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. 

Quick post! Yummy fall recipe

Hey y’all (I’m from Massachusetts so I can’t pull y’all off in real life.  But on the blog, fair game.  It makes me feel all Paula Deen-eqsue.)

So anyway.

Hey y’all!

I’m short on time this week but I wanted to share an awesome recipe with you.

It’s a hearty vegetable stew.  Inspired by my good friends El and Mark (they made me some for lunch today, albeit a different recipe.  I love free lunch! Thanks guys!)

I love soups and stews in the fall.  And this one satisfies that craving without being too high in fat or calories.

Sweet potatoes; peeled and diced (I use 2)
1 cup of white potato, peeled and diced
Turnips;peeled and diced
Carrots; sliced

Shallots; 4-6 halved (yum!)
Vidalia onion; 1, quartered, chunky
Roasted garlic 4 cloves
Kale; torn leaves
Olive oil; 2 tbs
Red wine; 1 cup
Whole wheat flour; enough to coat vegetables
Rosemary; fresh or a few pinches
Thyme; fresh or a few pinches
Bay leaf; 1
Cayenne pepper; few dashes
Fresh ground pepper

Vegetable stock (you can use beef stock for a richer taste if you aren’t serving vegetarians.)  I always use the lower sodium stock or sometimes make my own.

So basically what you do is saute the shallots and onion in the bottom of the soup pot until caramelized. Add the garlic.

Meanwhile, mix all the veggies (except the kale!) in a large bowl and coat in flour.  Add the vegetables and the wine to the pot and cook through (about 10 min.) 

Add the stock, and seasonings.  Cook until consistency is similar to stew (about 20 min on low-med)Then stir in kale, and remove bay leaf. 

I’ll post a photo when we make this.  It’s even better as leftovers!

Have a fabulous and yummy weekend!

Restaurant Love 1: Rasoi, Pawtucket RI.

Hey all,

I want to throw some love at a few local restaurants that we’ve tried and were worth shouting about. I think it’s important to support local business, and I also think these restaurants are worth the trip!
Disclaimer: I am NOT a reviewer, nor am I any kind of authority. I just want to share the good experiences I have had.
Ok, here goes:
Rasoi, 727 East Ave, Pawtucket, RI. (Yes, it’s the one in the Rite Aid parking lot.)
We ended up here for my good friend Julie’s birthday recently. Eric makes Indian food at home, but we rarely get to go out for it. Funnily enough, I thought I had been to this place before but it was a totally different location. A happy accident, as they say.
We arrive, slightly intimidated, but excited to try some new dishes.
First off, it’s pretty small. About the size of a large coffee shop. They’ve done a great job with separating the tables so you don’t feel as though you are in a small restaurant once you are seated.
We started with drinks- I split the sangria with Kevin (a friend) and Eric and Julie ordered beers.
Appetizers: We got the Cauliflower, which was marinated and then fried. It was delicious. We also tried the Samosas, which were made with potato and homemade cheese. These were OK. The cheese was good, but the rest was a little bland. I would have like to have this during my entree (you’ll see why!)
I ordered the Chana Masala, and Eric got the Lamb Vindaloo. (Side note, whenever I hear the word Vindaloo, all I can think of is the song “Punjab Paddy” by Gaelic Storm. It’s a riot. You shoud download it. Now. 🙂
Being the adventurous eater that I am, I mentioned to the waiter that I liked spicy food. Oh what an error in judgement that was. The Chana Masala was ALREADY spicy, and they pumped up the volume for mine. It was extraordinary, but I did feel as though I would start to have blisters if I continued to eat the entire thing.
However the waiter was so incredibly gracious, he offered to replace my meal. I refused because, after all, it wasn’t HIS fault that I so brazenly declared my love for spicy food in an INDIAN restaurant. And I did eat some of the leftovers with a lot of rice later that week.
So I recommend the Chana Masala, but not extra spicy. In my mind, for a first time Indian food eater, vegetarian is the way to go. Rasoi offers a very large list of vegetarian entrees, which I loved.
Eric’s Lamb Vindaloo was awesome. Seriously. I couldn’t recommend a dish more highly. It was tender, spicy, and sweet, and just lovely.
We finished off the meal with some homemade vanilla ice cream that had a touch of what I think was ginger. Perfect!
Rasoi is extremely accommodating, offering gluten free, dairy free, and vegan options.
They also have an all-you-can eat gluten free vegan buffet on Saturdays.
I can truly recommend this restaurant- it was a wonderful experience.