Wednesday, February 22

{What's For Dinner?}

My dinner tonight was simple and tasty, a repeat by request. It's possible to find most all of the ingredients at Trader Joe's, which means it's cost efficient as well! Grab these yummy ingredients and whip yourself up one easy peasy meal!

{Black Bean & Brown Rice Carnitas Bowl}

1 Tbsp Cold Pressed, Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil (Yes, all those attributes are very important!)
1- 1/2 cup Chopped Yellow Onion
4 cups Organic Cooked Brown Rice
1 can Cooked Black Beans
1 carton of TJ's Latin Black Bean Soup
1 cup Organic Sweet Corn
12 oz TJ's Cooked and Shredded Carnitas Meat

1 Tomato (For quality taste go for the vine-ripened), Diced
1/2 of an Avocado, Diced
Shredded Diaya Cheese (optional)

In a large saute pan heat the Coconut Oil and Onion on medium heat.  Cook until the Onions are soft and yellow or until they are slightly browned.  Add the Brown Rice and Black Bean Soup to the Onions and stir well.  Bring the mixture to a light boil, then reduce to your lowest heat setting.  Allow it to simmer, stirring it often to keep it from thickening in one area.  Prepare your Carnitas.  I like to use kitchen scissors to create bite size pieces (less messy), but I have used my hands to tear off pieces too.  10 minutes before you are ready to eat, pour in the Corn and stir in the Carnitas pieces.  Scoop into a bowl or onto a warmed Corn Tortilla (taco-style) and add the Avocado and Tomato to top it off! Enjoy and I hope you go for seconds!


Wednesday, February 8

{The Everyday - Freshly Cooked & Seasoned Beans}

Whole and pure food is made from scratch.... but who has time for this? I've always felt easy and quick nutritious food is the best route to eating well.  Many health food stores offer canned, pre-cooked and pre-chopped food that makes creating meals a breeze! I still believe this is a sensible way to approach cooking.  Yet, over the last few years, I learned that some of these items are truly best when done by hand.  Since most of us lack the time to cook or bake every meal from scratch, I'm beginning to think it's best to zero in on the foods that matter the most to you or your body.  Let's take the time to perfect the important foods and start together from square one.

One of my personal favorites are beans, with the first place award going to black beans.  A fabulous source of protein and fiber, beans come in all sizes, shapes and flavors.  When I'm rushing I use canned beans, but when I have some extra time I like to start with the bare bean and make it just as I please.

The best place for beans are the bulk sections of your health food store.  I prefer to blend my beans, choosing whichever ones catch my eye.  Bag a cup or two of each kind, then, once home, pour them all into a big mason jar and enjoy the texture and color.  They're so pretty you could even display them on your counter if you wish.

When you're ready, rinse your beans well and then soak them overnight. Simply place the beans in a bowl with enough water to easily cover them.  Feel free to cover the bowl if you fear buggies jumping in.  The next morning pour out the water and ready your beans for the cooking pot!

Many cook books have calculated the perfect cooking time for each bean.  You should look these up if you are cooking just one type of bean, but since I like to blend my beans and cook them all in the same pot I simply cook them until they are soft.  This can be anywhere from 1 to 1.5 hours.

Grab a big pot and pour in 1 cup of filtered water for each 1 cup of beans.  Cook on low to medium heat until soft.  Pour the liquid into a container for later (I use this as soup broth).  I prefer to season the beans with Sea Salt, Paprika and Garlic Powder for a bit of flavor, but you can leave them plain.  Experiment and play with seasonings to find what pleases your taste buds.  Remember, this is your customized bean mix.  Have fun with it!

What are some of your favorite foods you could make from scratch? Share with us!


Wednesday, February 1

{What's For Dinner?}

Cooking dinner for my husband is a blast, but at times I've found myself running out of ideas.  It's hard to be creative after a long day! I'm sure you all hardly ever lose sight of the creative...
Just in case, I thought I would share the dinner ideas I can up with to help you avoid another left-overs night.  Keep a look out on my Facebook page for the {What's for Dinner?} statuses.  I'll be posting my meal creations as often as I try something new and yummy.  I won't always be able to share the recipe, but hopefully you can get an idea from my descriptions! I want the posts to get your juices flowing and spark your own meal ideas!

My dinner last night turned out delicious and, might I add, rather pretty.  Inspired by a lovely restaurant's version of coconut rice and good ole' Trader Joe's,  I compiled some yummy ingredients to create this delicious and very nutritious meal.  It incorporates the complete protein of Brown Rice and Black Beans, fresh Tuna protein and fibrous, vitamin-rich, raw Spinach. Take a peak!

{Creamy Coconut Brown Rice & Fresh Ahi Tuna Filet}

3-4 Cups Brown Rice
2 Cups Unsweetened Coconut Milk
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
Paprika to Taste
Sea Salt to Taste

Fresh Ahi Tuna Filets ( I used Trader Joe's pre-marinated)

Cooked Black Beans
Sea Salt to Taste
Fresh Spinach (with stems removed)
Fresh Organic Tomato Diced

**I added steamed, salted and spiced Broccoli on the side as well.  Have fun and pick a fresh veggie for your side dish!

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a large sauté pan on medium low add the Brown Rice, Coconut Milk, Coconut and Spices.  Stir every so often, allowing the rice to soak up all the milk, until thick.  Add more spices if needed as it thickens.  Place the Tuna filets in a baking pan or dish and bake in your oven for 12 minutes.  You want the filet moist, so do not over cook! Heat your Black Beans, dice your Tomatoes and ready your Spinach.  Scoop Coconut Rice onto your serving plate, layer the warm Black Beans followed by the Spinach.  Once the fish is ready, pull from the oven and immediately place on top of the Spinach.  Sprinkle your tower with the tomatoes to finish. Ta Da!  You have a gourmet dinner! 
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