Baked Adzuki Beans


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Have you ever heard of Adzuki beans before? I hadn’t either until the other day… Or at least I thought I hadn’t!

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It turns out that Adzuki beans are actually the infamous “red bean” that you are always hearing about… Are you familiar with that super yummy red bean ice cream that you can find at most sushi restaurants? Yep… that’s the Adzuki bean! See? You have heard of them before!

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These beans are also associated with some pretty amazing health benefits! They are known to play a key part in contributing to the ability to lose weight, to help with the prevention and management of diabetes, lower blood pressure, help increase energy levels, and they are also supposed to have major body-detoxifying effects!

So how did I come across these beans you may be wondering… Well, truth be told, I had to steal them! Yep, that’s right — straight out of the farmer’s field!

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Well I better explain… My dad is a farmer and part of his business is combining crops for other farmers. This year when I was down visiting he told me about these Adzuki beans that he was going to combine, and how they were a Japanese bean that people eat… I was immediately intrigued and thought that I must get my hands on some of these beans! So we devised the perfect plan!

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Since soy-a-beans are a more commonly grown and harvested type of bean in Ontario, we had to clean the combine out really well so no soy-a-beans would get mixed in with the Adzuki beans. Even though the combine was thoroughly cleaned out, the Adzuki beans could be rejected if even one single soy-a-bean is mixed in with them. As an extra precaution, you are supposed to combine a few Adzuki beans first, and then dump them on the ground to clean out the internal parts of the combine before continuing on to harvest the rest. It was these first beans that get dumped out into the field for waste, that I was able to steal!

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My mom and I filled up a couple of zip lock sandwich bags, and I just couldn’t wait to cook these bad boys up for supper that night!

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After doing a little recipe researching, I decided that I would use these Adzuki beans to make a more traditional Canadian dish – yummy baked beans! And today, I am going to share this yummy delicious recipe with you! And don’t worry, if you are unable to steal some fresh Adzuki beans straight from the field, you can usually purchase them in the international aisle of your local super market!

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Prep Time: 60 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Serves: 6 – 10

What you’ll need:

3 ½ cups of Adzuki Beans

Water (Lots of this!)

1 medium, diced Onion

3 tbsp of butter

¼ tsp of minced Garlic

1 ½ cups of sweetened Apple Sauce

1 cup of Tomato Sauce

¾ of brown or golden Sugar

¼ tsp of Cumin Powder

¼ tsp of Salt

¼ tsp of Black Pepper

1 cup of cooked, diced Bacon (Optional)

Instructions:

Since my beans were fresh from the field, I had to sort through them, (perform my own QA/QC process), and then wash them. If you are purchasing your beans from the store, then you can most likely skip this step!

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The next thing that you’ll have to do is soften your Adzuki beans before baking them. Add them to a big pot of water and bring them to a boil. Once they are at a boil, turn down the heat, and let them simmer for about an hour. These beans will soak up a lot of water, so make sure that you keep checking them and adding more water as needed.

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While you are waiting for them to soften, you can prepare all of your other ingredients.

Sautee your bacon, onions, and garlic in the butter with the salt and pepper.

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Once your beans are all softened, you have two options! You can choose to bake your beans in the oven, or if you have time and love crock pot cooking like I do, you can let them simmer in the crock pot. Since I didn’t have a lot of time that day, I choose to bake mine in the oven.

Either way you choose, you’ll need to set aside ¼ cup of the sugar, and then add all of the other ingredients into your baking dish.

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Gently fold your beans into the other ingredients so that they don’t break or turn to mush.

Once everything is thoroughly mixed, sprinkle the remaining brown sugar on top.

Cover with foil and bake for one hour. Or let simmer in the crock pot for two to three hours.

The very final step is to eat and enjoy!

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Healthy, Easy, Yummy — Apple Chutney!


Healthy, Easy, Yummy — Apple Chutney!

Prep Time: 5 minutes, Bake Time: 10 minutes

Hello, hello everyone! It’s been a little while since the Project Pile has done a recipe… we have just been so busy around here! Last September I started teaching at our local college, then I starting working on another “project” for another company here in town…. Plus, we are now expecting again — Yes, expecting! So, now it’s the end of the school year, I thought that I would share this really yummy, really easy and healthy apple chutney recipe that I came up with last week when I had to quickly throw together one of those last minute, yet super delicious, home-cooked meals!

I needed the perfect side to go with my pork chops…. something fresh, crisp and summery…. and then it came to me — Apple chutney! Now, here’s the interesting part, the part where my chutney differs a little bit from other recipes…. there is no vinegar in this chutney recipe at all! The vinegar is actually replaced with cranberry juice, which allows the amount of sugar required to be significantly reduced, therefore making it much healthier than your typical chutney recipes! 🙂

So here it goes — hope you enjoy!

All you need is:

  • 3 diced Apples
  • 1/4 cup of Cranberry Juice
  • 1/4 cup of diced Onions
  • 1/4 cup of Sunflower Seeds
  • 1/4 cup of Cranberries
  • 1 tsp of Butter or Margarine
  • 1 tsp of Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon

Step One: In a small or medium sized frying pan, saute onions on medium heat in the butter or margarine, until golden-brown.

Tip: Add any extra seasoning that you like during the sauteing process, for extra flavor!

Step Two: Add the apples, cinnamon and cranberry juice. Bring to a boil, then cover and let simmer for seven minutes, or until the apples are soft.

Tip: The cooking time will vary depending on the type of apples that you use. The softer the apple, the less time it will take for them to soften.

Step Three: Stir in the brown sugar and simmer for about two more minutes.

Tip: The addition of the brown sugar won’t only sweeten the mixture, but it will help to thicken it a little too, as it cools.

Step Four: Remove the mixture from heat, and add the sunflower seeds and dried cranberries — Then serve and enjoy!

Tip: It’s best to add the cranberries and sunflower seeds at the very end of the process, otherwise they may harden.

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