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Sunday, August 22, 2010

The lowly bean (or legume)....vol. 1

So I haven't blogged much about food lately.

So today is the day!

Me & the mister have been practicing more vegetarian meals. Mostly for our meager budget. And also because since I would like to eat more veggies & encourage the mister to do so as well. We can afford some meat but I would prefer to avoid the overly processed factory farmed meats that are available at our local grocer within our budget. And I don't do processed meat (i.e. lunch meat, hotdogs, most sausages, etc. The nitrates that they use as a preservative bother my digestion.

There are some nice local farms that offer lovely meats (both a chicken and pork farm locally make awesome all natural meats) but they are outside of our budget on a regular basis.


So...

Today I offer up for your consideration....

The lovely, lowly bean.

Autumn Chickpea Salad

Now, I'm not talking about 'dem beans in the can. Not the same. If we're talking budget friendly beans, you absolutely must go with the dried ones...

And I know what you're saying already....

How do I cook them?

What do I use them in?

Ughhhh. Isn't that more work?

And the very short answer is YES. It is a bit more work.

BUT NOT MUCH. And it can fit into any schedule. Busy person, stay-at-home, work all day, single person, etc....

But the benefits are awesome. You control the ingredients. Less sodium, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup. (YEP, that's in some canned beans, check out your local labels!)

And budget friendly is beyond the word. You can buy 1 pound of dried beans locally depending on the said variety for between $1-$2. That will cook you up AT LEAST 5-6 CANS of beans.

For example, today, I let soak overnight, 1lb. of dried garbanzo beans (chickpeas). After a healthy soaking overnight, I followed the directions on the package and cooked them on the stove until done. I threw about a cup into a curry recipe similar to this. The rest I will portion out into freezer bags or refrigerator containers (if I plan on using them in the next day or so) for other recipes.

Pumpkin, Chickpea & Spinach Curry

These can be made into hummus for snacking or an impromptu gathering. Thrown into chili or another curry dish or on top of a salad.

Your saying now, I hear you, but I work all day! How do I cook them?

In the crockpot, of course.

duh, right?

Nope, I'm a dummy too. I didn't try it until a month ago...and it's BRILLIANT!

Soak overnight. After you put the kiddos (or before yourself, if you are childless, like me) to bed, put 'dem beans in the pot and soak 'em overnight. When you wake up to make the coffee in the morning, dump into a colander, rinse, and throw them into the crockpot with plenty of water to cover (at least 6 cups for a lb.) and set on low and leave them all day while you are away.

When you get home there will be more beans than you know what do with.

Literally.

So go now, if you want.... and google bean recipes. Figure out your tastes and give it a try.

You'll like it, I promise. Unless, you're mortally opposed to legumes and fiber, then I can't help you....

Like, I'm sorry. because everybody poops. and it's the magical fruit.

yep. I went there. I know you were thinking it already...dirty minds.

{photos above from Flickr, click on the photo to take you to the source.}

4 comments:

Alesha said...

we love beans here at our house, too! our favorite is pintos, I think. I cook them in the crockpot with garlic, cumin and "better than bouillon". they are yummo!

and here is our favorite recipe for chickpeas - hummus!

http://obtainingmercy.typepad.com/obtaining-mercy/2009/11/the-best-hummus-recipe-ever.html

i love this recipe so much, I had to blog about it! LOL!!!

Yay Beans!!!

;o)
Alesha

Carol B said...

I love chickpeas but have yet to venture outside the canned ones. (Yes, I almost said "outside the can" to go with the fiber train of thought, but I didn't.)

Thanks for the cooking tips!

Janet said...

That dish of food..beans looks heavenly! Do you have a good recope? I will check the internet tho. I love carbanzo beans they are a very big fave of miine! Thank you for this blog bc we forget all the wonderful things we can do with beans.

Barbara Bechtel said...

Thanks for all your comments on the lowly bean. I felt like a giant nerd for blogging that! ...but that is my life.

My all time favorite bean recipe is this:

A rosemary cannellini bean dip made by Giada on Food Network but I can't find the recipe there now. The rosemary is the key to its awesome taste.

Basically you puree white beans (Cannellini or great northern) with a clove or two of garlic (careful here) 1/2 T fresh chopped rosemary, lemon juice, and olive oil, S&P, until smooth and delicious. Once smooth, place in bowl and garnish with another 1/2 T. of chopped fresh rosemary and a drizzle of olive oil.