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Friday, May 29, 2009

Black Bean Soup

I have discovered a great recipe for black bean soup. Although I don't really consider myself a "soup" person, the rest of my family loves their soup. There are a few soups which I do enjoy - they are mostly the hearty, meal in a bowl type of soups. A favorite of mine is pea soup - I'll have to get that posted someday soon.

This is a soup that simmers all day long in the crock pot. I love coming home from work to the smell of dinner already prepared. This recipe would be great for those rainy summer "non-BBQ" type of days, and makes a fine meal with a hunk of crusty bread and a side salad. It wasn't as spicy as I would have liked, so next time I might opt not to remove the seeds from the jalapeno pepper. I also throw a bit of grated Monterrey Jack cheese on the top for the sake of my kids, because for some reason it helps them see past the little bits of "green stuff".

Black Bean Soup
from Cooking Light Magazine, March 2009

1 lb dried black beans
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup water
1 tbsp ground cumin
3 bay leaves
1 jalapeno pepper (seeded and finely chopped)
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp salt

Chopped cilantro
Sour cream
Grated Cheese

1. Sort and rinse the beans, cover with water and let stand overnight to soak.

2. The following morning, drain the beans, and add them to your crock pot along with the chicken broth, onion, water, cumin, bay leaves and jalapeno.

3. Cook on low all day (about 10 hours or so).

4. Just before serving, stir in lime juice and add salt to taste. Spoon into bowls and top with sour cream, cheese, and cilantro.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hot Cross Bun Pudding

This is the dessert that I made for dinner at Easter. I know this is almost cruel, since it calls for Hot Cross Buns and you probably won't be able to find those in the grocery store to make this recipe until next spring. Yet, it is worth the wait, and I decided that I should post this now, before it gets buried in my alarmingly sizeable photo archive of unposted recipes.

I usually buy Hot Cross Buns for the kids as soon as I see them in the store each spring. They love to eat them split and toasted with a little butter for breakfast. Well at least LAST year, they loved them. Children, however, can be fickle (especially mine) and a favorite treat last year, can turn into one step up from fried liver this year.

So, I took my regular everyday Bread Pudding recipe with a few tweaks and made this delicious bread pudding with the surplus buns. We loved it so much (even the kids), that I ran back out to the grocery store and bought three more packages of Hot Cross Buns, so I will be able to make this six more times before next Easter!

Hot Cross Bun Pudding

4 Hot Cross Buns
2 eggs slightly beaten
⅓ cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
3 cups unsweetened almond milk

1. Cut buns into 1" cubes. Spray an 8" round cake pan with cooking spray and dump the cubes in.

2. Mix together the eggs, sugar, salt and almond milk (you can certainly use regular milk instead, I've discovered that I like almond milk in bread puddings because it adds nice flavour and it is thick like using whole milk without as many calories).

3. Pour the milk/egg mixture over the cubed buns and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 325F.

4. Bake for 1 hour. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.