”Based on these findings, doctors might counsel patients to prefer cooking at home [and] choosing fresher ingredients instead of buying ready-made meals and snacks,” co-investigator Natalia Goncalves, PhD, University of São Paulo Medical School, Brazil, told Medscape Medical News.“Participants who reported consumption of more than 20% of daily calories from ultraprocessed foods had a 28% faster rate of global cognitive decline and a 25% faster decrease of the executive function compared to those who reported eating less than 20% of daily calories from ultraprocessed foods,
UPF consumption was associated with worse performance in Animal Fluency among older people without pre-existing diseases. Decreasing UPF consumption may be a way to improve impaired cognition among older adults.
“You used to eat those commercially prepared veggie burgers.”
“I don’t eat them anymore. It’s better to make your own.”
Faithful followers know what happened during the inferno summer of 2022 because of my earlier post on Spinach, Mushrooms and Onion. I’m still working feverishly to reduce the number of packages of frozen vegetables to make room for other items. The other day I used up a package of frozen spinach and about a cup and a half of cooked chickpeas to make Chickpea and Spinach Burgers.
Yup, that’s right. No recipe. The Boss said,
“Go ahead and toss all of the spinach in the mix.”
So I did. Instead of Chickpea and Spinach Burgers I ended up making Spinach Burgers with a Small Spattering of Chickpeas Somewhere in the Mix.
I promise to post if and when I’m totally happy with the results.
Tight supplies have helped push U.S. retail prices higher. Chickpeas on U.S. grocery shelves jumped 12% from last year, nearly 17% higher than prior to the pandemic, according to the most recent NielsenIQ data. Hummus prices have increased 6.9% since 2019.
The past week has been one of those terrible horrible no-good weeks that hit the checking account hard. I won’t list all of the things that stopped working but one thing hurt the most.
The side by side refrigerator/freezer died. I think this appliance was over 30 years old. it functioned as our second unit, a place to keep drinks cold and to stock up on frozen foods to prepare for the future food shortages and higher costs. Buying mass quantities of frozen vegetables as a hedging strategy against higher prices works well until your freezer dies.
I managed to STUFF a large number of frozen bags into our primary freezer. But I have to cook and eat a large number of these frozen bags of goodness to make room. So I started with a bag of spinach.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large sweet onions sliced thin
8 oz white button mushrooms sliced thick
2-3 garlic cloves minced
12 oz frozen cut leaf spinach
salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium high heat.
Add mushrooms and saute for five minutes. When browned…
Add onions. Reduce heat to medium. Saute for five minutes. When browned…
Add garlic. Saute for one minute.
Add frozen spinach (no need to defrost). Saute for 15-20 minutes. You want the spinach to be drier but not too dry.
Add butter, salt and pepper to taste.
You are done. Now decide what you’re going to do with this stuff.
What to do?
mix with ricotta and Parmesan cheeses for stuffed shells
melt some cheddar for a quick sandwich/tortilla filling
toss with pasta for a quick meal
open a can of white beans, drain/rinse and mix with broth for a quick soup
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:
1/2 tsp smoked paprika and 1/2 tsp regular sweet paprika
freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
Heat the olive oil in a medium sized stock pot
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.
Add the tomatoes, vinegar and simmer for five minutes. Break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Continue to simmer until the mixture thickens.
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.
When the potatoes are tender the stew is done. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and salt.
Makes approximately six large servings.
Now I need to figure out what to make with the butternut squash I baked in the oven.
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.
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.
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.
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.