Friday, January 21, 2011

Mexican-Flavored Red Kidney Bean Soup

It has been crazy warm the last few days here in the Mid-Atlantic. Wednesday we reached 50 degrees and Thursday morning it was 38 when we woke up. *shakes head* The weather here is always unpredictable you never know what to expect. I almost opened the windows yesterday it was so warm but decided that would be a bit wasteful and settled for airing out the kitchen instead. It is nice to have our weather be a little warmer than our normal highs on 41.

Dan had his usual oatmeal with wild blueberries, cinnamon, powdered ginger, freshly ground flaxseeds and walnuts for breakfast. While he got ready for work I packed his lunch and took a quick bath to wake up. I was feeling a little “brain fog” this morning and hot water seems to get me going.

Massimo (aka Masi) has a new trick I wanted to share with you. I have mentioned before that we use an electric blanket to warm up the bed at night before we get in and then we turn it off so we don’t get too hot. Masi figured out that the bed gets hot and he jumps in every night when we turn it on. His new trick is to stay in bed when we get up but to call us to turn the bed on for him. When we ignore him he will come to see us, “murf” (the noise he makes in place of a meow), and run back and forth to the bedroom until we follow him. Then he jumps onto the bed and murfs until we turn the electric blanket on. *rolls eyes* These felines are so spoiled, I wonder how that happened? I am sure I had nothing to do with it. ;-)

After Dan left for work I wrote the last post about Tuesday and Wednesday. I need to really try to stay current on my posts because those two day posts take a lot longer to write, LOL. While I worked on that post I had a mug of hot tea and a cup of water. Next I knocked out my strength training (TRX) and had breakfast. Since I was running late I was starving this morning and had a big mug of the leftover Mexican flavored soup topped with the remainder of the salsa. We are now out of soup which means I need to make more of that today.

Once I was fed I was ready to start my day and got into the kitchen. I had a few things that I needed to work on today and decided to start by making soymilk for Dan’s breakfast and strawberry banana soft serve.

Then it was time to figure out what kind of soup I was going to make. Coming up with new dishes all the time can be exhausting. *rolls eyes* Maybe I need to give myself a break and make a few more repeats when I am busy. Though we both know this isn’t likely to happen very often, LOL.

My afternoon snack was a repeat of a tangerine, a few dried plums (aka prunes) and two Brazil nuts (for the selenium). Clearly I am in a snack rut at the moment. ;-)

Since I had red kidney beans cooking and waiting to go I decided that I would like to make something similar to black bean soup only using kidney beans. Here is what I did:

Mexican-Flavored Red Kidney Bean Soup
Serves 6


5 cups water or no sodium added veg stock (I used water)
3 ½ cups red kidney beans, home cooked without sodium (or substitute 2-15 ounce cans)
1 large onion, peeled and finely diced
8 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, whole, crushed or ground
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 ½ teaspoons oregano
1 ½ teaspoons coriander seed, crushed or ground
2 chipotles in adobo, minced (scrape away the seeds before mincing you don’t want much heat)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoon masa harina (to thicken and add that distinctive “corn tortilla” flavor)
1 lime, zested and juiced

Possible garnishes:

salsa or diced fresh tomato
avocado, diced
cashew cream
finely chopped red onion or sliced scallions
lime wedges
cooked grain, brown rice would be traditional but I used quinoa


Combine the water, beans, onions, garlic, spices (cumin, chili powder, oregano), chipotles, and black pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes or as long as it takes to soften the onions and garlic and for the flavors to blend. Puree a few cups of the soup and return that to the pot. Alternately you can use an immersion blender to puree only some of the soup. Remove a little of the soup and sprinkle two tablespoons masa harina into it and whisk to combine. Return the masa and soup to the pot and simmer until the soup is thickened and the raw corn flour taste has been cooked out. Add the juice and zest of one then taste and correct the seasonings and serve one of more of the possible garnishes listed above.

Nutritional Information (without the garnishes):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 157.78
Calories From Fat (2%) - 3.64

Total Fat - 0.44g
Saturated Fat - 0.07g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 18.13mg
Potassium - 544.57mg
Total Carbohydrates - 29.7g
Fiber - 10.72g
Sugar - 1.22g
Protein - 10.36g


This soup has a big bold flavor and nice level of heat that is mild to medium in level and that is with the seeds left in the chipotles. I wanted something that was substantial tasting and warming without being too heavy. I think this soup can be easily changed by varying the toppings.

Tonight we had the soup with diced fresh tomatoes and cilantro over quinoa.

Needless to say Dan “needed” to have two bowls of strawberry banana soft serve (made with soymilk) as his dessert. If he keeps asking for this we may need an intervention soon. ;-)

Water Intake Update:

In an attempt to keep myself on track I am going to post my water intake for a few weeks until this becomes a habit. Thursday I had 5 mugs of hot tea, and 5 mugs of water. Increasing my water intake has had the impact of reducing my white and green tea consumption. Gee, I wonder why, LOL. My new target is between 4 and 5 mugs of tea and cups of water per day.

I have also noticed that I am not as hungry as usual which could be a problem if my food intake dips too low. Increasing my water intake is a bit of an experiment on my part. I am always trying to improve my health and nutrition and was running out of ideas which was why I decided to try increasing my water. I will keep you informed regarding how this works out for me.

Happy Thoughts:

• The temperatures have been extremely nice two days in a row. I will always take highs in the 40’s and 50’s over the frigid temperatures we had earlier in the month. Having nice weather has reminded me that spring is just around the corner. I always look forward to spring and love it when my azaleas are in full bloom. You can expect more photos like last year since I love my azalea bushes. ;-)

• If you can love an inanimate object then I am in love with my TRX. As usual I was skeptical but this may actually live up to the hype and most things never even come close. I want to get through all the workouts a few more times before I review it but I can tell you that I have been enjoying it more than I expected to. If you have a friend with at TRX see if they will demonstrate it for you. I think you will be surprised by all the things you can do with it.

• Given how much soymilk I will be making I am also grateful for my soymilk maker. This was something Dan thought I needed and it does make it easy to make soymilk. I also love knowing that it doesn’t contain anything artificial. You know how I feel about “Frankenfood”. ;-)

• I am thankful that we have three adorable felines to share our lives with. Masi was particularly adorable this morning. I absolutely love our three felines. Dan is right when he has we are wrapped around their fuzzy little toes.

• It was great to hear Dr. Oz tell people to avoid sugar Thursday on his show. I am hopeful that by him outlining the problems of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, fatty liver and high blood sugar to such a wide audience it will get more people’s attention.

• Have you ever had one of those surreal moments where you catch a glance of yourself in the mirror and think “is that me?” That happened to me today. I know this will sound impossible but I look younger (or at least as young) today compared to 10 years ago and it floors me every time I notice it. Go whole food! ;-)

• I am also thankful that Dan made it home last night before the snow. I like to have him safely home before the frozen precipitation starts falling.

Signing out:

Today is Friday which means I need to take care of my usual Friday errands. We had snow overnight and the temperatures have been falling since I got up. Hopefully the roads aren’t too bad. Have I said recently that I don’t like the cold? LOL

Talk to you tomorrow. Happy Friday!


  1. Hi Ali,
    So I explored the globalvegan website from your blog links and saw this tip that you might be interested in. In the green smoothie, use green/white tea to process instead of just water.

    Seems easy enough but it would be great to increase intake of EGCG. I wonder if it would be bitter though. I'm going to try it out next time. When I made my smoothie this morning, I used sweet potato water (boiled sweet potatoes last night) and that gave it a slightly sweet taste.

  2. Man, that soup sounds so good. My breakfast has worn off and I could really use a bowl of that for lunch!!

  3. Ali,
    Congrats on your surreal moment! Also, I made your falafel recipe (without the wet hots)..I didn't follow it to a tee, but I have to say we really liked it. I'll be making it again soon.
    Thanks Ali,

  4. Your Massimo is so adorable. Cats do learn fast. When I had my cats, if I moved away from the heating pad, it was lost to one of my girls.
    They give such unaffected love and companionship. Pass hugs for me.
    For us toady it is -10C. Today I'm in just resting.
    Have a great day.

  5. It looks so good I have to make it! Thanks for the post!!!

  6. That cat photo is adorable. They are smart, aren't they? With so much with a pet sitter, mine got spoiled on treats and have started whining for them. That's not really very cute.

    Your soup also sounds great - it's amazing how a few flavor changes can really alter the overall taste and make something different from the same ingredients. I appreciate you sharing the flavor "themes".

  7. Your kitty is hilarious! He seems a little spoiled, not alot
    I really like the sound of your soup, it seems like a thin chili to me, especially with the addition of the masa harina! Nice

  8. i love the sound of that soup, but even more, i love the image of your cat coming to get you to turn on the blanket for her (him?) That is just too sweet. our dogs are pretty spoiled but I think Masi takes cake : )

  9. I've been growing more weirded out by soymilk so maybe a soymilk maker would be good for us. I've been trying to buy the soymilks lately that don't contain carageenan (please tell me if you think this ingredient is awful, as I need extra encouragement to rid of it, if necessary). The kids don't like them very well, though. I've been trying to just blend them with bananas or strawberries to make them taste better.

  10. hi Alicia,
    long time no chat! I'm drooling over that bean soup on a day like today where its only around 10 degrees :)

  11. Hola! Hope all is well with you and that you're MIA due to a busy schedule. Was getting caught up on Google Reader blog feed just now while the bambino naps and realized there was nothing new from Vegan Epicurean.

    Best, Heather

  12. Jill,

    I have used green tea in my smoothies before. I do that sometimes but not often. The reason I don't use it more is that the flavonoids in the tea inhibit the absorption of nonheme iron (in this case from the greens) when consumed at the same time.

    Interesting idea about the sweet potato water. What a great way to save the water soluble vitamins. Great idea! Thanks for sharing it. :-)


  13. Aimee,

    I am so glad you liked the falafel recipe. *happy dance* Thanks for letting me know. :-)


  14. Carin,

    I am convinced that Massimo is the feline equivalent of Albert Einstein. He is too smart for his own good. He has me wrapped around his fuzzy little toes.

    My cats are the same way with the heating pad. Dan will move them when that happens but I let them have it. Good thing we have more than one heating pad. LOL

    Minus 10 brrrr that is darn cold. I hope you are staying warm.


  15. thevegantummy,

    I am glad you like the sound of it. I hope you enjoy it. You can change the soup leftovers by stirring in canned tomaotes. That worked well for me.


  16. Jessica,

    I am always surprised by the things my cats do. They never cease to amaze me. Bummer on the cat sitter and cat treats. I bet that is not overly precious. I hope they give up soon. ;-)

    Glad you like the flavor themes. I will do more of that when I remember. Do you have anything speciifc you want to see?


  17. Brandi,

    Massimo is very spoiled, as are his siblings. But that is okay why have them if you aren't going to spoil them right? LOL

    The soup was very thick actually. I thinnned out the leftovers with diced tomatoes to make it a different soup. Using masa harina to thicken Mexican dishes is something I read in one of my cookbooks but I don't remember where I saw it now.


  18. Stephanie,

    Massimo is very spoiled, LOL. He rules the house with a velvet paw. Masi is a boy though everyone thinks he is a girl because he is so fuzzy I think. All my cats are Turkish Angoras. The breed isn't very common but "cat people" claim they are the border collies of the cat world. Based on my experience with them I would say it is true.


  19. Jenny,

    I gave up carrageenan after reading that it was linked to causing cancer in lab animals. That was enough for me to eliminate it. I have not seen anything studies on people but why wait right? Carrageenan is also called Irish Moss and is used in a lot of raw food. I hope that helps.


  20. Jin,

    I haven't been online much the last couple of weeks. I love bean soup particularly when it is cold.

    We got snow overnight and I think that is over you now. Stay warm!


  21. Heather,

    I have been swamped lately. This morning I had time to get online for a while. With a little luck I will be back to daily posts again unless something else unexpected happens like the leaking water heater and Dan not feeling well.

    I hope all is well with you,


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