Category Archives: Gluten Free

Black-Eyed Peas

Black-Eyed Peas 101 – The Basics

Black-eyed peas are a delicious legume that is popular in the American South (among other places around the world). If you’re not familiar with them, you’re missing out! Below is a comprehensive article all about black-eyed peas, from what they are to suggested recipe links. If you haven’t tried them before, I urge you to at least give them a try sometime with any recipe that sounds like a “go” for you and your family. I doubt you’ll regret it!

Enjoy!
Judi

Black-Eyed Peas 101 – The Basics

About Black-Eyed Peas
Despite their name, black-eyed peas (Vigna unguiculata) are actually a type of shelling bean in the cowpea family. Their pods can be up to two feet long. Black-eyed peas are native to Asia and Africa and have been cultivated since about 3,000 BC. According to early records, black-eyed peas were brought to the West Indies by West African slaves, then onward to America. They were originally used as food for livestock, but became a staple in the slaves’ diet. The fields were left untouched by northern soldiers who saw no value in the crops, so they became an important food for the Confederate South in America.

Black-eyed peas are still a staple in Southern (American) foods where they are commonly served with deep leafy vegetables such as collard or turnip greens. In the South, it’s customary to eat black-eyed peas and greens on New Year’s Day for good health and wealth in the New Year.

Black-eyed peas have a kidney shape and are white with a black eye in the center. The black “eye” forms where the pea attaches to its pod. They have a creamy texture and a flavor all their own, that can be described as nutty, earthy, and savory.

Nutrition and Health Benefits
As with all legumes, black-eyed peas are a healthful addition to the diet. One cup of cooked black-eyed peas has 160 calories, negligible fat, and 5 grams of protein. That same one cup also has substantial amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, folate, and Vitamins A and K. They are also a very good source of soluble fiber which is known to help lower cholesterol thereby warding off heart disease.

Folate. One cup of cooked black-eyed peas provides more than half of our daily folate needs. This crucial B-vitamin is not only important in preventing anemia, but is also critical for pregnant women in ensuring their offspring are not born with neural tube defects (spinal and brain issues).

Manganese. One cup of cooked black-eyed peas also provides roughly half of our daily needs for manganese. This mineral is a valuable antioxidant that helps to protect cellular structures from damage. It is also used in the formation of cartilage and the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene). One cup of cooked black-eyed peas provides a substantial amount of Vitamin A by way of its beta-carotene content. This important vitamin is critical for proper eye function and also skin health. It also is utilized in the maintenance of our mucous membranes in the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts, helping to protect the body from invading pathogens. Vitamin A is also critical in the proper functioning of our immune system protecting us from pathogens that have entered the bloodstream.

All things considered, black-eyed peas are a very healthful food to include in your diet when you can. Their nutrient content can help to lower the risk of diabetes, improve blood pressure, decrease blood lipid levels thereby lowering the risk of heart disease, and reduce inflammation. All from a humble black-eyed pea!

How to Select Fresh Black-Eyed Peas
If you plan to shell the peas yourself, look for pods that appear fresh and tender. Avoid those that look dried out, blemished or moldy.

If you are shopping for fresh peas that have already been shelled, choose ones that look fresh and tender. Avoid those that look dry, wrinkly, or show signs of age and starting to spoil.

How to Store Fresh Black-Eyed Peas
Freshly harvested black-eyed peas are highly perishable and have a short shelf life. Unshelled peas should be kept in a cool, humid place (at 45°F to 50°F) for no more than 3 to 4 days after harvest. They should be shelled and cooked or frozen as soon as possible after being purchased.

Shelled, uncooked peas may be kept in the refrigerator in a covered container or plastic bag for no more than 7 days. Once cooked, black-eye peas should be stored in the refrigerator in a covered container and used within 3 to 5 days.

How to Prepare Fresh Black-Eyed Peas
Rinse the pods to remove any debris. Slim, very young black-eyed peas can be eaten in their pods, like green beans. The more mature peas should be removed from their pods before being cooked. To do that, gently squeeze the pod so it will separate at the seam. If that does not work, you can carefully cut along the seam with a knife. Allow the peas to drop into a bowl or container. Discard the pods. Rinse and drain the peas.

If your fresh peas have already been shelled, place them in a bowl of cold water and sort through them. Remove any damaged peas or those that have an off color. Drain the peas and rinse/drain them again until the water is clear and free of debris. Cook them right away, if possible. If you can’t cook them immediately, place them in a covered container in the refrigerator and cook them as soon as possible.

If the peas are to be cooked and eaten right away, they will need to be boiled in broth or water until tender. This takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending upon how tender you like them. The cooking liquid may or may not be used in your dish, depending on the recipe and personal preferences.

If the peas are to be frozen, they will need to be blanched first. See the section (below) on “How to Freeze Fresh Black-Eyed Peas” for instructions.

How to Freeze Fresh Black-Eyed Peas
Rinse the pods to remove any debris, then remove the peas from the pods. To do that, gently squeeze the pod so it will separate at the seam. If that does not work, you can carefully cut along the seam with a knife. Allow the peas to drop into a bowl or container. Rinse and drain the peas. Rinse/drain them again until the water is clear. Discard the pods and any immature, over-mature, or damaged peas. Bring a large pot of water to boil and boil the peas for 2 minutes. Immediately transfer the peas to a bowl of ice water and allow them to cool for 2 minutes. Drain well and spread the peas out on a tray and blot dry with a paper towel. Place the tray in the freezer and allow the peas to freeze. Transfer the frozen peas to a freezer bag or container. Label with the date and return the peas to the freezer.

Alternatively, you could place your boiled, cooled and drained peas to a freezer bag, and lay the bag flat in the freezer. It will be helpful to move the bag occasionally as they freeze to avoid having them all frozen into one big lump.

For best quality, use your frozen peas within 6 months. They will be safe to eat beyond that, but the quality may deteriorate.

Fresh vs Dried vs Canned Black-Eyed Peas
Fresh. Fresh black-eyed peas are not commonly found in grocery stores. In areas where they are grown, they may be found at farmers’ markets or roadside stands. Other than that, they would be hard to come by in areas where they are not grown. So, most people don’t have fresh peas as an option.

Dried. Most grocery stores carry dried black-eyed peas year-round. They are a staple pantry item for many people and will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for 2 to 3 years. They are edible beyond that, although their quality may deteriorate. Since they have been shelled and soaking/cooking them is not a difficult process, dried black-eyed peas are a good item to keep in your food supply.

Canned. Canned black-eyed peas are found in most grocery stores. Their flavor and texture are comparable to dried peas that have been fully cooked. Some varieties are already seasoned. They are truly a convenience food in that they are ready to eat simply by opening the can and rinsing them, if desired. Canned black-eyed peas are an excellent option to keep in the pantry, especially in case of emergencies when there is a power outage.

How to Prepare Dried Black-Eyed Peas
Dried black-eyed peas can be prepared the same way you would prepare any dried bean or pea. First rinse and sort through the beans, removing any stones or other debris, and damaged peas. They should be “quick soaked” or “overnight soaked” first before being cooked. This is an important step because it reduces the compounds that can cause gas and bloating in some people when beans/peas are eaten.

Quick Soak Method: After the peas are rinsed and sorted, place them in a large pot of water. Bring everything to a rapid boil, and boil for 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, cover with a lid, and allow the peas to sit in the hot water for 1 hour. Drain the soak water and rinse the peas. Then cook the peas by covering them with cold water in a large pot. Bring to a gentle boil, then lower the heat to simmer with the lid tilted. Allow them to cook until they reach the desired tenderness. This can take anywhere from 40 minutes to 2 hours, depending upon how tender you like them and how fast the water is boiling. See the “Important!” note below.

Overnight Soak Method: After the peas are rinsed and sorted, place them in a large pot of cold water. Cover the pot and let the peas soak overnight or at least 6 to 8 hours. Drain the soak water and rinse the peas. Then cook the peas by covering them with cold water in a large pot. Bring to a gentle boil, then lower the heat to simmer with the lid tilted. Allow them to cook until they reach the desired tenderness. This can take anywhere from 40 minutes to 2 hours, depending upon how tender you like them and how fast the water is boiling. See the “Important!” note below.

Important! When cooking dried peas or beans, do not add salt or any type of acid (such as lemon juice or vinegar) to the water early in the cooking process. This will cause the skins of the peas to toughen and they will not soften up like expected, even with extended cooking time. Save adding salt until they have already started to become tender. Add any acid at the end of cooking time, because adding it early can cause it to turn bitter.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Black-Eyed Peas
Here are some tips and ideas for using black-eyed peas…

* When cooking dried black-eyed peas after they have been soaked, do not add salt to the water early in the cooking process. When added early, the salt will cause the outer skin of the peas to toughen, making it hard to get them to soften as they cook. Add salt toward the end of cooking after the peas have already started to soften, or save the salt until the peas are used in a specific dish.

* When cooking dried black-eyed peas after they have been soaked, do not add any acid (such as lemon juice or vinegar) to the cooking water early in the cooking process. The acid will turn bitter when added too early. Wait until the peas are fully cooked, then drizzle them with a little acid of choice for flavoring.

* If you like the convenience of canned peas, but don’t want the additives found in canned foods, try buying dried peas, soaking and cooking them completely (or almost completely), and freezing them. You’ll have whatever amount of peas you need without added salt, etc., ready to go whenever you need them.

* Make a black-eye pea salad with peas, chopped tomatoes, corn, onion, avocado, bell pepper, cilantro and your favorite Italian dressing.

* Finely chop the vegetables (for the salad above), add a little cumin along with the salad dressing and turn it into a salsa.

* Make a black-eyed pea dip by blending black-eye peas with garlic, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Add a little sugar to sweeten the mix just a bit.

* Make a “sloppy Joe” type of mixture by sautéing (in oil or vegetable stock) some onion, garlic, bell pepper and carrots until tender. Stir in cooked black-eyed peas, some cooked grain of choice (i.e. rice, millet, couscous), Cajun seasoning (or a mix of paprika, thyme, oregano, salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic and onion powder), and 2 or 3 tablespoons of tomato paste. Add more vegetable broth for liquid as needed. Serve as-is, on toasted buns, or on a bed of cooked grain.

* Enjoy a traditional Southern (American) dish by serving cooked black-eyed peas on a bed of cooked grain (rice), with a side of deep leafy greens, and a slice of cornbread.

Herbs/Spices That Go Well with Black-Eyed Peas
Allspice, basil, bay leaf, cilantro, coriander, cumin, dill, garlic, ginger, marjoram, oregano, parsley, pepper, sage, salt, thyme

Foods That Go Well with Black-Eyed Peas
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, and Seeds: Bacon, beans (in general), black beans, chicken, eggs, fish, ham, kidney beans, pork, poultry, and tahini

Vegetables: Arugula, bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, celery, chard (Swiss), chiles, greens (bitter; i.e. collards, mustard, turnip greens), mushrooms, onions, potatoes, scallions, shallots, spinach, tomatoes

Fruits: Lemon, olives, tamarind

Grains and Grain Products: Barley, corn, corn bread, rice

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Butter, cheese (i.e. feta), coconut butter, coconut milk, cream, yogurt

Other Foods: Agave nectar, barbecue sauce, capers, oil (i.e. olive, safflower, sunflower), tamari, vinegar (i.e. apple cider, balsamic)

Black-eyed peas have been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
African cuisine, burritos, Cajun cuisine, Caribbean cuisine, casseroles, chili (vegetarian), Creole cuisine, dips, gumbo, hummus, Indian cuisine, salads (i.e. bean, green, Hoppin’ John, tomato), soul food, soups, Southern (US) cuisine, stews, succotash, “Texas caviar”

Suggested Flavor Combos Using Black-Eyed Peas
Combine black-eyed peas with any of the following combinations…

Bell peppers + celery + onions
Brown rice + onions
Coconut milk + sticky rice
Corn + dill
Feta cheese + tomatoes
Garlic + greens
Onions + tomatoes
Pumpkin + rice

Recipe Links
Hoppin’ John https://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/hoppin-john/

Avocado Black-Eyed Pea Salad https://www.callmepmc.com/avocado-black-eyed-pea-salad/

Avocado Black-Eyed Pea Salsa https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/213030/avocado-and-black-eyed-pea-salsa/

Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Avocado and Jalapeno https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/black-eyed-pea-salad-with-avocado-and-jalapeno/

Southwestern Black-Eyed Pea Salad https://www.shelikesfood.com/southwestern-black-eyed-pea-salad/

Avocado and Black-Eyed Pea Salsa https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/avocado-and-black-eyed-pea-salsa-53032281

Cowboy Caviar https://www.culinaryhill.com/cowboy-caviar-recipe/#wprm-recipe-container-26521

Black-Eyed Pea Casserole with Cornbread Crust https://www.rachaelhartleynutrition.com/blog/2015/12/black-eyed-pea-and-greens-casserole-with-cornbread-crust

Black-Eyed Pea Hummus https://www.gritsandpinecones.com/black-eyed-pea-hummus/#wprm-recipe-container-19643

Lucky and Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Salad Recipe http://www.vietworldkitchen.com/blog/2010/12/spicy-black-eyed-pea-salad-recipe.html

Zannie’s Black-Eyed Pea Dip https://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/zannies-black-eyed-pea-dip/

Southern Black-Eyed Peas (Vegan) https://healthiersteps.com/recipe/southern-black-eyed-peas-vegan/

Vegan Black-Eyed Peas https://www.thespruceeats.com/vegetarian-black-eyed-peas-1001609

Creole Black-Eyed Peas https://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2008/01/creole-black-eyed-peas.html

Black-Eyed Peas with a Healthy Twist https://www.justapinch.com/recipes/side/other-side-dish/black-eyed-peas-with-a-healthy-twist.html

Black-Eyed Peas with Bacon and Pork https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/patrick-and-gina-neely/black-eyed-peas-with-bacon-and-pork-recipe-1920605

Black-Eyed Pea Salad https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/patrick-and-gina-neely/black-eyed-pea-salad-recipe-1910721

Resources
http://www.foodreference.com/html/fblackeyedpea.html

https://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Black_Eye_Peas_6584.php

https://foodcombo.com/find-recipes-by-ingredients/black-eyed-peas

https://www.stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/16567

https://www.latimes.com/food/la-xpm-2012-sep-15-la-fo-rosh-hashanah-rec1-20120915-story.html

https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-blackeyed-peas-4253.html

https://www.livestrong.com/article/414892-health-benefits-of-black-eyed-peas/

https://cookforgood.com/how-to-shell-fresh-black-eyed-peas-and-field-peas/

https://www.aces.edu/blog/topics/food-safety/fresh-from-the-farm-alabama-recipes-fresh-black-eyed-peas-and-other-southern-peas-best-vinaigrette-for-pea-salad/

Cooperative Extension Service, The University of Georgia. (1993) So Easy to Preserve. 3rd edition. Athens, GA: Cooperative Extension Service.

Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Black-Eye Pea and Kale Soup

Black-Eye Pea and Kale Soup

We all know that soup is popular in the cold months, and for good reason! But I’m one of those who enjoys soup just about any time of year. So, it’s never off the menu for us.

Here’s a delicious soup that combines black-eye peas, rice, tomatoes, and kale…a wonderful combination of ingredients! AND it’s loaded with great nutritional impact. On top of that, I developed the recipe to be really simple to put together. So, it’s a win-win for anyone who opts to try it!

Below is a video link where I demonstrate how to make the soup. The written recipe is below the video. I hope this helps!

Enjoy!
Judi

Black-Eye Pea and Kale Soup
Makes About 10 Cups of Soup (5 Meal-Size Servings)

6 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
2 cups cooked black-eye peas (or 1 (15 oz can) black-eye peas)
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes (any type), with the juice
½ cup uncooked rice of choice
4 cups chopped kale
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped bell pepper
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
2 dried Bay leaves
1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil leaves
Salt and black pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a large pot with a lid.* Bring to a boil, then cover the pot and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour, until all vegetables are tender and flavors blended. Remove bay leaves and serve.

Leftover soup should be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator and used within 5 days. Extra soup may also be frozen, and will be best if used within 6 months.

* Optional step based on your preference. If preferred, you can first sauté the vegetables in 1 or 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Sauté them briefly, just until they start to soften. Then add the remaining ingredients and follow the directions from there. Or, you can add a little oil to the bowl as the soup is served, as a finishing touch. The added oil will give the soup a greater depth of flavor.

About Judi

Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Chickpeas

Chickpeas 101 – The Basics

If you’re wondering about chickpeas, from what they are to how to use them, you’re in the right place! Below is a comprehensive article all about chickpeas!

Enjoy!
Judi

Chickpeas 101 – The Basics

About Chickpeas
Chickpeas are members of the Fabaceae plant family. They originated in the Middle East, where they are still widely used. Researchers have evidence that chickpeas were consumed as far as 7,000 years ago, with evidence that they were cultivated as far back as 3,000 BC. From the Middle East, chickpeas slowly made their way around the world. Today, the main commercial producers of chickpeas are India, Pakistan, Turkey, Ethiopia, and Mexico.

Chickpeas have developed many names around the world, including garbanzo beans, garbanzos, grams, Bengal grams, Egyptian peas, and besan (when ground into flour). There are different varieties of chickpeas commonly grown, with some being green, black, brown, red, or the very familiar tan color. “Kabuli” are large and beige with a thin skin. This is the type commonly found in American grocery stores. “Desi” chickpeas are small and dark with yellow interiors. The Desi type chickpeas are about half the size of the Kabuli chickpea that Americans are familiar with. This is the most popular type of chickpea worldwide. They have a thicker seed coat than the Kabuli type. “Green” chickpeas are younger and have a sweeter flavor than the other types. They are similar to green peas.

Chickpeas are the seeds of the plant, grown for their highly nutritious qualities, including an abundance of fiber, protein and other nutrients. They have a mild, nutty flavor and buttery texture. Chickpeas are naturally gluten-free.

Nutrition Tidbits and Health Benefits
Chickpeas contain a lot of antioxidants, protein, fiber and other nutrients too. Their antioxidants not only combat free-radicals in the body, but also appear to have anti-inflammatory effects. This alone makes them powerful foods to include in the diet.

Chickpeas also supply a lot of protein, with 1 cup of cooked chickpeas providing over 14 grams. That same cup of cooked chickpeas also provides over 12 grams of fiber, along with a lot of molybdenum, manganese, folate, copper, phosphorus, iron, zinc, and B-vitamins. One cup of cooked chickpeas has about 270 calories. They have a low glycemic index, so they are digested and absorbed slowly, without a large spike in blood sugar.

Selecting Chickpeas: Dried vs Canned
Dried: Chickpeas are sold dried or canned. Dried chickpeas are usually prepackaged but are sometimes sold in bulk bins. Make sure there is no sign of moisture or insect damage when selecting dried chickpeas. When purchasing from bulk bins, also make sure there is a good turnover of product in the bins so you can be assured they are as fresh as possible.

Canned: Most grocery stores carry canned chickpeas and they are a great staple food to keep in the pantry when time is short. They can simply be used from the can when needed for a salad or hummus, or heated briefly in cooked foods. Many people use the liquid from canned chickpeas (called aquafaba) as an egg white substitute and when making vegan meringues.

The nutritional value of canned chickpeas is good when compared to some other canned foods. The value of most nutrients is lowered by about 15% in canned chickpeas, with the exception of folate, which is lowered by 45% when compared to the folate level in dried chickpeas. There is some concern with the BPA content of canned goods. If you are avoiding BPA from canned foods, be sure to look for cans labeled as BPA-free. Also, some canned chickpeas may contain additives like salt and/or calcium chloride (a firming agent). If those additives are concerns for you, then dried chickpeas may be a better option. However, organic canned chickpeas should contain little to no additives with the exception of salt. Some brands may carry salt-free options in BPA-free cans.

Aquafaba
Aquafaba is what many people call the liquid in canned chickpeas. (Note that this does not apply to the liquid in other types of canned beans.) Due to its thick nature, this liquid can be used straight from the can as a substitute for egg whites in cooking. It can also be whipped into meringues and marshmallows.

Mix aquafaba with some cream of tartar and whip as you would egg whites. The fluff will hold together well and lighten quick breads and muffins. According to Bob’s Red Mill, use 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar with ½ cup (8 tablespoons) of aquafaba. For more information on how to use aquafaba as an egg replacer, please visit their site at https://www.bobsredmill.com/blog/featured-articles/a-guide-to-aquafaba/

To use aquafaba, it’s helpful to first shake the unopened can of chickpeas. Open and drain the can into a fine mesh strainer over a bowl, separating the canned peas from their liquid. Briefly whisk the liquid to blend the starches that may have settled on the bottom of the can, then measure it as needed for a recipe. Fresh aquafaba can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Extra aquafaba can easily be frozen for later. Freeze it in 1 tablespoon increments in an ice cube tray. When frozen, transfer the cubes to a labeled freezer bag. It may easily be thawed in the microwave, if desired. Aquafaba will keep for about 2 months in the freezer.

See also: A Guide To Aquafaba at https://minimalistbaker.com/a-guide-to-aquafaba/

Chickpea Flour
Chickpea flour is available in some grocery stores, and can be purchased online. Most chickpea flour available is made from raw chickpeas. When using this type of flour, be sure it is used in a recipe where it is well-moistened and also cooked in some way. This will make it more digestible. Otherwise, the finished product may be hard to digest and could cause excessive gas. Because it is usually made from raw chickpeas, this type of flour should not be eaten raw.

How to Store Chickpeas
Dried chickpeas should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place. They will keep well for about a year. The longer they are stored, the drier they will become and may take longer to cook. It’s helpful to rotate your supply of dried chickpeas (like all foods), using the “first-in, first-out” method (cook your oldest chickpeas first). Once cooked, chickpeas should be stored in the refrigerator in a covered container and used within four days.

As with most, if not all canned foods, canned chickpeas should have a “best by” date stamped on the can. For best quality, use them before that date. Store cans in a cool, dry place.

How to Prepare Dried Chickpeas
Dried chickpeas should first be sorted and examined so you can remove any stones, debris, or damaged beans. Then they should be rinsed well and drained. Before actual cooking, chickpeas should be soaked which makes them more digestible. There are two methods for soaking chickpeas.

Quick-soak method: Place the sorted and rinsed beans in a large pot with about 2 to 3 parts of water to 1 part of chickpeas. Bring the contents to a boil. Cook, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and allow the chickpeas to soak for 2 hours. Then drain and rinse the chickpeas. Add fresh water to the pot and bring it to boil. Lower the heat and simmer until they are tender. The time will vary depending upon how dry the beans were. Drain, then use as planned.

Traditional soaking method: This method involves a longer soaking time, but may actually be preferred because it further reduces compounds in the chickpeas that may cause gas when they are eaten. After the peas are sorted, rinsed and drained, place them in a large pot with at least 3 to 4 parts of water per 1 part of chickpeas. Cover the pot and allow them to soak for at least 6 to 8 hours, up to 12 hours. Drain, then fill the pot with fresh water. Bring them to boil, lower heat and simmer gently until the chickpeas are tender. The time will depend upon how long they soaked and how dry they were initially. Some directions call for cooking up to 2 hours, but I have found that they usually cook faster than that. Drain, then use as planned.

Note! When cooking any type of dried pea or bean, be sure not to add any acid nor salt to the water early on when cooking the pea or bean. Doing so will make the outer shell tough which makes the dried pea or bean hard to cook, and they may not soften like you expect. If you want to salt the water or add an acid (like lemon juice or vinegar), only add it when the peas or beans are almost finished cooking and no sooner.

One cup of dried chickpeas yields about three cups cooked. Cooked chickpeas should be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator and used within four days.

Freezing Chickpeas
Sorted, rinsed and soaked, but uncooked chickpeas may be frozen in covered containers. After soaking, drain them well, then place them in an airtight freezer container. They will keep in the freezer for up to 1 year.

If you want to cook dried chickpeas in advance and have them whenever needed, simply drain your cooked chickpeas and place them in a labeled freezer bag. Flatten the bag, lay them down in the freezer and allow them to freeze. Frozen, cooked chickpeas will keep well for 1 year. However, some resources state that they should be used within 6 months for best quality.

Quick Tips and Ideas for Using Chickpeas
* Make an easy hummus by blending chickpeas with olive oil, fresh garlic, tahini and lemon juice.

* Add a nutritional punch to your salads by topping them with some chickpeas.

* Make an easy pasta dish by topping cooked pasta with chickpeas, olive oil, crumbled feta cheese and fresh oregano.

* Add some chickpeas to vegetable soup to enhance its flavor, texture and nutritional value.

* Add chickpeas to a roasted veggie and quinoa salad.

* Add chickpeas to your favorite stir-fry.

Herbs/Spices That Go Well With Chickpeas
Basil (and Thai basil), bay leaf, capers, cardamom, cayenne, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, curry powder and spices, dill, garlic, ginger, mint, mustard seeds, oregano, paprika, parsley, pepper (black and white), rosemary, saffron, sage, salt, sumac, tarragon, thyme, turmeric

Foods That Go Well with Chickpeas
Proteins, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, beef, cashews, chicken, lentils, pine nuts, pistachios, seeds (i.e. pumpkin, sesame), tahini, walnuts

Vegetables: Artichokes, bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard (Swiss), chiles, cucumbers, eggplant, fennel, green beans, greens (bitter, like beet greens), greens (salad), kale, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, scallions, spinach, squash (summer), sweet potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini

Fruits: Apples, apple cider, apple juice, apricots (dried), avocados, citrus (lemon, lime, orange), coconut, currants, mangoes, olives, pumpkin, tamarind

Grains and Grain Products: Bread, bulgur, corn, couscous, farro, millet, pasta, polenta, quinoa, rice, tortillas, wheat berries

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Buttermilk, cheese (cheddar, feta, goat, Parmesan), coconut milk, yogurt

Other Foods: Mayonnaise, oil, soy sauce, tamari, vinegar

Chickpeas have been used in the following cuisines and foods:
North African cuisine, chana masala, chili (vegetarian), curries, dips, falafels, Greek cuisine, hummus, Indian cuisine, Italian cuisine, Mediterranean cuisines, Mexican cuisine, Middle Eastern cuisines, Moroccan cuisine, salad dressings, salads, soups (i.e. minestrone, tomato, vegetable), spreads, stews, tabbouleh, veggie burgers

Suggested Flavor Combos Using Chickpeas
Combine chickpeas with the following combos…
Apricots + pistachios + tahini
Basil + brown rice + curry
Basil + cucumbers + feta cheese + garlic + red onions
Bulgur + eggplant + mint + quinoa
Cayenne + feta cheese + garlic + spinach + tomatoes
Chiles + cilantro + lime
Coriander + cumin + mint + sesame seeds
Cumin + eggplant
Garlic + lemon + tahini
Mint + onions + yogurt
Potatoes + saffron + Thai basil
Spinach + sweet potatoes

Recipe Links
Garlic Dip http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=223

Minted Garbanzo Bean Salad http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=191

Healthy Veggie Salad http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=311

Curried Mustard Greens and Garbanzo Beans with Sweet Potatoes http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=41

Chickpea Soup https://www.thespruceeats.com/revithosoupa-chickpea-soup-1706136

Carrot Hummus https://www.thespruceeats.com/carrot-hummus-4772801

Honey Roasted Chickpea Butter https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-honey-roasted-chickpea-butter-239671

How to Make Crispy Roasted Chickpeas in the Oven https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-crispy-roasted-chickpeas-in-the-oven-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-219753

Risotto with Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms, and Chickpeas https://fakeginger.com/risotto-with-caramelized-onions-mushrooms-and-chickpeas/

Crispy Roasted Chickpeas https://steamykitchen.com/10725-crispy-roasted-chickpeas-garbanzo-beans.html

Coconut Ginger Chickpea Soup https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/coconut-ginger-chickpea-soup

Spiced Chickpeas and Greens Frittata https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/spiced-chickpeas-and-greens-frittata

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Cauliflower Steaks and Crispy Chickpeas https://producemadesimple.ca/5-ingredient-recipe-shaved-brussels-sprouts-salad-with-cauliflower-steaks-and-crispy-chickpeas/

Mediterranean Avocado Chickpea Pasta Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette https://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/mediterranean-avocado-chickpea-pasta-salad/

Chickpea Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies https://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/chickpea-flour-chocolate-chip-cookies/

20 Amazing Things You Can Do With Aquafaba https://www.vegansociety.com/whats-new/blog/20-amazing-things-you-can-do-aquafaba

19 Aquafaba Recipes That Prove Chickpea Water is Not as Gross as It Sounds https://greatist.com/eat/aquafaba-recipes

The 25 Best Vegan Aquafaba Recipes You Never Knew Could Be Vegan https://www.veganfoodandliving.com/the-25-best-vegan-aquafaba-recipes-you-never-knew-could-be-vegan/

Resources
https://bienasnacks.com/blogs/biena-blog/chickpeas-information-faqs

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=58

https://www.liveeatlearn.com/chickpeas/

https://www.thespruceeats.com/using-dried-chickpeas-in-moroccan-cooking-2394969

https://www.americastestkitchen.com/guides/vegan/what-is-aquafaba

https://www.bobsredmill.com/blog/featured-articles/a-guide-to-aquafaba/

Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Almond Rice Crackers

Almond Rice Crackers

If you’re looking for an easy, fast, gluten-free and vegan cracker to make, you’ve found it! These crackers are a favorite in our house and they are simple and quick to make. A win-win for us! Below is a video showing how to make them. The written recipe is below.

Enjoy!
Judi

Almond-Rice Crackers

Makes enough for 1 sheet pan (30 to 45 crackers)
½ cup almond flour
½ cup brown rice flour
1 Tbsp flax meal
¼ tsp salt
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup milk of choice, or more if needed*

Makes enough for 2 sheet pans (double the recipe)
1 cup almond flour
1 cup brown rice flour
2 Tbsp flax meal
½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ cup milk or choice, or more if needed*

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Stir until well combined. Cover bowl and allow mixture to rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour (can be placed in the refrigerator during this time) to allow flour to soak up moisture. Check the dough after it has rested for about 15 minutes. If mixture does not hold together well, add more liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition. It has enough liquid when it is slightly moist and holds together well without being crumbly.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Transfer the cracker dough onto a silicone baking mat or a sheet of parchment paper large enough to cover a baking sheet. Cover the dough with a sheet of waxed paper about the size of the baking mat or parchment paper. Roll the dough into a rectangle shape no more than 1/8-inch thick. Remove the top waxed paper and discard it. With a pizza cutter or a butter knife, score the dough into roughly 1-1/2-inch squares for crackers.

Place the sheet on the rack in the middle of the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp and golden. Crackers along the outer edges will brown first, so remove them as they bake and return the rest to the oven. When all are baked remove the pan from the oven and cool remaining crackers on a wire rack. Serve or store in an airtight container at room temperature.

* If preferred, water may be used in place of milk, but the crackers will not have as much flavor as when made with milk.

If you want to add extra flavors to your crackers, go ahead!
Here are some possibilities:

Black pepper, rosemary, finely chopped cranberries and pepitas (or other dried fruit, nuts or seeds), garlic and Italian herbs, rosemary, thyme, chives, and parsley, Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Quick and Easy Banana Oat Cookies

Quick and Easy Banana Oat Cookies

Here’s a REALLY fast and easy banana oat cookie that can be made in no time in the food processor, if you have one. Otherwise, mix them by hand, no issues! They’re perfect for anyone wanting to reduce added sugar and fat in their diet. They’re great as a dessert, snack, or even a breakfast cookie.

Here’s a video showing how to make the cookies. The recipe is below the video.

Enjoy!
Judi

Quick and Easy Banana Oat Cookies
Makes About 18 Small Cookies

2 cups oats (any type)
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon*
2 ripe bananas
2-4 Tbsp milk of choice, or more if needed**
½ cup add-ins, optional

Place the oats, baking soda and cinnamon (if you are adding it) in a food processor and process until the oats are a coarse flour. It does not need to be ultra-fine. Slice the bananas and add them plus the milk to the food processor. Pulse until the bananas are pureed and the mixture comes together. If the mixture seems crumbly and a bit dry, add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is moist and comes together, but is not overly wet.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in up to ½ cup of any combination of add-in ingredients you want. Mix well. Cover the bowl and allow the mixture to rest for about 15 minutes so the oats can soak up some liquid. After the soaking time, the mixture should be moist and still hold together, not dry and crumbly. If it is dry, add a little more milk until it is moist and holds together.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. With a tablespoon or a #40 cookie scoop (which holds 1-3/4 tablespoons), divide the mixture on the prepared baking sheet. Slightly flatten each mound with your fingers. Bake on the rack in the middle of the oven for 13 to 16 minutes, until they are set and starting to brown. Remove from the oven, cool, and enjoy!

* The cinnamon can be omitted if you feel the flavor won’t blend with your preferred add-in ingredients.

**The amount of milk needed will vary depending on the size of the bananas used, and the type of add-ins you choose. Batches made with larger bananas will need less milk than batches made with smaller bananas. Add enough to make a very moist, but not sopping wet batter.

Optional add-ins:
You can add any one or combination of embellishments and flavorings to your cookies. Nuts, seeds, dried fruits, flavorings, and chips of various sorts all work well. Get creative! Here are some examples:

Chopped Nuts or Seeds
Walnuts
Pecans
Almonds
Peanuts
Pistachios
Pepitas
Sunflower Seeds
Sesame Seeds
Flaxseeds
Dried Coconut

Chopped Dried Fruits
Raisins
Cranberries
Cherries
Figs
Currants
Apples
Peaches
Apricots

Flavorings (Of course, add only small amounts of these!)
Vanilla extract
Vanilla bean
Cocoa powder
Orange zest
Orange extract
Nutmeg

Chips
Chocolate chips
Peanut butter chips
Butterscotch chips
White chocolate chips
Cinnamon chips
Mint chocolate chips
Caramel chips
This list is growing with what’s becoming available in stores.

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Assorted Vinegars

Vinegar 101 – The Basics

This post covers a lot of details about vinegar, from general information to specifics about assorted types of vinegar. Hopefully you’ll find what you’re looking for. Please let me know if you need further information!

I hope this helps!
Judi

Vinegar 101 – The Basics

About Vinegar
The word “vinegar” stems from the French word “vin aigre” which means “sour wine.” This is appropriate since vinegars are made by adding bacteria to liquids to cause fermentation. The liquid to be fermented is usually wine, beer or cider. The fermentation process creates alcohol, which is then exposed to oxygen. The bacteria then create the acetic acid, turning the liquid very acidic, giving it the tart flavor characteristic if vinegar. Depending upon the process used and the type of vinegar being made, the fermentation process can take anywhere from a couple days to years. Some vinegars, such as balsamic, may be left to ferment for up to 25 years. Vinegars are often diluted to contain from 5 to 20 percent acetic acid, by volume.

Vinegar has been used for thousands of years as a cooking ingredient, condiment, medicine, and preservative. Today it is even being used as a cleaning agent. The use of vinegar has been traced back to ancient Babylon, around 5,000 B.C.E, where it was used in cooking and as a medicine, preservative, and a drink for strength and wellness.

Vinegars are excellent additions to marinades because the acid helps to break down proteins, making them more tender. Vinegar can also be used to balance out flavors and reduce bitterness in some foods. It is commonly used in salad dressings, marinades, sauces, mayonnaise, and ketchup.

Nutrition Tidbits
Most vinegars have few nutrients yet they do have some beneficial health properties. It is very low in calories with one tablespoon having only 3 to 14 calories, depending upon the variety. The few calories it has comes from the little bit of sugars remaining from the fermentation process. If you have food sensitivities, it is important to read labels, as some vinegars are a blend of vinegar, juice, added sugars, and possibly other ingredients that may cause reactions in some people. A few vinegars contain gluten while others contain added sulfites.

Early records in China, the Middle East, and Greece, show vinegar being used as a digestive aid, an antibacterial agent on wounds, and a treatment for cough. Today, a few small studies have shown some health benefits from vinegar, which has sparked a lot of attention for using vinegar in natural health treatments.

Studies published in 2010 showed that including vinegar with a meal helps to reduce post-meal blood glucose levels. Balsamic vinegar has been shown to lower triglyceride and total cholesterol levels.

General Tips for Using Vinegar
* Use vinegar to brighten the flavor of foods and balance the richness of a fatty dish.

* Use vinegar to tenderize protein foods (such as meats and poultry) by adding it to marinades.

* Use vinegar when pickling foods, as it not only adds flavor, but acts as a preservative by killing bacteria.

* Adding a little vinegar to cooking water can help to brighten the color of vegetables, especially those in the cruciferous family (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, etc.).

* Some resources suggest adding a little vinegar to the water when boiling eggs. They say it makes eggs easier to peel.

* Some suggest adding a little vinegar to water when poaching eggs to help keep them together.

* For a quick buttermilk substitution, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 1 cup of milk. Allow it to rest a few minutes for the milk to thicken.

* To perk up the flavor of cooked beans or bean soups, add a little vinegar during the last 5 minutes of cooking time. Adding it earlier will make the beans tough and harder to cook properly.

How to Store Vinegar
Vinegar does not need to be stored in the refrigerator. However for best quality, store it tightly capped in a cool, dry, dark place, away from sunlight and heat. Some vinegars will have a “Best by” date stamped on the bottle. Even though it may be safe to consume the vinegar beyond that date, the quality may not be its best.

Unpasteurized, raw apple cider vinegar may become more cloudy with age. That’s simply the culture (bacteria) multiplying in the bottle. It is still safe to use.

Generally speaking, unopened vinegar will keep for about two years in a cool, dry, dark place. Once opened, it should be used within about six months for best quality. To keep opened vinegar longer, it may be stored in the refrigerator.

What is the “Mother” in Vinegar?
The “Mother” of vinegar is a mixture of cellulose and bacteria (or culture) that fermented the original liquid into vinegar. It is found in fermented alcohols and unpasteurized vinegars, most commonly in raw apple cider vinegar. It creates a cloudy appearance in the vinegar and is harmless to consume. It will not affect the flavor of the vinegar. In fact, the “M other” contains friendly probiotic bacteria, prebiotic fibers, and nutrients that can boost health.

Food Sensitivities
Gluten: Most vinegars do not contain gluten. However, some that are made with grains may contain gluten. This information is listed below each type of vinegar for clarification. When in doubt, check the label and ask your physician or dietitian, if necessary.

According to Shelly Case, RD (at https://shelleycase.com/is-vinegar-gluten-free/), the distillation process destroys gluten. So, if a vinegar (such as white vinegar) was made from wheat (a gluten-containing grain), and it was “distilled” the gluten has been removed or destroyed in the process and would therefore be safe to eat, even by those with gluten sensitivities. If the vinegar was made with a gluten-containing grain, such as wheat, and was not distilled, then the vinegar does still contain gluten, and would not be safe to eat by those with gluten sensitivities. Beware and read labels! This information is also confirmed by the FDA as stated here… https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/why-distillation-is-compatible-with-a-gluten-free-diet/

Sulfites: Most fermented foods contain naturally-occurring sulfites. However, naturally-occurring sulfites differ from those added as food preservatives, and usually present no problems to those with sulfite sensitivities. Some vinegars have added sulfites, whereas others do not. If you are sensitive to sulfites, always check the label before purchasing vinegar, and consult your physician if necessary.

Common Varieties of Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar: Also known as cider vinegar, this variety is pale brown with a mild apple flavor. It is made from fermented apple cider, unpasteurized apple juice, or apple pulp. It is inexpensive.

Best Uses: Apple cider vinegar is excellent in chutneys, stews, marinades, sweet pickles, and in coleslaw or salad dressings.

Food Sensitivities: Apple cider vinegar is naturally gluten-free.

Balsamic Vinegar: This is a dark, sweet vinegar that has been produced in Italy for over 800 years. It is usually made from whole processed red or white wine grapes (called “grape must,” or the crushed grapes including the seeds, peel and stems). The grape must is boiled to a concentrate, fermented, acidified, and then aged in wooden barrels for up to 50 years. The longer it is aged, the thicker, sweeter and pricier it gets.

Best Uses: Balsamic vinegar is excellent on strawberries, tomatoes, grilled meats and poached fruit. It can also be used in salad dressings, marinades, sauces, and soups. It is sometimes reduced into a thick sauce and served over fruit or ice cream.

Food Sensitivities: Balsamic vinegar is gluten-free and, like other vinegars, contains naturally occurring sulfites. Most balsamic vinegars will not have added sulfites, but if you are sensitive, it is advisable to always check the label before purchasing any balsamic vinegar.

Malt Vinegar: Malt vinegar is a dark, flavorful vinegar that is very popular with fish and chips in England. It comes from barley that was made into beer, then fermented into vinegar. It has a milder, sweeter and more complex flavor than plain white vinegar.

Best Uses: Malt vinegar is often used on French fries (and on fish and chips in the UK), and in making pickles.

Food Sensitivities: Malt vinegar is made from barley, which contains gluten. Therefore, if you have a sensitivity to gluten, you should avoid malt vinegar UNLESS it was distilled (which would have removed the gluten). Malt vinegar naturally contains a small amount of sulfites, less than 10 ppm. This is a very low level, which usually poses no issue, even for people who have a sulfite allergy. When in doubt, ask your physician!

Red Wine Vinegar: This vinegar is made from red wine and is usually aged in wooden barrels. It has a strong flavor that blends well in hearty dishes. Red wine vinegar is often used in French and Mediterranean cuisines and is less acidic than distilled or cider vinegars.

Best Uses: Red wine vinegar is excellent in salad dressings, stews, sauces, marinades, and with cooked meat and fish.

Food Sensitivities: Red wine vinegar is gluten-free since it is made with grapes. Like other vinegars, red wine vinegar will have naturally occurring sulfites. However, some brands of red wine vinegar have ADDED sulfites, whereas others do not. If you are sensitive to added sulfites, it is important to read the label before purchasing this type of vinegar.

Rice Vinegar: This type of vinegar is made from fermented rice. It is commonly referred to as rice wine vinegar. It has a mild, sweet flavor and is less acidic than other vinegars.

Best Uses: Rice vinegar is excellent in salad dressings, seafood marinades, and Asian cuisine in dishes like sushi, pickled ginger and seafood, and stir-fries.

Food Sensitivities: True rice vinegar (made only with rice and no other grains) is naturally gluten-free. However, some rice vinegars imported from Asia may contain a mixture of grains. If your rice vinegar was made only with rice OR was distilled, it is considered to be gluten-free. Otherwise, be sure to read the label carefully to be sure it does not contain something you might react to.

White Vinegar: This is also known as distilled vinegar or distilled white vinegar, and is made from fermented grains. It is clear, highly acidic, and has a very sour flavor. It is one of the least expensive vinegars and is now being used as a cleaning agent, especially for washing windows and cleaning coffee pots. It is not as strong as “cleaning vinegar,” yet it is still an effective cleaning agent.

Best Uses: White vinegar is excellent for preserving foods such as in pickling fruits and vegetables. It is also an effective antibacterial, grease, and mineral-removing cleaning agent.

Food Sensitivities: White vinegar is made from fermented grains, particularly wheat. If white vinegar was not distilled, it will still contain gluten. If the vinegar was distilled, it should contain no gluten. So, if you are sensitive to gluten, be sure to purchase white vinegar that has been distilled.

Cleaning White Vinegar: It’s important to note here that “cleaning white vinegar” is not the same as the age-old distilled white vinegar. Although they may look the same, cleaning vinegar is stronger and is not something to ingest. Cleaning vinegar is diluted to 6% acidity, whereas distilled white vinegar is diluted to 5% acidity. That one percentage point difference may seem small, but in vinegar terms, it equates to cleaning vinegar being 20% stronger than distilled white vinegar. It is TOO strong to ingest and can cause harm if consumed.

Some brands may also be scented with chemicals not intended for consumption. Hence, that’s one more reason not to add this type of vinegar to your salads! If you do use “cleaning vinegar,” I suggest you do not store it near your usual vinegars that you use in foods. You really don’t want to mix these up! Its added strength makes it a very effective cleaning agent. However, be careful what you apply cleaning vinegar to. Its strong acidity will damage hardwood floors, granite, marble, and metals. It is safe to use on bathroom ceramic surfaces, on glass, and in the laundry. Cleaning vinegar is more costly than distilled white vinegar.

White Wine Vinegar: The flavor of white wine vinegar will range from mild to very tangy, depending upon the type of wine used in its production. It is usually pale in color with a mild flavor. It is often used in French and Mediterranean cuisines.

Best Uses: White wine vinegar is excellent in vinaigrette dressings, vegetable dishes, soups, stews, pickled vegetables, and in cooking meat and fish.

Food Sensitivities: Since white wine vinegar is made from grapes, it is naturally gluten-free. The vinegar will contain naturally-occurring sulfites from the wine, and may or may not contain added sulfites. If you are sensitive to sulfites, please read the label before purchasing white wine vinegar.

Less Common Varieties of Vinegar

Black Vinegar: Black vinegar is also known as Chinkiang vinegar, and is usually made from glutinous rice or sorghum. It has a woody, smoky flavor. It is a common sour ingredient in foods found in southern China. In the United States, black vinegar is used as a dipping sauce for dumplings and in meat marinades.

Best Uses: Use black vinegar as a dipping sauce, and to flavor meats and stir-fries. It may be used as a less expensive alternative to balsamic vinegar.

Food Sensitivities: Traditional black vinegar, made from rice or sorghum would be naturally gluten-free. However, some varieties may have been made with added wheat, millet, peas, barley, bran and/or chaff (the outer husk of a grain). Wheat and barley contain gluten. So, if the vinegar was made with other grains in addition to rice and was not distilled, it may contain gluten. If you are gluten sensitive, be sure to read the label before purchasing any black vinegar.

Black vinegar may or may not have added sulfites. If you are sensitive to sulfites, reading labels is warranted.

Cane Vinegar: Cane vinegar is made from the syrup of sugar cane. It has a mellow flavor, similar to rice vinegar. It is not sweet since it contains no residual sugar. It is yellow to golden brown in color, and is less acidic than distilled vinegars. It is made in the Philippines, France, and Louisiana. It is called “sukang iloko” in the Philippines. Champagne, white wine, cider, and rice wine vinegars may be substituted for cane vinegar.

Best Uses: Cane vinegar is often used in sweet and sour dishes, and to flavor meats.

Food Sensitivities: Since cane vinegar is made from sugar cane, it is naturally gluten-free. However, it is important to check the label before purchasing cane vinegar, as it may contain other ingredients that may or may not contain gluten.

Cane vinegar usually does not contain added sulfites, but check the label before purchasing, as brand ingredients may vary.

Champagne Vinegar: This vinegar is made from a slightly dry white wine, made from the same grapes as champagne. It is made only in the Champagne region of France. It has a mild flavor.

Best Uses: Champagne vinegar may be used like any white wine vinegar. It is especially good on citrus salads, and in marinades and sauces.

Food Sensitivities: Champagne vinegar is naturally gluten-free since it is made from grapes. It will contain naturally-occurring sulfites from the wine. If you are sensitive to sulfites, check the label before purchasing to be sure it contains no added sulfites.

Coconut Palm Vinegar: This type of vinegar is made in Asian countries from the sap of the coconut palm tree, and/or the water of the coconut. It is a white, cloudy vinegar with a flavor ranging from mild to sharply acidic. All varieties have a faint flavor of yeast or must. A substitution would be 1 part rice or white vinegar, 1 part water, and a squeeze or two of fresh lime juice.

Best Uses: Coconut vinegar is usually used as a dipping condiment, and can be added to sauces, cooked foods and salads.

Food Sensitivities: Coconut vinegar should be naturally gluten-free. However, if you are gluten-sensitive, read the label before purchasing to be sure no gluten-containing ingredients have been added.

Flavored Vinegars: Some flavored vinegars, such as tarragon vinegar, are available in many grocery stores. However, many people make their own flavored vinegars by adding desired herbs, spices or flavorings to wine, rice, or cider vinegar. Colorado State University Extension has prepared an excellent website detailing how to make your own flavored vinegars, with specific recipes included. https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/nutrition-food-safety-health/flavored-vinegars-and-oils-9-340/

Specialty flavored vinegars may also be purchased from select stores. The following are just a few (of many) online shops carrying flavored vinegars. Please note that I have no connection with any of them.

https://www.igourmet.com/shoppe/shoppe.aspx?cat=Vinegars&subcat=Flavored+Vinegar

https://theolivepress.com/shop/catalog/flavored/filters/page=allhttps://www.theolivetap.com/vinegars/

https://www.williams-sonoma.com/shop/food/vinegars/

Specialty vinegars may also be purchased at https://www.amazon.com/

Fruit Vinegars: In this case, we’re referring to vinegars made with fruit other than apples (as in apple cider vinegar). Fruit vinegars can be made with just about any fruit you want including, apples, apricots, grapes, pineapples, pomegranates, passion fruit, raisins, peaches, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, figs, pears, cranberries, lemons, mangoes, oranges, plums, raisins, tomatoes, and more. Fruit vinegars may be purchased online and in some grocery stores. They can also be made at home.

Best Uses: Fruit vinegars add a sweet-tart flavor to whatever foods they’re served with. They pair well with extra virgin olive oil and have been used to flavor pork, turkey, chicken and fish. They add fruitiness to green salads, vegetables, and dips for fruit/cheese trays. They can also be used in marinades for a sweet-tart flavor.

Instructions for making your own fruit vinegars can be found on this and other websites: https://www.organicauthority.com/eco-chic-table/homemade-fruit-vinegar-recipe

DIY Fruit Vinegar Instructions, using strawberries, blueberries, figs, persimmons, or pears: https://www.foodrepublic.com/recipes/make-fruit-vinegar/

Red Rice Vinegar: This vinegar is made from fermented red yeast rice. It is milder in flavor than red wine vinegar. It is sweet, tart, and salty.

Best Uses: Red rice vinegar is often used in Chinese seafood dishes and dipping sauces.

Food Sensitivities: Sometimes barley and sorghum are added to red rice vinegar. Since barley contains gluten, this type of vinegar may contain gluten if it is not distilled. If you have a gluten sensitivity, it is important to check the label to see if it contains barley. If so, and if it was not distilled, it should be avoided.

Seasoned Rice Vinegar: This is rice vinegar with added sugar, salt, and sometimes sake or MSG (monosodium glutamate). Using this vinegar is an easy way to boost the sweet, salty, and tangy flavor of foods. It is found in the Asian section of some grocery stores.

Best Uses: Seasoned rice vinegar is often used in sushi and salad dressings.

Food Sensitivities: This rice should be naturally gluten-free, but check the label to be sure a gluten-containing ingredient was not added. Also, some people react to MSG. Read the label carefully if you have food sensitivities when choosing seasoned rice vinegar to be sure there are no added ingredients that you need to avoid.

Sherry Vinegar: True sherry vinegar is made in Spain from sherry wine, and is used in Spanish and French cuisine. The wine is aged for at least 6 months, with the resulting vinegar being aged from 2 to over 10 years. The older the vinegar, the darker the color, the more complex the flavor will be, and the more expensive it will be to buy. It has a bright, deep flavor. Some grocery stores may carry sherry vinegar. Wine vinegar may be used as a substitute for sherry vinegar.

Best Uses: Sherry vinegar can be used to flavor beans, marinara, soups, snap peas, tomatoes, and green salads.

Food Sensitivities: Since sherry vinegar is made ultimately from grapes, it is naturally gluten-free. It will contain naturally-occurring sulfites since it is made from wine. It is important to read labels since less-expensive brands may have additives.

Spirit Vinegar: Spirit vinegar (sometimes referred to as grain vinegar) is a colorless, strong vinegar made by a double fermentation process of a grain, usually barley. The first fermentation converts sugars to alcohol. The alcohol is distilled then subjected to the second fermentation, which converts the alcohol to acetic acid. It has a higher acidity than other vinegars. This vinegar is sometimes referred to interchangeably with distilled white vinegar. However, spirit vinegar contains a higher acid content than white vinegar, and it still contains a little alcohol, where white vinegar does not.

Best Uses: This type of vinegar is used mostly in pickling.

Food Sensitivities: Since spirit vinegar is made with distilled liquids, it is considered to be gluten-free.

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Resources
https://www.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/healthy-tips/2011/08/vinegar-101

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinegar

https://www.livestrong.com/article/21611-nutritional-value-vinegar/

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/vinegar/

https://www.livestrong.com/article/555379-how-to-store-opened-bottles-of-apple-cider-vinegar/

https://www.doesitgobad.com/does-apple-cider-vinegar-go-bad/

https://www.finecooking.com/ingredient/malt-vinegar

https://www.foodrepublic.com/2012/04/06/what-is-malt-vinegar/

https://www.foodandwine.com/condiments/what-you-need-know-spring-about-many-types-vinegar

https://lifehealthhq.com/whole30-vinegar/

https://www.beyondceliac.org/gluten-free-diet/is-it-gluten-free/vinegar/

https://www.verywellhealth.com/sulfite-allergy-82911

https://www.verywellfit.com/is-vinegar-gluten-free-562363

http://www.heinzvinegar.com/products-red-wine-vinegar.aspx

https://shelleycase.com/is-vinegar-gluten-free/

https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/why-distillation-is-compatible-with-a-gluten-free-diet/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_vinegar

http://thebaldgourmet.com/focus-ingredient-what-is-chinese-black-vinegar/

https://www.cooksinfo.com/champagne-vinegar

https://www.cooksinfo.com/cane-vinegar

https://aussietaste.com.au/glossary/oils-and-vinegars-a-to-z/cane-vinegar/

https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/nutrition-food-safety-health/flavored-vinegars-and-oils-9-340/

https://www.cooksinfo.com/palm-vinegar

https://www.cooksinfo.com/vinegar

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/what-is-sherry-vinegar

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherry_vinegar

https://www.livestrong.com/article/262961-what-are-the-benefits-of-coconut-vinegar/

https://www.webstaurantstore.com/article/373/types-of-vinegar.html

https://www.thekitchn.com/rice-vinegar-ingredient-spotlight-184260

https://www.finecooking.com/article/whats-seasoned-rice-vinegar

https://www.theolivetap.com/product/vinegars/balsamic-vinegars/white-balsamic-vinegars/peach-white-balsamic-vinegar/

https://www.glutenfreedietitian.com/vinegar/

https://www.simplyrecipes.com/a_guide_to_balsamic_vinegar/

https://fantasticservicesgroup.com.au/blog/cleaning-vinegar-vs-normal-vinegar-whats-the-difference/

Amaranth

Amaranth 101 – The Basics

Amaranth is a gluten-free seed that we usually treat as a grain. It has been used throughout the ages in many cultures and is increasing in popularity, especially as the need for gluten-free foods is increasing. If you’re not sure if amaranth is right for you, check the information below. Hopefully your questions will be answered!

Enjoy!
Judi

Amaranth 101 – The Basics

About Amaranth
Amaranth is among 60 different species of plants belonging to the amaranthus family. These plants are very tall with broad green leaves and brightly colored purple, red, or gold flowers. Three species are commonly grown for their edible seeds. Amaranth is a “pseudo cereal” meaning it’s not technically a cereal grain like wheat or oats, since it is in a different botanical family. However, it does have a similar nutritional profile, and the flowers of the amaranth plant have tiny grain-like starchy edible buds or seeds, which is why it is often treated as a grain.

Amaranth has been cultivated for 6,000 to 8,000 years and was a dietary mainstay for the ancient Inca, Mya, and Aztec civilizations. It has a long history in Mexico and is now grown around the world. Its flavor is described as earthy, nutty flavor, and peppery and it blends well in many dishes including cereals, breads, muffins, and pancakes. When ground into a flour, amaranth is usually blended with a grain to lighten its texture (the flour is very dense when used alone).

Nutrition Tidbits
Amaranth is gluten-free and rich in protein, fiber, antioxidants and nutrients, particularly manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, selenium, and iron. One cup of cooked amaranth has 250 calories with about 9 grams of protein, more protein then is typically found in other grains. Also, amaranth is considered to be a complete protein because it contains the amino acid lysine, which is usually in short supply in grains.

Research has shown that people with coronary heart disease and hypertension, who were given amaranth had a significant drop in their total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol.

How to Select Amaranth
Amaranth is sold dried and prepackaged like rice. If purchasing amaranth from a bulk bin, the seeds should have a faintly sweet aroma or no aroma at all. If it smells musty or oily, it is old and should not be purchased.

How to Store Amaranth
When stored dry in an air-tight container, whole grain amaranth will keep for about 4 months on a cool, dry pantry shelf, and about 8 months when frozen.

Amaranth flour should be stored in a dry, air-tight container. When kept on a cool, dry pantry shelf, it will last about 2 months. In the freezer, it will keep for about 4 months.

How to Prepare Amaranth
After reviewing a lot of resources, it’s evident that some people rinse and sometimes soak amaranth before cooking it. However, rinsing and/or soaking amaranth before cooking is not mandatory. Furthermore, some resources state to bring water to a boil first, then add the seeds. Conversely, other resources state to add the seeds to the water first, then bring it to a boil. So, apparently there are a number of ways to prepare amaranth, and there is no hard and fast rule on how to cook it. However, the texture of the seeds after being cooked may differ between the various methods. Usually the inner portion of the seed will become soft with cooking, while the outer shell will remain crunchy.

Cooking/Serving Methods and Ideas
Amaranth can be popped for a crunchy snack, simmered, sprouted or steamed. The results can be quite different depending on how it is cooked, ranging from smooth and creamy to crunchy like popcorn.

Depending upon the desired outcome, the amount of water called for in a recipe will vary. To achieve an outcome where the cooked seed is more like quinoa or rice, use a LOT of water. To achieve a thick, gelatinous porridge, use less water, or as called for in the recipe.

The instructions on the container of amaranth that I purchased are as follows: In a medium sized pot, combine 1 cup of amaranth with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Let the amaranth rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. All the moisture should be absorbed. This makes about 2 cups of cooked amaranth. Note: This results in a cooked seed with a bit of a crunch on the outside.

Amaranth can be cooked in a similar way as pasta. Bring a lot of water to boil (ie 6 cups water to 1 cup amaranth), then add the amaranth to it. Cook and stir for 15 to 20 minutes. Do not overcook amaranth or it will become gummy. Rinse, drain and enjoy. A lot of water is suggested because the cooking water will thicken from starch released during the cooking process. Cooked amaranth softens in the inside yet maintains some crunch on the outside.

Amaranth can be used as a thickener for sauces, soups and stews, or enjoyed as a creamy breakfast porridge. Amaranth can be used as a side dish in place of rice, couscous, risotto, or orzo pasta.

Here are some suggested ways to use amaranth, provided by https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-cook-amaranth-64211

As a breakfast cereal. Simmered just right, amaranth has a sweetness and porridge-like consistency that makes it a delicious cereal. Use a ratio of 1-1/2 cups liquid to 1/2 cup amaranth. (Yield: 1-1/2 cups cooked.) Place amaranth and water or apple juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Keep a close eye on it towards the end and then serve it right away, as it will turn gummy and congeal if overcooked or left to sit. Add fruit, nuts, cinnamon, and/or sweetener.

Popped. Toast a tablespoon of amaranth seeds at a time in a hot, dry skillet. Continually shake or stir until the seeds pop. Eat them as a snack or use them to top soups, salads, and vegetable dishes. Popped amaranth can be used to bread tofu or meat.

Combined with other grains. When cooked with another grain, such as brown rice, amaranth doesn’t overwhelm with its sticky consistency but adds a nutty sweetness. Use a ratio of 1/4 cup amaranth to 3/4 cup other grain and cook as usual.

Added to soups and stews. Take advantage of amaranth’s gelatinous quality and use it to thicken soup. A couple of tablespoons added while the soup is cooking is usually sufficient.

Herbs/Spices That Go Well With Amaranth
Cardamom, chili, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, parsley, soy sauce, tamari

Other Foods That Go Well With Amaranth
Fruits and Sweets: Apples and apple juice, blueberries, chocolate, dried fruits, honey, lemon, maple syrup, orange, persimmons, raisins

Proteins, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, beans (ie black, cannellini, pinto), chickpeas, pistachios, walnuts

Grains: Buckwheat, bulgur, corn, millet, quinoa, rice, wild rice

Vegetables: Bell peppers, cabbage, corn, greens, onions, scallions, spinach, sweet potatoes, tomatoes

Dairy: Milk, yogurt

Other: Oil (ie olive)

Suggested Flavor Combinations
Amaranth + almonds + bulgur + herbs
Amaranth + apples + walnuts
Amaranth + black beans + sweet potatoes
Amaranth + cinnamon + maple syrup
Amaranth + corn + pinto beans + scallions
Amaranth + lemon + olive oil
Amaranth + quinoa + wild rice
Amaranth + raisins + milk

Amaranth goes particularly well in:
Baked goods (ie breads, cookies), casseroles, cereals, dishes mixed with other grains, Mexican cuisine, porridges, puddings, soups, South American cuisines, stews, veggie burgers

Recipe Links
Amaranth Polenta with Wild Mushrooms https://wholegrainscouncil.org/recipes/amaranth-polenta-wild-mushrooms

Oat and Amaranth-Crusted Ham and Cheese Quiche https://wholegrainscouncil.org/recipes/oat-and-amaranth-crusted-ham-and-cheese-quiche

Popped Amaranth Crunch https://wholegrainscouncil.org/recipes/popped-amaranth-crunch

Creamy Cannellini Bean and Amaranth Soup https://wholegrainscouncil.org/recipes/creamy-cannellini-bean-and-amaranth-soup

Amaranth Recipes https://www.foodandwine.com/grains/amaranth/amaranth-recipes#3

Amaranth Porridge with Caramelized Bananas and Pecans https://naturallyella.com/banana-pecan-amaranth-porridge/

Coriander Cauliflower Amaranth Salad https://naturallyella.com/amaranth-salad/

Amaranth Pudding with Coconut and Raisins https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/amaranth-pudding-coconut-and-raisins

Chocolate Amaranth Pudding https://cook.nourishevolution.com/2011/04/chocolate-amaranth-pudding/

Savory Amaranth Fritters https://www.bobsredmill.com/recipes/how-to-make/savory-amaranth-fritters/

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Resources
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/amaranth-health-benefits#section1

https://foodfacts.mercola.com/amaranth.html

https://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/grain-month-calendar/amaranth-may-grain-month

https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/10640/2

https://wholegrainscouncil.org/recipes/cooking-whole-grains/storing-whole-grains

Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

Quinoa with Vegetables Over Tomatoes

Here’s an easy dish that makes a lovely presentation and is refreshing on a warm day. Because quinoa is a good source of protein, it can be used as a meatless main dish or also an excellent side dish. Either way, it’s yummy! Here’s a video showing how I made this dish. Below the video is the recipe!

Happy eating!!
Judi

Quinoa with Vegetables over Tomatoes
Makes about 4 Main Dish Servings
Makes about 6 Side Servings

1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
4 oz button mushrooms (about 6 each)
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 tsp dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups + 2 Tbsp water
1-1/2 to 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
2-4 medium fresh tomatoes, sliced into wedges*

Optional garnishes (use one or any combination desired):
Basil, parsley cilantro, sesame seeds, juice of ½ lemon or lime

In a medium-large saucepan (with a lid), heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté briefly. Add the garlic, carrot, and mushrooms, and sauté briefly until the vegetables begin to cook. Stir in the (uncooked) quinoa, parsley, salt and pepper, and allow the quinoa to toast briefly.

Add the water and stir to combine, making sure all the quinoa is in the water. Cover the pot and turn the heat up to bring everything to a boil. Turn the timer on for 15 minutes as soon as the water comes to a boil. Then turn the heat down to medium low and allow everything to simmer until the timer goes off.

Turn the burner off; stir in the spinach. Cover the pan and remove it from the hot burner. Allow the mixture to rest for 5 minutes in the covered pan. Fluff with a fork and serve over tomato wedges that were arranged in a pinwheel design on the plate.

*Another option: Rather than serving the quinoa over tomato wedges, you could reserve one whole tomato per person and do the following: Slice off the top and remove the seeded area of the tomato. Spoon the quinoa mixture into the tomato, filling it to the top. Place the top of the tomato back in its place. Place filled tomatoes in a glass baking dish (not greased) and into a preheated 400F oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the tomatoes JUST begin to cook. This would make a lovely side dish with many types of meals. It’s delicious!

Cook Brown Rice in the Crock Pot…EASY!

Cooking brown rice in the crock pot is really easy and takes no effort at all. I have found it to be perfect every time following my simple recipe. The only key is that it’s not something to put on in the morning before you leave for work since it only takes a couple hours to cook. So, make sure you’ll be around to take it out when the time is right.

Here’s a video showing how to cook one cup of brown rice in the crock pot. The recipe is below the video.

Crock Pot Brown Rice (Basic Recipe)
Makes About 3 Cups

1 cup brown rice (short or long grain), rinsed and drained
2 cups water
Butter and salt (optional)

Lightly butter the inside of your crock pot, if desired. (This step not only adds flavor to the rice, but helps keep it from sticking to the crock. Alternately you could lightly coat it with the oil of your choice or use nonstick cooking spray.) Add 1 cup rinsed and drained brown rice of your choice. Add salt, if desired. Add 2 cups water and be sure all the rice is below the water.

Cover the crock pot and cook on high for two hours. Done!

After posting that video I experimented with expanding the recipe to cooking two cups of rice. Here’s my follow-up video on the adjusted recipe. The written recipe is below the video link.

Cook Brown Rice in the Crock Pot (Increased Recipe)
Makes about 6 Cups

2 cups brown rice (short or long grain), rinsed and drained
3-1/2 cups water
Butter and salt (optional)

Rub the inside of the crock pot with butter, if desired. (This optional step not only gives flavor to the rice, but helps to keep the rice from sticking to the sides of the crock. Alternately, you could rub it with the oil of your choice, or spray the crock with nonstick cooking spray.) Add the rinsed and drained rice and sprinkle with salt, if desired. Add the water and be sure all the rice is below the water.

Cover the crock pot and cook on high for 2 hours and 20-30 minutes. Done! Yield: About 6 cups

Here’s an added tip for successful rice cooking in the crock pot… Turn the crock pot off about 10 minutes early. Leave everything alone for the remaining time and the rice will finish cooking with the residual heat in the crock. This simple tip helps to keep the rice from sticking along the sides of the crock. Here’s a video on that…

Enjoy and I hope this helps!
Judi

EASY Raspberry Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

Here’s a simple recipe for a salad dressing I make for my husband VERY often. He loves it! I keep a bag of frozen raspberries in the freezer so they are handy whenever I need them.

I usually make up one serving at a time since it takes so little effort. The key is to get the raspberries out of the freezer before even starting to assemble your salad. Place what you need in a small bowl so they can thaw while you prepare your salad. By the time your salad is ready, the raspberries should be thawed and ready to be quickly made into a dressing. A link to my video on how I make this is above and the recipe is below.

Enjoy!
Judi

Raspberry Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
(One Serving)

1/4 cup frozen raspberries
1/4 to 1/3 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 tsp sugar (or to taste)
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Place the frozen raspberries in a small bowl. Top with salt and sugar. Set the bowl aside to allow raspberries to thaw as you assemble your salad. When your salad is ready, finish making the dressing. The raspberries should be thawed by this time. Mash them up and stir in the salt and sugar with the spoon. Add the vinegar and oil; stir then drizzle over salad. Toss to combine. Enjoy!

Raspberry Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
(Makes Four Servings)

1 cup frozen raspberries
1 tsp salt, or to taste
4 tsp sugar, or to taste
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Place the raspberries, salt and sugar in a container with a lid. Set it aside until the raspberries thaw. After the berries are thawed, mash the berries while mixing in the sugar and salt with a spoon. Add the vinegar and oil, cover the container, and shake until mixed. The oil will have a tendency to rise to the top…this is normal. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator. Use within a few days.