Monthly Archives: September 2014

Crock Pot Black Beans

Cooking  your own beans is cheaper, yummier and healthier than using the canned stuff. You can whip up a bunch and store some in the fridge to use during the week, or save them in freezer ziploc bags in your freezer for weeks, maybe even months(ours never last that long). I cook 4-5 cups of dried black beans about once a week. We really like black beans around here :). We’ll eat them with dinner once or twice a week and then several of my kids like to have them by themselves for lunch with a little parmesan cheese. In fact, my first grader takes them almost every day for lunch in a thermos. I like to put some on a salad with some salsa. Yum!  When I freeze beans I’ll put about 2 cups of cooked beans per freezer-ziploc bag; and be sure to label the bag with the date.

Cooking beans is really pretty easy, made even easier with a crock pot. It takes me about 5 minutes to prep these beans which I love! I just throw them in the crockpot in the morning and they’re ready for dinner. The cooking time can vary a little depending on the age of the bean, but I’ve had beans for months that still cook up in about 6 1/2 hours on high just like my new beans, so it’s going to be right around there. My crockpot will automatically switch to the ‘warm’ setting once the time is up, which comes in handy. You want to cook them until they are tender but still hold their shape.

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Crock Pot Black Beans

4-5 c dried beans
12 c water
1 – 1 1/2 Tbsp sea salt
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp dehydrated onion (can sub with 1/4 of fresh onion, chopped)
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder (can sub with chili powder)

Place your beans in a large crock pot. Pick through and discard any debris like tiny pebbles or broken beans. Rinse beans with water and then dump out the water and fill again with water until it’s about 3/4 of the way full or about 1 inch from brim. (I read it’s about 3:1 ratio; 3 cups water to one cup beans so I use about 12 c water). Add spices. Turn crock pot on high and cook about 6 and 1/2 hours until tender (longer if older beans). When finished strain the water out and they are ready to eat! Whatever we’re not going to eat within about 5 days, I’ll freeze in freezer quart ziploc bags. The day we need more beans I’ll pull a bag out of the freezer and let it thaw on my kitchen counter for a few hours before warming them up.

You can eat these black beans so many different ways. We like them plain and with:

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers
Black Bean Soup
Taco Salad
Tacos
Mexican Brown Rice
Black Bean Layered Enchiladas
Mexican Pizza
Fajitas
(picture below of Fajitas)

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Filed under Dinner, Lunch, Snacks/Sides/Appetizers, vegan

Peanut Butter Protein Balls

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Remember the protein bars I posted a couple months ago? Yeah, we love them so much we’ve come up with another variation and we switch off every other week making one and then the other.  These balls are quite similar to the protein bars but I use a different liquid sweetener, in this case honey,  and we added in some rolled oats and made them in a ball shape. I like to pop one of these in my mouth in the morning before I exercise; they seem a little less sweet than the bars, but maybe that’s just my imagination. This also happens to be my kids favorite snack; they like them so much I always try to hide the container way back in the fridge somewhere under a bunch of things :); if I didn’t hide them they’d all be gone in a day! But this way it’s too much trouble to get them out multiple times a day and outta sight, outta mind. We’ve also established a ‘one ball a day rule’ which means these don’t last more than 4 days in our house since all 7 of us love them…and since 4×7=28 that means Scott and I get an extra ball for three days! 🙂 Sometimes my kids complain about things not being fair, and they’re right, life isn’t fair :).

Here are your five ingredients: Natural peanut butter, rolled oats, vanilla protein powder, honey(not creamed honey even though it’s in a creamed honey container) and brown rice crisp cereal.

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This recipe is super easy and fast. Mix peanut butter and honey together in a medium bowl. If your peanut butter or honey are not liquidy enough to stir, you can warm the peanut butter and honey in a microwave or medium saucepan until melted. (since I buy honey in bulk, it rarely is liquid because it crystallizes over time. And as for peanut butter, as long as I’m not at the bottom of the natural peanut butter jar it’s usually liquidy enough…and apparently I just made up a new word, “liquidy”). If warming over the stove, watch and stir regularly because it can burn pretty quickly.

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Once peanut butter and honey are combined, add protein powder, brown crisp rice cereal and oats and stir together.

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Roll them into 1 inch balls, or just use a cookie scoop because it’s easier and faster and keeps your hands all clean,  and then allow them to chill on a cookie sheet for 10-15 minutes before enjoying!

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I store them in a Tupperware in the fridge: layer of balls, parchment paper (or wax) and then another layer of balls.

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THE RECIPE:

Peanut Butter Protein Balls  (Makes 34, 1” balls)

1 c natural peanut butter

2/3 c raw, local honey

1 c vanilla protein powder

1 c rolled oats

1/2 c brown crisp rice cereal, not puffed rice cereal (or can do 1 1/2 c oats and no rice cereal)

Mix peanut butter and honey together in a medium bowl. If your peanut butter or honey are not liquidy enough to stir, you can warm the peanut butter and honey in a microwave or medium saucepan until melted. Once peanut butter and honey are combined, add protein powder, brown crisp rice cereal and oats and stir together. Using a cookie scoop, mold into 1” balls. Cover and refrigerate 10-15 minutes before enjoying.  195 calories in 2 balls.

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