Thursday, September 17, 2015

Music Lovers

To say we love music in this house might be putting it a bit mildly. Over the past couple of years, though, this has evolved to a new level. Olivia has gotten to the age where she is beginning to develop her own taste in music and has received enough iTunes gift cards that she has purchased quite a bit. As a result, we now have oodles of songs from The Script, Imagine Dragons, One Republic, Fall Out Boy, One Direction, and various other artists on our computer, phones, and mp3 players. Since my music tastes overlap a decent percentage of Olivia's music choices, it's been a win-win for me.

I hadn't realized the full impact of this "music love" on the younger kids until this past Sunday. In Primary (classes for kids ages 3-11), Maddox's name was drawn to pick a song for the kids to sing together. When the song leader asked him his favorite song, he promptly replied, "Radioactive!"

Of course, they asked him to choose a church song instead to sing together, but only after the snickering subsided...

And in case you don't know this song that has inspired such admiration my 4-year old... 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Candid Cook - Best Black Beans Ever

We were visiting our family in Louisiana when I was introduced to this amazing concoction. Fortunately, my sister in law had me eat a bowl before she told me what was in it. This just might be the last black bean recipe you'll ever need. Yes, there's curry in it. But don't think you're eating curry. Yes, there's also pumpkin and coconut milk. Don't judge until you've tried it. It has the creamiest sauce ever, and the flavor... Fantastic!

The original recipe can be found here, but you know me... I can't leave any recipe alone. I didn't make major modifications, but here is the new recipe which includes my edits.

Pumpkin and Coconut Black Beans (and Rice)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced (optional)
3-4 cloves minced garlic
1 lb dried black beans, rinsed
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
4 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp curry powder
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp cumin
1 bay leaf
1 can coconut milk, unsweetened
2 tsp salt
6 cups liquid (I use either 4 cups chicken broth and 2 cups water, or 3 cups vegetable stock and 3 cups water)
Cilantro (for garnish)
Plain yogurt or sour cream (for garnish)

Heat oil in frying pan. Add diced onions and sauté until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add diced peppers and cook until onions are starting to brown (carmelized). Add garlic and cook one more minute. Remove from heat.

A couple of notes on the ingredients: 1) Rinse your black beans. Don't skip this step. Not only will it clean them, but it may even cut down on the whole "beans give you gas" thing.  

2) Don't cheap out on your coconut milk. Read the labels, and you'll be surprised what some companies add to their product. This is the brand I like to buy because there's only three ingredients listed on the can. 

Now that you've got good ingredients, let's more on. In the crock pot, place the cooked veggies, rinsed black beans, pumpkin, tomato paste, curry, red pepper, cumin, bay leaf, coconut milk, and salt. 

Mix gently, then add the liquid. Stir one more time, and put the lid on. The mixture will look lighter than expected, but it will darken as the beans cook.

Cook on high for 6-8 hours until the beans reach desired tenderness. Remove the bay leaf (in you can find it!!) and serve with rice. Garnish with yogurt or sour cream and fresh cilantro if desired. 

Or, if you're impatient like  me you can also eat the beans by themselves in a bowl with a little sour cream and Chalula pictured above... mmmm mmmm good!