Tag Archives: beans

Squash, Apples, Wine, Cows

15 Oct

Those are all things that I like a great deal.  Needless to say, I am a very happy girl about now.

This past weekend, Paul and I visited my parents in upstate New York.  We had a very relaxing and fun time with them, and even got a day of sunshine to enjoy things outdoors!

We ventured out on Saturday to find some apples.  Not many orchards are doing pick your own apples this year, due to the low yields.  That was okay though, because my arms aren’t completely healed and I’d be stuck with the low hangers anyway.  So we stopped at a local orchard and purchased about 20 lbs. of apples.  You see, Paul and I make fantastic homemade unsweetened applesauce.  Time to get canning!

My mother wanted to stop at a local bakery, but that ended up being closed for a family wedding.  However, we found two wonderful things as we turned away from the abandoned bakery: so many cows, and a sign pointing us towards a winery.

The winery is called Johnston’s Winery.  We followed painted signs pointing us to a private residence in the middle of nowhere (we were already in the middle of nowhere, this took us a bit more in).  None of us had much hope, but a very nice gentleman showed us into his brewing room and showroom.  He had a number of fruit and grape wines, and I have to say they were some of the best New York wines I’ve had.  Now, I’ve never really been a fan of New York wines to begin with.  Some of them aspire to be too much like Boone’s Farm.  Anyway, we were really surprised, especially with his Chardonnay.  It was delicious and fruity and nothing like Chardonnay wines usually are (I’ve come to decide they usually taste like fermented bath water).  This guy knows his stuff.  He even let us check out his brewing set up!  It was a thing of dreams, really.  We left with a mixed case, which I can’t wait to dig into.  If you’re ever in the Galway/Charlton area of New York, you should check it out.

We stopped on the way back to say hello to the cows.  I sure do love cows.  Now sadly, we were separated by an electric fence that the cows would not get within ten feet of (can’t blame them), so we were just able to trade some moos back and forth.  I have a whole slew of pictures of cows looking at me funny.  But this one was my favorite.  Her attention could not be taken from the grass.  Chew chew chew.


Before we left for my parents’ house, I had some squash to cook.  Every fall, I get so excited when all the variety of squashes come out and it’s just mountain of gourds and they all look beautiful and delicious.  One squash I’ve never tried is the weird dinosaur looking one.  Hubbard squash.

Since Hubbards are HUGE, we jumped on the chance to buy just a piece of one.  The whole ones can be a bit intimidating


Squash usually does well in soup, so I did some digging around to find some ideas.  I settled on a pinto bean and mixed squash soup.  So thick and beany and squashy!

Pinto Bean and Mixed Squash Soup

adapted from Cooking Light; makes 6 large servings

  • 3 cups dried pinto beans
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 cups chopped onion
  • 4 cups winter squash, chopped 1/2″ (I used Hubbard and Butternut)
  • 1 cup sliced carrot
  • 1 Tbsp. chipotle in adobo, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground sage
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (low or no sodium optional)
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. dry roasted pumpkin seeds

1) Prepare beans: place beans in a pot and cover with water so that beans are below 2″ of water.  Let sit for 8 hours.  After beans have soaked, drain them, then place in a pot with 4 cups of water.  Bring beans and water to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, cover the pot and let simmer for another 30 minutes.

2) Meanwhile, prepare your vegetables.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet, and cook the onion, carrots, squash and chipotle until the onions are softened and starting to brown.

3) Add the onion mixture to the beans, then add the thyme, sage, crushed tomatoes, and vodka.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and cook at a reduced heat for at least ten minutes, but as long as you’d like, making sure that the squash is tender.  Stir occasionally.

4) Ladle the soup into bowls, and garnish with the pumpkin seeds


So, in this soup, the Hubbard squash tasted much like the butternut.  The texture was a bit different, maybe a bit more grainy.  I liked it, but because of its bumpy skin, it’s a bitch to peel and chop.  I might just stick with the butternut in the future.  But still, adventure!

Note on the vodka: my boyfriend is a chemist.  He taught me all about esters and how tomatoes react with alcohol to release these wonderful things called esters that make things taste more flavorful and complex.  You can do it with any alcohol, vodka is just a relatively otherwise flavorless booze that you can use with any flavors.  I’d try this again with red wine!


18 Aug

This is really exciting, guys.  Vegan nachos.  I gave myself a belly ache with these things.

I got so excited that I instagrammed my vegan nachos.  Then I frowned a bit because I got so excited that I instagrammed my vegan nachos.  Then I ate them and I was happy again.


There’s not a whole lot to this recipe.  For my birthday, Paul bought me some Nacho Teese.  I love Teese.  I was holding onto it for a special occasion.  This was it.

Holy Shit Vegan Nachos

vegan pita breads, as many as you want to eat
1 15oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup salsa (whatever you like, I used Hot Green Mountain Gringo
1 cup Boca crumbles
1 Tbsp. curry paste
pinch of cayenne pepper
diced tomatoes, to taste
Nacho Teese, to taste
jalapeno slices, for topping
extra salsa, for topping
reduced fat Vegenaise, for topping

1) Preheat oven to 350F. Cut each pita into triangles, I got six from each pita. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray, place the pita triangles on it, and spray with a little more cooking spray. Bake until crispy, about 10 minutes or so.
2) While the pitas are toasting in the oven, place the black beans, boca crumbles, 1/2 cup salsa, curry paste, and cayenne pepper in a small pot. Cook over medium heat until the crumbles are cooked through and the combination is thickened.
3) Heat your Nacho Teese in the microwave, until molten and awesome looking.
4) Assemble! Place your pita wedges on a plate. Top those wedges with some of the black bean-boca mixture, some diced tomatoes, and your Nacho Teese. Top that with some more salsa, jalapeno slices, and some vegenaise (sounds gross? It’s good) and whatever else you might want to top it with.
5) Fuuuuuck. Eat that stuff.

Also, I like this article so much. Thirteen mile run tomorrow! It will be “slow”. I’m saving the .1 for my official half marathon 🙂

Chickpea Taco Calzones

20 Sep

Oh hey I’m back again!  Really, I am so bad at this blogging thing.  I make food, I take pictures, I plan on writing a blog post.  Then I’m unhappy with the pictures and I decide not to write anything.

But hey, I’ve been making some delicious food.

I was at an antique shop with the boy and I came across a big bookcase full of cookbooks.  Most of them were vegetarian or vegan!  I decided to pick up The Vegetarian Epicure Book Two by Anna Thomas.  Flipping through the book on the drive back home, I realized I wanted to cook every single thing in there.  So, I’m starting from the beginning!

I made my first recipe from it  yesterday, but I’m going to back up a bit because I made some delicious food the other weekend and I want to tell you about it.

Lately I’ve become a fan of Healthy Food For Living and last weekend I came upon the post for Taco Calzones with Avocado Cream.  I showed it to the boy and we were both making our hungry noises, so I decided they should be made.  But without meat!  So I proposed we make them with my favorite taco filling: chickpeas.

Since I changed this recipe around a little bit, I figured I would share it!

Chickpea Taco Calzones

makes 4 calzones

1 lb. prepared pizza dough (I bought Wegmans whole wheat pizza dough, which is surprisingly delicious for a pre-made dough!)

2 tsp olive oil

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1 can drained and rinsed or 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas

1/2 of a green bell pepper, chopped

taco seasoning to taste (I used Trader Joe’s)

1/4 cup salsa (I used Trader Joe’s Garlic Chipotle Salsa)

2oz. reduced fat cheddar or monterey jack, shredded (I used Organic Valley Reduced Fat Monterey Jack)

1) Preheat oven to 450F, place a pizza stone on the middle rack.

2) Divide your dough into four equal portions, and roll them out into circles about 1/4″ thick.  Set them aside while you prepare the filling.

3) Heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan, add the  onion and cook until translucent.  Add the chickpeas and cook until heated through.  Mash the chickpea and onion mixture coarsely, leaving some big chunks of chickpea.  Add in the green pepper, garlic, and taco seasoning.  Continue to cook and stir until mixed thoroughly.  If the mixture is sticking to your frying pan, deglaze with a little bit of water.

4) Stir in the salsa, remove from heat.

5) Divide the chickpea mixture among each dough circle, placing it on one half of the dough and leaving a 1/2″ border to close the calzone.  Top the mixture with some shredded cheese.

6)  Fold the other half of the dough over to close the calzone, and pinch them shut.  Pierce the tops of the calzones with a fork to allow steam to escape.

7) Place the calzones onto the preheated pizza stone with a spatula or peel.  Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the calzones are browned on top and puffy.

Thanks so much to Healthy Food For Living for the great recipe and inspiration!  Please do check out the original post, it contains directions for freezing and reheating (which I didn’t try as it didn’t take us long to feast through these babies).

We ate it with the avocado cream (also included in the original post linked above!) and additional Trader Joe’s salsa.

I’ll be back soon with the results of my first recipe from The Vegetarian Epicure, Book 2 adventure.  Also, I’ll introduce you to the boy that’s been eating all this food with me!

– Ellen

New Year’s Snacks: Pita Chips and White Bean Dip

1 Jan

Happy New Year!

Ellen and I went to a New Year’s party at our friends’ house. Since Ellen is more considerate than I am she asked if we could bring anything. The answer was yes – snacks! So Ellen decided to make white bean dip and I worried about what I should make and then decided on pita chips. They would go with just about any other dip that was served there, and especially with Ellen’s white bean dip.

So the way to make it it is easy. Take a pita, cut it in half. No, not into two half-moons. Cut it down the sides so that you have two discs. Now brush both sides with olive oil. Okay, now cut it into quarters, put it on a tray, and bake it for about 10 minutes at 375°. When the chips are crisp or crispyish, they’re done. I seasoned mine with garlic powder and coarse salt. They were good!


Yeah New Year’s snacks!  Really, my consideration was just an excuse to make white bean dip, because I’ve really been craving it.  Plus the people that threw the party are some of the best hosts ever.  They always give us food and make tasty drinks whenever we’re there.  It makes me want to be a good host.  Maybe someday I’ll get a couch for my apartment and then have somewhere for people to sit and then I can start trying to be a good host.

But anyway!  I made dip!

White bean dips are pretty easy.

I took two 15oz. cans of cannellini beans, rinsed them and drained them and mixed them in my blender with three cloves of garlic, 2 tsp. of fresh rosemary, 1/2 cup of parsley, and the zest and juice of a lemon.  Then I whizzed it around in my blender until it was a dip.  If you have a better blender than I do, it will probably be ready really quickly.

It went perfectly with Bret’s pita chips!  Hooray for teamwork!

– Ellen

Two Soups!

8 Sep

I’m obsessed with soup.  I eat it almost every day.  Even during the summer.  Especially during this summer, because the office I work is so cold I could wear my winter coat if it still fit me.  I’m often sitting at my desk at around 2 or 3 in the afternoon, drinking a cup of tea and rubbing my hands together to get the blood flowing.

So anyway, bringing soup for lunch is good for getting my belly warmed up.  I like to make a pot over the weekend so I have it for lunch a good portion of the week.

I’m going to share the last two soups I made, but I promise to make something different and exciting next time.  Promise!

Soup #1: Lentil and Tomato Soup with Spinach


4 cups water with a veggie bouillon cube dissolved in it

1 cup lentils

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 small green pepper, chopped

1 stalk celery, sliced

1 cup tomato sauce

1/4 cup salsa

10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained


Bring the broth to a boil with the lentils.  I heard somewhere that letting lentils boil rapidly for a minute or so before turning them down to simmer gets rid of whatever makes lentils give me mad gas, but whatever.   Simmer this until the lentils are tender.  It should take about a half hour.

Meanwhile, cook the onion, pepper and celery in a pan with the olive oil until they’re soft.

Add the veggies, tomato sauce and salsa to the lentils and mix it all up.  Let this simmer for another 30 minutes or so and add seasonings if you need to.  Then mix in the spinach and let it cook until it’s all warm.  Eat!


Soup #2: Caribbean Black Bean and Eggplant Soup

(I bastardized an already bastardized recipe.  But it was tasty!)


1 Tbsp. canola oil

3/4 cup green pepper, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1/2 cup celery, sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 1/2 tsp. cumin

3/4 tsp. allspice

1/2 tsp dried parsley

1/2 tsp. dried basil

1/4 tsp. salt

28 oz. canned whole tomatoes in puree

2 Tbsp. water

1 Tbsp. maple syrup

zest of one lime

1/2 large eggplant, peeled and cubed

1 cup black beans

as many dashes of hot sauce as you want


Cook the onion, celery, green pepper and garlic in the oil for a few minutes, until they’re softened.  Mix in the dry spices and cook a few minutes longer.  Add the tomatoes (breaking them up), water, maple syrup and lime zest.  Bring that to a boil and cook about 15 minutes covered.  Then add in the eggplant and cook covered for another 10 minutes, until the eggplant is softened.  Mix in the black beans and hot sauce and cook until it’s warmed through.  It would be good over rice, or you could eat it as is like I did.


– Ellen

Balsamic White Bean Stuffed Patty Pan Squash

25 Aug

On Saturday I walked around the Saratoga Springs farmer’s market in awe.  I haven’t been to a good farmer’s market all summer, and I had forgotten how many farms we have around here.  I bought a load of stuff, but one of the things I was most excited about was the patty pan squash.  They’re definitely one of the cutest vegetables around.

And I wanted to stuff them with something.  I looked around at stuffed pepper recipes to see if anything looked like it might go well in squash, but I didn’t want to put a grain of any kind in them.  I was thinking white beans.  I think I saw a recipe for a baked white bean spread that sounded really tasty, and I decided on mashed white beans.

Here’s what I did!


4 large-ish patty pan squash, washed and tops cut off

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup white beans

salt, pepper and rosemary to taste

a splash of balsamic vinegar


Slice the tops off of the squash and place them in a pot.  Add enough water to cover them about halfway and bring it to a boil.  Let it simmer for ten minutes or so, just until the squash is soft.  Take them out of the pot and let them cool a bit.

Oh yeah at this point you might want to preheat your oven to 375F.

Once the squash are cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh out so you’ve got an empty squash shell.  Be careful!  Chop the flesh up and saute it with the onion in a little olive oil or cooking spray.  Then add the beans and seasonings and cook until it’s all warmed through.  At this point, I took out my potato masher and started going at the beans.  I probably should have pre-mashed the beans because onions and squash bits just don’t like to mash like beans do.  So it was pretty chunky, but fine.  Add some balsamic vinegar and mix it all up.

Spoon that mixture back into the squash shells, put them in a baking pan, and cook for twenty minutes or so or until they’re a bit brown on top.

Admire how pretty they are!  And eat!

– Ellen

Scrambled Tofu and Kale

23 Jun

No, not together.  Separately.  Although I was tempted to throw some kale into my breakfast.  Next time!

On Saturday I had a huge craving for foods that make me feel good.  What I eat affects my entire body, and it probably does for everyone but I don’t think everyone realizes that. 

I made myself scrambled tofu for breakfast, and I’m not including the recipe because I really don’t have one.  I’ll pick whatever vegetables I have around (this time it was zucchini, onion and tomato) and add in spices (turmeric, cumin, paprika, sage…salt, I can’t remember what else) and then crumble in tofu and cook it all up.  Oh and a couple of dashes of hot sauce.

Don’t tell Bret, but I think my scrambled tofu is better than his.  Maybe I’ll make it for him and see what he thinks.


So that was breakfast.  Lunch was pretty uneventful, but I had some ideas for dinner.  My town’s Farmer’s Market started just recently, and I was able to stop there after work on Thursday.  I got really excited and bought a lot.  My prized purchase was a big bunch of kale.  I love kale, and I told the guy I bought it from how much I love kale.  He loves kale too.

I wanted to keep it pretty simple so I chopped it up, getting rid of the stems and parboiled it in salted water for about ten minutes or so.  I drained it once it had softened up a bit and set it aside while I cooked up some onion and garlic.  Then I added the kale to the pan with the onion and garlic, added in some white beans, ginger juice, tamari and some crushed red pepper.  And it was very tasty with some whole wheat couscous.  See!

I definitely have a kale supplier for the summer.  I’ll be making this again!


Habanero and TVP Chili

3 May

It’s food Friday! (By the time you read this, though, it’ll probably be Saturday because I don’t want to post twice in one day). Food Friday is growing like an alien life form a small child has hidden under his bed and is feeding leftovers until one day those leftovers are not enough and it eats his parents and then the military is dispatched. Because it’s been chilly for the last week, we made chili to warm our bones.

Man. I just love cooking for people and having them eat it and like it. I volunteered to be one of three people making a pot of chili, even though I’ve only made chili a couple of times. But here’s a secret – chili is easy to make. At least I think so. So I just looked at some recipes and brainstormed some ingredients and this is what I ended up with.

I made it last night, but had a dilemma of how to keep it warm when I bring it in. So I brought it in to work in a slow-cooker. But I didn’t have anywhere to plug it in, so I just put it underneath my desk. That’s the slow-cooker hiding behind the cardboard box. I hid it so that I wouldn’t get yelled at for, like, a fire hazard or something.

One of the guys I work with just came up and asked me for the recipe. He has some nieces who are veggie and he said it’s hard to find “robust” vegetarian chili. He said he had three helpings and it’s a nice pleasant burn. I’m so happy!

Oh hey this is what it looks like.


2 tablespoons vegetable oil of your preference

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

3 habanero peppers, diced (use gloves if you’ve never cooked with habaneros before)

2 28 oz. cans of tomatoes – I use one can crushed and one can whole but you could do whatever

2 15 oz. cans of appropriate chili beans – if you like beans a lot throw in another can

1 cup TVP (this measure could be off because I just dumped a bunch in by eyeball – it might have been closer to 2)

1/2 a small bottle of Dos Equis



Like I said, this is chili. It’s easy. Put the oil in the bottom of a big kettle. Saute the bell pepper and onion until it’s nice and soft. Now just dump in everything else. Yeah! Dump it!

So, I dump the beans in water and all but some people think that’s a bad idea. If you agree, rinse the beans off and and add, like, two cups of water.

Add cumin to taste! Then let it cook for a long time. Like, until the TVP gets soft, but since this is chili if you just put it in a slow cooker and leave it alone it’ll be good.

It turned out a tiny bit watery. I think more beans and more TVP could easily be added if you like a thicker chili, but I like a little bit of “broth” in mine. The three habaneros gave it a nice heat that wasn’t brutal. This is definitely a recipe I’ll make again in the future, and I’m super-proud I came up with it pretty much on my own.


Kidney Bean and Prune Stew

28 Apr

Ewww, prunes!

They totally get a bad rap.  Other dried fruits are fine, but prunes?  Only old people and babies eat them, amiright?

Naw, I eat them, too.  Well actually, I don’t.  But I did.  I had this recipe in the back of my head for a while.  It came from a Heart of the Matter roundup a while ago, and I’ve been meaning to make it.  Except I never really have prunes hanging around.  But I went out shopping, saw prunes, and decided to purchase a box and make this recipe.

I dunno, something about kidney beans and prunes cooked in a spicy tomato sauce sounds strangely appealing to me.  And it was strangely delicious.  It’s not so totally weird, I think prunes show up a bit in Middle Eastern stews and things.  But usually with some sort of weird meat.  No weird meat here. 


1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1/2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp sriracha or some chopped up fresh chili pepper

15 oz. can of kidney beans

14 1/2 oz. can of diced tomatoes

2 tsp. tomato paste

1/2 cup pitted prunes, cut in half

1/3 cup water

cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper to taste


Heat the oil in a large skillet or pot over medium heat.  Add in the onion and saute until it’s browned.  Add in the garlic, cumin and sriracha and cook another minute or so.  Add in the mushrooms and cook another minute or so.

Dump in the rest of the ingredients other than the seasonings and bring it to a boil.  Once it’s all bubbling, turn the heat down to low, cover it and let it simmer for a half hour or so.  Then taste it and add what you need to add.  The prunes are gonna make things a bit sweet, so I added a nice, hefty shake of cayenne.  Cook a little bit longer and eat!

I ate mine over barley.  I had leftovers for lunch just by itself.  Like any stew, it’s much more tasty the next day.  Mm, leftovers!

I was very happy with the results! 

But what should I do with all these left over prunes?

– Ellen

Black Beans and Rice and Baguette with Fresh Basil, Tomato, and Mozzarella

17 Apr

Every Wednesday I go play roleplaying games with two cute, awesome girls who also cook dinner for me. As you can probably tell from that little description, it’s absolute torture. They cook things like open face sandwiches with roast pear and brie and green onions or apple dumplings or homemade pesto. This week, I was told ahead of time that the dinner would be simple so that we could commence with the game playing right away. This is what happened!

First Lydia sliced a baguette and a tomato and some fresh mozzarella and we piled them together with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil and some fresh-ground pepper. Man, oh man. If you were a vegan this would have been totally great without the mozzarella. You have my guarantee! Most baguettes are vegan-friendly which is real nice.

Baguettes with yummy stacks on top!

Those are some pretty intense shadows, right? The sun was directly in my eyeballs. Eventually Brenna felt bad that I had to eat with my eyes closed and whenever I reached for something I had to just hold my hand out and have somebody place it there for me, so then I got to sit on the non-blinding side of the table with them.

Oh and see that white wine back there? That was my contribution. I went to the wine store and signed up for their rewards club since I buy a bottle of wine a week it seems like. Brenna told me to get chardonnay and I don’t know nothing about chardonnays. Luckily! This old dude walked in ahead of me and I saw him pick up, like, six bottles of this stuff. I figured he must know what he’s doing and grabbed a bottle too. It was pretty good!

So that’s what we nibbled on while we waited for the beans and the brown rice to finish cooking. And then it was done cooking!


Black beans and brown rice

I’m not sure if they did much seasoning of the beans. It tasted kind of like no or maybe there was a little cumin in there which is fine by me. Brenna added goat cheese to hers. Me and Lydia tried the goat cheese, but thought it tasted peculiar with the black beans and rice. Try your own exciting cheese experiments!