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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise

Using Your Bean

With this issue Vegetarians in Paradise continues the bean explorations of VOW, a diabetic who has discovered the importance of beans in her diet. In subsequent VIP issues VOW will enlighten our readers with the further Adventures of the Bean.

Adventures of the Bean #17
When It's Too Hot to Cook

by VOW

Includes Recipe Below


I don't want to DO anything, except sit inside the air-conditioned house and numb my brain with TV, or spend my time in a pool.

I don't want to fiddle with blood glucose meters.

I don't want to cook.

I don't want to clean up from cooking, either mine or someone else's.

I don't want to get in a hot car and drive through troublesome traffic, fight with a parking lot, and then do battle in the grocery store. I SURE don't want to drive home and then put all the stuff away!

And if anyone DARES to say the word "exercise," I'm going to burn up a few calories and slap 'em!

This weather makes me cranky. I bet you couldn't tell!

When the entire country seems to be stewing in its own natural juices, go EASY on yourself! Conserve energy, not only your own, but also the expensive kind provided by the utility companies and the gas stations. Take comfort in the fact this season won't last forever!

During the hot months, it's tempting to sit in the shade and drink high-calorie liquids and indulge in lots of ice cream. Or we're tempted to run to the fast food places to "get" dinner rather than dragging ourselves to the kitchen to "make" dinner. And let's face it, we've ALL been guilty of these very practices. With Diabetes on board, though, you've got to do better for yourself!

Does this mean permanent banishment to the Pit, I mean, the kitchen? Well, no. Let's say you only have to make a quick detour on your way to a place of cool comfort. Think short-cut foods. Look for prepackaged, ready-to-serve raw veggies. You can assemble a quick salad or relish tray, and have healthy eats available not only for you, but your whole family. It sure beats standing at the kitchen sink peeling carrots and cleaning celery, while the sweat drips off the end of your nose! VOW

A speed-meal can be assembled from canned and frozen foods to help you zoom from the hot kitchen to the cool poolside deck a whole lot faster, too. The key is having a strategy ready to put into place. A little bit of advance planning goes a LONG way in the heat of summer!

And if you've got a good plan, there's no law that says you can't use it over and over!

(You won't get any argument from me if you decide to use paper plates to save on cleanup, as well!)

Now, let's get on to the REAL reason for this article: FOOD!

Last month, I teased you with an early taste of Thanksgiving. This month I'll soothe your sweaty selves with another cold month holiday: Christmas!

I found these beans called "Christmas Limas." I'm not a lima bean fan, but these little guys are absolutely gorgeous, and I figured something so lovely just HAS to taste good, right? http://beanbag.net/cgi-bin/image/templates/bc5.jpg

And since I really wasn't interested in camping out in the kitchen, I "cheated" by using the speed soak method!

Nine-Layer Salad or Dip
(makes ten generous servings)

    2 cups (480 ml) dried Christmas Limas, or three 15 oz. (425 g) cans of black/pinto/kidney beans
    1 package taco seasoning
    16 oz (450 g) Tofu, Silken, Soft
    1 fresh lemon, or 2 T. bottled lemon juice
    1 cup (240 ml) prepared Mexican salsa (or to taste)
    1 8-oz (225 g) package Follow Your Heart "cheese product," nacho flavored, finely shredded 2 ripe avocados
    Lettuce (your choice), finely shredded, 2 cups (480 ml) or more
    2 or 3 very ripe tomatoes
    1 small or 1/2 large red onion
    1/2 cup (240 ml) black olives, sliced

Pick over and rinse your beans. In this case, two cups of dried Christmas Limas is about a pound. Place them in a large pot and cover with water, about eight to ten cups of H2O. Add a three-inch piece of KOMBU.

Bring the pot to a boil, and simmer for two minutes. (The world won't end if you simmer longer than this, I promise.) Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and allow it to sit undisturbed for an hour or so. Then bring the beans back up to a simmer and cook one to one and a half hours longer. Check often, and add more water if needed. If any KOMBU remains, simply pick it out the best you can. Some folks don't find it aesthetically pleasing.

You'll have five to six cups (about 1 to 1.5 liters) of cooked Limas. Allow to cool, and then mash them coarsely and stir in a half-package of taco seasoning, any brand.

Place the mashed beans in a 9 x13-inch (23 x 32.5 cm) baking dish, and spread evenly on the bottom.

In a separate bowl, or in a food processor, place 16 ounces (450 g) of drained, soft, silken tofu. Add the juice of half a lemon, and stir or process until smooth. Spread the tofu evenly over the mashed beans.

Then pour evenly over tofu one cup of store-bought Mexican style salsa. It can be wild or mild, whatever suits your taste buds.

Take two avocados, remove the fruit in whatever way you choose, and mash coarsely. Add a couple of squeezes of lemon juice and mix thoroughly. Spread the avocado layer evenly over the salsa

Finely shred one package of Follow Your Heart "fake cheese," nacho flavor. Sprinkle the grated cheese gently over the avocado.

Using one-fourth to one-half a head of iceberg lettuce, shred finely. You should have about two cups (480 ml), more or less. Spread this evenly over the grated cheese. (Feel free to use any lettuce type, just make sure you've got about two cups' worth!)

Take two or three very ripe tomatoes, dice into small squares, and distribute over the lettuce.

Then finely chop half of a red onion, and sprinkle over the tomatoes.

The ninth layer is the sliced black olives scattered evenly over the top.

Cover dish with foil or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least one hour, to allow flavors to blend.

This is wonderful party food, great with tortilla strips, chips, crackers, raw veggies, or even fingers if people are desperate enough. Or you can cut it into squares and gently scoop it out of the dish and serve it as a salad course, to be eaten with a fork or spoon.

If you don't want to cook the beans, canned beans such as pinto, kidney, or black beans may be substituted.

I've been known to hog the whole dish, snarling at anyone who came near me!

Nutritional facts per serving:
320 calories
16 grams of protein
35 grams of carbohydrate
13 grams of fiber (making 22 net grams of carb!)
14 grams of fat

Keep in mind, too, that the fat comes from the avocados and olives, so it's the HEALTHY stuff!

Click here for more Adventures of the Bean

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