Practical, healthful eating and living.

Stick-to-Your-Ribs Stew for a Snowy Day December 30, 2008

Filed under: Easy food prep,Energy — beansandyoga @ 9:57 pm
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black-eyed-pea-stew1 Winter is giving us a whipping.  Bitter cold and deep snow kept us in for nearly the entire week before Christmas.  We finally had a beautiful sunny day yesterday, which I put to good use by stocking up on all the groceries I knew I’d want if we were snowed-in again.  Sure enough, the plows are out.  Snow has been falling steadily for 12 hours or more.

It’s said that eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day will bring you luck.  Here’s a recipe for a hearty stew I made today.


  • 1 cup dry black-eyed peas
  • 1 cup chopped cooked ham (or bacon)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 & 1/2 cups onions, diced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt or to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper or to taste
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon dry thyme
  • 3/4 cup rice, either brown or white
  • 6 cups water
  • 1-2 cups veggie or chicken broth
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (more if you like it hot) or hot sauce (or let people add to individual servings.)

Check the black-eyed peas for pebbles.  Rinse in cold water.  Drain.  Place the black-eyed peas in a 4 quart pot. Add the 6 cups of water.  Stir in ham and diced onions, and season with salt, pepper, garlic and thyme.  Add tomatoes to pot. Bring all ingredients to boil. Cover the pot, and simmer on low heat for one hour.  Add the rice, and simmer for another 1 & 1/2 hours.  It won’t need a lot of attention, but do check to see if more liquid is needed.

If the stew is very thick and the rice still seems crunchy after 45 minutes, add the broth, a 1/2 cup at a time.  Let the stew continue to simmer on low heat until the rice is fully cooked and the black-eyed peas are soft.  Check every ten minutes or so to see if more broth should be added.  Make the stew as thick or thin as you like.  Taste to see if you’d like more salt and pepper

Yields 4-6 servings.  Freeze any extra in 3 cup/24 oz. Glad or Ziploc containers.  Let it thaw in the fridge for a day or thaw in a microwave.

Tip:  Black-eyed peas are often sold in 1 lb. (2 cup) bags.  Check the bulk foods section of your store to see if you can buy just one cup, or how ever much you’d like.  If you end up with a little more or less than one cup, it won’t alter the stew too much.  1/4 too little or too much will get you very close to the same results.

You can buy rice this way, too.


The Reluctant Cook December 29, 2008

Filed under: Easy food prep — beansandyoga @ 9:30 am
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reluctant-chef1 So many of my friends say they don’t know how to cook.  It’s no surprise.  They don’t spend a lot of time at home.  It’s easy to rely on restaurants or take-out.  When keeping a busy schedule, it can be hard to find time to grocery shop, much less cook.

For many of us, our moms also worked outside of the home, so we rarely spent time in the kitchen, learning the ropes as we grew up.  Here’s how I learned.

I’d think of something I was hungry for. I’d go through my cookbooks until I found  recipe that seemed simple enough for me to handle.  Then, I’d go to the store and buy all of the ingredients for it.

Did some recipes not quite turn out? Sure!  But that ‘s what cooking is all about.  Most of the time, I ended up with a rewarding dish that made the risk worthwhile.  Food is more forgiving than you might think.  It’s not like you’re cooking for a show.  Give yourself room to make mistakes. Chances are, it will simply lead you to a more interesting way of cooking.

What about pots, pans, knives, etc? To this day, I rely on just two knives.  One is a small paring knife.  The other is a bread knife.  One big soup pot and one mid-sized frying pan are my other two staples.  I really don’t need much more.


Saving Your Skin: Eyes and Eyebrows December 27, 2008

Filed under: Saving Your Skin,Uncategorized — beansandyoga @ 10:29 am
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My eyes are sensitive.  Eye make-up remover stings and leaves me teary.  This has been a blessing in disguise.  While many women my age have already developed wrinkly circles around their eyes, this hasn’t happened to me.

If I wear mascara, it’s not waterproof.  I don’t wear eyeshadow, unless it’s a light base that will wash off with water.  I do have my brows shaped, professionally.  You’d think that this would lead to a saggy fold of skin above my brow, but it hasn’t.  I’ve been doing it for years.


A Happy Holiday December 20, 2008

Filed under: Energy,Party Season Game Plan,Uncategorized — beansandyoga @ 10:28 am
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gingerbread-house One Christmas, a few years back, while cleaning up brunch so that we could start cooking dinner, I realized I was sleepy.  We’d had a big dinner the night before, stayed up late, and I still had another 24 hours of Christmas to go!

I’m not a big drinker, but I do enjoy a glass of wine.

I decided to do something radical.  I decided to make a tradition of not drinking on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

It made a big difference.  Obviously, I had more energy.  And I was more relaxed, and less likely to become frustrated by little things.

In the end, like so many other things, I realized that what I get out of my holidays is what I’ve put in.  (or left out!) 🙂


Taming the Wild Bean December 16, 2008

Filed under: Energy — beansandyoga @ 9:44 am
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dry-beans-121608 Beans get a bad rap.  Here’s why.

First of all, most people eat canned beans.  Canned beans are mushy and flavorless.

Second, most people have never eaten beans that have been made properly; soaked overnight, then boiled, before added to recipes.

Third, people forget to eat grain or a little meat with beans, which means that the beans’ protein enzyme is not activated.

Finally, beans are famous for, well, being difficult to digest.  Replace canned beans with dry, and the problem goes away.

The real reason for why I eat beans?

They give me energy.  Twice as much as beef, chicken or fish.  Usually, I’m starving within an hour or two of my most recent meal.  But when I eat beans with rice (to activate the protein enzyme), I don’t get hungry as quickly.


What I’m eating now December 13, 2008

Filed under: What I'm eating now — beansandyoga @ 4:31 pm

Annie’s Macaroni and Cheese – Shells & Real Aged Cheddar.


Yoga: Tiny Steps, Big Impact

Filed under: Fitness/Keep in motion,Uncategorized — beansandyoga @ 8:32 am
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yoga Saturday is yoga day for me.  I’ve been taking yoga for at least four years now.  I was surprised by how hard it was.  It seemed to take a long time before I noticed any results from it.  I don’t know why I kept going back.

My knee had been keeping me from running.  Winter had set in, I’d put my bike away.  I went through four or five instructors before I found one I liked.  For some reason, I stuck with it.

Aside from the great toning, it washes away the stress of the day, or the week.  It loosens the kinks from sitting at a computer, driving too long, working too long.  It’s one of the best workouts I’ve ever found.