Beans & Leaves

In one of the short stories I wrote for college, the main character owned a coffee & tea combo shop called Beans & Leaves. Two of my favorite beverages. It is fitting for this morning’s title, because I’m making Baked Beans and having Chai Banana Oatmeal for breakfast!

I slept well last night, thank Hypnos (Greek god of sleep) or Dave’s presence. When I awoke this morning at seven am, I was already contemplating dinner. I swear, I am thinking about food fifty percent of the time.

Sundays are implied ‘family days’ with my immediate family. We all live within 30 miles of each other, and we’re one of those crazy families that get along really well with each other. My brother and sisters are three of my very best friends–I could probably go out into the world and find three other people who share my same sense of humor, world views, love for books, and taste in movies and music, but this is so much easier.

Tyler, Emily, Moriah, Me

Even though my family works different schedules, on Sundays we all try to get together at my parent’s house or go to the beach in the summer, and most of these gatherings revolve around food. While I lay in bed this morning, I contemplated making baked beans for dinner tonight. This is something I really should have thought of last night so I could have soaked them overnight, but my foresight is not always great.

I followed the package directions for a quick soak and am now simmering them until tender. After I drain them, I plan to follow this recipe for Boston Baked Beans from allrecipes.com sans bacon and with the addition of chicken stock after they have cooked. (Sidenote: Dave says allrecipes is his Pinterest.) 🙂

*****

Since it’s a lazy Sunday, I postponed my exercise for a bit to sit on the couch with some coffee and my Kindle while I waited for the beans to finish their first round of cooking. After enjoying my cup of Hot Buttered Rum coffee, it was time to get moving.

I know a lot of people take rest days, but when I get into an exercise routine, I rarely take a day off. Instead, I pick one day to do something less cardio-intense. Yesterday was my ‘rest day’, because I focused mostly on upper body instead of pushing my heart rate up too much. Today, I wanted to push myself, so I did Level 1 of Six Week Six Pack again.

I’m glad I was prepared for the second go-round this time, but I still had to stop for a few seconds of deep breathing. My breath always gives out before my body gets tired. The mountain climbers are still my bane of existence. I know there are harder exercises, but that one just kills me for some reason; it is definitely not one of my favorites.

After a quick shower, it was time for my weekly weigh-in. I was resolved not to care too much about the number, because I feel fantastic, my clothes are looser, and my arms and legs definitely feel stronger. However, I couldn’t help but smile when the scale showed 125. It’s so nice when hard work pays off!

By the time I was dressed, I was ready for a late breakfast. I set out to make some Chai Banana Oatmeal, loosely based on this Kashi recipe that showed up in my Facebook newsfeed the other day. I wanted to use chai tea made with milk, but I was saddened to find I’m all out. Guess I need to pick some up from Mom today; she sells loose-leaf tea, the only kind of tea you should ever drink.

In a saucepan I combined 1/4 cup steel cut oats, 3/4 cup vanilla almond milk, 3/4 cup water, a pinch of salt, 1/4 tsp of cinnamon, 1/8 tsp ground cardamom, 1/8 tsp turmeric, 2 ground peppercorns, and 1 tbsp. of honey.

After it came to a boil, I turned it down to a simmer, let it cook for about 20 minutes, added half a sliced banana, and let it cook the remaining 10 minutes. (Note: you’re supposed to add the oats after the water comes a boil, but I added them right away. Oops. It still turned out.)

While my oats were simmering, I set to work on the baked beans for later.

Boston Baked Beans

  • 2 cups navy beans
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Arrange (cooked) beans in 2 qt casserole pan and layer with onion. In a saucepan, combine molasses, salt, pepper, mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire, and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and pour over beans. Pour in just enough chicken stock (or reserved water beans were cooked in) to cover beans. Cover dish with lid or aluminum foil and bake for 3-4 hours. Remove the lid halfway through cooking and add more liquid, if necessary.

I have just the right amount of Dave’s homemade chicken stock for the beans. I think it will add a lot more flavor than just the plain water. I plan to cook the beans a few hours here, then a few hours on the grill at my parent’s house.

Meanwhile, my oats were done! I scooped them into a bowl, topped with the remaining slices of banana, and a handful of toasted pistachios.

Holy deliciousness, batman. This was my favorite breakfast all week. Yes, it took about half an hour to make but I’m worth it! If you like your oatmeal plain Jane, you probably won’t like this, because it was packed with all sorts of crazy amazing Indian flavors.

Definitely going on the recipe page. First dishes, then I think I’m going to head to the grocery store for a few items for the week while Dave stays to babysit the beans in the oven.

 

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