Last night, I tried to find a way around cooking my rice.  My successful experience with cooking dried beans made me confident.  Possibly too confident.

Here I sit, stirring rice (and typing between stirs.)  Why?  Because I failed.

After my beans were cooked (about 10:30 PM) I decided that I could start the rice & not have to cook anything tonight.  Easy, right?
I consult my http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/ cookbook & discover that rice only takes 2 hours or so.  I fret.  I do not wake up at 12:30 AM for anyone or anything.  Hubby to the rescue! He gets out the timer we use for lamps when we go on vacation (robbers, don’t pay attention.  We never go away.)  And he plugs the CP in, sets it for 2 hours, and away to bed we go.

Scene two:
This morning, the kitchen.
The rice is a mushy ball of starch.  It is completely unsalvageable (sorry, no pics.  Too early to think.)
Lesson learned: Don’t get cocky.  And don’t cook rice unless you’ll be available to fluff it at the end (that’s what she said. Sorry, mom!)
Anyway, I came home and made (well, I’m still making) rice.  And now we will have a fabulous rice and bean dinner.  We’re even getting fancy and adding tortillas and cheese to the mix.

Here’s a pic pre-nosh.  


The recipe is as follows: 

*this made about a million pounds but I plan on freezing most of it

3 cans worth (6 cups?) of black beans 
     – When I cooked the beans I added chiles and a little can of chipotle peppers.  It’s a spicy dish so season to taste. 
4 cups cooked rice
2 cups diced tomatoes, roasted on 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.  
Handful fresh parsley

Mix & enjoy! 

Beans, beans they’re good for your heart.

I’m childish and think that title is hilarious.

Beans are really good for you though.  And if they are done right, they can be a super cheap source of protein.

Frugal cooking is something I enjoy.  I try to save money where I can, and still have a healthy and delicious meal that Eric & I can enjoy.  This can be tough.  Food is an area where we splurge because we both enjoy eating well. 

Tonight I’m serving good old fashioned beans and rice (yes, sometimes I cook. And usually it doesn’t turn out well, as you’ll see)

I hate buying canned beans.  They are overpriced compared to the dried variety you can find.  I used to justify it because I was out of the house so much (long commute.)  Now that I’m a short drive away, I have time to do things cheaper, which I LOVE. 

So anyway. 

I bought a bag of black beans at Market Basket for $1.49.  It made about 3 cans worth when cooked, so I saved myself about $1.50.  Here’s how:

The Crockpot!  Magical beast & indentured servant. 

Step 1: Rinse beans in colander.  Remove any yucky-looking ones.
Step 2: Dump the beans in the crockpot and leave the colander in the sink. (You’ll need it in about 4 hours.)
Step 3: Add water.  Enough to cover the beans + 2 inches.
Step 4: Add salt & any flavorings. (I added whole chiles, cumin, and salt)
Step 5: Place CP on high.
Step 6: Relax for 4 hours.
Step 7: Check to see if they are done!  They should be tender & taste like beans. 
Step 8: Dump into the colander (CAREFUL! They are hot.)
Step 9: Rinse the beans (yes. again.  I don’t know if this is necessary but my cookbook told me to.)
Step 10: Freeze the beans for future use. 

In my next post, “DISASTER!” I’ll share how I ruined two cups of rice & a whole bunch of chicken stock. 😦  Will I make it in time for dinner? Will the meal be satisfying?  Only time will tell. 

Steal My Sunshine

Sun tea lightly sweetened has been my drink of choice this summer (hence the blog name…)
I’m trying to drink less soda & wine (a constant battle.  Not in an alcoholic way, more in a “My pants don’t fit!” way.)
I also have a weird fascination with learning to do things the old fashioned way.  And with saving glass jars.  Like every glass jar.  It feels so wasteful to throw them away. I might be a hoarder.  Only time will tell.  

So I got this:
It’s a pickle jar.  I could have bought a sun tea jar at the store but I don’t like the idea of heating up plastic over & over and then drinking the liquid inside.  
Plus I feel so Little House on the Prairie this way.  Not that buying tea bags in bulk and giant pickle jars at Market Basket is very “frontier” but whatever.  
So if you’ve never heard of sun tea, like my favorite blogger, Katie       (http://oscartini.com/) then prepare to have your. mind. blown. 

– One giant pickle jar (or sun tea jar but I really would get glass.  not plastic)
– 6 tea bags (our jar is about 1.5 gallons)
– Water
– Sunshine

Combine as shown above, outside until the color looks tea-like (if you use cold water it will take a few hours.)

Discard the tea bags & serve over ice.  

I dissolve sugar in warm water & mix it in to taste.  Sometimes I’ll leave it unsweetened and sweeten each glass with honey.  
If I’m feeling super fancy, I’ll add some mint leaves and/or lemon wedges.  If you put in a sprig of mint, the presentation is awesome.  But make sure you crush some mint leaves or you won’t get the full flavor.
And the best part (other than the awesome taste?)  100 tea bags are only $1.49 at Market Basket.  So that means my whole jar of tea was about $0.08 + sweetener.  
We also use herbs to flavor water.  Basil and mint are fantastic with lemon and a pitcher full of ice cold water.  
I like having these around as a healthy option for me and for guests. 
Fun side story:
One time, I was at the 99 Restaurant.  And I ordered iced tea but I asked if it was brewed first (I’m not a fan of the other kind.)   And the waitress gives me this look and says “Um….No.  This is the 99.”  (BTW 99 CEO, who obviously reads my blog; you might want to revisit your training process.) 

P.S. You can also use herbal tea- iced peppermint tea is to die for, as well as iced chamomile. 
P.P.S Some people don’t like the idea of leaving the sun tea out for fear of bacteria growing.  I don’t have an issue with it, but if you do, just put the jar in the fridge.  It will take about twice as long, but you will get the same flavorful tea that way.  

Summer time…

So I leave my food blog, to embark onto the many other topics I want to write about, to embrace all the things my life is about, to shed the shackles of a topic.  

And what do I write about for my inaugural post?  Well.  Some things don’t change.
So I love food.  I’m pretty equal opportunity about it, but I do have my favorites.  
One of those favorites?  Tomatoes.  Especially fresh, from my garden, super juicy tomatoes.  
This summer we have had a really good tomato “crop.”  I also discovered a Thursday farmers market near where I work, and I can’t resist their from-the-farm tomatoes either. 
So we have been eating a LOT of tomatoes.  My favorite way to enjoy a fresh tomato is a very simple tomato sandwich.  I’m not going to bore you with a recipe.  It’s toast, light mayo, and sliced tomato with a little bit of salt.  I found out recently that some people haven’t tried this.  If you’re one of them, you are going to need to get on that about 5 minutes ago. 
Look, it’s not just me.  Here’s a great link about this deliciousness: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Relish/Perfect-Tomato-Sandwich.aspx
I had one for lunch.  Then, greedy girl, I had another for dinner.  Perfection.  So perfect that I forgot to take a pictures!   But believe me, it was Ah-mazing. If late summer sunshine had a taste, I think this sandwich would be it.  It makes me want to say words like ripened, and laden.  
Here’s a picture of more bounty:  
Those aren’t rotten tomatoes there on the top.  They are habeneros that I also bought at the farmers market.  I’m hoping this little tray will become salsa soon.  Minus the sweet potatoes.  That’d be weird.  

You always remember your first…

Hi there!  

We may have met before, over at delectable life.  I left that blog for multiple personal reasons, but mostly because I felt like I didn’t have time to do a great job.  

Life has changed, and brought with it many sweet surprises and moments that I want to capture.  I loved being a part of the blogging community, but I mostly am writing this for me.  

I’ll be blogging about the many things I love.  My home, my family & friends, and all the things that make my life amazing.  

Hope you enjoy the ride!