Saturday, December 31, 2011

How to Cook Easily Digestible Beans / Hummus Recipe

by Lois Breneman - 2012 - Heart to Heart
You will be amazed at what apple cider vinegar will do for all of your bean recipes! 
(The addition of apple cider vinegar for digestion and the omission of salt for tenderness)

Rinse a bag of dried beans in a colander, removing any stones.  My favorites are Great Northern Beans.

Cover with twice as much pure water as beans (4 cups beans to 8 cups water).

For every cup of beans, add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.  Stir.  Allow to soak overnight or at least 8 hours.

Drain liquid, rinse well, and replace the water with fresh pure water in a two to one ratio.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil. 

It's very important NOT to add any salt until the beans fully cooked.  Salt will prevent them from getting soft.

Cook until soft (about 45 - 60 minutes), checking the tenderness.

Season with salt, pepper, and herbs.

Serve some of the beans and freeze the remaining beans for later (a time-saving method of cooking).
Great Northern Beans may be substituted for chick peas when making hummus.
Use a few beans in tossed salads, in quesadillas, soups, casseroles, taco dip, and in beans and rice dishes.

All grains and seeds will be more digestible when soaked, using this soaking method.

Note from Lois: Follow the directions above, rather than using canned beans, for much better digestion.

Recipe from
  • 2 cups canned garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, halved
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pinch paprika
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
  1. Place the garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, salt and garlic in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl.
  2. Drizzle olive oil over the garbanzo bean mixture. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Muffins
Thanks to my daughter-in-law, Rachael Breneman, for this recipe!

Notes from Lois:
Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Baking Flour can be used in place of the first three ingredients.
I found mini muffin pans work best in baking these muffins.  When using larger muffin tins and most definitely bread pans, the dough does not completely bake, although it is still good when toasted.

Dry Ingredients:
3/4 cup tapioca starch
3/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. sea salt

Wet Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
3/4 cup unsweetened soy milk (sub: your favorite milk substitute or regular milk)
2 Tbsp. flaxseed meal + 6 Tbsp. water
3 Tbsp. grapeseed oil (sub: olive oil or coconut oil)
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1-2 tsp. liquid stevia, depending on how sweet you want them
1/4 tsp. apple cider vinegar (sub: lemon juice)

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.
  3. In a second bowl, mix the flaxseed meal and water. Set aside for a minute, then add the rest of the wet ingredients and stir completely.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to wet and stir with a fork until completely mixed.
  5. Grease your muffin tins and fill almost to the top with batter. If you're using muffin tin liners, you might want to spray them too. I found some of the muffins stuck to the liners a bit. Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

Slow Cooker Lasagna

from "Home Joys," a newsletter by Gina Martin - - Used by permission

1 lb. ground beef                  1 tsp. salt

1 large onion, chopped       1 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. garlic powder         8 oz. lasagna noodles
29 oz. can tomato sauce     1 lb. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup water                             1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 oz. can tomato paste        12 oz. cottage or Ricotta cheese

Brown ground beef and onion until browned. Drain. Add garlic powder, tomato sauce, water, tomato paste, salt, and oregano.  Mix well and set aside.  Mix the 3 cheeses in another bowl and set aside.  In an ungreased 5 qt. slowcooker spread  1/4 of the meat sauce. Arrange a third of the noodles over the sauce, breaking noodles as necessary. Spoon a third of the cheese mixture over the noodles.  Repeat layers twice.  Top with remaining meat sauce.  Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until noodles are tender.

*I have never used regular lasagna noodles for this. I can pick up packages of no boil lasagna at the Bent & Dent Store and that is what I use.

*Another thing I like to do is make the meat sauce and cheese mixture on Saturday and then just throw it together Sunday morning for lunch.  Slow cookers are also great for leftovers or canned soup.  Sometimes if I know I’ll be gone during the morning or afternoon I like to drag out my trusty crockpot, fill it up and turn it on low. It’s awesome for Sunday lunch. - Barb

A Tip on Microwaving Food

by Lois Breneman - 2012 - Heart to Heart

With all the concern about microwaving food in plastic containers, this tip is a workable solution.  You don't need to go out and purchase lots of glass containers.  I've been doing this for a long time and find that quite a few dishes already in my cupboards have been working great for heating food in the microwave.  Corelle dishes are especially convenient because of their light weight.  Oneida salad bowls that I bought from Red Lobster in the 90's are a favorite in cooking frozen vegetables and other food items for just the two of us, with a cereal bowl serving as the lid.

Try combining some glass dishes you already have in similar combinations:

A salad bowl + a cereal bowl as a lid
A cereal bowl + a saucer as a lid
A salad bowl + a salad plate as a lid
A serving bowl + a cereal bowl as a lid
A larger serving bowl + a salad plate as a lid

I'm sure you get the picture, but if you're interested you can find photos posted near the bottom of the home page at

If you have Corningware casserole dishes, they work great as well.  They last forever!  I'm still using the ones we got as wedding gifts forty-three years ago.  If you don't have any, yard sales and thrift shops are good resources to find them.  Clean them up with a Magic Eraser and they will look like new.  By the way, sometimes I also use a plastic microwave cover (which does not touch the food) as a lid. I found it at Walmart about twelve years ago.  So as you see, there are practical ways of getting around the plastic/microwave issue.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Cup of Christmas Cocoa

Thanks to Patti Hamilton in North Carolina for sending this!

Tracie Miles

"They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness." Psalm 145:7 (NIV)

In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, there's one thing that always calms my heart and quiets my thoughts - a cup of hot cocoa. Who doesn't feel warm and peaceful while sipping a cup of steaming cocoa with marshmallows piled on top?
But, there is another reason I love cocoa. Each letter of my favorite winter drink helps me focus my heart on Christ at Christmas:

"This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit." Matthew 1:18 (NIV 1984)
We all know Christ is the reason for this season, yet it's easy to focus on shopping and planning instead of Jesus. This month, let's spend as much time seeking God's heart as we do searching for the perfect gifts.

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." 1 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV 1984)
We can easily spend more time decorating our house to look like the holiday edition of a magazine, than we do adorning our inner spirit with God's love and compassion. Let's ask God to make our hearts beautiful by giving us His patience and kindness. Then let's look for ways to bless those around us, especially those in need.

"A happy heart makes a face look cheerful. But a sad heart produces a broken spirit." Proverbs 15:13 (NIV)
As gift lists grow and calendars get full, our physical and emotional energy can be drained. Although Christmas is meant to be a joyous season, many of us struggle with depression and discouragement during this time of the year. Let's take time each day to focus on how much we are valued and loved as children of God. The holidays are merely a season, but God's love and compassion for us are permanent.

"When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh." Matthew 2:10-11 (NIV)
Do you ever feel overjoyed to kick off the holiday season but overwhelmed by the middle of the month? If we take time each day in December to thank Jesus for coming as our Savior, we could become overwhelmed by His kindness instead. When we focus our hearts on all God has done, we won't get as easily overwhelmed by all that still needs to be done.

"...I came that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10b (NIV)
Whenever I think of Christmas morning, from my childhood to the present, the word ABUNDANCE comes to mind. Abundance of presents, food and activities. But these things are temporary. What we need is the abundant life Jesus came to give us. Our hearts need His mercy, peace and love, not only on Christmas day, but every day throughout each year.
I don't know about you, but I'm ready for a cup of Christmas cocoa. Will you join me? Let's take time to ponder these Christmas truths and, as that chocolaty goodness warms us, let's allow the warmth of God's love to pour into our hearts and His abundant goodness to pour out into the lives of those around us.

Dear Lord, thank You for giving me the gift of Your Son. Please help me not get so caught up in the earthly celebrations of Christmas that I forget to celebrate all I have in Christ. Remind me of Your love each day and show me how to share it with others each day of this month. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Read Tracie's featured Christmas article in the December edition of our P31 Woman magazine! A P31 Woman subscription makes a great Christmas gift!
Visit Tracie's blog for a chance to win a special COCOA giveaway.

Application Steps:
Share today's devotion with friends and family.
Why not print the acronym for COCOA on a gift card and tie it to a pretty cup to give as a gift this Christmas?

Have I allowed the chaos of Christmas to overshadow my love for Christ?
How can I share God's goodness with others this season?

Power Verses:
Number 6:25-26, "The LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace." (NIV)
© 2011 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105

Monday, December 5, 2011

Two Healthy Recipes for Very Busy Times

Thanks to Rachael Breneman, my daughter-in-law, for sending these quick and easy recipes!   With all the sugar and fat laden foods before us at this time of the year,  more than ever we need to eat healthy foods on a regular basis.  These two recipes for quinoa and smoothies are a good start!

Here is a yummy quinoa recipe.  I like it warmed up or cold and have even eaten it for breakfast.
Original Recipe 
Yield: 10 servings
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantr0
  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute until lightly browned.
  2. Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes,
  3. Stir frozen corn into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans and cilantro.
Note: Other beans may be substituted.

Also I've been enjoying smoothies lately - a great way to get raw greens!  Really hits the spot when I'm craving something sweet.  No specific recipe but here are the ingredients I use:

Frozen blueberries and or strawberries
water and or unsweetened almond milk
sometimes ice cubes
vanilla (no corn syrup added)
flax seed meal
a couple handfuls of baby spinach or kale
(sometimes wheat grass or spirulina powder)
You could also add some nuts or nut butter.
Smoothies are quick and easy to eat. I like them because I don't have to sit down at the table to eat it like I would a salad but I'm getting just as many greens.  You can really experiment to your liking.