CleanEatingMama

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

Save Some Money – Beans August 15, 2011

At our house we eat a ton of beans. We all love them and they are so good for you.We use them in tacos, recently we tried black bean and butternut squash tacos, tofu or egg scramble, for burritos, with rice, and in soups. You can do a ton with these little guys!

Overall beans are a great choice for eating healthy. Beans are an exceptional source of fiber and soluble fiber. One cup of beans provides between 9 and 13 grams of fiber. Fiber helps you stay fuller, longer, helps lower cholesterol, and helps maintain healthy digestion. Beans are also high in complex carbs, folate, and iron.

In addition to their health benefits, beans are versatile, and cheap!

The key to making beans really, really, really budget-friendly is to make them yourself. This process can seem daunting, but seriously, it requires very little active time and the fruits of your labor are worth it.

Here are some benefits of making your own beans, instead of buying canned:

  • You save a lot of money!!!!
  • You can significantly cut the amount of sodium you consume when eating canned foods.
  • You reduce your exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA) from the cans.
  • You can replace some of your meat-based protein with a plant-based protein.

These are all great reasons to take a little time to do this, but did I mention that you really can save a lot of money????

Here is an example:

2 pounds of organic, dry black beans (from the bulk aisle) costs about $2 a pound, I recently purchased 2 pounds of black beans ($4) and I made the equivalent of 7 cans of beans, each can has about 1 3/4 cup of beans. This makes the beans about $0.33 a cup.

A can of organic beans costs somewhere in the $2.20 range or about $1.26 per cup.

7 cans of black beans would have cost me about $15.40. Instead it cost me only $4, a savings of over $11. That is way better than a $.50 off coupon.

The general instructions for making your own beans are:

  1. Rinse and drain one pound of beans.
  2. Place the dried beans in a large pot and fill with water.
  3. Let soak overnight. (This is an important step, there are quick soak methods but I truly feel the beans turn out better when you do the overnight soak.)
  4. The next day, rinse and drain the beans, put back in the pot and put in 8-12 cups of water. (Depending on the bean, such as kidney beans where I like a lot of juice left, I will use more water.)
  5. Bring the beans to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat to medium and put a lid, tilted on the pot.
  7. Let cook for approximately 2 hours. (Imagine all the things you can accomplish in two hours!!!!!)

DO NOT SEASON THE BEANS UNTIL THEY ARE DONE COOKING!!!! Salting the water will PREVENT your beans from cooking properly.

You do not have to stir the beans, but you may want to check on them to see if you need to add a little more water. After they are cooked I usually add a little salt or other seasonings. Then I store them in 1 3/4 bags (we have a vac and seal) in the freezer and pull them out when I need them for a recipe.

You can use your beans to make my recipe for this fabulous, budget-friendly dish:

Clean Red Beans and Rice

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Clean Red Beans and Rice

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!

 

Just Try It – Chocolate Avocado Pudding August 13, 2011

Avocados are considered a fruit and not a vegetable, in fact the avocado is a member of the berry family. According to avocado.org, “avocados have nearly 20 essential ingredients including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid. They also act as a “nutrient booster” by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein, in foods that are eaten with the fruit.”

What do you do with an avocado? Make guacamole, right? Sure, this is a delicious use for avocados and one of my favorites. However, this little powerhouse fruit is involved in a movement to prove it can do more!

I have seen recipes for avocado frosting, sauces and dressings, and it is a great first food for babies. The one recipe that intrigued me the most is a Chocolate Pudding with avocado as a base. Now before you turn your nose up at this idea, hear me out. The pudding is the exact consistency of homemade chocolate pudding, but it does have a bit of a different taste, but I promise if you try it, you will not say, the different taste is avocado. The recipe I have come up with is dairy, and soy free, and can accommodate a vegan diet

What you need:

1 ripe Haas avocado, chilled (click here for information about selecting the perfect avocado)

1/4 cup  cocoa powder

3 TBSP evaporated cane juice (or sugar, honey, or agave)

1/4  coconut milk (you can use light coconut milk to save a few calories)

1 TBSP + 2 tsp of almond butter (not a necessity but does add a nice texture)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

NOTE: Depending on the avocado you may need a little more or less sugar

Put all ingredients in a food processor, and blend until smooth. You will need to scrape down the sides a few times to make sure all the avocado gets blended well. Serve immediately, this is not the dish you want to make a ton of and store in the fridge for company. Storing it, just makes it taste like chocolate flavored avocado.

Serves 2

My husband and I both really liked this dish. We have made it a couple of times and have enjoyed it. I can’t guarantee you will like it, but you might…so Just Try It!

 

The Journey

Filed under: General — cleaneatingmama @ 2:58 pm
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I LOVE food! It is in every aspect of our lives. It is there when we celebrate, when we mourn, when we are meeting a friend to hang out for the day, it is just always there and some of this food is AMAZING. As a country we love food. The problem with food is that too much of it, even the healthy kind, is detrimental to our health. I have been on all kinds of diets, and lifestyle changes in my life, Weight Watchers, Atkins, South Beach, cabbage soup, pretty much if you name it I have been on it. I have always struggled with my weight.

I am telling you this, because it is all part of my journey, and the reason I am starting this blog. None of it has ever worked for me, until I did a religious fast. Let me go back a bit and walk you through my journey.

This specific journey began nearly 14 years ago, when I worked in Corporate America 50-60 hours a week and ate Cheetos for lunch and drank 8 cups of coffee a day to keep me going. I was slender then, but that quickly changed. (Shocking…I know!)  For several years, I never really gave a lot of thought to what I was eating, but then something amazing happened, I found out I was pregnant. Let’s just say that I started to care a lot more about what went into my body and his! I still had a lot to learn. (I still do!)

A few years after Wesley was born I started feeling sluggish, waking up feeling like I had a hang over, when I had not touched alcohol in months. I felt very compelled to do a fast called the Daniel Fast, basically a vegan, no processed foods diet. After about a week on this I felt amazing and I started thinking about what the difference was. Obviously, I was eating healthier foods, but I thought I was already eating healthier, so what was the issue here. The light bulb flashed….it was the processed foods that were causing my body a lot of grief. I started researching what exactly MSG, and HFCS really are and how those ingredients were created. I was and am today appalled at the ingredients in the foods we consume from the grocery shelves. I literally went to the pantry and started throwing away all the processed foods. Not quite ready to go completely vegan, I started exploring other options and I came across Clean Eating Magazine and I adopted those principles.

As time went on, I started sharing this information with my friends, some of them jumped on my bandwagon and some of them looked at me as if I had lost my mind. One thing has been consistent though, I have answered lots of questions. I get them via text, Facebook, email, and phone. I decided that I should start blogging about this stuff so I can direct everyone here!

Today I still LOVE food and I still make great tasting things, but I make them healthier and without processed ingredients. I am exploring a lot more vegan recipes and most of my diet is a plant-based diet. I am not a philosophical vegan so I do still sometimes eat a little meat, but the majority of my diet is plant-based. I plan on sharing lots of information, recipes, both meat and meat free, and hope to encourage you to try new things (keep your eye out for the “Just Try It” features).

Eat clean and live well!

Allison

P.S. I am not going to say I never eat anything unhealthy, it would be a lie! It is rare and in moderation. Just thought you should know so if you see me in the grocery store with a bag of chips you don’t think I am a liar!