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

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!


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


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!