Friday, July 29, 2011

Beans Beans they're good for your heart.

Beans are generally not my thing. I don't have an aversion to them or anything dramatic like that but they are definitely not at the top of the list of things I enjoy eating. I mean if creatively prepared and seasoned just right or served along side a great entree in the form of some unique puree then I am game. But overall, I sort of just feel blah about beans. Recently however, things have changed.

White Bean Pure with Roasted Tomatoes on Whole Grain
Toast topped with Eggs and Arugula

A few weeks ago I woke up just dying, absolutely aching for beans. Who knows the reason for this sudden urge. It could be some recent overdoses of meat-filled dinners Osso Bucco from here comes to mind. Took me a few days to recover from that one. Or possibly the after math of numerous summer BBQ's where kebabs and more kebabs have shown up time and time again on my plate. Be what it may, but something in me has changed. I now want and crave all things beans and forgoing meat for a while.

Why just the other day I managed to consume beans in some shape or form during breakfast, lunch and even dinner. I started with Eggs and White Beans during breakfast at Sweet Butter near my house. LOVED IT! The two sunny side-up eggs with their Housemade Rancho Gordo White Bean Spread and oven roasted tomatoes on toasted rustic bread was BEANALICIOUS! The spread was mild yet flavourful, and topped with the runny yummy egg and tangy arugula was so hearty and satisfying. I swear it gave me the energy to take on the world for the remainder of the day. Well, maybe not the world but my kids who were having a particularly crabby day for sure!

For lunch I made myself a sandwich with White Bean and Basil Hummus from Trader Joe's (a twist on traditional hummus, they explode with basil flavor) spread on a crusty baguette topped with some thinly sliced cucumbers and red bell peppers. Boy I wish I had a picture of this colorful sandwich for you, but the speed with which it was consumed left no time for a close up! AGAIN....BEANALICIOUS!
Italian Cabbage And White Bean Soup
I wrapped up my bean filled day with a soup the recipe for which I stumbled upon while reading my daily dose of Jen's List, specifically the July 17th, 2011 post. Aptly titled "Beans, Beans, Beans" she provided this link where the recipe for Italian Cabbage and White Bean Soup immediately caught my eye. I ran to the market gathered the ingredients and voila! BEANALICOUS DINNER! I topped the soup off with some herbed croutons I make from scratch almost weekly. They are amazing as snack, on top of soups, and in a home made Cesar Salad! See the recipe at the end of the post and you shall never get a store-bought crouton again I promise.

I know what one may think, how in the world does her stomach handle it? All those BEANS! I swear its been all good. I feel fabulously healthy, delightfully full and just loving my new obsession. Whether it will last or not I will keep you posted. For now I am enjoying my meatless rampage and discovery of new "proteins". My heart is loving the Bean Thang! Join me won't you? Just for a while :)

Herbed Croutons

1 loaf of day old sourdough or any other favorite baguette, cubed
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
5-6 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preheat your oven to 350degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. Put the cubed baguette in to a large bowl, drizzle generously with olive oil and add the remaining seasonings. Using your hands gently coat all the pieces of bread with the herbs, oil and salt and pepper to ensure even distribution of the seasonings. Spread the bread cubes on to the foil lined sheet in a single layer. Bake on center rack at 350 until golden, about 25minutes. Set the timer to 15 minutes to start and flip each crouton over before continuing to bake to ensure they get golden evenly.

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