What’s Masher Eating Now? (The Beans and Grains Edition)

14 01 2009

We have a healthy appreciation for beans and grains in this household, so I wasn’t taken aback by the suggestion in Super Baby Food that every day start off with a grain/bean blend (e.g., rice and lentils). Josh and I have started many a fine weekend morning off with what we call Mexican breakfast: rice, beans, caramelized onions and whatever leftover veggies are in the fridge, a couple of fried eggs, tortillas, cheese, and salsa. OK, so it’s a little more than just grains and beans, but you get the picture … It’s good! And I’d be psyched if someone were preparing that for me every day.

But I’m not always so on top of things that Masher gets his beans and grains for breakfast; it’s often a meal later in the day or combined with other foods. Nevertheless, I have started cooking all of our dried beans without adding any salt until I’ve segregated a few cups to set aside and/or freeze for Masher. And I’ve realized that they don’t need as much salt as I used to add. Another book, called Feeding the Whole Family: Cooking with Whole Foods, by Cynthia Lair, suggested adding a strip of seaweed, called kombu, to the pot with each pound of dried beans. I was dubious, but wow! It gives the beans a gorgeous, silky texture and supposedly increases their digestibility. (I’ve never had problems with beans, but it might be good for those who do.) So, what’s Masher been eating?

  • Barley
  • Black beans (my fave)
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Buckwheat/kasha (this stuff, mixed with an egg before cooking, is light, fluffy, and delicious!)
  • Chickpeas/garbanzos (we make our own hummus from canned chickpeas since my husband is allergic to the sesame tahini in storebought)
  • Cornmeal
  • Green/brown lentils
  • Millet (this stuff is really not very good; I wouldn’t recommend it by itself)
  • Oatmeal (we’ve been using the Scottish steel-cut style)
  • Pinto beans
  • Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah, fyi!)
  • Rice (brown and white)
  • Soybeans
  • Spelt
  • Split peas (who doesn’t love bright green soup?)
  • Wheat
  • White beans (also make good dip like hummus)
  • Yellow lentils (I thought these tasted like dirt at first but pureed with some ginger, cumin, and coriander, YUM!)

Now, a word about canned beans:  I understand and agree with the comment someone made on an earlier post of mine.  It is indeed pretty easy to make a pot of beans from scratch anytime.  But she must not be married to the same man I’m married to.  (Or at least I hope she’s not!)  Because my husband puts away a pound of beans like nobody’s business.  I usually cook two pounds at a time, which is enough for two dinners for us (one of which I usually put in the freezer) and a lunch for one.  But when I come back home from running morning errands and want a quick hot lunch, or when we’ve invited people over and I realize I don’t have any appetizers, or when I want to add some protein to the end-of-week-and-nothing-in-the-fridge salad I’m making for dinner, what am I going to do?  I’m grabbing a can opener and opening up some black beans to add to a microwaved cheese quesadilla, some white beans or chickpeas to make a quick dip, or any kind of beans to add to the salad, respectively.  Canned beans are really not so bad, and they’re sooooooo convenient.  Plus, the brand I’m currently using, called Eden Organic (it’s REALLY low down on the Whole Foods shelf, fyi), is organic, has no salt added, and is packed in BPA-free cans.  I’ll admit it:  I’m a fan of the can.

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