Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lucky Seven Sweet Things about Dried Beans! Plus, Homemade Refried Beans, AND Bean Conversions!

Guess what has taken me FOREVER to finally come to love!?


#1 Beans of ANY kind are Super-NUTRIENT-Packed!

#2 CHEAP -- usually less than $2 per pound (I often buy bulk section of from Whole Foods -- spectacular VARIETY!)!
My latest deal is less than $1 per pound (Aldi)!

Assuming $2 per pound dried, you get 4 cans worth of cooked beans for $2!

Handy conversions between
dried, canned, and cooked beans!
#3 Free of SALT (some 14.5 oz cans get close to an entire day's recommended total!)
Here is a post from Andrew of Eating Rules showing how much sodium comes out with rinsing and draining, at best 45%!

#4 Free of the CHEMICALS added to canned beans to preserve them.
AS WELL AS chemicals on the plastic coating inside the can!

#5 Free of added SUGAR, ...and high fructose corn syrup, I found both in a huge (100 oz) can of beans at Gordon Foods!

#6 TASTE! Though I have never been disappointed with the taste of canned beans, and beans are often added to other tasty foods anyway, warm, freshly prepared dried beans taste, wholesome, creamy, and delightful!

#7 EASY -- this is the most surprising bonus of dried beans!  Some time savers: you DON'T have to OPEN cans, or rinse and drain cooked beans.  While you should rinse dried beans, cleaning the strainer afterward is a cinch with dried beans (compared to cooked beans)!

SO how to do it?  I thank 100 Days of Real Food! for their simple recipe!

Here is what I do!

Homemade Refried Beans (Note: there is nothing fried about these beans!)

1 pound (2 c) dried pinto beans, rinsed (substitute almost any bean* you wish in this recipe!)
6 c water

Cook everything overnight (or all day) on high in a slow cooker. Onions and garlic are nutritious and delicious addition (1-2 onions, halved, and 2 cloves garlic). CUMIN is also a delicious addition!
Blend to desired smoothness and enjoy!

Homemade Refried Beans

  • I use my Blendtec, but you could even do this coarsely with a fork or potato masher.
  • Other add-ins for pinto and black beans: cumin, pepper.
  • For other types of beans, you will probably omit the blending.
  • *KIDNEY beans need to be boiled for 10 min first, then rinsed, to rid them of a toxin.

This it a great technique for Heavenly Hummus (note above conversions)!
As well as black beans for 2-Minute Friday Night Dinner (Ha! ...slow cooker for 2-minute dinner!)!

PS- lentils are lovely! Soaking or hours of cooking never needed! TRY this: Hearty Lentil Soup!

COMMENTS: what kind of posts are your favorite here at fresh-you? Thanks for sharing!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Lucky Seven Tips for Kids and Sweets

"First, what are your "rules" regarding treats with your children? I feel like there is a never ending supply in this house due to holidays, birthdays, and my own sweet tooth. But I feel out of control. And I feel like I am doing a disservice to my children (even though they exercise regularly, eat pretty well, and are by no means even close to overweight. Quite the opposite, actually!) But I feel like they eat too much crap whether it be at school, parties, home, whatever. There's always something. We recently put in place a no treat rule Mon-Thurs, unless it's a special occasion (like valentines day...even though I'm sure they had enough crap at school!). Of course they hate it, but I'm still wondering if that's enough. So I'm wondering what other people's "rules" are if they exist."

RULES in OUR HOUSE about SWEETS (only listed here for the first time, otherwise unwritten :)

#1 SAVOR: teach your kids (I am still teaching myself!) to slowly, taste, and enjoy each bite of a sweet.  If you've had enough, stop!  You don't know how many suckers I have thrown away after a day or so because they only had some licks, and then wanted to "save it for later" (they hardly every ask for it after that).  The above photo is of a happy face after taking probably 15 minutes to eat a piece (not a bar!) of dark chocolate.  This girl is the savoring queen!

#2 NOT (necessarily) DAILY: there is no entitlement to a dessert after each meal, or each day.  As the reader above mentions, there are often special reasons to have a treat, so we don't need to have one each day.

#3 Be PICKY: take time to pick something you'll enjoy, and if it doesn't look really good, or if it doesn't taste really good, then skip it! You should see how long it takes my kids (the older two) to choose a treat from the CANDY BASKET -- normally they might go through it for up to 30 minutes before making their final selection!  They sort and consider and discuss; it's really something.

#4 Small PORTIONS: just a little bit can be amazing, but after a few bites, we don't even taste any given food as much as at the start of the meal. OTHERWISE, I am not concerned with portion sizes of the foods we eat, since making healthy choices does that for us. Fiber especially, fills us up, so we can't eat too much!

SPLIT: this great tool is an add-on to #4. You can split something among all the kids, OR half for now, half for later, OR pair a child and an adult to share, OR the whole family can share! Really, if you recall in #4, no one is really going to be wanting any more, and on the bright side, probably nobody will have a tummy ache!

#5 TAKE it HOME: normally, it's best to keep things out of the house, so they don't tempt us. However, when our kids are bombarded with sweets outside the home (like at parties), they feel better, satisfied, just getting to pack it up, and bring it home. It can always be disposed of later.  We have a "candy basket"; it's where we keep all the sweets we accumulate.

#6 Eat HEALTHY stuff FIRST: I avoid saying "no" to pleading for a sweet.  We say they can have a piece AFTER a healthy snack, lunch, dinner, etc. OFTEN, after they finish the said meal, they FORGET about the sweet! Seriously! When kids (and adults) are hungry or bored, a common reaction is to go for a sweet.

#7 Don't remind about sweets - they don't need any of it!  Little ones ESPECIALLY (younger than 3 or 4 years old) should have VERY few treats. Their total calorie requirements are so low that if you give them a sweet, it's difficult to get all the nutrients they need without giving them more calories than their little bodies need.

NOTE: Occasionally, my kids will eat a sweet first thing in the morning ...unusual, yes!  Better (for their teeth and tummies) than eating something sweet right before bed. Imagine a sweet was promised to a child but she forgot about it.  Then she remembered right before bed, SO first thing tomorrow - she can have it! ...goes along with the forgetting in #6 and the not reminding in #7.

Don't worry if CHILDREN WITH OLDER SIBLINGS want (and begin to eat) sweets at a younger age than the other kids in the family did.  Like all the other wonderful things they may do sooner because of example, they'll ask for sweets earlier because they see their siblings wanting, enjoying, and asking for sweets!  Hopefully, they'll also pick up their savoring skills!

BONUS TIP: To help with TEETH brushing, say: "Children who brush their teeth, eat sweets." This is referring to 'in general', as opposed to, of course, cause and effect (brush and then eat sweets).

COMMENTS: Are you an oldest, youngest, middle, or only child?  I am the oldest, and it is very interesting to see striking character similarities (not always the best ones!) between me and my oldest daughter sometimes. Amazing how something like birth order can be so universal!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Creamy Avocado Pasta!

This recipe was from Angela and her amazing blog!

She is a truly amazing genius in the kitchen!  SO creative with healthy ingredients!

Here how I made her 15-Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta!

First I cook the pasta, whole wheat! or DeBoles Jerusalem Artichoke :)
Then I prepare the sauce -- super easy!  No cooking even!

Combine until smooth in a food processor:
1 1/2 avocados
4 packets of True Lemon (that stuff rocks!) + 1/4 water (or juice of 1/2 a lemon)
1 heaping tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp basil (I use 2 cubes of Dorot's) I also LOVE Dorot's frozen herb cubes!
Salt and pepper, to taste
Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (optional)

Drain pasta, mix sauce and pasta in pasta pan, and enjoy!

Pairs perfectly with a sweet potato!

Now you see it!

Now you don't!
Huge hit for our family of five!

COMMENTS: What quick and easy pasta dishes do you love?!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Tater Tots for a Balanced Meal?!

Healthy creamy pasta sauce anyone?...coming soon!
Best, cheapest, healthiest, easiest refried beans ever! ...coming soon!

AND did you ever think that tater tots could be a well-balanced, delicious, and fun MEAL?!

TATER TOTS (without potatoes!)
Note: potatoes aren't unhealthy, but quinoa and beans are MUCH more NUTRITIONALLY dense!

Chocolate Covered Katie introduced these tots which she found in an awesome cookbook by Julie Morris:

This is what I do:

  1. Started cooking 1/2 c quinoa (in 1.5 c water, 2:1 ratio) to get 2 cups cooked (1c dry quinoa = 4 c cooked!)
  2. Drain, rinse and mash a can of white beans (reserve juice in case dough needs moisture)
  3. Diced one small onion (about 1/2 c)
  4. Added 1/4 c each: sesame seeds, ground flaxseed, and brown rice OR whole wheat flour
  5. 1 Tbsp soy sauce (or miso)
  6. Combine quinoa, beans, onion, dry ingredients, and soy sauce.
  7. Form into balls, rolls (then sliced for tots!), or patties.
  8. You can brown on a pan on the stove or bake in the oven (baking doesn't look as much like usual tater tots).
  9. Top with mustard for another health boost!

The way I describe above is a double batch of the original, with a few other slight changes.

You can freeze some for later (though when I make them, I can hardly get them off the pan before they are gobbled up by all!).

Note: this pan is gone now. I didn't use it much because of the dangers of Teflon. I got a new pan I'll be sharing soon!
HERE is Julie's book:

Click on book to see in Amazon!

COMMENTS: would you rather see dried beans SIMPLIFIED, or Creamy Avocado Pasta next?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Trick Brownies!

Add some nutrition to your next batch of boxed brownies! Duncan Hines, Arrowhead Mills, and Manischewitz (this source says) each offer dairy-free mixes.

Brownie mix + 1 can black beans (drained, rinsed, and pureed) + 2 Tbsp flaxseed + water as needed for thickening (up to 1/2 c).

EQUALS delicious brownies WITH FIBER AND VITAMINS too!  Beans ROCK!

Don't try to make a meal of these!  They're still made from a box, plenty of the things we all try to avoid (sugar, fat, added chemicals...), but if you're making them anyway, why not add some GOODNESS?!


Unfortunately, Ghirardelli's brownie mixes aren't dairy-free, so choose one of the alternative brands listed above.


HINT: wait until they cool to eat, and they are EVEN yummier the next day!

For a completely wholesome option, TRY THESE!

COMING SOON! tater tots, avocado pasta, and 4-ingredient pizza "quiche"!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Esselstyn Exilir

I was inspired my Dr Caldwell Esselstyn's presentation Tuesday night, and our conversation afterward!

In honor of meeting the amazing Dr Esselstyn, I introduce:
(EXILIR: because on his diet, you're heart attack proof, cancer proof, you won't get cancer or osteoporosis, ...and so, you may LIVE FOREVER!  :)

Esselstyn Exilir

12 c water
1 c brown rice, uncooked
1 lb frozen spinach
4 carrots, sliced
small head of celery, chopped
Italian seasoning (majorum, thyme, rosemary, savory, sage, oregano, and basil)
4 small onions, chopped
Tbsp garlic, minced
10 heads baby bok choy, chopped
Poultry seasoning (sage, thyme, onion, majorum, pepper, celery seed, and red pepper)
2 cans beans (I used cannellini, and 3-bean (kidney, pinto, and black)
1 can diced tomatoes

Boil spinach, carrots, and celery in water with Italian seasoning. Saute onions, bok choy, and garlic in a little water with poultry seasoning, and then add to soup. Let it all simmer for as long as you like. After an hour, it will be a lovely soup, and after 2, it'll be a thick veggie stew!

It's vegetarian (meat-free), vegan (animal-free), oil-free, and nearly sodium-free (it works out to be less than 50 mg per cup!)  Edan Organic beans only contain 30 mg sodium per serving, compared to up to 450 mg per serving beans of other brands.

It also includes two of the six greens that he recommends everyone eat daily! They included spinach, bok choy, kale, collard greens, arugula, and I think mustard greens!

If you have low blood pressure and a heart, adding a few cashews, like we did with leftovers, was yummy!

COMMENTS: Have you heard of Dr Esselstyn or read his book or watched Forks Over Knives?

COMING SOON: A summary of Dr Esselstyn's presentation, our conversation, and my thoughts on it all :)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Nearly as FAST as Quick Oats!

Oats (oatmeal, rolled oats, Old-Fashioned oats) are a 100% whole grain -- NO added ingredients!

They're FAST and they are CHEAPER and HEALTHIER than flavored, quick oats!

Oatmeal is high in fiber, protein, and healthy carbs to give you energy that will last all morning! Oats also contain iron and zinc, without cholesterol or saturated fat, and provide folate, niacin, thiamin, vitamin B6, riboflavin, and vitamin A.

Plain rolled oats are almost as easy as pouring a bowl of cereal!  Simply pour some oats into a large glass bowl and cover oats with water.  One cup of oats will cook in the microwave to a perfectly moist fluff in 3-4 minutes!

Eat it right away or try it with some added flavor!

Try Yummy Flavored Oatmeal! or Chocolate Oatmeal (or Peanut Butter Oatmeal if you omit cocoa!..PB Oatmeal is what we have most often!) or Hearty Oatmeal Combos!

If you're still reading this AND you don't enjoy hot cereal, you might try Creamy Refreshing Carrot Soup OR Chocolate Raspberry Kiss Muffins!

Creamy, Refreshing, Tangy Carrot Soup

Chocolate Raspberry Kiss Muffins

WHY Old-Fashioned oats? Well, they mainly have the same nutritional value. However, the more you process, in this case cut up, and partially cook (the "instant" ones in packets), the more nutrients are potentially destroyed (through oxidation, for example). Plus, flavored instant oatmeals contain unhealthy ingredients, especially refined sugars, added, decreasing the nutrient density of the food.

COMMENTS: What do you like most to see on the blog?  Thanks for sharing!!

Friday, February 1, 2013

How to Begin Eating Whole Foods! Plus, Hearty Lentil Stew!

Does the idea of eating "whole foods" sound too hippy-ish for you? It doesn't have to be such an unusual diet. You may even already be having a whole food for breakfast each morning! Oatmeal anyone?

The more WHOLE foods in your diet, the healthier you will be!

With fewer processed (BOXED/PACKAGED) foods, you'll be getting MORE of the good stuff and LESS of the bad stuff!

My cool visual should technically have the scale tipped the other way, but those added calories and trans fat ARE pretty heavy :)
Whole foods have MORE:
Vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and TASTE!

Whole foods have LESS:
Trans fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, calories, added CHEMICALS as preservatives, coloring, and more!

Get started with this!  With very little effort, you can warm up as you enjoy some tasty, home-cooked REAL food with plenty of nutrition!

Lentils, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, CHIA, and spices!

Hearty Lentil Stew

1 c dried lentils, rinsed
1 c grains, dried (brown rice, farro, etc)
12 c water
2 carrots, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 potatoes, chopped
3 cloves garlic (Tbsp minced)
1/4 c chia seeds
1/4 c ground flaxseed
1 tsp coarse ground pepper
2 Tbsp Italian seasoning (make your own!) or Mrs Dash seasoning (sage, thyme, onion, majoram, pepper, celery seed, and red pepper, and more)

Simply bring water to a boil with everything in the pot, and then turn down heat to a rolling boil.  Cook for at least 30 minutes, the longer it simmers the more flavorful and thick it will be!

INSTAPOT: manual for 15 min!

Lowdown on Lentils (and Beans)!
Chia Power!
Garlic Greatness!

COMMENTS: What are you cooking this weekend?


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