Food Prep – Beans: Soaking, Cooking, & Freezing

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I tend to use a lot of beans in my recipes, whether it’s chili, soups, or a side dish! I’ve used cans, but there is something about seeing that viscous liquid coating the beans that always makes my stomach turn. No matter how much I rinse my beans, I can’t get that vision out of my mind! Some years ago, when I was single, I’d soak and cook and freeze my beans in 2 cup portions for use whenever a recipe called for beans. I got out of that habit due to convenience, but now I’m back at it!

On my last grocery trip, I purchased four 1-pound bags of dried beans – pinto, black, great northern white, and kidney. I rinsed then soaked the pinto, white, and kidney beans for about 20 hours, changing the water and rinsing the beans once throughout to ensure that those nasty gas causing agents were being eliminated. Once they were done soaking, I cooked all 3 varieties on the stove-top, adding a little kosher salt, onion powder, and a bay leaf to each pot. Once they were done cooking, I measured 2 cups into each pint sized freezer bag, which gave me approximately 3 cans per pound of beans. Each 1-pound bag of beans cost me about $1 while a can of beans can is just under that most times (& sometimes more, depending on the variety!)

Beans, beans!
Beans, beans!

I labeled each one and stuck them in the freezer for use. No thawing is required if adding them to a soup or chili. They will thaw while cooking.

Next up is chickpeas and black beans! For my chickpeas, I’ve always cooked those using Alton Brown’s method and they always come out perfectly! I use those chickpeas to make my own hummus as well as for use in Budget Bytes’ quick curried chickpeas! Soaking and cooking your own beans can be a little time consuming, but it can save you so much money over a year’s time (if you use beans like I do!) and it is so much better for you. Canned items contain so much in the way of sodium and preservatives which can mean bad things for your overall health.

Note: If cooking kidney beans, make sure that you cook them completely through! They contain phytohaemagglutinin which is a toxin that causes severe gastric distress resulting in nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea!

Here are some helpful links if you’re interested in cooking and storing your own beans:

Kitchen Treaty | How to Cook Dried Beans & Freeze Them for Later
Whole Foods | All About Beans
Lifehacker | Cheat Sheet: Soaking & Cooking Dried Beans

Have you ever tried cooking and freezing your own beans? What have you used them for? What’s your favorite bean to cook with?

Budget Bytes – Ground Turkey and Kale Soup

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One of my favorite recipe sites is Budget Bytes. It is a great site that contains tons of recipes that can easily be made on a budget. Whether you’re looking for soups, sandwiches, seafood, poultry, Mediterranean, gluten free, vegetarian – whatever you’re in need of, you can find it at Budget Bytes. I have discovered some favorites and new staples over the past several months such as:

Unstuffed bell peppers
Homemade chicken noodle soup
Tandoori chicken dinner
Yellow rice chicken skillet
Easy oven fajitas

Every time I create my 2 week meal plan, you can bet that there will be at least 3 or 4 recipes from Budget Bytes. The latest recipe I tried was the sausage & kale soup. However, since I am not a fan of cooking with pork (or Italian sausage, in general), I decided to sub a pound of ground turkey which I browned with a little cracked red pepper and kosher salt. Yum!

A side note on prep – on my last grocery trip, I purchased spinach, spring mix, and kale for use in green smoothies. I’d rinsed them and stored them in our freezer for easy use in the mornings (and to prevent it from going to waste!) My kale was already rinsed and ready and frozen. In addition, I’d spent part of my Saturday and part of my Sunday soaking, cooking, and storing beans in 2 cup portions (approximately the size of a can). I’ll post more on that in the near future. In the recipe, Beth at Budget Bytes also suggested chopping and freezing carrots and celery which I did as well!

Now here I must admit – I really enjoy hand chopping my veggies. I don’t always love it, but most times, I do. I just got a new food processor back in December, but sometimes I just want larger, more uniform pieces. I chopped my carrots, celery, onion, and minced my garlic and I was ready to rock.

Minced garlic, chopped garlic, onion, & celery
Minced garlic, chopped garlic, onion, & celery
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Ground turkey and veggies sauteeing in olive oil
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Frozen kale and my cooked & frozen great northern beans
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Adding that delicious frozen kale!
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Adding the white beans

Now, she does note in the recipe that you can use vegetable or chicken base, and I opted for vegetable since it’s predominantly veggies & there was no chicken in the recipe. I love using Better than Bouillon’s bases and I have their vegetable, chicken, and beef bases.

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Better than Bouillon organic vegetable base

They are so flavorful and really save me money! Instead of paying for cans of broth, or sodium & MSG laden cubes, I have these organic bases! Good for the wallet and the body!

Now, I didn’t get a picture of the soup when it was done, but it was pretty good. I had to adjust the seasonings by adding kosher salt, white pepper, and some onion powder. I would not put it in my frequent rotation, but I can see myself making it again & would definitely play with the seasonings more! However, I do like that it was very quick & easy to put together, naturally gluten free (watch your broth ingredients always to make sure!), very nutritious and chock full of delicious vegetables. Our bodies appreciated it and our budget did too.

 

12/11: Newest Listings | Soul of a Home Designs @ ETSY

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Check out the newest listings in the store! To purchase, please click the image!

To access the store, you can click here!

 

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Handmade Burlap Wreath / Burlap with Flowers / Burlap Hydrangea Wreath / Rustic Decor / Floral Burlap Wreath / Full Burlap Wreath

 

Handmade Burlap Wreath / Full Burlap Wreath / Large Burlap Wreath / Country Wreath / Rustic Wreath / Jute / Natural Wreath
Handmade Burlap Wreath / Full Burlap Wreath / Large Burlap Wreath / Country Wreath / Rustic Wreath / Jute / Natural Wreath

 

Christmas Wreath / Holiday Wreath / Christmas Decor / Red & Gold Wreath / Holiday Decor / Christmas Decoration
Christmas Wreath / Holiday Wreath / Christmas Decor / Red & Gold Wreath / Holiday Decor / Christmas Decoration

 

Chevron Burlap Bow / Floral Bow / Wreath Bow / Chevron Door Hanger / Burlap Bow
Chevron Burlap Bow / Floral Bow / Wreath Bow / Chevron Door Hanger / Burlap Bow

 

Soul of a Home Designs

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Soul of a Home DesignsSoul:
the animating principle; the essential element or part of something.

What makes your home yours? What are the things about your home that make it clear that you live there? It’s what you add to it. There’s nothing like providing your own personal touch to the place where you spend much of your time. You make it warm, you make it inviting, you make it, well… you.

Soul of a Home Designs was birthed out of a desire to make things for my home that were unique to me. My husband and I both have our own thoughts of what makes a home beautiful and by creating them, we could ensure that we would have what we desired.

That desire for our home became a desire for others’ homes. I want to help you make your home beautiful by adding those essential elements to the soul of your home!

Check out the store on Etsy:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/SoulofaHomeDesigns

Talking About Submission (Desiring God)

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The further we drift from talk of submission, the easier my life becomes… But as a follower of Christ, my desire is to see Jesus glorified, not my flesh. And submission is tied directly to the glory and honor due to our Lord and his word. To retreat from the topic of submission is to throw aside fundamentals of marriage that God ordained from the beginning. If ever there were a time to dialogue about marriage, submission, and the attendant glory of Christ, it is now.
Kim Cash Tate

This post was challenging and encouraging to me as a wife. Submission is something that is close to my heart and always has been, even prior to marriage. It is often seen as a dirty word, and I can appreciate how Kim Cash Tate pointed out the various ways that the topic of submission is often approached – apologetically and/or sympathetically. Submission is no thing to apologize for, as it is God’s intended design, nor is it something to gather around and lament about. It is a beautiful thing ordained by God that shows off a glorious picture of His wisdom, and yes, even His Gospel.

While, yes, I know it isn’t always easy, it is beautiful & it speaks loudly to a watching world. There may be situations where it may feel difficult to submit. In those moments, we can, by the power of the Holy Spirit, battle our sin and flesh and put it to death in order that God may be honored and glorified.

May the Lord continue to enable and help His daughters see the wisdom and grace in His plan of submission.

Review: BIC Soleil Glow Razors

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(I received these razors for free from BIC via BzzAgent along with several coupons in exchange for my honest review! #GotItFree )

“Babe, this is the best shave I have EVER had!”

Those are the words that came out of my mouth this past weekend as I shaved my legs! The razor was gliding so smoothly that I thought it wasn’t working. I had to check and feel my legs! I am so used to feeling the razor skim across my skin that NOT feeling it was odd. After I shaved my legs, I was pleasantly surprised at how smooth they were. Not a speck or stubble in sight! Out of all the razors I have ever used (Schick, store brands, Gillette, even other BIC razors), these have definitely been the best. I let my husband know that if they have a male version of these, he should definitely try them!

My only complaint (which is not a full blown complaint) is that the head is somewhat large, so trying to get into any crevices proved to be difficult. When shaving my underarms, which are not a straight surface like legs can be, it was a bit impossible, so I had to stretch my skin to get a good shave. I loved the colors – pink, green, and purple, and loved the way they were designed. They were easy to hold and didn’t slip out of my hand even though I had shaving cream and water working against me! I am very feminine and love all things that are such, so the curves and colors were appealing to my eye.

Overall, after I am done with these, I plan to get more! I honestly could not see myself finding another set of razors that shave this well. Apart from the large head, I will gladly figure out a workaround for that!

(Note: After shaving on Saturday, today, Wednesday, my legs are still smooth which is not the norm for me with other razors.)

(Note: In addition, I received several $3 off coupons. The razors are $5.97 at my local HEB & Walmart and are currently $5.49 at Target due to a temporary price cut.)