For the Love of Hummus

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Before I moved to Asheville, I was not into hummus. I liked it, and I ate it at Super Bowl parties, and other assorted get-togethers.  But when we got to Asheville we started noticing hummus sold in these colorful containers.  I don’t know what prompted us to buy that first batch, or which of us made the first purchase, but before long, we knew were on to something.

The colorful tubs are Roots Hummus, which is made here in Asheville in the River Arts District.  “Every Batch is Sacred,” proclaims the labeling on the colorful containers, referring to the care and love that goes into this chick pea delight.

Matt Parris began making hummus after opening a small carry out shop, which he called Roots.  Soon folks were clamoring for it.  You can read more about that here.

So anyhow, back to the two aging Asheville transplants discovering a new world. We now have Roots Hummus in our fridge at all times.  You can have it on toast, with baby carrots for breakfast or snack, on a veggie sammich, with chips, on crackers with dinner, etc.  It is one of our go-to condiments.railside10

And about all those colors. Blue label is oil-free, and my favorite.  At 40 calories and 2 grams of fat, it’s a guilt-free pleasure.  The vibrant green container is spinach, another favorite of mine as well as my MIL.  Pale green is lima bean, which I can’t wait to try!  Red is roasted red pepper. Delicious. We’ve also tried roasted garlic. Ditto on the delicious.

If you live outside of AVL, check the store locator to find some Roots in your neck of the woods.

Photos courtesy Roots Hummus.  Thanks!

Vegetarian Chili del Pacifico

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This is my favorite chili recipe.  It was going to be my lead meatless recipe on Ash Wednesday, but I needed to write it up for a contest. A chili contest.  AND in order to sway readers, I changed the name of the recipe from the bland Vegetarian Chili to the intriguing Vegetarian Chili del Pacifico.  The recipe calls for a 12 ounce beer, and I used Pacifico the first time I made this, and due to my superstitious nature and how well it turned out, I’m sticking with it.

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Kidney Bean Salad:Confessions of a Teenage Salad Girl

 

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Kidney Bean Salad garnished with fresh cilantro.

Oh how I remember the day back in high school when I counted up my credits and discovered I had enough to graduate at the end of the first semester! I joyfully made my way to the guidance counsellor’s office and explained my situation.  Being an outspoken student and a tad on the rowdy side, she promptly handed me the form needed to finish early.  That was it!  And I got to start working full-time.

This was a wonderful happenstance, for I needed to earn money for college, so off to work I went each day – a salad girl at Horn and Horn Cafeteria.  Clad in my white polyester uniform, I learned about shelling hardboiled eggs while they were still warm, how peeling a 50 pound bag of carrots was a two or three-person job, and how to make Kidney Bean Salad.

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The Skinny on the Soup

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Well, when I was going through my recipe file looking for forgotten concoctions that I might prepare, I found a recipe for the Basic Fat-burning Soup, the major component of the Sacred Heart Memorial Hospital Diet.  The intro to the recipe and diet explain how the diet is used to lose weight rapidly for hospital patients preparing for heart surgery.  The diet is crazy.  Like all fruit one day and then beef and veggies one day, bananas and skim milk one day – but duh, we all know that we should eat balanced meals every day including breakfast (I will blog on breakfast another day.)

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The Bean Purist

 

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Here are the things you need to know about beans, besides that ditty we chanted on the playground:

  • They are economical
  • They are a great source of protein
  • They are high in fiber
  • They come in a wide variety
  • They are yummy

Now with that out of the way……

Do you know the name Stephanie O’Dea?  She is sort of my blogger hero. A slow cooker guru, back in 2008 Ms. O’Dea cooked a new recipe in her crock pot every day. She wrote little quippy write ups and was not afraid to share her few “flops” as she chose to call them.  Her blog is A Year of Slow Cooking.  I always just search “crock pot 365.”

Ms. O’Dea revolutionized the way I cook. Especially when it comes to bean soup and preparing dry beans.  I now refer to myself as a bean purist, my words, not hers. She does have a nice tutorial on her site about preparing dry beans, which helped me along.  I will be sharing some of her recipes, with her permission.

More important bean stuff:

Some beans need to be soaked.  Some do not.  I will specify in the recipes I share.

A one pound bag of beans can range from 9 – 13 servings.  Since I am cooking for only two, after my beans are done, I immediately divide them up into two containers, so a 12 serving bag of beans is instantly morphed into two six serving meals.  This method aids in portion control.  I eat them from a small bowl, while Mr. Catfish dishes up a larger portion.

Peace, love, beans and yoga!  Read up. Experiment.  Try something new.  Thanks Stephanie O. and Stephanie W.

Oh and I have learned I really need to develop some skills in the food photography department.

Compulsive Planning

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Are you a planner?  I am.  Do you make lists?  I do.  I make lists of things to do, what to buy, and weekly menu planners.  So when I decided to do 6 weeks meat-free, I made a list of tried and tested vegetarian dishes I could prepare and recipes that I have always wanted to make.  I wish I had a photo of that list. It looks cool.  I wrote it in purple pen in a spiral notebook.  I was flowing with ideas.  I logged at least two dozen recipes off the top of my head.

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The Obligatory Background

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Welcome 2017! I hope the New Year finds you happy, healthy and hopeful.

Shortly after Christmas, my spouse made an interesting inquiry followed by an interesting suggestion. He wanted to know when the Christmas season officially ended (I explained about Epiphany) and when the Easter season began.  I knew that Easter would be April 16 this year, but I pointed out that Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent fell in February or March. (It’s March 1 in case you don’t care for suspense.)

With that information, he made it known that he would like to give up meat for Lent.  If you are unfamiliar with observing Lent, it is the 40-day period prior to Holy Week and Easter.  It is a time of quiet and contemplative living that coincides with the coming of spring.  The word Lent comes from an Old English word, lencten, which means spring. Lent is also a season of doing without.  In olden times fasts were observed, but these days some might just prefer to give up a luxury.  And that’s where we are headed.

Giving up meat for Lent is something I have considered, but usually just prior to Ash Wednesday, and with no preparation time I thought it unfeasible, but this year, with plenty of prep time, it’s a go.  Join me as I map out how I plan on doing this.  It will be fun! And of course I will share my recipes as we go.  And if you have any recipes to share, please send them to me!

Hope to see you here!

 If you are interested in learning more about Lent,  google Lent 101 for a variety of options that explain the season and customs.  Read more than one webpage for well-balanced research.