Make a Creamy, Fiber-Packed Pasta Sauce Out of Beans

I have a passion for beans, which developed back when I used to cook for the Tuscan chef Cesare Casella. The Tuscans are famous for their beans (they’re sometimes called the mangiafagioli—bean eaters—in Italy), and Cesare is no exception. When I worked for him, he’d import thousands of pounds of beans every year from Italy, and I learned plenty of tricks from him on how to use them.

One of those tricks was this simple pasta with a sauce made from puréed beans, which I’ve made with chickpeas here. It couldn’t be easier to make: You simply sauté some garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil, add some cooked beans along with some of their cooking water, then purée it to make a smooth, creamy sauce. Add a handful of whole cooked beans for some texture, and you’re basically done.

Source: How to Turn Beans Into a Creamy Vegan Pasta Sauce

Mashed beans pretty much all work the same. If you are having issues with lentils, you’re probably forgetting to ditch the lentil husks.

Create a Base Sauce on Sunday You Can Customize for Quick Weekday Meals

If you know you’ve got a crazy-busy week ahead, take a few hours over the weekend and do all five of these things. If the week ahead is looking a little less hectic, just knock a few of these off the list. Even if you only have time for one thing, it will help you cook better, smarter, and faster throughout your week.

Source: 5 Things to Do This Weekend to Make Weeknight Cooking Easier

I do stuff like this, making navy beans and mashed sweet potato that I’ll use throughout the week.  Stuff that can be microwaved in a minute or two, so I can quickly eat to maximize digestion time before doing something.

This Video Explains What Can (and Can’t) Affect Your Metabolism

The only strictly genetic component to an “increased” metabolism is the amount of “Uncoupling Protein” you have on the inner cell membrane of your mitochondria. The more of this protein you have, the less efficient your body is at turning calories into energy so to speak. The calories are just turned into heat energy. This requires more calories to support body function.

A high concentration of these mitochondria with a high levels of UCP are located within what’s called brown fat. This brown fat is strictly used to generate and maintain body heat. The amount of brown fat that you have decreases with age, contributing to 90 y/o men wearing cardigans in the summer and a slower “metabolism.”

Also, the “eat smaller meals more frequently” is actually a fallacy. Much like “always eat breakfast,” it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Healthy people hear it’s healthy, attach themselves to the habit, and it becomes consequentially associated with health.

You Can Actually Poison Yourself If You Eat Undercooked Beans

When you get a package of dry beans examine the cooking instructions on the side. Most likely they’ll stress that after you’ve soaked your beans in water for an hour or two, you should discard the water before cooking the beans very, very well. That’s not just a culinary tip. Undercooking your beans can cause extreme, painful, and occasionally long-term reactions.

Source: You Can Actually Poison Yourself If You Eat Undercooked Beans

Previously, I operated under the belief that we soaked the beans to minimize the oligosaccharides.  This was to stop the farting before it started 😉

Now I also understand why it’s recommended to wash/rinse the beans with fresh water after soaking, prior to cooking.

Make a Can of Beans into a Meal with These Flavor-Packed Additions

…being okay with canned baked beans doesn’t mean they can’t be improved. In fact, canned baked beans are dying to be riffed on. We like to do the seasoning ourselves, starting out with a can of original recipe (or the most basic variety of your favorite brand of baked beans). From a dash of spice to fresh diced vegetables, the options are literally endless.

Here are a few stir-in ideas to get your backyard barbecue feast started…

Source: Five Ways to Update Canned Baked Beans

Bean-based soups and stews are also really high in protein and endlessly versatile. I made a vegetarian soup this week with chipotles in adobo, garlic, peppers, onion, and quinoa. A can of beans + whatever you have in the house is likely to be a life-saver!

There Are Strawberries Growing Underwater Off the Coast of Italy

The air of the greenhouse stands at 79 degrees with humidity hovering around 83 percent. That’s a pretty good environment for a typical plant.

But this is no ordinary greenhouse: It’s 20 feet under water, anchored to the floor of the sea just off the coast of Noli, Italy.

Source: The world’s most beautiful greenhouses are underwater, and growing strawberries

The artificial reef aspect is nothing new – it’s been documented about oil rigs. But it’s all fun and games until the octopus discovers how good strawberries are…

The climate will be an issue, and size to make a proper yield.  But otherwise I figure that it makes for use of space without interference from the elements, animals, insects, etc.

Lentils: How Much Vitamin K?

It depends™.  For 1 cup (~200 grams):

Verdict: Depends on your lifestyle.  If you already eat raw lentils, I wouldn’t change.  But if you are looking to incorporate lentils into your diet more (benefits to follow), anticipate the need for an increase in warfarin/coumadin dose.

Lentils are a rich in dietary fiber (soluble and insoluble).  Soluble helps with lowering cholesterol and blood sugar/glucose, while insoluble helps prevent digestive disorders like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and diverticulosis.  Legumes in general are associated with a whopping 82% reduction in risk of coronary heart disease.  People eating 21 grams of fiber per day had 12% less coronary heart disease (CHD) and 11% less cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared to those eating the least (5 grams daily). Those eating the most water-soluble dietary fiber fared even better with a 15% reduction in risk of CHD and a 10% risk reduction in CVD.  The folate, iron, and magnesium content is also a big plus.

Here’s instructions for preparing lentils – very quick compared to navy or black beans.

Sioux Chef Revives Native American Tastes of Yesteryear

…Sherman has studied the diets of Native Americans before European influence and assimilation, experimented with pre-colonized flavors and ingredients and served as the executive chef at a popular restaurant in the Twin Cities. Now the 40-year-old plans to do what few have done: open a purely indigenous restaurant that focuses solely on pre-colonization Sioux and Ojibwe cuisine.

…“I’m not pushing healthy food but traditional food,” he said. “It’s traditional food in a modern context, and it just happens to be healthy.”

Source: Sioux chef revives Native American tastes of yesteryear

Good luck to them.  I think there’s more money to be made in a cookbook than a restaurant.

10 Bad Habits That Bloat You

Sometimes it comes from excess air trapped in your digestive tract. Other times it feels like a basketball is stuck in your abdomen, or your entire midsection has been flooded with water.

Whatever bloating feels like to you, one thing’s for sure: it’s uncomfortable.

And though bloat rarely signals something serious and typically goes away after several hours (eased up by moving around, drinking water, and just waiting it out), a distended middle can make you feel lethargic, clumsy, and suspecting you’ll never be able to button your jeans again. Welcome back your flatter belly by saying goodbye the habits that are prone to puff you up.

Source: 10 Bad Habits That Bloat You

Well, I know it’s not the kale…

Breastfeeding? 10 Superfoods for You and Yours

When you’re breastfeeding, time and convenience are huge. Who has time to whip up complete meals? Don’t stress! These nutritional powerhouses are quick and convenient.

Source: 10 Breastfeeding Superfoods

I have two caveats for the list:

  1. Spinach/Swiss chard/broccoli are high in vitamin K.  The article mentions these for calcium but sardines, tofu and sesame seeds are a better source.  Soy beans and lentils are a better source of iron too.
  2. Be aware of the arsenic concern associated with rice