July 22, 2009

Beans, Beans, the Magical Fruit

I bought a new pressure cooker yesterday. I already have one but this one is narrower so it fits on my stove's burner, is heavier, and has more safety features. It also cost less than half of what I paid for the first one. I paid $30 at BJ's for this one:

I justified my purchase by deciding that since we do not want to eat as much meat, and my husband went to all of the trouble to fix our freezer, and my mother in-law gave me a Foodsaver, I would cook dried beans and freeze them for future use. Canned beans have sodium and do cost more, even if they are much cheaper than filet mignon.

So it is on its maiden voyage now. And I'm not sure if I am using it right. Fortunately, if it doesn't turn out right, I have wasted less than a dollar's worth of chick peas, as opposed to $15 worth of filet mignon.

The steam is barely escaping the pressure release valve. The burner is on low (or nearly low). But that's what the instructions were. So we will see. I am checking after an hour of cooking because when it got going the pressure was really high and I am hoping I don't run out of water. If it looks okay it has to go another 20 minutes. This is without prior soaking.

I know I can also use a crockpot and then I don't need to babysit it, but who wants a crock pot on all day in the summer? Besides, this is less electricity.

My hour is up and I am letting the pressure decrease on its own. I don't like running cold water over the pot, it just goes against my grain.

I love chick peas. Of course I love canned chick peas with the sodium, but I'm hoping I learn to adjust. I've been making a salad out of my dinners lately. I used to do this when I was on Weight Watchers. I'm not losing weight because I am not doing the other t
hings I need to do, such as not eat junk food, but it's a start!

Anyway, for example, yesterday I baked chicken breasts and made rice, peas, and a salad. So, I filled my plate with a layer of salad, sprinkled on some rice, peas, and cut up chicken. Topped with two tablespoons of dressing.

Once the salad warmed up just slightly and the cooked food cooled down to lukewarm, it was absolutely delicious.

I have leftovers for dinner tonight.

Guess what else I discovered?

This is good stuff. Full of chocolaty flavor, but not full of fat. (Still has calories though...)

It was on sale this week, will have to buy more before next week!

Checked my chick peas. They still need more time to cook, but there was plenty of water, so I am starting up the pressure cooker again for another 20 minutes. I think that's all it will need because they were edible (and not bad considering there is no salt).

Tomorrow my goal is to finally make it to the natural food store. I also want to make black beans in the pressure cooker and make a salad with the black beans and leftover chicken for dinner. I will have to buy the black beans though. That's one thing I do not have in storage.

One thing I want to try this summer but haven't yet: smoothies. I have some (over)ripe bananas in the freezer just waiting for their moment in the spotlight.

I also want to grind up some of my white wheat at my mother's house (she has an electric grinder, I just have a hand held one that I have never used) and bake some cookies etc.

Some day I will try baking bread, but right now I am not that motivated because it is summer. My mother in-law offered me her bread maker and I turned her down. I am kicking myself now.

Enough rambling for one day.


Next time I will soak my beans first, which should cut the cooking time by about 1/3. Why use all that electricity?

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