Monday, April 29, 2013

Here's what I've "bean" up to

April 29, 2013

What a food day! The kids started our day off by packing ham sandwiches and some of the leftover quinoa salad. My hubby packed leftover grilled potatoes/peppers, fruit/cottage cheese, an orange, and hard boiled eggs.

I saw that we still had leftover sweet potato/bean burgers. It wasn't really a burger texture so I wanted to try something different with it today. I made a wrap. I sliced the burger and warmed it up. On my tortilla, I layered spinach, green onion, cucumber, carrots, purple cabbage, sweet potato/bean burger, avocado, and cilantro. Yum!

The kids needed a snack after school. I had strawberries and bananas that need to be used up. What fun would it be if I simply asked, hey kids can you eat these fruit please? Instead I went with a recipe from Fit Sugar and I altered a few of the ingredients. I mixed together raspberry yogurt (instead of greek yogurt) and a banana in the food processor. I stuffed the strawberries with the mixture and then topped it with shaved chocolate (instead of sliced almonds).

I tried my hand at dry beans today. I was a little intimidated so I thought I would share my experience incase any of you want to give it a try. First spread your beans on a counter and look through them for any stones, weird beans, etc. Rinse the beans. There are two methods from this point. You can bring them to a boil for a few minutes, turn off the heat, and then let them sit for an hour. I read several websites that suggested a cold soak for 6-8 hours was better. I put the bag of beans into a pot and added 8 cups of cold water. They soaked for 6 hours. Drain and rinse. Then it is time to cook the beans. I added the beans and 6 cups of water to the pot and let them simmer. I think they cooked for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. I did not add any salt or any seasoning to the beans. I wanted to be able to use them in a variety of dishes so I decided to keep them pretty plain. My one pound bag of beans ended up yielding the equivalent of 4 cans! I paid $1.25 for the bag of great northern beans. As a comparison, I paid $0.85 for a can of cannellini beans. If you take the $1.25 that I paid and divide it up between the can equivalents that it made, it actually costed about $0.31 per "can". Not only are dry beans cheaper, but now I know the exact ingredients in them too!

I wanted to use my beans tonight. I decided to make an alfredo sauce. I put about a cup of beans and a couple splashes of half and half into the food processor. I sauteed onions and garlic in butter. I stirred in the bean mixture and about another cup of half and half. I added salt, pepper, basil, and some freshly shredded romano and asiago. I served it with a box of pasta that has been hanging around for awhile and some steamed broccoli. I was giddy on the inside (had to keep a straight face) as I waited for everyone to try the sauce. Before I knew it, my son had cleaned his plate and had asked for seconds of the pasta. Yay! Everyone liked the sauce. The one problem was that it kind of dried out. This could be due to two things. One, I cooked way too much pasta. You would think that for as often as I make pasta and for how much I love it that I would have a clue as to how much to cook. Ha. Nope. Two, my ratio of half and half to bean mixture may have been off. We will fiddle with it next time. Yep, there's a next time.

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