Friday, April 23, 2010


Yes, I said beans. You know, black, pinto, kidney, etc. And don't forget lentils--my boys seem to do better with the texture of lentils than with beans. In the words of my 7-year-old, "I don't like beans, Mom. When I bite into one, it explodes." Yeah, well...who's to argue with that? The texture of beans does take a bit of acclimation.

We had a cooking class at our church a couple of nights ago and Wow! Who knew beans could be so delicious? A friend who is a wonderful cook and who has been cooking with beans ever since she served a church mission in Brazil taught the class and made 11 bean dishes for us to try, three of them desserts (more on that later). It was fun, informative and delicious! And we got to come and help her cook before the class and learn how non-scary beans are to cook with.

I have lots of beans in my food storage, but have actually never cooked with dried beans because I've always thought that they took so long to prepare. They do, if you use the traditional method, but did you know that you can cook them in the crockpot? (3-4 hours with no presoaking) Also, you can cook them in your pressure cooker (45 minutes, also no presoaking). I'm excited to try it.

But just in time for the weekend, I am including for you here one of the recipes that we sampled: Polka Dot Bean Brownies. Now, everyone knows that if you add whole wheat flour to a dessert, it makes them healthy, right? The same is true for beans. And these brownies have a whole cup of cooked beans in them (never mind the 2 cups of sugar and two kinds of chocolate chips--the addition of beans totally outweighs this). Also, these bad boys do not even need frosting: they are so moist and delicious just by themselves, so eat one before you go to the trouble of making frosting.

I got this recipe from the Idaho Bean Commission website:

Polka Dot Bean Brownies

3/4 cups cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup melted butter
1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup pinto beans, cooked and mashed
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Chocolate Frosting

Preparation: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine cocoa and soda; blend in 1/3 cup melted margarine. Add boiling water. Stir until mixture thickens. Stir in sugar, eggs, and remaining 1/2 cup butter.
Add beans, flour, vanilla and salt; stir until smooth. Add chips.
Turn mixture into a greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until sides pull away from pan.
Cool completely and frost or dust with powdered sugar.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Yes, many of you are experiencing spring right now: grass getting green, daffodils, crocuses and tulips blooming, warmer weather. I love spring flowers (purple crocuses are my favorite).

Well, today we woke up to three inches of snow. Sigh.

So not many colors going on yet where I live. (except white, brown and our grass is starting to consider thinking about maybe turning green :0)

How blessed I am, then, to have a husband who knows I love color and knows I love flowers and who brings them to me occasionally (usually not for any specific reason other than "I love you and think you are wonderful." I love that reason!).

Here is the bouquet I am enjoying currently. I love the yellows, pinks and purples--so springy!

Friday, April 2, 2010


I don't know if you have good-tasting water where you live, but if not, I'm sorry. I hope that if you don't, you at least have yummy bottled water or something. I'm so grateful that the town I live in happens to have absolutely delicious water, a luxury I totally take for granted until I go somewhere and taste gross water.

There's a great young adult book by Natalie Babbit called 'The Search for Delicious' about a king who is compiling a dictionary and gets stuck on the word 'delicious' so he sends his pageboy out to take a poll around his country about what food is the most delicious. Of course, no one can agree, and the boy gets all sorts of different answers from people. Then something happens to their water supply and the people can't access any water. They get so thirsty and by the time they get everything resolved and are able to get a drink of water, they finally all agree on the definition of delicious: a cool drink of water when you are very thirsty. There is nothing quite so satistying.

What a blessing to have easy access to clean drinking water!