From dirty to clean, adventures of a clean eating mom.

Save Some Money: Black Bean and Butternut Squash Tacos September 2, 2011

Taco night is a kid-friendly staple. My 5-year-old (almost)  Wesley LOVES taco night because he gets to “make” his own food. I let him put whatever he wants on them. Sometimes this consists of 5 beans, a ton of lettuce, and a ton of cheese. Other times he eats a decent ratio of everything. Either way, it is a healthy meal, so I don’t care how he takes his tacos.

For me tacos are a relatively inexpensive meal and another way I can reduce our grocery bill (and meat consumption) and still serve a healthy meal.

When I was researching vegan recipes I came across an awesome website called FatFree Vegan Recipes, this website has tons of great ideas for recipes. One of them is the black bean and butternut squash tacos.

This combination offers a TON of nutrients.

In addition to packing in 15 grams of protein and fiber, each serving of black beans contain 64% of your daily folate requirement, and their dark skin contain at least 8 different flavonoids, color-producing phytonutrients pigments that have great anti-oxidant potential. They work together with vitamins to help the body avoid oxygen-related damage.

Butternut squash provides another 10% of your folate requirement,  457% of your vitamin A (beta carotene) , and 52% of your vitamin C.

Despite being so good for you, this is a delicious dish.

I did adapt the recipe a bit. Here is my version:

What You Need:

1.5 cups of black beans, rinsed and drained

juice of 1 lime

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

1/2 of a butternut squash finely diced

1 tsp olive oil

salt and pepper

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2  tsp salt

taco shells, hard or soft

variety of condiments: sour cream, lettuce, tomato, guacamole, cheese, salsa, olives, onions, scallions)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss the butternut squash in the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Lightly spray a cookie sheet and place the butternut squash in a single layer. Roast the squash until lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

Then, warm the beans in a large skillet, and mash some of them with the back of a fork, or a pastry blender (this is what I use to mash beans), add the lime juice and garlic. Cook until warmed through and garlic is soft, then add the chili powder, cumin, and salt. Stir to combine. Then add the butternut squash, and stir. The squash will likely get all mashed and mixed in with the beans.

Heat your taco shells according to package directions and serve.

I love the flavor that the roasted squash adds to the beans. It is very much like having caramelized onions on your taco but without the extra fat! I usually roast the whole squash because Owen (OK, me too!) eats half of it before I can mix it in with the beans.

Save some money and try this dish!


Just Try It – Savory Oatmeal August 23, 2011

I am one of those people who only likes oatmeal maybe once a month when it is cold. You know the kind I am talking about, with maple syrup, raisins, apples, cinnamon, all the sweet oatmeal favorites. I don’t like to eat it often, it gets that gluey texture that I enjoy the first couple of times and then it starts to make me gag!

However, I was recently reminded by a Facebook friend, Cyndi, about savory oatmeal. Just like the sweet versions, there are endless options for this as well. Maybe a year or so ago, I tried one from Clean Eating Magazine with salmon, apples, and celery, with steel-cut oats. It was absolutely delicious. I will have to do some digging and post that recipe.

I avoid instant or quick cooking oatmeal, and instead opt for old-fashioned rolled oats, or steel-cut oats. The processing for instant and quick cooking strip some of the nutrients from the grain. Steel cut oats are the best option, they are chewier and more toothsome than the old-fashioned oats, and take a significant amount longer to cook. The old-fashioned roll oats are more toothsome than the quick cooking version and only take 5 minutes to cook!

Here is a list of ingredients you can mix and match to put in your savory oatmeal:

  • Zucchini (yes I did!)
  • Cheese
  • Egg or egg white (adds a good protein boost)
  • Sausage (any kind, including the tofu versions)
  • Onions
  • Spinach
  • Dill
  • Celery
  • Apples
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cumin
  • Chili Powder

Really any vegetables will work here! Here is how I make it:

What you need:

1-2 tsp of oil

1/2 cup of old-fashioned rolled oats per serving

As much vegetables as you want

Meat, or meat substitute (optional)

1/2 oz – 1 oz Cheese  per person (optional)

Seasonings of your choice (trust me the dill is REALLY good in this)

1 egg or egg white per person (optional)

1 cup of water per serving

Skillet or pot with a lid (I use a pot so I can do everything in one pan, the vegetables may not brown up but they will soften.)

How do you do it:

In a skillet or pot (I use a pot, so I can cook it in one dish) heat your oil, add your vegetables and any uncooked meat (do not add eggs or precooked meat at this point). Saute until softened. Then add the water to your pot and bring to boil. When boiling add your oats, stir, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook for approximately 5 minutes. Stir in herbs, and seasoning. If you are using the optional ingredients then, stir in egg or meat (precooked) or meat substitute, and cheese to the dish. Let cook an additional minute until egg is cooked, meat or alternative is cooked through, and cheese is melted. Enjoy!

My friend Cyndi, the one who reminded me about savory oatmeal, she likes it with an ooey, gooey egg on top. That is for sure not my cup of tea but I know some people like it!

So what is my favorite combo?

Zucchini, spinach, onions, cheese, garlic, dill, and some salt!

Who knew…savory oatmeal! Just try it! Tell me when you find your favorite combo!


Clean Red Beans and Rice August 15, 2011

Red beans and rice is one of those dishes my husband adores. You know the kind I am talking about, loaded with sausage, tons of fat, and seasoning.

As you can imagine, this was  crossed off the list when we started eating clean. However, I have come up with an amazing substitute. He absolutely loves this and RAVES about it! It is so easy to make!

What you need:

1 TBSP olive oil

1 small onion, diced finely

3 cloves of garlic, diced finely

2 cups of cooked kidney beans (light or dark), rinsed and drained (if you made your own beans you can use the bean water in place of the water in this recipe)

.5 cups of water or bean water (only if you made your own beans)

2 salt-free bouillon cubes (I like Rapunzel Vegan Vegetable Bouillon No Salt Added)

1 tsp salt

2 cups of COOKED brown rice

2-3 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro

Cooking Directions

Heat the oil in a large skillet. When hot place the onions in and cook until softened, about five minutes, add the garlic and cook for two more minutes, stirring constantly. Add the beans, bouillon cubes, and water. With a fork mash some of the beans, but not all of them. Stir and cook until the “sauce” starts to thicken, add the salt and stir. Remove from heat.

If your brown rice is not hot, warm it up.

In a large bowl mix the beans and the rice together, and stir in the cilantro.  This dish is great as a main dish, served with a vegetable like green beans.

Please let me know if you try this and how you liked it! Enjoy!