Thursday, October 28, 2010

Smokey Black-Eyed Peas and Mushrooms over Green Rice ... a winner!

What a nice morning it was today. It was 65 and sunny this morning with projected highs in the mid to upper 70’s. It is extremely hard to believe it is the end of October. What a nice respite before the cold winter sets in. Both Dan and I are hoping we don’t get much snow this year. I don’t think anyone in the Mid-Atlantic wants a repeat of last winter.

For breakfast this morning Dan wanted to have his favorite oatmeal with mixed berries and nuts. For his lunch and dinner I packed the leftover baked tofu and Asian veggies with quinoa. I also packed sliced almonds for him to add to the veggies for crunch and calories. This means I am out of intentional leftovers again which means there will be more cooking today. I am thinking I may do something with cabbage but that could change a dozen times before I actually start cooking. Food planning is not something that happens here. ;-)

For my breakfast I had another version of savory oats and this one might be my favorite so far. Here is what I did: ½ cup of oats and 1 cup of water cooked half way; add 2 cups of baby spinach roughly chopped and cook until the spinach is lightly wilted; now top with 2 tablespoons nutrition yeast, 2 tablespoons of salsa, 1 teaspoon raw sunflower seeds and 1 tablespoon dehydrated leeks. Finish with freshly ground black pepper and no salt seasoning. Stir and enjoy. Here is the nutrition:

Calories - 251.39
Calories From Fat (13%) - 32.67

Total Fat - 2.83g
Saturated Fat - 0.39g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 248.5mg
Potassium - 655.97mg
Total Carbohydrates - 36.22g
Fiber - 7.11g
Sugar - 2.48g
Protein - 7.56g

Additionally this contains: 5,700IU of vitamin A, 95mg of calcium, 135mcg of folate, 290mcg of vitamin K, 200mg of phosphorus, 110mg of magnesium, and 20mcg of selenium. Fairly impressive nutrition for so few calories I think.

Thanks for the fresh spinach suggestion Courtney this is really good. :-)

Electronic Vision Boards:

Since Laura Jill mentioned her last vision board was electronic I had to see if they could be done without buying special software. For those of you that have Photoshop here is a tutorial. I also think you can do the same thing with Word but I haven’t tried that yet.

Glorious Day:

It was so nice outside I had to spend some time in the yard today. I took a few pictures that I thought you might like. It is very surprising to me that so many things are still blooming.

But first look at this fuzzy little creature I found on the sidewalk. Isn’t he/she adorable? I wanted to bring it in but knew the cats would terrorize it to death even if I could figure out how to keep it alive so I left it outside. If anyone knows exactly what this is and will become I would love to know. It is mostly black (or a very dark brown) with deep red stripes.

Oddly my rosemary bush is sending up little flowers.

Next I noticed that my lavender had some sporadic blooms.

Here is the wild clematis I have growing on my garden arch reaching for the sky.

I thought we needed a little color so here are the dahlias.

I hope you enjoyed the end of the blooms this year. Soon I fear I will be sharing snow pictures like last winter.

I wasn’t terribly hungry today so I had two dried peach halves (no sugar added) with 2 Brazil nuts (for the selenium) at mid-day.

After my snack I did a few things at home and decided to walk to the grocery store. We were out of bananas again and it is nice walk to the store so I enjoy going especially in this weather. It was so nice outside I was able to wear sandals, yoga pants and T-shirt and be perfectly comfortable. While I was at the Rotunda I stopped at the drug store and then went to grocery store. The fresh fennel looked great today as did the oranges which meant I will be making my favorite Sicilian salad soon.

Once back from the store I did a few things around the house, talked on the phone too long and listened to some jazz. I was a relaxing day and really needed one of those.

Intentional Leftovers:

Since Dan took all the leftover baked tofu and Asian veggies for lunch today I needed to make more intentional leftovers. As I stood in the pantry looking the bean inventory I realized we haven’t had black-eyed peas in a while. Like usual while the beans were soaking and cooking I had no idea what I was going to do with them. Nothing like planning right? When I needed to flavor the beans I thought maybe Hoppin' John would be good but I had to change it which is when I added tomato and the changed the rice from being included in the bean pot to a separate green rice side dish. I think this turned out really well. Here is what I did:

Smoky Black Eyed Peas and Mushrooms over Green Rice
Serves 6

Bean Ingredients:

2 cups dried black eyed peas, picked through rinsed and soaked
water to cover the beans by an inch
10 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
½ red onion, peeled and finely minced
2 cups peeled, diced tomatoes
1 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced (fresh or dried will work I used fresh shitake caps don’t forget to save the stems in the freezer for stock)
2 tablespoons no salt seasoning
½ teaspoon cumin
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ tablespoon’ish cornstarch to thicken bean “gravy”, if necessary
dash of liquid smoke, to taste (or you can substitute smoked paprika this is to mimic the smokiness of bacon)

Green Rice Ingredients:

1 cup brown basmati rice
2 cups water
10 ounces frozen spinach, thoroughly drained, finely minced and heated so it won’t cool off the rice
1 lime, zested and juiced
½ cup cilantro, minced


Cook the beans until they are tender. Then add the remaining ingredients (except the cornstarch) and simmer uncovered to evaporate the excess liquid for at least 30 minutes. Use as much cornstarch as is necessary to tighten up the bean liquid.

Start the brown rice just before the beans are tender so that both the rice and beans are ready at the same time. Cook the rice and water until the water has been absorbed. The time will be different depending on the construction of the pot you are using. I have found that used an enameled cast iron pan means the brown rice will cook in 30 – 35 minutes so that is what I use. When the rice is cooked add in the spinach, lime zest, lime juice and cilantro and combine the ingredients by fluffing the rice with a fork. If you use a spoon you will mash the rice. I always use a fork.

To serve top the green rice with the smoky beans or serve them side by side. If desired you can make a fresh salsa to go on top the beans. I would probably opt for diced avocado, cucumber, radish, cilantro and lime juice but anything would work. The point of the fresh salsa it so add temperature and textural contrast as well as acidity from the vinegar.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 252.72
Calories From Fat (6%) - 15.83

Total Fat - 1.88g
Saturated Fat - 0.33g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 59.47mg
Potassium - 748.95mg
Total Carbohydrates - 49.96g
Fiber-  9.8g
Sugar - 5.85g
Protein - 11.24g


If you like Hoppin’ John I think you will like this more flavorful version of rice and black-eyed peas. Sometimes beans and rice can be a little bland and boring but that is not the case with these. I love the brightness the green rice adds to the dish. If you want to take it to the next level (and show off) top it with a fresh acidic salsa like I mentioned above. Normally I would have been I was not in the mood this evening for whatever reason.

This dish turned out really well. I am going to have a difficult time making rice any other way now that I have made it this way. I would describe this as a party in your mouth. It is amazing how much flavor this has considering the is no added fat or sodium. Both Dan and I think this is one of the better dishes I have made in the last couple of weeks. It is definitely a very flavorful legume and rice dish. *pats self on back* ;-)

PSA levels:

On a side note I want to share the impact of eating like we do on the PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) level. Dan’s level was low 6 months ago coming in at 1.0 (below 4.0 is normal) and has now declined to 0.7. Let’s hear it for a healthy diet! I wanted to share this in case any of you have a husband with a PSA level that is increasing. Over last six month we have tried to make our diet healthier and it seems to be showing unexpected dividends. Obviously given Dan’s low PSA to start with we weren’t concerned about this but we both take this as a sign that enhancing our nutrition is working to improve our overall health. Between the PSA and blood pressure and cholesterol I can say that what we eat is having a big impact all around.

Window markers?:

Those of you that have kids probably have seen this already but they were new to me. I bought them at our local drug store to see if they were any different than using dry erase markers on windows or mirrors. I have used dry erase markers on mirrors for years. In my kitchen I have a mirror that I use to jot down my grocery list. That works well for me since it is easily removed with a paper towel.

I find it works best if I write things down as soon as notice we are out. Having the ability to jot down items on the mirror while cooking has been very useful. I tried a caulk board in the kitchen for the grocery list but that absorbs grease so it didn’t work well. The caulk board might be fine now since I don’t cook with oil. Since the mirror works so well I probably won’t try it though. I like the light the mirror adds to the room as well as how easy it is to erase.

However these may also work well for leaving my hubby love notes on his bathroom mirror. ;-) 

Signing out:

That is going to be it for me tonight. I hope you try the recipes from today. It was a very good food day at my house.

I loved the savory oatmeal with spinach and the green rice is amazing and would work with so many dishes. It is seriously going to be tough to come up with a more flavorful healthy rice side dish, but you know I will keep working on it. I hope you are having a good evening.


  1. Your breakfast and dinner both sound lovely. I think you should write a cookbook. I want to make everything you post!!!

  2. Aimee,

    Awww, thank you so much! Your kind words made my evening. :-)

    The smoky beans and rice are seriously good. I was doing the happy dance in the kitchen. I think you will really like that one. Even Dan enjoyed it and he isn't a huge fan of bean and rice dishes. This has big flavor that is also complex.

    hope you are having a good evening,

  3. The green rice looks really good. I love rice, but best with "stuff" in it or on it - this seems really simple and tasty as well. I also like the smoke you put in the black eyed peas - we would always season them with bacon, but I like them just as well plain these days. Putting some smoke flavor back in may be a really welcome change.

    I just caught up on yesterday's post as well - I like those crayons! I hope they work well. They should certainly be easier to clean up than lipstick! ;-)

  4. Jessica,

    The green rice is so good, I hope you try it.

    The liquid smoke was my nod to bacon. I liked that addition since I am such an aroma nut.

    Dry erase markers work really well so I expect the crazyons will too. I will let you know if they are easier to clean than lipstick. You are right that is a bit of pain. Great minds think alike apparently. ;-)


  5. Lovely photos! This recipe looks amazing. I've saved it to my recipe folder!

  6. It's a wooly worm - at least that's what we call them here in NC. We have them a lot more up toward the mountains, but we see one around here occasionally as well.

    There is an old wive's tale that you can tell how hard the winter is going to be by the amoount of black v. red.

    Hope you have a great weekend!

  7. JL,

    Thanks I am glad you liked the nature pics. With the season changing I thought I had better photograph something colorful before all we have is winter landscape. ;-)

    This is one of my better recipes. I was literally doing the happy dance when I tasted it. I hope you like it as much as we did. :-)


  8. Neca,

    Thank you so much for the information on the little fuzzy. Wooly worm sounds vaguely familar as though I have heard it somewhere before. ;-)

    I hope you have a great weekend too,

  9. Love the photos and so glad you have had some nice weather (always good for the spirit). Those black-eyed peas sound so tasty. I love black-eyed peas but so rarely make them b/c I frankly don't have any recipes like this!

  10. Heather,

    I like black-eyed peas and rarely cook them as well. It seems like other legumes always come to mind first. However this worked out so well I may be making more black-eyed pea dishes in the future.

    Glad you liked the nature pics. Our weather yesterday was absolutely gorgeous. You are right it was great for my mood. ;-)


  11. Wanted to share this story on CNN with you;

  12. Neca,

    That link is great thanks so much for sharing it. :-)


  13. OMG....your Smoky Black Eyed Peas and Mushrooms over Green Rice sounds awesome. I sure wish I had some of that right now. I'm with should write a cookbook! Everything you make sounds wonderful!!!
    I love all the pictures of the flowers and that little fuzzy worm was too cute!
    Hope you have a great weekend!

  14. Michelle,

    I think you will like the black-eyed peas and the green rice is great.

    Thanks for your kind words they made my morning. :-)

    I am trying to enjoy what is left of the garden before it is covered in snow. I am sure I looked ridiculous down on the sidewalk with a camera pointed at a fuzzy worm. But he didn't seem to mind. ;-)

    have a good weekend,

  15. the picture of the clematis was my fav. it would be great blown up and framed. nice job:) i rememebr those catapillar th9ings..they pe on you so its good you left it there!!(although maybe they just pe on little kids who squeeze to hard???lol)

    i have been cooking a lot with cabbage here (you said you might be using some soon), and i LOVE spinach in rice dishes. it makes the rice stretch so you feel like you have more:).

    i had not heard or read anything about psa levels before. thanks for puting that up.

  16. I am glad you got a chance to try the spinach in the oats! You will have to get Dan to try it sometime too :-)

    Isn't it crazy that things are still blooming this late in October? I love walking/biking and still seeing the flowers and vibrant colors this time of year.


  17. Michelle,

    Glad you liked the pictures. I thought it was a good idea to take the pictures before the flowers went dormant for the year.

    You and the catepillar story are too funny. You always make me smile. :-)

    I think the lime is what made the rice dish for me. If you like cilantro you should try it. Both Dan and I thought it was great.

    I need to make something with cabbage soon. Who knows maybe tonight since we haven't had dinner yet and I don't know what I am cooking.

    Glad I could point you to something that was new (PSA). Women should know these things since men aren't usually too good at taking care of themselves. ;-)

    I hope you have a nice weekend,

  18. Courtney,

    I will try to get the spinach oats into Dan. He really loves the fruit and nut variety so it may take me a while. Good call on the spinach though I love that combination. ;-)

    It is crazy that things are still blooming. Don't the little plants know it is fall? LOL

    talk to you later,

  19. Those black eyed peas and green rice look good and healthy. I'm trying to add variety (a flavor variety) to my legumes and proteins...I always make them the same and I'm bored. Thanks for the idea and what a creative way to add greens : )

  20. Stephanie,

    This was one of my favorite dishes of the last month. I hope you like it as much as we did. I agree with you I get bored and need variety. ;-)

    I hope you are feeling better,

  21. Funny, my kids have window markers, and I never thought about using them for a useful purpose for myself. Or for leaving my husband notes. :)

    It all looks great, as usual.

  22. Jenny,

    I figured all the parents had seen the window markers and you are confirming it. It isn't second nature to think outside the box but it entertains me. ;-)

    Thanks for your kind words,

  23. Those are great PSA numbers! I'm going to have to spend more time here learning about your diet.

  24. 100 best,

    I talked about the basics of our diet sometime in the last month (I think) but I don't remember which post now. I am happy to chat with you about it by email. Feel free to send me an email with any questions you have.

    My hubby's urologist was quite jazzed about the PSA numbers since Dan is 56. Our internist also showed some interest in our diet after he saw the number.



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