Category Archives: beans

Butternut Squash & Black Bean Chili

Hey folks! It’s another Dinner and a Movie night! I don’t know about you, but this new year has been keeping me so busy! I’m definitely trying to make time for more blogging and especially for more ‘Dinner and a Movie’ nights! They are our favorites!

This week we watched Tim Burton’s ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ (one of our all-time favorites) and made “Jack Skellington’s Bone-Chilling Chili” (aka Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili). READ ALL ABOUT OUR FUN MOVIE NIGHT HERE!!

If I have learned anything from having two kiddos, it’s that ANYTIME (esp. Dinner and a Movie night) is a good time to dress up!! So… “don’t be afraid”  to pull out the costumes & the Jack-o-lanterns for this spooky movie night! 😉

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African Sweet Potato Soup

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Mmmm… I really love soup, especially when its cold outside! This is the first time I made this African Sweet Potato Soup with Peanut Butter, Black Eyed Peas and Beans and it turned out so delicious! This soup is also gluten free, and makes a great hearty bowl if you are having company.  This could easily be a New Years dish since it contains black eyed peas… Perhaps next time I make this, I may try adding in some greens!

(I slightly altered the recipe below from the original one here @ the gluten-free goddess. The original recipe also includes jalapeno and cilantro. The jalapeno I decided to leave out because my kids don’t usually care for spicy foods, and the cilantro I left out because I didn’t have any! I also used a white onion instead of a red one. What can I say?…. It still tasted absolutely great!)

I was pleased that my kids tried and (more or less) liked this soup.  My son scooped his bowl clean… I think he could sense that it contained peanut butter (hahaha) which is one of his favorite foods! My daughter wasn’t as big of a fan, but she did finish her bowl for me.  I am a sucker for peanuty soups… especially ones like this. It makes about 4 adult servings. We served ours with a side of coconut jasmine rice, which the kids always love! It would also be great with some cornbread. The peanut butter can be substituted for almond butter or sunflower seed butter if you have allergies.

African Sweet Potato Soup

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp red or green Thai Kitchen curry paste – hot or mild, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 1 14-0z can black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14-oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups broth
  • 1/2 cup 100% natural peanut butter + 1/2 cup hot water (to equal 1 cup) I recommend using chunky peanut butter to give it a little  extra texture and crunch in the soup.
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red hot pepper flakes
  • Juice from 1 big lime
  • 2-3 tsp brown sugar (or agave nectar), to taste
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste

1) Heat the olive oil in a soup pot. Add the curry paste and cinnamon; stir for a minute to mix the pol with spice. Add the onion, garlic, sweet potato, yellow pepper. Stir and cook the veggies for 5-7 minutes, until softened.

2) Add the black-eyed peas, white and black beans, broth, melted peanut butter, red pepper flakes and cilantro.

3) Bring the soup to a high simmer, cover, and lower the heat. Keep the soup on simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender, 25-30 minutes.

4) Stir in the lime juice and sweetener. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro, if you please!

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This delicious soup is packed with flavor AND protein!

P.S. This soup could easily make a ‘Dinner and a Movie’ night with Disney’s ‘The Jungle Book’.  That was kinda my original plan. My kids love hearing about different places in the world (in this case, Africa) and how different people live  and how our lifestyles are alike or different.  It makes for a great educational conversation!  However, somehow on this night we got sidetracked &  we never got around to putting in the movie!

Edamame Hummus

Wow.  I usually don’t get so excited about dip, but I just whipped this up this morning with last night’s leftover steamed edamame, and I can’t believe how good it is!  My kids are practically the licking the bowl clean right now! Edamame is one of those super foods, jam-packed with protein and other nutrients.  It’s especially good for vegetarians/vegans.  I have a feeling I’m going to be making this hummus a lot!   Read more below about edamame below, or if you already know how amazing edamame is, scroll to the bottom for the recipe.

Here’s A Short Novel About Edamame…

(which I copied from this livestrong.com article)

Edamame has high nutritional value and health benefits.  These green soybeans are a natural source of antioxidants and isoflavones, which  has increased edamame’s popularity in the United States. Antioxidants are  beneficial because they can help prevent negative effects of free radicals in  the body. Eating antioxidant-rich foods has been associated strengthening your  immune system and with reducing your risk of cancer, hardening of the arteries  and neurodegenerative diseases. Isoflavones are phytohormones that may help  reduce prostate and breast cancer, diminish the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure levels and ease menopausal symptoms.  Women who are menopausal  and have low estrogen levels may benefit from snacking on a handful of edamame  daily because of the natural soybean’s phytochemical quality.
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The fresh vegetable soybeans called edamame contain  about 36 percent protein, which is 86 percent higher than mature soybeans.  Edamame’s low oil content, combined with its high protein content, makes this  vegetable very popular with health-conscious people who want a low-fat,  protein-rich snack. Vegetarians and vegans who want a high protein food will  find that edamame’s protein is complete, which means it contains all nine  essential amino acids the human body needs.
Protein helps your body’s tissues to  develop properly and helps your body resist diseases; it produces hormones,  enzymes and other substances your body uses; gives people energy and helps  prevent fatigue. Edamame has no cholesterol, very little saturated fat, and a  half-cup serving provides 11 g of protein toward an average adult’s daily  requirement of 46 to 63 g.
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Edamame is rich in vitamin C and B vitamins, and it is  one of the few natural sources of vitamin E. These soybeans also provide you  with minerals, such as calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and  copper. Nutrients in green soybeans that benefit heart health include vitamin K  and folate, which increases the production of red blood cells. Folic acid is  also essential for pregnant women because it helps with fetal  development.
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Adding edamame to your diet will help you increase your  fiber intake. Fiber is important for healthy digestion, and a half cup of  edamame contains 4 gr of fiber. Fiber also helps lower cholesterol, which may  reduce your risk of heart disease. Another reason edamame is a good snack food  is that the fiber keeps you feeling full for a longer period and this helps you  avoid unhealthy between-meal snacks.
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Edamame has anti-inflammatory qualities and can be a good  food to eat if you have arthritis or other inflammatory conditions, such as  rheumatoid arthritis. Fresh green soybeans, eaten as a snack or a side dish, may  help people with asthma, because this vegetable decreases inflammation in your  breathing passages, and this can reduce wheezing and coughing.
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Your Vegan Neighbor’s Edamame Hummus

  • 1  1/2 cups shelled edamame (I used leftover steamed edamame, but you can use thawed out frozen edamame or I’m sure drained and rinsed canned soybeans would work as well, though you may want to cook them first)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 medium-large clove garlic minced
  • up to 1/2 cup water
  • sea salt to taste (I used about >1/2 tsp)
First blend the edamame in your food processor.  Then add the rest of the ingredients! Make sure to scrape the sides down occasionally. Refrigerate until cold! (If your edamame was already cold in your refrigerator, you can eat your hummus immediately!… And as with most hummus, this will probably thicken up a little bit in the fridge).  Mmmmm! Excuse me… but it’s my turn to DEVOUR some hummus!
Yum! I love this edamame hummus!

A Mess of Mama’s Vegan BBQ

Check out this weeks Dinner and a Movie  🙂  We watched one of our favorites -Emmet Otter’s Jug-band Christmas and made… what other than… BARBECUE!! A mess of mama’s barbecue to be exact… with baked beans.

Check it out by clicking here!

And if you missed it, check out the pictures I added of my Dr. Seuss Omelet

A Southern New Years (Collards, Black Eyed Peas and Cornbread)

Apparently, if you eat black-eyed peas on New Years Day, it is supposed to bring you good luck for the new year.  I like to pair mine with collards and cornbread to make it a truly delicious “southern” new years meal. I grow my own collards (which is truly easy in Georgia – they seem to grow well in all seasons, but esp fall and winter, when you don’t really have to worry about any bugs eating them up!).

You can use canned or dried black-eyed peas to make this dish, though when you use dried beans, they must be soaked first and the water ratio and cooking time in the recipe changes.  I haven’t made this with dried beans in a while so I am going to share the recipe for using canned black-eyed peas.

The cornbread recipe is not my own… I got the recipe from Cooks Illustrated magazine.  You would be pleased to know that it won the Blue Ribbon at the Iowa State Fair, which surprised many people, since the cornbread was vegan!  I did change around some of the actual directions to my own, which I found made it easier to prepare and didn’t seem to change the outcome at all.

I will add some pictures when I make this tomorrow! I’m just getting a head start and I wanted to share this so YOU can make it tomorrow or on New Years day as well! 🙂

Black Eyed Peas with Collard Greens

  • 1 cup onion, chopped well (white or yellow)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3  1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3-4 cups packed prepped collard greens*.  I think that’s about 10 large leaves… I would buy 2 bunches if you are getting them from the store to ensure lots of greens
  • < 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 heaping Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp liquid smoke
  • 2 cans black-eyed peas, drained (my favorite brand is Eden)

1) Saute the onion and garlic in a little olive oil and set aside.

2) Bring the broth to a boil in a large stockpot and add the collards.

* To prep collards, first wash them.  Then chop off the stem up to the base (or you can remove the thickest part of the stems by simply cutting them out from about halfway up the leaf, which makes it much easier to roll them up).  Stack and roll 2-3 leaves up tight, like a cigar shape.  Then slice them, cutting into about 1/4″ slices.  I usually save some of the thick stems and toss them into the pot as well, usually cut in 1/2″ – 3/4″ pieces.

3) Add the spices, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, liquid smoke and onion/garlic mixture and cook (covered) on simmer until the collards are tender, stirring occasionally. This usually takes about 45 minutes, give or take.

4) Add the canned black-eyed peas and continue to cook on simmer, at least another 30 minutes, until flavors have some time to blend.

Blue Ribbon Cornbread

    • 2 Tbsp ground flax-seed + 6 Tbsp water
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup cornmeal
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 4 tsp baking powder
    • 3/4 tsp salt
    • 1 cup soymilk
    • 1/4 cup canola oil
    • 1 cup canned corn (this is my personal touch to the recipe)

1) Heat oven to 425 F and spray an 8×8″ square baking pan with non-stick spray.

2) Mix ground flax and water. Whisk well. Wait 2-3 minutes, whisk again. Set aside. (The original recipe says to boil water, add flax and reduce heat to medium low, simmer 3 minutes until thick and set aside. I tried this and it didnt seem to make any difference to me either way, and I think my way is easier.)

3) In medium bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt.

4)  Add soymilk and canola oil to the flax mixture and whisk it together really well.  Fold into flour mixture and mix until just mixed – try not to overmix. Fold in corn gently and pour into the prepared pan.

5) Cook for 20-25 minutes.  Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes in the pan, then cool for 10 min out of pan.  Cut and serve!

Portobello Green Bean Casserole

There is a dish I feel must be consumed at some point during every holiday season… a green bean casserole. I admit, I meant to make this before Thanksgiving!  In fact, I meant to share several good holiday-ish h’oerderves, but now I find it is already 3 days until Christmas and I find myself repeatedly asking, “where did the time go?!” (Did I mention that I haven’t wrapped a thing yet?! Thank goodness my husband is taking the kids to his mom’s for the day today, so I can spend my day wrapping all the gifts!)  

I don’t know if I mentioned before, but there are, I believe, 11 birthdays in my family (among the two biggest family-gathering-holidays, Thanksgiving and Xmas)  just between November and January – oh – and that does not include my friend’s birthdays!  So, as you can imagine, my brain has been pretty busy remembering to mail cards, make food, make plans regarding how and when we are having get togethers (& what I am to bring), buying gifts, etc., plus the every day to day life… “Life is what happens to you while your busy making other plans” – WELL SAID, John Lennon.  With all this going on, my poor blog has been neglected 😦  Well, one of my new years resolutions is to make sure I don’t slack off on sharing vegan deliciousness!  )You may be interested to know that I acquired an ice cream maker at an early christmas gathering… & I can’t wait to try it out!)

My kids are funny about green beans.  For some reason, they don’t normally like fresh green beans.  However, they will totally eat up canned green beans (only the regular cut kind, not the french cut) and they REALLY eat ’em up when we play a game I like to call “Buh-Bye Green Bean” (where we put one in our mouths and suck it in really fast – they think it is hilarious and it really makes them excited to clean ALL the green beans from their plate!).  This is one recipe using fresh green beans I found that they enjoy, and I hope you & yours do too!

Buh-Bye Greenbean!

I came up with this recipe after scoping out several green bean casserole recipes and then combining my favorite bits and pieces of each one, until… TA-DA!  A delicious green bean casserole appeared… like magic 🙂  Well, almost.

~Portobello Green Bean Casserole~

  • 1 1/2 – 2 oz fresh green beans (prepped and cut into 2″ pieces) 
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2-3 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 block xtra-firm silken tofu, crumbled well or pureed (I like the Mori-Nu brand… though I bet a 1/2 – 3/4 block of regular drained tofu would work just as well as the silken tofu)
  • 3 large Portobello caps, cut into chunks (or a pre-sliced 6oz pack of caps works just as well)
  • a large box (1 qt) of Imagine brand Creamy Portobello Soup (you can use anywhere from half to the whole thing…  I usually use 3/4 of the box.
  • 1/2 tsp dry dill
  • 2 Tbsp butter/soy margarine
  • 1 1/2 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • dash cayenne
  • 1 can (6 oz) French’s fried onions (or make your own)

    Gather ye rosebuds (or in this case, ye ingredients) while ye may...

1)  Preheat your oven to 375.  Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Cook the green beans for about 6 minutes, strain, rinse with cold water & set aside.

2) In a skillet, heat olive oil.  Add onion, garlic & cook about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until soft.  Set aside.

3)  TO MAKE SAUCE: heat about half of the box of soup (or up to 3/4 of the box) with the margarine.  Add the tofu* and all other spices.  Cook until it thickens up a bit and becomes a little more “saucy”. Add the mushroom/onion/garlic mixture. Stir together well.  (*If crumbled, the tofu will look chunky… if this is gonna be an issue for you, simply puree the tofu before adding it to the soup, or use an immulsion blender if you have one -just make sure to do so before adding the mushroom mixture.  Adding the tofu helps give the casserole that thick creamy goodness, plus protein/vitamins.  Personally, I think I prefer to puree mine into the soup.)

4) Pour the beans into a 9 x 13 casserole dish (or 8 x 11.5 if you must) and pour the sauce over the top. Mix slightly. Cover and bake about 15 minutes.  Remove top/foil and add the 6-oz container of fried onions.  Bake another 15-30 minutes until browned and bubbly.

before the final bake with the onions on top

Voila! It's all done when it's nice and cripsy on top

The color of the creamy sauce is dependant on how much soup is used. If you use more soup, your sauce will appear darker.

P.S. Truth be told, the last time I was making this (yesterday) I somehow forgot to let my soup/sauce thicken… maybe it was the 2 kids running circles around my legs, grabbing onto me while screaming and tickling each other… MAYBE.  Anyway, I forgot to let the sauce thicken, and before I knew it, I was pouring it over the green beans, creating a very watery looking green bean soup! Not appetizing.  SO… I ended up having to deconstruct my casserole by straining out all my veggies with a slotted spoon (which was a huge pain in the arse) so I could cook the sauce down to thicken it up. Take my advice – don’t let that happen to you!  Ay-yi-yiiiiii! Sometimes kids can be so distracting! 🙂

Who ME? Distracting?! (Buh-Bye Greenbean! See YA!)

Rita’s Vegan Chili

So… Did you know that October is Vegetarian Awareness Month? October 1st is actually World Vegetarian DAY – and of coarse, since we’re talking vegetarian (& since eggs, dairy & cheese is included in the vegetarian diet) there’s NO excuses to not do your part for the Earth by saying no to meat for ONE day! YOU CAN DO IT!!  Hopefully you will want to shoot for all 30 nights of meat-less meals (or more)!!

I have been wanting to share this recipe for a while, which is (like all of my recipes) 100% vegan.  I have had many rave reviews on my vegan chili and I hope I can add yours to my comments below!  Did I mention that my kids really love it too?!  They usually arent crazy about spicy stuff, but they make an exception for this mildly spicy delicious chili!

I like using Lightlife Smart Ground in my chili, but there are many different kinds of vegetarian crumbles you can find in the grocery store! Look in the freezer section if you can’t find it by the tofu. (Boca makes frozen crumbles but they may contain eggs if I recall correctly…  that is also typical of Morningstar Farms varieties.  (Unless you are vegetarian, look for the vegan symbol on the box.)  Get one or two boxes depending on how “meaty” you like your chili!

Mmmm! There's nothing like some good homemade chili!!

~Rita’s Vegan Chili~

First, crumble and brown the “meat” in a non-stick pan in a little olive oil. (I don’t even know if this step is really necessary, but for some reason, I always felt weird about just dumping it into the pot… but since there’s no chance of e-coli or anything, you could honestly probably just do that & save a step if you wanted!)

  • 2 packs of Lightlife smart ground (or “mock-crumbles” of choice)

Saute everything in a little olive oil and combine it with the “meat” in a large stockpot – or the biggest pot you have!

  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

Stir in all other ingredients and cook until heated through!

  • 2 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 2 (15 oz) cans red kidney beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can white kidney beans, rinsed & drained (or you bump it up to 3 cans of red kidney beans)
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 (28 oz) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 Tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp each oregano, basil
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp raw sugar

Cover and simmer.  The longer it cooks together, the better the flavor!  Top with soy cheese & vegan sour cream if desired! Serve with crackers or cornbread (my personal fave)!  This chili also freezes great!

OPTIONAL: You can even add 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup each chopped carrot, celery, or corn to the mix to throw in some more veggies, but allow some extra cooking time to soften those carrots!