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!



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