Monday, March 20, 2006

Everyone's Changing Places!

We've got a big family project that we're planning to start over the next few days. The boys are moving into the girls' bedroom, the girls are moving into my office and I'm moving my office into the boys' room. The reason is quite simple, everyone, except me, needs a bigger space. Part of my soul searching the other day, resulted in the realization that I have no desire to do individual nutrition counseling in my home anymore. I just don't like the way it encroaches on my family life. I'll keep my nutrition counseling at the gym where it belongs. Like Ruthie, I'll use this move (even though its only down the hall and up or down the stairs, depending on which room you're moving from and to) as an opportunity to organize and purge. The whole family is excited. An added bonus is the closet in what will be my office can be used almost solely as a pantry. Holy organization Batman!

I started purging my paper piles last night and as a result everyone attending my nutrition talk tonight will walk away with enough printed matter to paper the average size bedroom. Actually, its all valuable information but I regularly get more in the mail, so I have no need to hold on to so much. I feel freer and more relaxed already!

In an effort to dedicate the most time to the project, I'm planning to rely on my slow cooker a little bit more over the next few weeks. I'm also planning to explore my pressure cooker. Look for more recipes using both of these in the near future.

Tonight's dinner, Cuban Black Beans and Rice, is cooking in the slow cooker already. Last night, I put black beans with twice as much water into the slow cooker on low. When I'm done blogging, I'll drain the water and add fresh water (this steps helps decrease flatulence) and add the rest of the ingredients. If the beans are still a little hard, I'll add boiling water to get things cooking a little quicker. I'll cook rice on the stove top, maybe I'll use the pressure cooker! I'll serve this topped with the last crumbled remains of a bag of torilla chips.


Ruthie said...

My favorite kitchen tool is my pressure cooker. I still haven't completely figured out my slow cooker (its old and cranky) but my pressure cooker is amazing!

Here are my standbys:

Brown rice or barley: Coat the bottom of the pressure cooker with a thin layer of oil (optional). Heat to medium high, add grain, and toast until highly fragrant. Add double amount water (i.e. 2 c water to 1 c rice), and 2 teaspoons oil to prevent boil over. Add any herbs or spices desired (parsley is especially pretty). Coat gasket with oil or shortening, close lid, and bring to pressure at high power. As soon as high pressure is reached, set timer to 12 minutes and decrease temp until the cooker is gently purring. When timer goes off, remove cooker from heat and let sit. When pressure drops completely, fluff grain and recover for 5 minutes.

Beans: Soak the traditional method, or quick soak by boiling for two minutes then soaking for an hour. (You don't have to soak at all, but we find this makes us gassy). Drain and rinse. Add beans to cooker in the ratio of 2 cups beans (unsoaked, roughly one pound) to 5 cups water. Don't fill the cooker up much more than 1/2 way. Add two teaspoons of oil, a couple of bay leaves, and herbs and spices. Dried peppers are good, too. :-D Bring to high pressure just like rice. Depending on how you like your beans, cook 15 minutes (chewy) to an hour (baby soft). We like ours baby soft. :) Bigger beans like dried limas cook faster than smaller beans like black beans. Chick peas and soybeans take the longest amount of time. ALWAYS let pressure decrease naturally. (Just take it off the heat)

I want to experiment with 1/2 way cooking beans, then adding rice, and making sorta pilaf.

OK Long comment, sorry :-D


Katie said...

Never apologoze for a long, informative post! I can't wait to try these ideas.