Tag Archives: Eating More Whole Foods

Meatless Monday: Black Beans and Coconut Lime Rice Again!

We’re making our favorite dish tonight–Southern Living’s Black Beans and Coconut Lime Rice.  There is just something so delicious about the toasted coconut rice with fresh lime juice! Each week I make out a menu for the family meals and this is usually Jeremy’s first request.  During the winter, we top ours with sliced radishes, cilantro, green onions, jalapenos (well–just me!) and some low fat sour cream. In the summer we like to add the fresh mangos suggested in the recipe.

This recipe is easily made veg friendly by substituting coconut milk or veggie stock for the chicken stock called for to cook the rice.

I’m very excited today! My new food processor and baby food trays have arrived and I will be posting some home made baby food recipes in the near future. I’ve made a few things with a basic steamer and mini-chopper, but unfortunately, my 15 year old mini chopper had an accident when I attempted to sterilize it by using one of my Medela breast pump/bottle steaming bags….

:0 Whoopsie.

We’ve been enjoying Earth’s Best Organic baby foods, but I cringe over the 75 cent price tag for each 2 oz jar….knowing I could do it by hand for less and hopefully make something that tastes great.

I confess to letting myself be intimidated by food processors….something about multiple sharp blades and stern instructions not to use one while under the influence of alcohol! Since I’ve always lived by the phrase “I love to cook with wine, sometimes I even put it in food” I found this daunting. Ha! No really, they are one of two appliances that scare me. The second is a standing mixer. I don’t bake and it’s too small to hang laundry on if  I don’t use it. Can’t justify that one…even if it would be so pretty and shiny on my counter top!

I went through a gadget phase in my early 20’s and my tiny apartment kitchen was littered with rice cookers, steamers, juicers…you name it. I found that most of the time it was more trouble to clean the gadgets than spend an extra few minutes processing foods by hand.  Then I went through my self described “Quaker Phase” where I cooked with nothing more than a paring knife and the occasional use of my ten dollar mini chopper. I might also add that this was my living solo vegan phase where I made earnest whole grain dishes and tortured my mom with tempeh.  I was happy mixing batter by hand and smooshing mashed potatoes by hand…but as my family has grown so has the arm work.

Recently, I have began to acquire a few kitchen gadgets. I received a new mixer and hand blender for Christmas and am now producing cupcakes and beautiful salad dressings with ease. Then, I made the mistake of watching the food channel while feeding the baby and my eyes glazed over as Paula Dean and Rachel Ray whipped up some tasty treats with a food processor. Muffins! Salads! Dressing! Soups!

I contemplated the Beaba Baby Cook Steamer that I had been none too subtly hinting to Jeremy about. It steams, it mashes, it looks so cute! He gently reminded me of the cost per use and it just didn’t add up for the 3-5 month window of time that I would actually use it.  With a “real” food processor, I wouldn’t have to shelve a $150 appliance when my child fully progressed to finger foods. I could move on from tasty purees to anything my little heart desired.

Over the years I have matured as a cook. I feel like I can conquer my fear of the  food processor. Think of all the slaws and chopped soups/salads that I have been missing out on?!? Dishes like potato latkes from the Veganomicon could become a “do” now that I don’t have to dread the thought of shredding potatoes by hand.  Oh sure…I even bought a mandolin once, thinking I could go low tech and still achieve the same results…but after nearly taking my finger off a time or two I decided that grating my own vegetables would not be a good idea. My family needs me 🙂


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Filed under homemade baby food, making baby food, Meatless Monday, Nutrition, Planning Family Meals, Vegetarian Cooking

Meatless Monday: Vegan Black Bean and Butternut Squash turn overs

It all started with the black bean and acorn squash empanada recipe from the Veganomicon.

As usual, I had the wrong squash…and no time to prepare the pastry dough…no time to roll it out…and nothing in the freezer to substitute except for some phyllo dough that I had intended to use for appetizers over the holidays. I knew that I could still make it work.

Meatless Monday had already been pushed to Tuesday due to an over stock of homemade chicken soup from Sunday. I wasn’t going to push it back even further given Jeremy was on call and both kids were doing their best to see who could make me crazier.


Phyllo dough-thawed (needs at least two hours to thaw so think ahead.)

1 small butternut squash-steam in microwave 10 minutes and allow to cool

1 c black beans

1 T olive oil

1 small vidalia onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced



1 lemon

2 tsp maple syrup

Cooking spray



  1. Thaw Phyllo dough (Brand used: Fill O)
  2. Roast or Microwave Squash * I did this the night before, but you can do it quickly in the microwave or go old school by brushing with olive oil and roasting in 425 degree oven for 40 minutes
  3. sautee chopped onion and garlic
  4. add chunked squash, black beans and heat through
  5. add 2TBS fresh lemon juice, 2 tsp maple syrup, salt to taste  * Original recipe called for chopped jalapeno and coriander seeds but I made this one kid friendly
  6. lay out 3 sheets phyllo dough–spraying cooking spray between each layer. Cut dough in half down the middle. Add 1/3 cup filling to each half and do your best to make a a pretty triangle. Mine were as unattractive as can be…but tasty!
  7. Lay triangles on cookie sheet  coated with spray and use cooking spray over the top of each turnover.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees until browned and crispy
  9. Best eaten warm

Verdict: as I mentioned above, this was not very pretty due to my poor turn over making skills. I liked the crispiness that the phyllo dough added to the recipe rather than the pie like texture of pastry crust, but that was the cook book author’s original plan and I know it would be delicious.  Morgan was extremely skeptical based on looks alone, but once I got him to taste the  turnover he said “Oooh Yummy!” and ate one and part of mine and part of his dads 🙂

We served the meal with mexican cucumber salad: chopped cucumber, chilled romaine hearts, red bell pepper, scallions, cilantro  and sliced avocado. A simple lime/olive oil/ salt and pepper dressing would be great or you can roll like Morgan with Ranch Dressing!


Filed under Meatless Monday, Planning Family Meals, Toddler Friendly Food, Vegetarian Cooking