It’s UnCANny: Vegan Refried Black Beans

We’ve been working toward eliminating canned goods from our pantry for quite some time, and last night, we finally said adios to canned refried beans. Honestly, refried beans from the grocery store shelf are fairly disappointing. First, we don’t love pinto beans. Second, finding organic refried beans is difficult. Third, they’re salty. Fourth, they’re not worth the money. Fifth, we like to have control over what we eat. Making these organic, vegan refried black beans from scratch was incredibly simple and very inexpensive. You’ll never go back again. I promise.
You’ll need:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Method:
In a non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, sauté the diced onion until soft and translucent.
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Add the garlic and stir constantly for 30 seconds.
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Add the cooked black beans, cumin, oregano and lime juice.
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Begin mashing with the back of a large wooden spoon or a potato masher. Mash until your heart’s content. I prefer mine smoother rather than chunkier, but it’s up to you.
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Give the beans a taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary.
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I made an amazing quesadilla with these beans, but the possibilities are endless. You could serve them along side enchiladas, have them on a vegan taco salad, or eat them with saffron-scented rice. Regardless, be proud that you’ve said goodbye to a canned pantry staple.
In the next few weeks, I’ll be re-creating more unCANny favorites, and I hope you’ll join me as I work toward reducing our household waste.
Until next time…

The Best Organic, Heirloom Tomato Season…Ever

So far, 2014 has been the most fruitful, pun intended, tomato season I’ve ever had. I started everything from seed and everything came from heirloom seeds come from Tomatofest. Please share in my happy. And, if I’ve jinxed myself, it was worth it. 🙂

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Yellow Currant tomatoes from Tomatofest

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More Yellow Currants from Tomatofest

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Super sweet Chadwick Cherries from Tomatofest

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Beautiful cluster of Yellow Currants from Tomatofest

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Thai Pink Egg, Hawaiian Currant, and Yellow Currant tomatoes all from Tomatofest

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Yep, more Yellow Currant and Thai Pink Eggs from Tomatofest

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Four varieties in one day: Thai Pink Egg, Hawaiian Currant, Chadwick Cherry, and Yellow Currants…seeds all from Tomatofest

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The late Tomatofest bloomer: The very ugly Martino’s Roma tomatoes finally ripening

I hope everyone’s having a productive, delicious, and healthy season.

With love and dirt under my fingernails,

Jenna

Dropping a Mallet on my Face and Reminiscing

Not only is it Throwback Thursday, but I’ve officially written 100 posts on Delicious Daydreams (feel free to applaud) and wanted to do something a little different.

Boy does time fly. It seems like yesterday that I started my first blog: “Jenna Dreams of…” It was short-lived, but a lot of fun. I mostly wrote about my escapades in food and gardening, so I re-imagined the whole thing and DD was born. It’s a little more than a year later, and here we are.

And while I’ve said “so long for now” to “Jenna Dreams of…,” I wanted to share a post that still makes me laugh…and wince.

In case you didn’t realize this, I’m a klutz. A lot of people say they’re clumsy, but really aren’t. It’s not cute to pretend such things. Being klutzy isn’t like being a unicorn. It’s not special, and it’s not pretty. Band-Aids and Neosporin are a big part of my life. And, no matter how the cartoons make it look, walking into door frames and shutting drawers on my fingers doesn’t end up with cute little birds flying above my head in concentric circles. Getting hurt isn’t fun (but it sure does entertain my friends).

So, blogosphere, please share one of my most memorable gardening/blogging moments with me. I posted this more than two years ago on “Jenna Dreams of…” It’s OK to laugh.

It’s true. I’ve found yet another way to injure myself. And this is a doozy. Today I spent the day gardening and decided to brace some PVC with some heavy duty 7-foot garden stakes.

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All was well until five minutes later…

I grabbed the mallet from the garage and gave it to my boyfriend. He said it was unnecessary because he was able to push them right into the ground, but noooooooooooo…..I’m smarter. I picked up the mallet, held it two feet above my eager face, and began to pound the stake further into the soil. After about three whacks, I dropped it right on my mouth. I DROPPED A MALLET ON MY FACE!!! So what did I do? I threw the mallet down and walked right to the bathroom to spit out blood. I looked in the mirror, said, “SERIOUSLY, JENNA?,” went to the kitchen, got a frog-shaped ice pack from the freezer, wrapped it in a towel, held it to my throbbing, bloody lip, and then sat down in a dark room to play Simpsons Tapped Out on my iPad.

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So lovely. So very lovely.

The moral of the story is that in the history of morons, idiots, Tim “the Tool Man” Taylors, and so on, I have to be the first to accomplish this. If I’m not alone, I’m not even sure that would make me feel better because I don’t want them (by “them,” I mean people like me) driving school busses, flying planes, or operating carnival rides.

Happy Saturday. Get me some Advil.

And, that, my friends, is that. I hope you had a chuckle…even if it was at my expense.

Happy and safe gardening to you all,

Jenna

How Does Our Organic, Urban Garden Grow: An Update

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Things are looking pretty good around here! I posted a while back about how Spring was treating us in sunny Zone 9, and now it’s time for an update. A month is like a jillion years to a gardener, so here goes…

The Kentucky Wonder beans have been nothing but amazing. For the past two weeks, I’ve gotten a small handful every day. For three plants, that’s pretty good! The wax beans are also going strong.

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The heirloom crookneck squash, on the other hand, was a total bust. Powdery mildew invaded and stunted the growth of the plants. I waved the white flag pretty early because I knew the pot could be put to better use. This is the best they’d ever look.

Crookneck Squash Babies

The same failure goes for our cukes. I swear I’m going to give up on even trying to grow them. The only time we have luck is when the plants are volunteers. I don’t know what it is. I suspect the humidity and salt air is the downfall, but who knows? This was our one delicious, crunchy, crowning jewel:

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I also grew an “onion.” Laugh it up. It’s OK.

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The heirloom lettuces and Swiss chard ended up in the compost heap after a good run. I tried to save seeds from some of the bitter, bolted babies, but it didn’t work out. Perhaps they’ll self-seed in the fall.

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But, the tomatoes. The TOMATOES. I’m pleased as punch. And, I know, a gardener should never count their peppers before their picked, but I’ve got to toot this horn! I’ve been harvesting a bunch of yellow currant tomatoes every single day.

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I even harvested the first Thai Pink Egg yesterday. All of our 24 plants are doing pretty well. A few have yellowing leaves here and there, and the tomatoes from one of our Martino’s Roma plants have blossom end rot (none of the others do, even in the same bed), but still, I’ve never had such a successful season. I guess I should knock on some wood.

And, surprisingly, the carrots are still going strong. Succession planting has been our best friend.

Here’s yesterday’s harvest:

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All in all, this is our best season yet. Disaster could certainly strike at any minute, but for now, I’ll bask in the glory of our organic gardening endeavors.