Baked Adzuki Beans

12

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

1

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!

5

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!

9

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!

combine-v001

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!

2

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!

3

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!

11

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!

4

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.

6

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.

7

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.

8

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!

11

Weekly Meal Plan – A How-To Guide


Weekly Meal Plan - A How-To Guide

Ok, here’s how to do it! Here’s how to save a TON of money per month! It’s really simple, it’s really easy…. and I’ll give you a hint: It has to do with FOOD!

Yes — If you are anything like my husband and I, we eat out everyday for lunch…. breakfast too! And at night, we find it way too easy to give in to our daily cravings of whatever might come our way…. Maybe it was that Burger King that we drove by on the way home from work, that DQ commercial that we just saw on TV…. Or perhaps, we just feel unorganized and lazy and nothing seems more appealing than my absolute favorite go-to meal: Pizza!



Well, guess what…. those days are over! It’s time to shape up, it’s time to start saving money and it’s time to eat a little healthier! So here’s how we are going to do it….. with a WEEKLY MEAL PLAN! I’m not only going to show you an easy way to do it, but a super-versatile way too, so you don’t get super-bored and give up!

Ready, set, go!

Step One – Create the base: Designate each night of the week for a type of meat, (or protein if you don’t care for meat!) or a certain meal “type”. I would define a meal “type” as something like tacos, or casserole, or even crock-pot! By doing this, you are predetermining what you are going to need to purchase or take out of the freezer ahead of time.

Step Two – Make a list of side dishes: You can use this list and switch up your choices for different nights of different weeks, and this way, you’re sure to never get bored! Let’s face it — This isn’t the 1950’s and we don’t want to sit down and eat meat, potatoes, carrots — every single night!




To give you an idea, here is what the base of my weekly meal plan looks like:

02

Now I’m going to give you some different ideas for these different categories, which include links to some of the best recipes out there! Go ahead, try them out! Eat yummy and save money! 😉

Chicken Recipes

Taco Recipes

Casserole Recipes




Pork Recipes

Beef Recipes

Crock-Pot

Side Dishes


HERE ARE SOME MORE RECIPES THAT YOU MAY ENJOY!

Four Ingredient Gourmet Burgers (The quick and tasty burger hack!)

3 Ingredient Meat-Loaf

Get More out of your Hamburger Helper

Honey Apple Roasted Ham (A very quick and easy, delicious recipe!)

Steak Marinade! Perfect for Grilling!


Weekly Meal Plan - A How-To Guide


*This post may contain affiliate links.

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.

1

 

 

 

Savory Southern Stew

3Savory Southern Stew!

I’m so excited that it finally got a little bit cold here in Southern-Ontario! In order to celebrate, I decided to make my favorite stew and I thought…. why not share it with you! It is seriously the easiest stew to make… All you have to do is lightly saute the beef, and then throw everything into the crock pot to simmer for the day!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of chopped or baby carrots
  • 1 cup of diced potatoes
  • 1 cup of mushrooms
  • 1.5 lbs of cubed beef
  • 2 tbsp of butter or margarine
  • 1 can of condensed tomato soup
  • 1/4 tsp each, of  salt, pepper and thyme

Step 1: Lightly saute about 1.5 lbs of cubed beef in a frying pan in butter and pepper.

While sauteing your cubes of beef, this is where you could add in one and a half tablespoons of flour for a thicker stew. I chose to leave the flour out, since I’ve been trying really, really hard to eat super-healthy! If you are looking for a thicker stew, after your meat is sauteed, toss it in the flour until all of the flour has been absorbed… It will later mix in nice with the rest of the contents of your stew, causing it to thicken, but by mixing it in with the meat first, you will prevent the flour from clumping!

Step 2: Add beef, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, onions, spices, and one can of condensed tomato soup into the crock pot.

For this stew, I chose to use some of my favorite vegetables; carrots, potatoes, mushrooms and onions…. but really, you can use whatever kind of vegetables you like, or even whatever you already have on hand! I also used just a few of my favorite spices to keep it nice and simple, but you can also choose to use your favorite spices too!

Step 3: Let simmer for at least 4 to 6 hours.

I like to let my stew simmer all day long to make it extra savory! But since the meat is pre-sauteed, you really only have to make sure that your vegetables are cooked all of the way through before serving. Remember, that the smaller you chop your vegetables, the quicker they will be ready!

Step 4: Serve and enjoy! 🙂

A nice dinner roll or slice of bread with butter (plus maybe, a glass of wine)…. make the perfect accessories for this meal!