Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The confusing truth about cooking dried beans

I like to cook recipes that include dried beans. Beans are an excellent and frugal source of nutrition. Beans mixed with a bit of meat and vegetables makes for practically unlimited recipe variations.

I tend to research everything that I do, so of course, I have researched how to cook dried beans. My research has led me down a long and winding path that eventually comes down to:
A. rinse the beans
B. check for foreign matter (sticks and stones)
C. boil until done to the consistency that you like

However, along my research trail I also read that one can/should:
1. soak beans for up to 24 hour prior to cooking*
2. throw out the water that you used to soak the beans
3. boil the beans in the water that you used to soak the beans (conflicts with #2)
4. cook beans on simmer for 1 hour
5. cook beans on simmer for 6 hours
6. put salt in the water at the beginning, middle or end
7. don't put salt in the water

You can see that trying to align points #1 through #7 above is impossible. Therefore, I suggest that you do the above steps A-C and add any of the steps #1-7 that you agree with.

If you want to do your own research on this subject, a good place to start is this article by Michael Ruhlman.

*There is one other important piece of information about soaking dried beans. Per some sources, you should soak your dried beans for up to 24 hours and rinse them off prior to cooking. During the cooking process you should skim off any foam that rises. This will ensure that the beans will be fully digestible. Dried beans can last in storage for a very long time. The quality that allows them to last this long is also the quality that makes them hard to digest if they are not soaked per the above. Not everyone believes this. Not everyone does this. This information comes from a book called, "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon. I think it is true, but I don't always do it because I don't always plan a day ahead of time that I will be using my dried beans.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Save 80% on Vistaprint - today only

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This is through, so you will need to register with them. Coupon is good until May 16, 2012.

This is a good deal. Click here for the deal.

Monday, February 20, 2012

How to clean your toaster oven glass door

Do you have a toaster oven glass door that is splattered with the yuckiest, burnt on grease and gunk? Have you tried all forms of commercial cleaning products that promised to "cut through grease" to no avail? I have.

Then I read that baking soda would magically clean up this impossible mess. I didn't believe it. I'm always up for anything that is So, I tried it myself. Oh my - it worked!

Here are the steps:
  1. Unplug your toaster oven.
  2. Cover the area in front of the toaster oven with paper towels.
  3. Open the door and wipe off all the crumbs.
  4. Make a thick paste of baking soda and water.
  5. Cover the open oven door with the paste.
  6. Spray or dribble on tiny bits of water if paste is too thick.
  7. Leave on for at least 20 minutes. More if your yuck is super-yuck.
  8. Scrub with a non-abrasive scrubber.
  9. Wipe off residual with damp paper towel.
  10. Repeat if necessary.
  11. Ensure everything is totally dry before replugging in the toaster oven.
  12. Admire your handiwork.

Do you have successful methods of cleaning burnt on grease?

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