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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Soft and Creamy Crock Pot Beans

Baby, its cold outside!

 Snow Again!  
Last week I thought spring was in the air, and then I woke up this morning to this!! The Snow is back!

There are two things that I don't like about winter in Pennsylvania : the snow ( and ice), and how early  it gets dark.  By the time I get home from work, the last thing I feel like doing is cooking because I am cold, tired, and prefer to find refuge hiding under one of my warm fluffy down quilts than starting dinner.
I do enjoy a good dinner, so for me, there is nothing better than using my crockpot .

Imagine walking into the house hungry for dinner, and finding that dinner is ready for you.
After a days work, I love opening the front door, walking into the kitchen, and marveling at how smart I was to think of using my crock pot.

To make this easy healthy bean's recipe in a crock pot, I have to start thinking about soaking the dry  beans by 6:30 -8:30  the night before because the beans have to soak overnight. I have to empty and rinse a bag of mixed dry beans, place them in a large bowl, cover them with water, and then ignore them until about 6:30 the next morning.

In the morning, before I leave for the day,  I rinse the beans, place them in my crock pot with 3 large carrots ( cut in half),  2 T of dry ground ginger ( fresh doesn't work) , a few shakes of Trader Joe's 21( no salt) Salute,  and enough water to cover the beans( about 6 cups),  put the temperature setting on low ,and leave for work.

When I return at about 4:00 pm.. the delightful aroma smells like I have been at home cooking all day. The beans form their own little sauce in the crock and are delightfully soft, tasty and filling. With a large salad, and a slice of gluten free bread, we call it a meal.

For a faster version:  Cover beans with water in a pot, bring beans to a boil, turn off heat and cover. Allow to sit in the water covered for about 2 hours to soften them After 2 hours, drain water and place the beans in a crock pot and follow recipe. Put the crock pot on high and check to see when they look done ( about 3-4 hours).

This particular bean recipe is very simple, ( yet very tasty),  but you can also use recipes that include more vegetables and potatoes. Some people say that cooking the beans with a quartered potato cuts down on the gas. Others say that the more you eat beans, the more you increase the amount of good bacteria and intestinal flora in your gut, which helps digest beans. Of course, there is always "Beano," a digestive enzyme to help digest beans that is available in most health food stores.

My favorite bean mix is a mix called "cholent beans". ( For those on the East coast, I buy it in the Kosher Experience Section of Shoprite) It is a combination of navy beans, small kidney beans, and pinto beans. ( you can make your own by combing the beans)It is the basis of an old Eastern European " Cholent" recipe which orthodox Jews baked overnight to eat for the Sabbath meal on Saturday. Traditionally, barley, potatoes, and flanken bones are added to the cholent beans.

My gluten free vegetarian version just uses the combination of beans, ground powdered ginger ( a must),  a piece of fresh garlic, a little Trader Joe's 21 Salute spice mix.  and 3 cut up carrots. After a slow slimmer for 7 hours in the crock pot, the flavor is amazing.

Are beans healthy? You bet!
Very high in fiber , good source of protein,( when eaten with a grain like rice, quinoa, bread ( GF) ) and provides  magnesium, iron, potassium, and is a slow burning complex carbohydrate to help regulate blood sugar.
To boot, beans are very inexpensive, easy to make, and are a very healthy addition to your weekly menu. Think some version of  rock pot beans at least once a week in the winter..

If you have a good vegetarian bean crock pot recipe, add your recipe or link to your blog in the comments ( scroll to bottom, look for the green box and the word comments. Click comments and add yours..)

May be shared on a few of the following blog carnivals
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  1. After going on a fast for 3 weeks where I ate vegan, I have a way better appreciation of beans than I did before! I love how simple this is and I can only imagine how tasty it is!

    1. I know, it's a great staple to have in the house and easy to make while it warms you up

  2. YUM! I love crock pot beans! Thanks so much for sharing at the Grain Free Tuesdays Bloghop!

  3. This sounds SO delicious! I'd love to try your recipe, but I have a question: for those of us not on the East Coast, what is in the Trader Joe's spice mix you use?
    Thanks for the recipe! I found you through Simple Lives Thursday, by the way.

  4. Danielle,
    Trader Joe has a dry spice mix made of 21 spices and no salt. You could probably find something comparable in the supermarket.

  5. beautiful winter picture those beans sure do sound great love the fact that they are cooked in crockpot

    1. Beans in the winter are perfect and made in the crock pot is even better.


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