bakedbeans
It’s summer!  In the States that means potluck and grilling season!  No bbq would be the same without baked beans!  Delicious beans slow cooked with bacon all day long until they are thick and sweet.  I used to think baked beans came from a can until I realized how amazing the homemade version can taste.  When I’m making anything for a potluck or bbq, simple is always the name of the game.  Although this recipe takes all day to bake or slow cook, it only takes a few minutes to throw all the ingredients into a cast iron dutch oven or slow cooker.  The results will amaze you and the aroma that fills your home while you are cooking is out of this world!  Really… holding on for dinner while these babies are baking is quite difficult!

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Baked Beans from Scratch
Ingredients:
  • 1 bag great northern beans.
  • 8 pieces thick farm fresh bacon (save the rendered fat)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 2 tbls ground mustard
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup rapadura sugar (or dark brown sugar)
  • 1/4 – cup molasses
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • water to cover

Directions:

  1. Soak bean the night before
  2. The next day, fry the bacon until barely browned on both sides and the fat has begun to render.
  3. Cut the bacon into 2″ pieces.
  4. In a large cast iron dutch oven or pot add all the ingredients including the port fat from the bacon.  Add water to about 1″ above the beans.
  5. Place a lid on your dutch oven or pot and bake at 325f for 8 hours.  Make sure to check the beans every couple of hours and stir.
  6. For the last hour, uncover the lid.  This will allow the beans to thicken up!

If you are heading off to work, this can be done in a crock pot set on low for 8 hours.  However, reduce the amount of water to just cover the beans.

That’s it!  Buen Provecho!!

This post is a part of Real Food Wednesday’s hosted by Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

chicken_salad_sandwich
I really enjoy chicken salad sandwiches on a hot summer day!  As it’s best eaten cold, it’s refreshing and light on the stomach.  I didn’t grow up eating these type of sandwiches but wow, was I ever enlightened the first time I had one at our local Palmers deli.   Cold, creamy and just the right amount of sweetness and spice.  Over the years I’ve searched out recipes and realized that a chicken salad sandwich can be made anyway one pleases.  Some add mustard, others nuts and dried fruit!  As long as you add mayo you really can’t go wrong.  So here is my rendition of this American staple.

A nourishing chicken salad sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 1lb diced chicken meat, fully cooked
  • 2 farm fresh eggs, boiled and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup homemade mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup homemade yogurt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp Spanish paprika

Method:

  1. I usually make chicken salad sandwiches using chicken meat from homemade broth. If you need to cook the meat before making this meal, you can either boil pieces in bone for about 20 minutes or if you are using boneless chicken meat, cook them in about 1 tbls of EVOO until cooked through.
  2. Mix all ingredients together and chill before serving.

That’s really it!  Super easy to make and delicious.  Buen Provecho :)

This post is linked to Girlichef’s Two for Tuesday’s and Wardeh’s Tuesday Twister at Gnowfglins.

I am so excited to finally share with you the new blog hop, Simple Lives Thursday, that I am taking part in with three other amazing blogs…

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Simple Lives Thursday is not just about cooking but in living sustainably.  In producing more and consuming less!

So what exactly is a blog hop? 

A blog hop is a way to share with many people your posts on what you are doing to live a simple life. Whether that’s gardening, raising urban chickens, making your own deodorant, or cleaning supplies… we want to know about it!  If you’re into homeopathy, ways to save $ by conserving energy or other ways to live frugally… we want to know about it!   If you bike, cook real food, homestead or farm… we want to know about it!

This blog hop is not about driving traffic but in about sharing with others what YOU are doing.  By sharing your posts on this blog hop, we can all learn something new to start implementing change to living a simpler life.

So how does it work?

Simple!  Every Thursday, you link up one of your posts that relates to living simply to one of the four hosting blogs.

  1. A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa
  2. Sustainable Eats
  3. GNOWFGLINS
  4. Culinary Bliss

We will have a McLinky posted underneath our own Living Simply Thursday post.  All you need to do is add your post url (not your home url), insert an image and a thumbnail of your post will be displayed across all four blogs!  How AWESOME is that!  More people to view what you are doing to create change!!

A great example of a fabulous blog hop is the Two for Tuesdays, Real Food blog hop.  Check it out and you’ll see how your Living Simply Thursday posts will be displayed.

The only thing that we ask is that at the end of your blog post, please include a link to the weekly blog hop on one of the four hosting blogs.  You can include a text link or use my Simple Lives Thursday Badge by grabbing the code below.  Each of the four blogs has their own badge that you can use!

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I’m so excited to see what you all bring to the Simple Lives Thursday blog hop!  I’m ready to start learning new ways to living a simpler life!!  Consume Less, Produce More :D  Have a great week and we’ll see you next Thursday!

Stuffed Beets
This has to be my new favorite way of enjoying fresh from the garden beets!  Boiling beets until they are sweet and tender and filling them with a salad blend of onions, cilantro, eggs, oil and red-wine vinegar.  They make a great summer appetizer or side!  Another great way to use beets in the season of summer.

Stuffed Beets
Recipe adapted from 1,080 Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 4 cooked beets
  • 2 hard boiled farm fresh eggs
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Rinse the beets and put them whole in a pan of cold water.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 1 hour or until the beets are tender.
  2. Once the beets are tender, remove them from the water and let them cool a few minutes.  Their skins should slip off.

    stuffed_beets2

  3. Peel the beets.
  4. Cut a small slice on the bottom of each beet so they will stand.
  5. Hollow out the centers, taking care not to break the “shells.”
  6. Dice the scooped out flesh and set aside.
  7. Scoop the yolks out of the hard boiled eggs and set aside.
  8. Finely chop the whites.
  9. Combine the diced beet, egg whites, onion and cilantro in a bowl.
  10. Whisk together the vinegar and oil in another bowl, stir in the egg yolks, and season with salt and pepper, then pour over the beet mixture.
  11. Fill the beet “shell’s” with the mixture and season to taste.
  12. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Buen Provecho!!

What an exciting event this has been.  I am so honored to have been able to host My Legume Love Affair #24.  I couldn’t believe all of the wonderful submissions that were sent to me from around the world.  I was so impressed by many of them and can’t wait to recreate them at home.  Without further ado.. the winning submission who will receive Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express and Hurst Bean Prizes goes to…

Champa – Versatile Vegetarian Kitchen
Pennsylvania, U.S.

Susan is also extending a copy of the cookbook prize to Sanyantani of A Homemaker’s Diary in order that MLLA 24 also has a participant who has not won before. 
Sayantani – A Home Maker’s Diary
India

Congratulations Champa and Sayantani!  Susan will be contacting you directly for your shipping information :)  Thank you to everyone who participated and I hope you enjoy the roundup of all the entries that were submitted.  Make sure to check out the July event, MLLA #25 hosted this month by Siri’s Corner.

My Legume Love Affair #24 Roundup

 Cinzia – Cindystar 

Italy

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Janet – The Taste Space
Toronto, Canada
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Priya – Mharo Rajasthan’s Recipes
California, U.S.
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Rachana – Sizzle N Spice
U.S.
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Akheela – Torviewtoronto
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Jay – Tasty Appetite
India
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Jayasri – Samayalarai-cookingisdivine
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Graziana – Erbe in cucina (Cooking with herbs)
Italy
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Muskaan – A2Z Vegetarian Cuisine
New Jersey, U.S.
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Apu – Annarasa – Essence of Food
U.S.
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Asha – Foodie’s Hope
North Carolina, U.S.
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Mallugirl – Malabar Spices
U.S.
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Jagruti – Joy of Cooking
London, U.K.
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Champa – Versatile Vegetarian Kitchen
Pennsylvania, U.S.
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Aparna – My Diverse Kitchen
Goa, India
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Heather – girlichef
U.S.
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Priya – Mharo Rajasthan’s Recipes
California, U.S.
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Núria – Spanish Recipes
Barcelona, Spain
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Preeti – Write Food
NY, U.S.
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Usha – Veg Inspirations
North Carolina, U.S.
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Swapna – Simple Veg Cooking
Florida, U.S.
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Indrani – Recipe Index of Appyayan
Singapore
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Nandini – Nandini’s Food Page
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Priya – Mharo Rajasthan’s Recipes
California, U.S.
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Champa – Versatile Vegetarian Kitchen
Pennsylvania, U.S.
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PJ – Seduce Your Tastebuds
India
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Denny – Oh Taste n See
Seattle, U.S.
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Rupali – North ki Rasoi Se..
Wisconsin, U.S.
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Priya – Mharo Rajasthan’s Recipes
California, U.S.
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Ricki – Diet, Dessert and Dogs
Toronto, Canada
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Sanyukta – Creative Sanyukta
California, U.S.
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Esra – Carte du Jour
New York, U.S.
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Esra – Carte du Jour
New York, U.S.
******
Esra – Carte du Jour
New York, U.S.
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Lori Lynn – Taste With the Eyes
California, U.S.
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Simona – Atutta Cucina
Italy
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Claire – Chez Cayenne
Texas, U.S.
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Astra – Food for Laughter
Georgia, U.S.
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Laura – The Spiced Life
Ohio, U.S.
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Nandini – Nandini’s Food Page
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Priya – Mharo Rajasthan’s Recipes
California, U.S.
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S Subhashini – Food, The Spice of Life
India
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Sanyukta – Creative Sanyukta
California, U.S.
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 Sudha – Malaysian Delicacies
Malaysia
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Sumana – Sum’s Cuisine
Bangalore, India
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Sanyukta – Creative Sanyukta
California, U.S.
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Rahin – Lazzat…
Massachusetts, U.S.
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Sangeetha – Sangi’s Food World
California, U.S.
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Sangeetha – Sangi’s Food World
California, U.S.
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Sangeetha – Sangi’s Food World
California, U.S.
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Sangeetha – Sangi’s Food World
California, U.S.
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Umm – Taste of Pearl City
Germany
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Sanyukta – Creative Sanyukta
California, U.S.
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Julie – The Persnickety Palate
Oregon, U.S.
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Jaya – Desi Soccer Mom
Texas, U.S.
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Lisa – Lisa’s Kitchen
London, Ontario, Canada
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Elizabeth – blog from OUR kitchen
Toronto, Canada
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Soma – eCurry
Texas, U.S.
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Sayantani – A Home Maker’s Diary
India
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Nithu – Nithu’s Kitchen
New Jersey, U.S.
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Nithu – Nithu’s Kitchen
New Jersey, U.S.
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Priya – Mharo Rajasthan’s Recipes
California, U.S.
******
Sanyukta – Creative Sanyukta
California, U.S.
******
Lana – Bibberche
California, U.S.
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Priya – Priya’s Easy N Tasty Recipes
Paris, France
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Priya – Priya’s Easy N Tasty Recipes
Paris, France
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Rupa – A Virtual Vegetarian
India/U.S.
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CurryLeaf – Tasty Curry Leaf
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Vanessa – Sweet Artichoke
Switzerland
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Kiran – SUMADHURA
Massachusetts, U.S.
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Diana – A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa
Iowa, U.S.
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Susan – The Well-Seasoned Cook
New York, U.S.

peas_rice3
Mexican rice is a staple in our home.  With a garden producing sweet, juicy, peas I wanted to share this recipe using them in their freshest state.  Right off the vine!

Peas are pretty easy to grow in the garden.  As long as you have direct sunlight and a barrier to keep the bunnies away, you’ll soon have a trellis filled with hanging ornaments of nourishing food.

IMG_4708
What I enjoy so much about them is that it makes a fun activity to shuck the peas with the kids.

peas_rice2

I couldn’t help but capture those sweet little hands helping mami with the peas.

peas_rice
It’s quite unbelievable how great fresh peas taste.  They are so huge, juicy and sweet as compared to their frozen state.  I will definitely be sowing some more in late summer for a fall harvest.

So back to the Mexican rice!  The trick to mastering a great Mexican rice is to start with fresh, homemade ingredients.  All Mexican rice is reddish in color as it has a tomato base.  Most people will use tomato sauce which works fine, however, I’ve found that the best Mexican rice is made by using homemade salsa.  Homemade salsa that is cooked through with added ingredients including cilantro.  As soon as my tomatoes ripen on my vines, I plan on sharing my homemade salsa recipe as I used it all winter long for my rice!  Another staple ingredient to excellent Mexi rice is using homemade chicken stock.  Water can be substituted but again, flavor and depth will be sacrificed.  Once you start making your own condiments and broths to preserve, whether frozen or canned, you’ll have them on hand for making simple recipes taste AMAZING!  A little bit of effort goes a long way!

Mexican Rice with Fresh from the Garden Peas

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white Jasmine rice (Brown rice works just as well, however, you will need to add an additional cup of chicken stock or water and increase the cooking time by 20 minutes)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups homemade chicken broth or water
  • 3/4 cup homemade salsa or 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp celtic sea salt
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen peas (or a combination of mixed vegetables)

Method:

  1.  In a stainless steel pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the rice and incorporate into the oil.  This is where you will fry the rice.  Keep stirring and moving it around until it browns on all sides.  You will start to smell it toasting.  Do not let it burn. 
  3. Once the rice is browned on all sides, add the chicken stock or water, carefully.  It will simmer and evaporate as you pour it in.
  4. Add the salsa or tomato sauce and mix in. (Always add the chicken stock before the tomato base as adding the tomato base first will splatter and can burn you.)
  5. Add the cumin, salt and peas.
  6. Bring the mixture to a boil.  Once it starts boiling, cover and lower your heat to it’s lowest setting.
  7. Simmer on low for 20 minutes.

That’s it!  Buen Provecho!!!