Sunday, January 29, 2012

Lima Beans

With my vow in place to transition from canned beans to dried beans I hit the grocery store and got up close and personal with some new legumes. Lima beans caught my attention right away and I quickly decided that these lovely white beans would come along on a cooking adventure with me.

Before soaking these little guys I checked out the nutrition facts table (a best practice for all those interested in improving their health) and saw that half a cup of lima beans has 19 grams of fibre. Hold the phone - 19 GRAMS OF FIBRE! That's insane! And it is in fact insane. After some research I realized that a 1/2 cup of dried lima beans has 19 grams of fibre but once soaked they expand and less beans fit into a cup. This was a relief as 19 grams of fibre in one sitting would be tough for any digestive tract to handle.

The Nutrition Facts are impressive - 1/2 cup of cooked lima beans bring about 114 calories, 0 grams of fat, 7 grams of fibre, 8 grams of protein, and just 2 mg of sodium. To summarize:  lima beans are incredibly nutritious, promote good heart health, keep your digestive tract healthy, and will help you feel full for hours after your meal.

Lima  beans have a very unique taste and texture. They have a very mild taste, much like a potato. Since they have a very bland flavour seasoning with herbs, spices, and citrus is a must.

Not having had any lima bean cooking experience I hit the world wide web to see what other folks like to do with their lima beans. I saw a lot of sautéing with tomatoes and spices - so I followed suit and came up with this little recipe:


Prep: Soak lima beans in water overnight or during the work day.

1 cup lima beans
2 tomatoes, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1/2 habarnero pepper, chopped*
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 pinches of red chili flakes
black pepper
2 basil leaves, chopped (optional)

1. Soak lima beans in water for 8 to 12 hours. Once soaked, rinse, bring to a boil, and let simmer for about an hour or until beans are soft.
2. Once beans are cooked add chopped veggies to a skillet and sauté in a small amount of oil until almost cooked. Add drained lima beans, garlic, red chili flakes, and black pepper. Sauté for about 5 - 7 minutes.
3. Serve and enjoy.

*note: if you have a low spice tolerance omit the habanero pepper.

Wishing you a wonderful week,

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Fresh Start

This month's Recipe Redux is dedicated to the ever important, ever scrumptious breakfast. In my mind there are two types of breakfasts: the week day morning "oh-man-I-probably-shouldn't-have-pressed-snooze- that-last-time" breakfast and the weekend morning "roll-out-of-bed-nothing-but-time-on-my-side-let's-do-something-special" breakfast.  

I have a few go-to quick and nutritious weekday breakfasts but this is Recipe Redux, it's time to do something special - weekend breakfast it is. 

My wonderful coworker hooked me up with eggs from a small local farm. Look how beautiful they are: 

With these lovely eggs I decided to make an omelette. 

Omelettes are great, not only because of their versatility and taste, but because it's an awesome way to add a serving or two of vegetables to your day. 

I sautéed mushrooms, onions, zucchini, and kale. Piled them high on top of my eggs, held my breath and made the flip. Success. 

I must admit that I enjoy ketchup with eggs. Instead of smearing cheap ketchup all over this beautiful omelette I opted to make bruschetta. For this I combined one clove of garlic, a chopped tomato, a pinch or two of basil and some olive oil.  Simply delightful. 

Recipe: Omelette

3 medium eggs
Red Chili Flakes 
Red Onion 

1. Cut and sauté veggies. I like to cook the mushrooms and onions first. Once they are nicely browned I add the rest of the veggies. 
2. Scramble eggs with milk, pepper, and red chili flakes. Pour on a separate, oiled, heated, medium frying pan. Cook on low-medium until egg solidifies. 
3. Add sautéed veggies to one side of the egg and carefully and quickly flip the remaining half of the egg over the veggies. This can take practice and patience, but you can do it! Good luck.
4. Let the omelette cook like this for a few minutes, serve and enjoy. 

Tip: If you flip your omelette and your egg or filling needs to be cooked some more pop your frying pan into the over at 300F and bake for 5 to 10 minutes. 

Recipe: Bruschetta

Olive Oil 

1. Chop tomato, add one glove of garlic, about 1 Tbsp of olive oil and about 1 Tbsp of basil. Mix. 
2. Top omelette with bruschetta. 

Before leaving, take some time to look through the breakfast recipes below created by other recipe reduxers.

Wishing you a fresh start to your day,    

Recipe Redux:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I've bean thinking...

Today I'm talking beans.

I'm a big bean eater. It's the main source of protein in my diet and black beans are my absolute favourite. Canned black beans are quick and certainly fulfill my bean needs, however dried beans really are a step up when it comes to taste, texture, and price.  They take some extra prep time but they're well worth it.

Prepping and cooking: 
Dried beans need to be soaked for 8 to 12 hours before cooking. I soak mine overnight or during the work day. They then need to be cooked (boiled) for about 1-2 hours, depending on how much you are making. Yes, this prep time is pretty long, but beans are great leftover so I make a big batch and enjoy throughout the week.

I must admit, at this point in my life I am not a huge planner so I don't use dried beans as much as I would like to, but I sure am going to try to change this....starting today!

Benefits of dried beans:
- no preservatives
- sodium free
- high fibre
- high protein
- delicious
- incredibly inexpensive
- versatile (think stir fry, pizza, salad, soup, anything to do with a tortilla, and yes, even dessert)

If you're looking to learn more about dried beans, peas, or lentils check out this great cooking guide with all the official info.

Supper last night was deliciously simple: every veggie in my kitchen was chopped, sautéed, topped with leftover black beans and sprinkled with sesame seeds. I sautéed the veggies in sesame oil which gave the dish a wonderful asian flavour. I splashed it with a small amount of rice vinegar and then chowed down.

Wishing you great success on all your bean adventures,

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It's 2012, let's do this

Happy new year!!! January 2012 is here and I'm happy as pie. My holidays included ocean, family, friends, food, laughter, pictures, and dancing. As wonderful as it was, it's always nice to get back into the swing of things with some reliable routine. 

I love the January vibe. Collectively we move more, eat less, get stuff done, and simply strive to do better. It's the one time of year when we all decide to start over. What's not to like about a new, fresh, hopeful beginning? (answer: nothin' at all).

With holiday indulgence behind me, I am ready to get back in the kitchen and make nutritious, warm, wholesome meals. With a big bushel of kale and a couple of portobello mushrooms in my fridge I got moving. 

Kale Portobello Tacos (with a Tzatziki twist)

Portobello mushroom
Red Onion
Tofu, firm
Whole wheat tortilla, small
Ground black pepper
Chili powder
Red chili flakes
Parmesan cheese, fresh

Sauté portobello mushrooms and red onion until browned*. Add kale and zucchini*. Sprinkle with garlic, ground black pepper, and chili powder. 
In a separate pan, cook strips of firm tofu until brown on both sides. Sprinkle with ground black pepper, red chili flakes, and garlic. 
Warm a small, whole wheat tortilla on the pan and spread 1 tablespoon of tzatziki down the middle. Add tofu and vegetables, sprinkle with fresh parmesan and enjoy!  

* A couple of important reminders:
1. A lesson from Julia Childs - give your mushrooms space to cook. It makes a major difference in the taste and texture.
2. Take the spine out of your kale  (it can be tough and bitter).

Wishing you a year of happiness, health, and motivation,