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.
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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.

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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.

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

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

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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!!!

LOGO FINAL
If you’ve read about my recent travel to Spain you’ve probably heard me gush about my new Beco Baby Carrier.  I was so happy to receive my carrier made of organic material just in time to use on my trip.

If you’re not familiar with the Beco Baby Carrier, it’s a backpack style carrier which allows you to carry a newborn up to a 45lb toddler on your front or back.

Designed by a babywearing parent, active sailor and rock climber, Gabby Caperon. Beco combines perfect ergonomics, excellent weight distribution and stylish design from top quality fabrics. Each carrier is handmade by a skilled seamstress in facilities which apply high social and economical standards. Sustainability and minimal impact of our production on the environment is important to us. We strive to provide the best quality, safe products and friendly customer service.

Reading the Beco story, designer and owner Gabby Caperon, produced the first Beco from her home as an at home mom.  She needed a more comfortable carrier to carry her growing baby and researched traditional baby carrying from other cultures.  She sewed her first Mei Tei and when she needed something a bit more sturdier she looked towards the innovation of a backpack.  I love it!  Brilliant mom’s creating with passion and love!

I’m so glad Gabby is sharing this product with the world because it was so useful on my trip.  I used it in the airport, buses, trains, touring, to market, and especially as a safe haven for my child as he slept on me.

One of my absolute favorite things about baby carrying is the closeness that it brings to your child.  Feeling their every breath, touch and movement is a constant reminder that my joy and my place in life, at this moment, is to be their mami.

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Going to Granada - Spain 2010 147

I used my carrier to carry my toddler mostly on my back, however, I would rotate him to the front to sleep or sit in my lap on public transportation.

The Beco was really amazing on long train rides, as I knew my toddler was sleepy but… he’s rambunctious!  The Beco kept him strapped onto me where we chatted, talked, sang and slept!  It was great :D

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Before I go on, I do want to make it clear that the Beco Baby Carrier was given to me.  This review is unedited and based solely on my opinion.  

The Beco Baby Carrier was also comfortable and easy to use.  The straps are padded and easy to adjust.  You can pull them down and tighten the strap.  The bottom support pad and strap kept his weight distributed evenly and I could carry him for quite a long time.  Below is one of many instructional videos.

This is my first backpack carrier and I am enjoying it!  Before I had this carrier, I carried Zekie in a moby wrap as a newborn and moved to a Baby Bjorn that was given to me as a baby shower gift.  He was already used to be carried by mami, but what I found so enjoyable is that he enjoyed riding on my back.  “Up high!”  “Up high!” Zekie would yell… so cute!!

Here’s a fun video of us at the very top of an ancient castle in Granada, Spain.  Carrying Zekie on my back allowed me to take him places that I would have been way to scared of before.  I had no fear of him climbing or playing around near dangerous places and we enjoyed a special time together.

I also enjoyed that I was able to carry my older son in it.  He enjoyed it as well!

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After this trip, I told my husband as long as each of the boys could be in a carrier, I was no longer fearful to visit the Grand Canyon!  Maybe a future vaca is in order ;)

The people of Beco were gracious enough to give my sister a Beco as well.  Anyone that reads my blog knows that my family and I are very close.  So it was so much fun being able to carry our babies together.  Ezra was five months at the time and enjoyed the closeness of sleeping on his mama.

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The only thing that was difficult for my sister is that Ezra does enjoy being carried facing out.  Unfortunately, the Beco does not allow the baby to face out.  Maybe a feature they could add in the future?

Since coming home, I’ve had opportunities of using it at the farmers market, while gardening, at the pool, on walks, at a wedding and other everyday routines and events we’ve attended.  really it’s been my secret weapon to keeping a toddler from hitting the high road! As my hubby and I are praying about bambino number 3, it makes me even more excited to think about carrying him/her in the Beco!

As you can tell, I really enjoyed this product and do recommend it to anyone.  It’s easy, comfortable, organic, and the patterns are ADORABLE!!  So now is the really exciting part!!!

Beco has agreed to giveaway one Beco Baby Carrier with the super cute panther pattern to one of my readers!!  I enjoy this pattern as it works well with men.  Yes, they do enjoy carrying their children as well :D

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The Beco Baby Carrier Giveaway!!

How cute is that print!  So here’s what you have to do to win!!

This Giveaway is Closed

To enter

leave a comment from one of the options below…

  1. If you are not currently a baby wearing mama… Why would you enjoy carrying your baby?
  2. If you are currently a baby wearing mama… What’s the best thing about carrying your baby?
  3. If this would be a gift for someone else… Why would this be a perfect gift for a mom or dad?

Extra Entries
Leave a separate comment for each entry, a total of 7 extra entries.

  1. Subscribe to receive my posts via email. (1 entry)
  2. Follow me publicly on my blog (1 entry)
  3. Become a fan of Beco Baby Carrier on Facebook and share on your wall (1 entry)
  4. Become a fan of A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa on Facebook and share on your wall (1 entry)
  5. Blog about this giveaway and link back to this post (2 entries)  Please leave 2 seperate comments that you have done this.
  6. Follow me on Twitter and tweet about the giveaway. (1 entry) (copy and paste)

    @dianabauman @becobaby Carrier Giveaway! The ultimate backpack style baby carrier!  #babywearing #giveaway http://tinyurl.com/2d5y6nq

Please Remember, leave a separate comment for each entry, or your extra entries will not count!

Every comment must include an email address – it’s ok if you comment with your blog account as long as I can get to your email through your blog!  The giveaway ends July 13, 2010 and is open to the Continental US only.  The winner will be chosen by random.org.

Good Luck!!

wrapped_beet_tops
Greens, I just can’t get enough of them.  I get captivated at the farmers market by the beautiful colors and depths of green at each stand.  Some of my favorite greens are beet tops.

wrapped_beets2
The crimson veins bursting through green are nothing short of life, blood… creation.  Conceptually, it’s one of the most beautiful vegetables I’ve seen and nutritionally, it’s one of the most nutrient dense vegetables.

Beet tops are very high in vitamin a.  As most greens, they also contain vitamins c, e, and k.  They also contain calcium, fiber, folate and other minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Beet tops are also a good source of protein.  As you can see, a power house full of nutrients!  The bonus of shopping at your farmers market is that you will be able to purchase the beets with their tops.

For this recipe, I wanted to use the tops in a way that I could appreciate their taste and texture.  I decided to use them in a wrap and inspired by Indian cuisine, I filled them with onions caramelized in garam masala and homemade ghee.  I also added homemade yogurt to the wrap for a sweet and tangy addition.  To finish the wraps, I baked them with additional rendered ghee that infused the leaves with a nuttiness.  Topped with browned milk solids, these wraps were to please.  Mild greens with a sweet and creamy center.

Beet Top Wraps with Caramelized Onions and Yogurt
Makes about 8 wraps

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch beet tops (reserve beets for a different use)
  • 1 onion sliced
  • homemade yogurt (or regular plain yogurt)
  • homemade ghee (or store bought)
  • 1 tsp garam masala (Garam Masala is a combination of spices including coriander, black pepper, cumin, cardamom and cinnamon.)
  • Browned milk solids from making homemade ghee to garnish (optional)

Method:

  1. In a cast iron skillet or heavy bottomed pan, heat 3 tablespoons of ghee.  Add the onions and garam masala.  Saute until caramelized and browned on all sides of the onion.

    Caramelized onions about half way done.
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  2. Once the onions are caramelized, separate beet tops from the beets.  Wash, dry and lay them out side by side or how you see fit until you have the size of about a 6″ x 6″ square.

    wrapped_beets5

  3. To the center of each wrap, add 2 tablespoons each of caramelized onions and yogurt.  fold over the left and right sides and roll.

    wrapped_beets3

  4. Place in a baking dish.  Pour 1/2 cup of melted ghee over the wraps and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
  5. Garnish with browned milk solids.

Buen Provecho!