Monday, June 07, 2010

Beans, beans, beans

In our home, we eat beans, and include a variety of them in our diet each week.

Consuming a variety of beans offers us a flood of rich protein sources, and the health benefits of consuming them also includes all of the essential amino acids a body requires to live. Plus beans offer great nutritional qualities from their rich soluble fibers, which are beneficial for lowering cholesterol and aiding insulin receptors in diabetes.

Oh, and the taste isn't bad either.

I like to play with my recipes, often substituting and mixing beans in to my family's food fare.

My pantry has always included a variety of beans, both dried and canned depending on how long I have to include them in to my meal planning deadline.

I've purchased many in bulk, those such as; lentils (green and yellow), white beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, brown pinto beans, kidney beans, and others such as green and/or brown peas and they are all placed in labeled, air tight containers.

It would be fair to say, we really do consume a variety of beans, perfect always as a rich protein supplement for making those meatless dishes.

This particular day I was making a large pot of chili and not one to use a recipe for my chili per se, I had no idea what would end up as the main ingredients until I searched my pantry.

Navy, kidney and black beans were my choice and unlike a meatless dish, and I also wanted to include some organic local lean ground beef I'd purchased from a local farm to work with.


I can't really give you a recipe for this pot of chili, admittedly not working with one for the most part over the past decade or more, but let's just say I usually use the standard items of;
  • tomato paste
  • rich Italian roma tomatoes chopped up
  • lots of chopped up white onions
  • finely chopped garlic
  • tomato juice (yes, i love using tomato juice for a lower calorie option and not so rich in texture)
  • 1 1/2 - 2 pounds of organic lean ground beef (buffalo ground, chicken or turkey ground are great substitutes)
  • beans, to offset more bulk, I just adjust everything else around them to my preferred consistency
  • many fresh and dried spices to taste, even a splash of hot sauce (we like it medium hot on our tongues)
and (giggles) whatever leftovers I found in the fridge;
  • a few slices of tomato left on a small plate
  • the last two green onions
  • a freezer bag full of freshly grated and thawed zucchini
  • the half of red pepper in the veggie drawer
  • an old carrot begging to be chopped and thrown in
  • a bit of celery leaves
  • chopped up last bit of cauliflower heads
  • leftover bit of rice
  • and I forget whatever else I added in there.(wink,wink)

I've become one of those older women who likes to create her own pot of "something" nutritional for my growing family, and very undoubtedly ever reproducible in the same variation again. When someone has asked for the recipe, my two answers are;

"Sorry I have nothing to offer you in recipe form",


"Oh dear, it's an ancient family recipe secret"

... smiles...

Whatever the concoction for this day,my vat of chili, it really did turn out mighty fine and was very delicious. Accompanied by a fresh loaf of Italian bread and a green salad, all present (including three extra bodies invited to stay for dinner) were well fed, nutritiously filled and quite satisfied.

One warning I would like to pass along for those who don't know this; remember the old song;

"Beans, beans the magical fruit, the more you eat, the more you toot"...

Yes, there can be digestion and intestinal issues reaped for your loved ones if your beans aren't well cooked in advance of eating.

Avoid eating "crunchy" beans if you suffer from these health problems, you know the ones we have all experienced after a day in the crockpot when we firstly forgot to soak the beans overnight.

Canned beans are a great substitute although I would urge you to also stock up on fresh dried beans as well. Your whole world will open up to food values and thrifty meal servings for your family, let alone excellent nutritional values placed into those loving people's bodies in your home.

In conclusion, may I also recommend a great cookbook on how to use beans, ideas for meal making, containing many recipes from breakfasts to desserts and everything in between. 30 minute meals using beans is the author's motto, allowing any hurried mama the opportunity to feed her family well.

Country Beans by Rita Bingham

For more information on the value of adding beans into your family meal planning check out the following site for a write up on Rita and her cookbook;

Natural Meals

Most of all, I implore you to be courageous and keep trying new things. Keep offering plenty of variety in your meal planning by at least trying out new-to-you foods for all those loved ones who are counting on your to provide it for them. What was that saying? "Variety is the spice of life?"... smiles...

Have a great day!