Monday, June 25, 2012


Beans. We could eat beans everyday. In fact, our family's personal blog was entitled: Beans for Breakfast. A perfect source of protein, beans are flavorful, adaptable, and nutritious. Our bean of choice is the amazing Anasazi bean. They are smooth, creamy, and delicious. They also cook faster than other beans, such as pinto or navy. We just ordered a large quantity from Adobe Milling Company in Dove Creek, Colorado. They included a brief history of this little bean in their shipping materials.

"The Anasazi bean is named after the Anasazi or Pueblo Indians, whose descendants still live in the Four Corners region. This new, yet ancient, bean has the most amazing history behind it. One story has it that in the 1950s archeologists on one of the Anasazi digs found a sealed pot with a few of these beans in it. Some of them sprouted, and it is said that modern Anasazi beans come from those few beans. The Anasazi Indians left their homes in late 1200 AD, making those beans a minimum of 750 years old....A California accountant, Waller, learned of the bean with his agronomist partner, Riddell. With their efforts this bean was brought to the public's attention. It was first commercially sold in 1983, and is now gaining a foothold in the market."

I throw my beans in a crockpot in the morning, and within three hours of slow cooking, they are ready for lunch. 

Beans in the Crockpot

3 cups of dry beans, (your choice) rinsed and picked over for dirt or stones
9 cups of water

Combine beans and water in a crockpot and cook on high setting for approximately two hours. When beans begin to soften, add the follow ingredients:

1 Tb. dried minced onions
1 tsp. granulated garlic
1 1/2 Tb. cumin
1 Tb. red chile powder (not chili seasoning)
2 tsp. salt

Allow beans to continue to cook until completely soft and seasonings have soaked in - about one more hour.

Some favorite menu ideas include: softened corn tortillas with beans and fried potatoes, tostadas with a variety of toppings, or beans and green chile corn muffins. The possibilities are endless! Enjoy :0)

Sunday Smoothie: Strawberry Orange Banana

Two years ago, we purchased a VitaMix blender and my life will never be the same. [Shameless plug for VitaMix] Sauces are creamier, smoothies are smoother! It seriously was one of the best investments we've ever made. 

We have smoothies nearly every morning, and my kids love them. My toddler sees me getting the blender out and says..."'moothie?" It's a great way for them to get their servings of fruit for the day. 

There are countless combinations of ingredients for smoothies, and just as many methods for getting just the right texture. My husband, the food techie, has narrowed it down to this equation: 1 fresh element, 1 frozen element, and 1 liquid element. 

I'm sharing my go-to recipe for an easy, nutritious smoothie today. Please don't be alarmed if it is not thick like a milkshake. This is a frothy drink that requires no spoon. 

In a blender base, combine the following ingredients in order:

1 medium banana, peeled (of, course!) and broken in chunks
10 lg. frozen strawberries
1 Tb. flax or chia seeds
2 cups orange juice

Place the lid on the blender, and blend at low speed to break up the fruit, then gradually increase to high speed. Blend until smooth. 

Makes 2 large servings. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Creamy Nacho Cheese Sauce

I love cheese. I'm ashamed to admit how much I like cheese...especially on a vegan blog. When our family decided that we'd like to attempt a vegan lifestyle, my heart sank a little bit at the thought of certain recipes that would be left behind because they just wouldn't be the same without cheese. One biggie? Our family favorite: homemade layered cheese enchiladas (New Mexican Style).  I tried various alternatives, but they just weren't IT. One day, I asked my friend, Marion, if she had any good recipes for a vegan cheese sauce. She sent me two, but this one was amazing. It's originally for mac 'n' cheese, but I've altered it by cutting down the salt, adding a bit more water, and spicing it up. I made a pan of enchiladas to beta test....It totally passed. It was so good. 

So, here is my version of nacho cheese sauce: perfect for dunking chips, dolloping (is that a word?) on haystacks, pouring over enchilada casserole...

In a blender combine:

1 cup canned coconut milk
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup pimientos
1 T lemon juice
Scant 1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp dried or granulated onion
2 1/4 cups water
1 Tb. Chipotle in Adobo
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp red chile powder
Sm. pinch red pepper flakes
1 7-oz. can green chiles (opt.)

Blend cashews and coconut milk with 1 cup water until very smooth and creamy (no cashew grit remains). Add all other ingredients, except green chiles, and continue blending until incorporated. 

Pour into a medium pan and bring to a boil, stirring often to prevent scorching, until it thickens. Remove from heat and stir in green chiles, if using. 


I have modified an original recipe found in the cookbook "7 Secrets" by Jim and Neva Brackett.