Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Using Food Storage for Cooking Vegetarian

It is easy to use the same grains and legumes - with a variety of  vegetables and spices, and make yourself hundreds of different versions of meals.  

There are two charts here, showing the basic ingredients in vegetarian cooking with food storage, and a list of different spices to offer different tastes.

Grains should equal 40 - 50% of your meal, with vegetables 30 - 50% and legumes the remaining 10 - 20%.  Eating this way will offer a complete protein always, with high vitamin and mineral content. Extras you could add to this might include cheese or dairy products, salad dressings, and other things like lettuce and fresh vegetables. 

Grains 40 - 50%
Vegetables 30 - 50%
Legumes 10 - 20%
Rice – all variations
bread and bread products
oatmeal, oats
hot grain cereals

Onions and garlic
carrots – chopped or grated
canned tomatoes
green beans
Lentils – red or green
Beans – black, red, brown, pinto, white, garbanzo, kidney, etc
split peas

Choose your grains you want to cook.  Rice is a staple in my home, at least four times a week we eat it.  Then choose your veggies, depending on what you have on hand or in the garden.  Choose your legumes, depending on what is available or ready in your fridge, freezer, or pantry.

lemon juice
bay leaf
mustard seed
bay leaf
lemon juice
red wine vinegar
bay leaf
Soy sauce
rice or wine vinegar
black bean garlic sauce
taco seasonings

Decide on what flavor choices you want to use for your meal.  Decide if you want soup, stir fries, casserole, crockpot, salad, or something else, and go to work making it.  I know it is hard for some people to cook if they don't have a recipe to follow, but practice will make it easier.  And remember, I always say, "Google is my best friend, and the library is my university!"  If you want to find recipes, look them up and experiment.  Soon you will be a pro at it.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Beans for Fat substitutions

Beans are so versatile, you can actually use them to replace some of the fat, to almost all of it, in your baking recipes.  My rule is I usually will replace about half of my oil or fat in any given recipe.  I have tried to replace it all, and sometimes I end up with dry - whatever - I am making.  But half beans and half butter or oil is a good bet.

Make sure your beans are cooked to soft and then puree them well in a blender.  If they are too dry, add a bit of water to your puree.

Take notice of the color of the item you are baking.  If the overall color is white, you will want to use white beans.  If you are making something chocolate, you can get away with brown or black beans pureed.  White mashed beans, however, can be used in pretty much anything, as they will blend right in and hide well.

If your recipe calls for oil, then use the equivalent of half your oil and substituted it for your pureed beans.  Same goes for butter or margarine, puree the beans or mash them well, and switch half your butter for beans.

Beans are cheaper than oils, and especially butter, it is much healthier, and it adds a great taste to your baking.  Try it!  You may even start to like it.

Be brave.....  I dare you!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Bean Flour

Bean flour can be made from most kinds of beans, except soy beans.  Soy beans have a high oil content, so do not make flour easily at home.  Garbanzo beans, black, pinto, mung, navy, lentils, are all good choices to make a flour with.  Most wheat grinders can easily grind up beans into a nice fine flour.  If you have a really  strong blender, you may be able to use it as well.  Never put soy beans through your wheat grinder.  Their oil content will gum up your grinder.

What would you ever use bean flour in?  You can substitute it for regular flour in pretty much any recipe.  It may change the color a bit, especially if you use black bean flour, and it may make for a denser loaf or cake.  My kind of standard rule of thumb, is I will only substitute about 1/3 of the flour for bean flour.  I may also add a bit of extra leavening agent, whether it is yeast, baking powder, soda, etc.

Bean flour can also be reconstituted with hot water, and used as a fat replacement in your baking.  You can easily substitute it for 1/2 of your oil content, and though your loaf may be a bit more dense, or cookies or whatever you are making, it will turn out good. 

It can also be used to thicken soups and stews, or in cream soups or casseroles to thicken the sauce.  As well, it can be reconstituted and become a delicious dip for crackers or chips.  With a variety of seasonings the possibilities are many.

It is a great way to add extra protein, iron and vitamins into your family's diet, without them even knowing it.

To make a soup base, or a cream soup, stir in about 1/3 cup of bean flour to about 2 cups hot liquid.  A little more or less depending on how thick you want it, and add it to your soup.

For a quick refried bean dip, use pinto bean flour and taco seasonings.

Bean flour is easy to make and nutritious to use.  After experimenting a little bit, you will find things your family really likes, so keep track of your recipes you try so you can come back to them often.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Bean Burgers

I really, really do love bean burgers.  I love any kind of veggie burgers.  I have experimented with many different recipes, and have found some basics I want to share with you.

Pick your bean variety you would like to use:
2 cups of black, pinto, white, lentils, chick peas, etc.  Cooked soft and mashed beans
1 cup of rice - white or brown, quinoa, or other grain
Mix and mash these well together.

Add in:
1/2 cup chopped onion - doesn't matter which kind
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tbsp ketchup, bbq sauce or other sauce
1 or 2 eggs - can substitute mashed potatoes or vegetables if you don't use eggs
1/2 cup vegetables like corn, shredded carrots, peas, etc
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup rolled oats - quick oats -  if you used regular oats, just add a bit more liquid
1/2 cup of one of these: flour, bread crumbs, crackers smashed, bean flour, oat flour, rice flour, etc
Mix all of these together well and form into patties.  Fry in oil, or on a small grill.

Variations of things you could also add:  parmesan cheese, grated cheddar cheese, taco seasoning, other seasonings, any other vegetables you might like.

It can also be fried and crumbled as a veggie hamburger mix.  Or serve your patties as you would a burger on a bun.

With all of the varieties of beans, grains, veggies and spices you can have an endless variety of veggie burgers.  Get creative and see what you come up with.

Beans - The Magical Food in so Many Ways

I did a vegetarian cooking information class today, and for those of you who attended it and want more information on cooking with beans instead of meat, I decided to repost here a more consolidated version of some of my other posts here on this site, and in one of my books.

I have been a vegetarian for pretty close to 27 years.  In that time, I have learned a few things....

Beans / legumes are way cheaper than meat - for example, let me do a little bit of math for you.
The average cost of feeding a family of 4 - 6 people, just in buying hamburger (cheap meat) is probably about $7 ish per meal.  Roast, steak, chops, chicken, etc. are all more expensive than that.  Let's say you only use $7 per meal and you only eat one meal with meat per day, that totals up to $2555 spent each year just eating one meal per day of cheaper meat, and totally not healthy.

I can purchase a 25 lb bag of beans for around $20.  I guess that I can easily get 70 meals at least, out of this bag of beans.  Because I use beans in baking and other things too, I figure I could use about 6 bags of beans per year.  Which total will come to about $120.

Difference of $2435 just because you used beans for one meal a day instead of hamburger.  Now I know it will be different for each of you and what you are used to eating.  Maybe you only want to replace meat for one or two meals a week.  Maybe you want to get rid of it all together.  It's up to you and what your family will tolerate.  But.....if you are looking for ways to save money on your groceries, this is definitely a way to make that happen.

Cooking with beans is actually quite satisfying as well.  It just takes a little bit more prep time, or being a little bit more organized in the kitchen.  There are several ways you can cook beans.

1.  Quick soak method.  Cover your beans with about three times as much water, bring them to a boil, and boil them for five minutes.  Remove them from the heat and let them stand, covered or not, as long as you need until you are ready to start cooking your meal.  I leave mine from morning until later in the day.  Drain the cooking water off and rinse them well.  Cover once again with water and bring to a boil again until they are soft and ready to use in your recipe.  Drain, rinse and use.

2.  Soak overnight method.  Cover them in 3 times as much water, soak them overnight or all day.  Drain and rinse well.  Cover with water again and bring to a boil and cook until soft.  Drain, rinse, and use in your recipe.

3.  Crockpot.  Cover with about 4 times as much water and turn on low for 4 - 6 hours until beans are tender.  Drain, rinse and use in recipe.

Once your beans are cooked, or pre soaked, either way, you can easily put some of them into containers or ziplocs and freeze them for other meals.  They will last in the fridge for several days as well to use in other meals.

I will post more on bean recipes, using bean flours, and other ways to cook with beans, here in the next several days.  I have lots to share, so keep watching.

I will share with you how to make and use bean flour, how to cook several kinds of beans at the same time, to get a variety in your meal, how to hide them in recipes like baking, and how to substitute some of the fat in your baking by using mashed beans.  Sounds delicious right?  Keep posted.

Monday, November 9, 2015


It has been a whole year since I have written here on Today, and it has been a whopping 7+ years since I started Today.  I promise I haven't been slacking off on my preparations, or my service.  My knowledge has continued to grow, and I have learned much in the past seven years.

I have written several books, some for fun, and some for understanding, most of them for my own use and benefit.  Now I am working on combining some of them into one monster manual which will be titled something like "Today While The Sun Shines."   :) 

I still have a firm resolve to keep prepared, and "wow"!!! as the world turns around and around, it seems to get wilder, weirder, scarier, rougher, meaner, and all of those other "er" words that could go along with these, and yet, there are those of us who see it, and quietly, persistently, keep preparing for any or all possible events that could take place.

"Today", my wishes are to start updating this blog more often with valuable information.
"Today", I want to help you get more prepared, while I also do.
"Today", I want to do all kinds of things, like finally finish compiling my book and finish my novel,
"Today" always seems to run away with me, and I don't always get to do what I want when I want, so......
"Today" I will try to do my best, and we will see what tomorrow brings.

Keep prepping, and keep positive.   There is still much good in the world, and we have to keep creating the good to combat the bad and ugly which is abounding in abundance.

We will see what tomorrow brings, when it is another "Today".