BeanFest

This summer, I have resolved to eat as many types of beans possible and in as many ways imaginable. And you know what, I don’t know how I’ll feel about it week after next but right now, three days into official vacay, I’M LOVING IT. And what’s not to love, I have stocked up on beans and recipes and my taste buds are as excited as if I am on the Oprah Winfrey Xmas edition!!! So to kick off this feast, let’s talk about these OMGgood chickpea patties/burgers.

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I usually buy packed peas n beans but it’s good to veer off the regular path ever so often, so I recently stocked up on some canned ones because they were on sale and fitted in perfectly with my summer no frills cooking plan. When I make veggie burgers it’s usually a production involving soaking n cooking various types of beans, chopping a medley of veggies,  boiling barley, etc etc etc, but I wanted to keep it simple, so for canned beans dish number one we have this super super easy recipe. You know I don’t measure a thing but I’ll try to guess-timate what I did for you.

Ingredients

1 can of chickpeas

quarter large onion chopped ( I like mine chunky)

two segments of med bell pepper

1 small carrot coarsely grated

1 egg

2 tbsp multigrain flour

seasoning to taste — I used dashes of S&P, garlic, cumin powder, cilantro, paprika and curry

Method

Drain and rinse peas. Mash them in a large bowl with a fork until you achieve a chunky texture. Add onion, pepper, carrot and combine. Mix in egg and seasonings then add flour until a good consistency is reached. Dust lightly and lay on a plastic wrap lined plate. I let mine set for about ten minutes in the freezer before pan searing.

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My mixture with the flour added. You don’t want a cardboard burger, keep it on the moist side!

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Lightly dusted and ready to chill for ten minutes

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Post frying. Don’t need to overdo that either just until golden brown

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I heart a chunky veggie burger!

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Dressed and ready for the son’s lunch

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Another quickie to add to your repertoire folks. Let me know your thoughts.

 

 

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Fresh Start

SO, a few weeks have passed, it’s officially summer and my garden has undergone some changes already.

The tubs have been topped up with soil mix and manure and have been replanted.

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Zucchini and waiting for more Chinese greens to germinate, potted marigolds

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Thyme got too much water! Four o’clock plant and more hatching pots

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Looking forward to his tubs of beets and garlic chives

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Chives, carrots, kale, marigold

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2 types of kale and budding radishes

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Season peppers

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Oregano looking so healthy with hot pepper

I reaped a few pods of black eye peas before they were ruined by too much rain so I tossed those into the leaf pile/tub, but some plants made it. Like the heirloom tomatoes, basil and a scraggly cucumber which I will uproot soon if no fruit develop further.WP_20170711_032 - CopyAnd this…..WP_20170711_035………huge awe mustard! Seriously these leaves are about as long as my forearm.

The spinach has been cut back so many times and look at it go.WP_20170711_030See all those eaten leaves on the tobacco? That’s exactly why I grow it. To keep those caterpillars away from my greens. Loving how this lush shade corner is coming along.

And check this out….my side garden is back.WP_20170711_002WP_20170711_004WP_20170711_003

And a garden is more than the plants. Mine is my favourite spot to sip my tea on weekends and where I go to breathe a bit deeper on any given day.WP_20170702_018

Happy summer gardening from me to you.

 

 

 

My Box Runneth Over

Summer is my favourite time of year and no, not because I am a teacher and get a much deserved two month break (you haters,,LOL), but because so much local fruits are in season including some of my favourites.

Mangoes have started the ball rolling and have been abundant in these parts now for weeks! It’s only June and we are already in mango heaven. I mean, I am talking a serious glut. Needless to say, we have been feasting on all varieties of them but we stay loving the mangolongs, pahwees, Tommy Atkins (the huge ones) and another variety my parents grew that I am not sure of the name.

What I am sure of though is that I have been receiving and reaping so many of these orange sugar bombs that I sourced a box exclusively for storing them, just like my parents did!

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All sizes, shapes and colours

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Them pahwees just prutty, prutty!

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A few passion fruits as well. Can you imagine the scent coming from this box!!!!

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That’s all. Hate to have to leave you salivating at the screen but what can I tell you, when this island life gets sweet, it’s real sweet. Sweet for days, weeks and months. Hope there is something sweet, fresh and abundant in your life.

PS: Karen this article was written before I saw your post….oopppss!!!

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Sweet and Simple Soup

Some things are just too sweet and simple. My butternut squash and pumpkin soup is one of them and it’s almost too easy to be true. Let me warn you though, if you are like my good friend Karen and like chunky “busy” soups, then you are going to be disappointed but hey, there is hope. I may win you over with this one.

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Still thick and filling…with ground pumpkin seeds

Six simple ingredients

1 tbsp salted butter

2 small roasted butternut squash

2 lbs pumpkin

1/2 tsp cinnamon

thumb of freshly grated ginger

almond milk (or any other)

Method:

Melt butter in saucepan and add pumpkin cut into small chunks.

Add ginger and cinnamon, stir to coat pieces and cover to steam. Check periodically to stir and prevent burning …who wants burnt soup? LOL

When pumpkin has broken apart, mix in the squash removed from its skin and cover to allow squash to be fully heated.

Remove pot from stove and allow to cool before blending in batches.

Return puree to stove on low heat and add almond milk until desired thick/thinness is reached.

Feel free to add salt if you want but I don’t find it necessary. SO delicious just as is.

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Oh and a little tip, when buying pumpkin for soup I always get the West Indian Garden pumpkin which is usually a bright orange colour. That colour let’s you know what’s up with beta-carotene content. but here’s what else the orange beauty packs in terms of nutritional value.

Pumpkin Nutrition Facts
(1 cup cooked, boiled, drained, without salt)

Calories 49
Protein 2 grams
Carbohydrate 12 grams
Dietary Fiber 3 grams
Calcium 37 mg
Iron 1.4 mg
Magnesium 22 mg
Potassium 564 mg
Zinc 1 mg
Selenium .50 mg
Vitamin C 12 mg
Niacin 1 mg
Folate 21 mcg
Vitamin A 2650 IU
Vitamin E 3 mg

We have been having some rainy days recently her in Bim , so if this is where you call home, make up a pot of this perfect cozy weather meal tonight.

Who Doesn’t Love Muffins?

Seriously who doesn’t? Weeelllll, I kinda don’t but, you remember the flour thing, right? But I love to bake them and there’s two reasons why.

Muffins are super easy to mix. In fact the secret to great muffins is not to over beat the batter. Whoop, whoop! It’s as simple as sifting some dry ingredients, adding some wet ones and pouring into liners.

You can add ANYTHING to muffins. Anything? YES, anything! Fruit, nuts, chocolate, candies, grains, cheese, corn, vegetables, bacon, whatever suits your taste or budget, but I always tend to make fruit, nut or corn muffins.

On Monday evening, both children were in early and I didn’t have any “snacks” in the house, but since I had free time from food prepping, I decided to whip up a batch of mixed berry muffins. (I food prepped on Sunday, but no baking…was feeling laazaay)

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While I was taking these pics, my daughter approached the table announcing she was coming for her 5th muffin. Of course she was joking, but after I informed her and the brother that their limit for the night was two muffins each, they both quietly walked away. Huuummmm! Very light , moist, and just the right amount of sweet and tart from the berries, they ARE that good.

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Berry Good Muffins

2 cups all purpose flour (remember you can go 1/2  multigrain)

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp each vanilla & almond essence

1 cup milk (I was out of almond milk so I used 1/2 milk, 1/2 water)

1/4 cup vegetable oil (I use sunflower oil for baking)

1 cup frozen berry mix dusted with flour (a special reminder for a special friend)

Method:

Lightly grease muffin pan and add liners. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit or about 210C

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.

Add sugar and combine.

Beat egg and essences and blend into milk and oil.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ones. Stir (DO NOT BEAT) until just combined. The batter will be lumpy, it’s OK, it’s not wrong!

Toss berries in 1/4 cup of flour to coat and add to batter just barely mixing them in.

Pour batter into liners, around 3 tbsp each, and bake for 20-25 mins.

Imagine, a dozen moist, berry muffins could be yours in 30 minutes. These will be were a great evening snack and will definitely be in tomorrow’s lunch boxes as well.

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Maybe my son will take this strange planet…check out the craters!

I always have to beg my children to allow the muffins to cool, see if you can, and be sure to let me know about it. Have a great day y’all, some of us have a berry muffin to go munch on.

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OMG look at that berry goodness!!!!

 

Food Prep Meals

As promised, I wanted to share with you how my lil scheme of food prepping comes together during the week. On Sunday past, I made herb roasted chicken, sweet potatoes, squash, beets, braised greens and cabbage with a splash of balsamic vinegar, made a large salad and a pot of  basmati rice which I added to doved pigeon peas. YUM, YUM!

Of course on Sunday we can choose to eat just about any combination of things we prefer and that’s what usually happens. Everyone will have starch and chicken and a combination of other things. Like…

 

 

Monday it’s all leftovers honey! For both lunch and dinner. I usually add a bit to the salad (with enough for the next day’s lunch) and it’s almost (lol) the end of the chicken. Still have some rice and veg galore!!!

So Tuesday, what’s going on? I’ve got some of those beets, salad from the night before, a serving of greens and an apple. That’s my lunch covered.

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The teens have chicken sausages, gordita wraps, sweet potato, corn and saladWP_20170530_008

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The girl thinks Gouda is very good,ah!

 

For dindin, it’s the last of the chicken in noodle stirfry, like ten minutes tops. You know what to do, go ahead …wukup and go round!

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Chicken strips, carrots, onions, peppers, greens, noodles, in that order and DONE!

Mid week, I am still breezing. Leftover lunches, baby!

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I have beets, squash and greens from Sunday with some invisible fruit,,,,lol

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There it is …..cashews and gooseberries from the garden!!!!

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They have last night’s noodles with apple chunks

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and a banana

Nighttime we ate more squash and sweet potatoes, and while my tuna sat in a marinade I popped some English/Irish/ South American potatoes into the oven. The tuna took all of ten minutes to grill then the tomatoes, peppers and onions were nothing to saute in the same pan.

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If you are not using coarse black pepper, what are you doing?

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Kids not big on gravy and I think it’s a good thing

Humpday? Not over here! I have leftovers for lunch…again…and I’m loving it. You know I baked enough of those potatoes last night for leftovers and they are joining squash, sweet potatoes and fish, with mango.

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Can you tell I love sectional lunch boxes?

The kiddies version with salad and fruit.

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The daughter’s two potatoes

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Have you noticed they eat more than I do?!

Time for something light for dinner tho, …..

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Heat some frozen pumpkin, add baked squash, season, simmer, blend and voila!

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Wish you could smell and taste the ginger and cinnamon!

IT”S FRIDAY..and we eating still, we eating still. Still leftover rice from Sunday!!!!

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With canned salmon gravy, salad, pine(apple)

And the teens went back to sausages, this time with pine(apple) and salad.

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His in saltbread (a Dad purchase…sigh) with mustard

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Her’s is always wraps and cheese

Friday night.

Friday night cooking is for suckers…lol

Bush Woman

So, that’s it. In addition to what I prepped on Sunday, my week’s work in the kitchen was; reheating stuff, making salads, frying sausages, making noodle stirfry (15 mins), grilling fish (10 mins), baking potatoes (oven baby, not my time!) and making soup (20 mins). If that doesn’t sound like a plan I don’t know what does!

Food Prepping

Does this happen to you? You work all day and by the time you come in the last thing you want to do is stand at the stove to cook a meal? Now I know there are Bajans (and maybe others) out there who solve this problem by waking as early as 4:30 am to do their cooking, but, REALLY?! Sorry, but miss me with that every time. I needs my sleep!

Well lookey here, if you are like me and have the same problem here’s what I have been doing lately with much success to eliminate late dinners and other “don’t want to cook” issues. As I hinted a few posts back, I have been practising meal prepping. Well, kinda, sorta. I am not going all out prepping every meal for the week and I am not portioning them off into daily containers, so as usual, I have put my own twist on this growing trend and do food prepping.

I spend the greater part of my Sunday mornings and afternoons in the kitchen, so I figured, why not use that time to prep ahead as much food as possible for the week. SO, here’s the plan…..

I roast a chicken every Sunday and since we are not big meat eaters, it can easily make up three meals. YES one chicken, THREE MEALS for four!!!

 

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I like to add potatoes to my roast chicken and use them as flavourful ways to bulk out other meals, but sometimes I also prepare another meat dish with potatoes to round out our weekly “ration” of both in one go.

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Garlicy Chicken and butter potatoes

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Greek style lamb and potatoes

Since I am already using the oven for baking or roasting chicken, it makes perfect sense for me to bake/roast as much as possible in one go. And of course I am also not standing at the stove all day, I simply pop stuff in the oven and walk away. Sweetness, so insert a wukup!

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Sweet potatoes are a versatile option for lunch, dinner or snack

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Roasted vegetables can swing it alone or be added to salads or soups

I LOVE RICE, so I prepare a huge pot. It’s regular rice only is if it’s a stirfry or Bajan style veg rice. Otherwise, it’s basmati, because we heart it.

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Chinese style veg fried rice

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Basmati rice with doved green pigeon peas..YUMMM!

or the super quick couscous, even though its a five minute cookerWP_20170507_007

I never thought to prep ahead my veggies before, but now that I do, I can’t see myself stopping. For some reason, I was always worried they would not be as crisp or fresh reheated but boy was I wrong. Whether I stirfry, braise or steam them, they are all good for days.

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A splash of balsamic vinegar and these garlicy greens are over the top with flavour!

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I’ll only steam veg if I am including christophene

These prepped ahead foods see me well into Wednesday or Thursday and serve both lunches and/or dinners. So even though some days I still have to say grill some fish, stirfry some noodles or make additional veggies, I find that I spend much less time in the kitchen and always have options to start with and build a meal around.

BTW,  the feature picture is my niece’s meal prep from last week. Isn’t it gorgeous? She believes in meal prepping! A nephew also practises it and another niece even boils her eggs ahead for the week! Let me know your thoughts on this and if it is something you have tried or would try. Tomorrow I’ll share on how these bits and pieces come together during the week to make real meals…lol. Have an interesting day people.