Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Double Challenge // Week 4 Real Food Pledge // Cooking Black Beans from Scratch

We made it through this week of DOUBLE challenges! I won't say it was double fun. But we made it and that feels great. We did give ourselves one cheat meal (WINGSSSSS! and Dr. Pepper (me) / Sweet Tea (Josh))  but other than that, our meat consumption was limited to that leftover ground beef + a couple hot dogs from Earth Fare.

We even turned down seductively-scented barbeque meat at Josh's mom's house. Luckily she had plenty of good sides for us to chow down on - stuffed potatoes, corn on the cob, baked beans, squash casserole, and as many cupcakes as we could stuff in our face.

I felt extra kitchen-accomplished this week because I cooked my first batch of black beans from scratch! It took awhile, but the end result was so much cheaper (and I think healthier?) than buying canned. Have you ever tried cooking them from scratch? All you have to do is:

1. Soak beans overnight (2 cups of water per 1 cup of beans)

2. Drain and rinse

3. Cook beans in water (I started with 3 cups water per 1 cup beans and then added more water as they cooked down) and add in any flavorings you want (I added Mexican spice mix plus salt** and pepper)

4. Cook until tender (took 2 hours for me)

So simple! Why was I ever intimidated by this? My 1 cup of dried beans (which I think probably cost about $0.50 - they're about $2.50/lb in bulk) turned into about 4 cups of cooked beans - the equivalent of 2 cans of beans which would have cost $3 total just for the Earth Fare brand!

I think this method will work for just about any kind of dried beans you may find.

**Oops, I just read that it is best NOT to add salt to the cooking water - it prevents the beans from absorbing water and getting tender. That could be why I had to cook mine for so long! (it should have taken more like 1 hour to cook). So if you do this, make sure to only add salt AFTER they are already cooked.

Anyway, on to this week's challenge:

No fast food or deep fried food.

We can totally do this! Especially since we're getting stricter about our budget so I've already got some tasty things planned for us to eat at home, saving money from eating out.

We're also continuing with all the pledges from previous weeks, mostly. It definitely feels good to be reducing our meat consumption by a whole lot (I've got one meat dinner planned this week and four vegetarian dinners, yum).

This week we will be eating:

Vegetable korma and homemade garlic naan (yesterday)
Roast carrots, parsnips // quinoa  // Roasted Chicken Leg Quarters
Earth Fare vegetarian pizza
Crispy potato & black bean soft tacos

BBQ tofu over cheese grits (yesterday)
Dinner leftovers
Sandwich with cream cheese, sprouts, onion; tortilla chips; broccoli and hummus
Turkey rollup with garlic herb cheese

Breakfast (any combination of the following)
Frozen smoothies (blueberries, raspberries, vanilla protein powder, flax seed)
Gluten-free bagel with cream cheese
Apple and peanut butter
Sausage patties (Italian seasoned sausage from our 1/2 pastured pig!)


  1. We love us some beans 'round here! I also slow cook in the crockpot on days that I am not going to be in the house a lot. Its nice to come home to a kitchen that smells so savory. Warm up some fresh corn tortillas en la comal...mmm heaven. I also throw in a garden jalapeno if I want something spicy or a more mild pepper. Around here people grow epazote, a Mexican herb, hardy for these parts. Put a couple of those dried leaves in the pot and its yum yums. :) Your breakfast smoothies inspire me to start adding chia seeds to ours. I don't have any flax right now, but got plenty O' chia.

    1. Ooh, I've never heard of epazote! It sounds amazing. :) And I've been wanting to try chia in our smoothies, but Earth Fare has been out the last few times I've been!