You know I love beans, and cook with dried beans on a near-daily basis! I'm in love with slow-cooked pinto beans and beans with toppings (like sour cream, cheese, cilantro, or fresh tomatoes, and hot sauce of course!) is my idea of gourmet dining -- on a budget! ;)
But really, even just tender fresh-cooked pinto beans with a little salt is enough. (Definitely add salt to your long-term food storage consideration! It's cheap and makes plain foods much more palatable!)
Anyway, I printed out my copy of The Everything Beans Book when it was released 10 days ago, and have spent a bit of time reading it and looking over new recipes to try. I've only tried one so far, but it was a BIG success! (Not going to the grocery store as often means I need to really plan ahead for new recipes or non-essentials!)
Which recipe did I decide to try first? Pasta with White (Bean) Sauce! I had everything on hand, and it looked easy and different.
Pasta with White Bean Sauce is an easy white sauce, but the flavor is impressive! The beans help thicken the sauce, while boosting the protein and fiber. There's not usually many redeeming qualities to white sauce, but this bean version made us feel semi-justified in enjoying one of my favorite meals -- pasta with white sauce!
I admit, I was pleasantly surprised at just how good this sauce recipe is! I tasted it as I made it (which did result in the addition of chicken base for a flavor boost), and was dubious as to the end result. However, in the end I thought the cheese, beans, -- everything was just right about this sauce. I do think I prefer smooth sauces, so in the future I may try blending this recipe. That said, I did still really enjoy this sauce slightly-chunky (mashed beans)!
I don't usually serve "mystery foods" to Joshua, but knowing that both white sauces and beans are not on his list of top favorite foods (although he does enjoy them occasionally!), I didn't divulge anything further than "Hey Honey, I tried a new white sauce recipe!"
I served the pasta and sauce with grilled chicken, and Joshua said it was "very good". I said "Really? Well, there's white beans in the sauce." He said, "Really? Well, I can't taste them. It tastes like macaroni and cheese, not beans."
Wow! Now, I could taste the beans in the sauce, but I liked the flavor. (I also knew they were there, so I'm not completely sure I would have been able to distinguish the flavor and identify it without knowing.)
I'm thinking we may add mashed white beans to white sauces a lot more often, especially since it's so easy to cook a big pot of beans, freeze in 2-cup portions, and thaw as needed. The presence of beans also cut down on the need for as much butter/flour for thickening, which is an added health bonus!
There are many more delicious-sounding bean recipes in The Everything Beans Book, and I'm planning to try several of the bean soup recipes, after I make a trip to Business Costco (or maybe Fred Meyer) and get some more beans since I just have pinto beans left right now!
Why I'm loving The Everything Beans Book:
Katie also sent me a review copy of her Healthy Snacks To Go ebook. Who doesn't like snacking?! And the promise of homemade power bars (that have gotten rave reviews from other bloggers) is inviting.
Unfortunately, I didn't have this ebook before our last Costco trip 2+ weeks ago (patting myself on the back for breaking my Costco addiction enough to wait more than 2 weeks between shopping trips!!) and so I need to buy some bulk nuts and dates in order to actually make the power bar recipes. (I'll post pictures when I do!)
Aside from one recipe that doesn't include measurements or a photo (leaving me feeling unmotivated to try "Cold Balsamic-n-Spelt Salad"), the recipes look approachable and sound yummy!
If you've ever wanted to duplicate Wheat Thins at home (for a fraction of the price), this is your recipe!
I think these crackers are fairly easy to make. When you consider the high price of a box of "real" Wheat Thins, these crackers are well worth the time! I try to include helpful tips in the recipe instructions and notes (Katie does this as well in Healthy Snacks To Go!) so that even if you've never made crackers before, the process will go smoothly and quickly for you. And, the amount of work involved can be reduced if you use a food processor to blend the butter into the flour.
Yes, it's a small chunk of time. I estimate 15-20 minutes to make the crackers, and then 5-10 minutes to bake. And then there's the clean-up. But the kids can help make these, and have a great deal of fun with it, too!
Giveaway and Discount
Now, here's the extra exciting part: Katie is offering to give a free copy of her book, The Everything Beans Book to 10 readers here! (Or, winners can choose to receive Healthy Snacks To Go instead of the Bean Book.)
How to enter the giveaway:
1. Go to The Everything Beans Book and scroll down to view the table of contents.
2. Come back here and leave a comment telling me which recipe looks most interesting to you! :) You are now entered in the giveaway!
Giveaway is open from Monday, March 14 through Friday, March 18, 2011.
10 winners will be selected using random.org and announced on Monday, March 21, 2011.
Katie has also generously offered a 20% discount on all of her ebooks! (If you're selected as a winner in the giveaway, you will receive a refund for the ebook you purchased.)
Go here to see Katie's ebooks, including The Everything Beans Book and Healthy Snacks To Go, and use this code to receive 20% off your order: TAMMYS20
This discount code is good now through March 20, 2011.
Katie has given permission for some of the recipes from her ebooks to be shared online. She guarantees that there will always be content exclusively available in the ebook version!
I received a copy of The Everything Beans Book and Healthy Snacks To Go for review purposes. I am an affiliate for Katie, which means your purchase helps support both Katie and me as bloggers! :)