lower cholesterol

Blackbeans Jumble Recipe

Blackbeans Jumble, our Monday night one-pot dinner creation influenced by Creole Jambalaya. The origin of Jambalaya apparently derives from the Provencal which is spoken in the South of France, the word “jambalaia” refers to a mishmash or mix-up. Talking about fusion, diversity and cooking, you definitely will find it in Creole cooking, this cuisine is a living proof of all the descendants of early settlers.

Louisiana Creole cuisine is recognized as a unique style of cooking, which makes use of the “Holy Trinity” (in this case, chopped celery, bell peppers, and onions), but has a great variety of European, French, Caribbean, African, and American influences.

La Chinata smoked paprika powder and gumbo mix spice powder

La Chinata smoked paprika powder and gumbo mix spice powder

Pulses and legumes

I love one-pot dishes, mixing ingredients and blending of spices they are ideal to finish up whatever vegetable is leftover on my kitchen counter. Adding pulses and legumes to your diet is very healthy since beans are considered protein-rich super food. Beans are low-glycemic, high-fiber, high-protein and packed with important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Not to mention very convenient to cook and to add to your weekly meal plan. Beans help you feel fuller for a longer period of time and as a bonus helps to lower your weight.

Double value for health and grocery shopping budget to buy dried beans instead of cans or jars, a bag of beans is very economic, because it triples in quantity. One dried cup yields 2½­- 3½­ cups soaked beans, enough to feed a family of 4-6 persons. Just soak a cup overnight (1-2 days max, refreshing water in between) to let them well double in size, transfer to a pressure cooker and depending the bean and quantity you only have to cook 7-10 min tops and the beans are ready to be used in dishes or as ingredient of a recipe. For an overview of beans with image and description click here.

Black eyed beans

Black eyed beans

Digestion aid

Not everyone has the same experience but it is a well known side effect of eating beans resulting in flatulence, because beans contain raffinose which is a starch that is poorly digested due to a lack of the enzyme galactosidase. In aid to reduce increased intestinal gas production, there are several ways to avoid bean flatulence;

  1. Pre-soak overnight up to 24 hour, rinse in between (48 hours max otherwise it will ferment instead!) is a must and cook them well, the beans must be entirely soft without any hard bits.
  2. Add a knife tip – pinch of baking soda to the soak water of dried beans before cooking, this will significantly decreases the content of the raffinose family of sugars.
  3. From our time in India, were lentils are staple food we learned from Indian cooking to add asfoetida aka ‘hing’ as a digestive aid, this little tub is on our spice rack among Indian spices. In many Indian recipes it includes turmeric and ginger both are digestives spices as well.
  4. Other spices are cloves, cinnamon, and garlic are potent in reducing gas.
  5. According to a Huffington Post article, adding a piece of seaweed (Kombu or Wakame) will make the beans more digestible. Seaweed is another well known power food and it adds an extra depth as part of flavoring the beans as well aid for digestion 

Chili con Carne is a well known recipe with kidney or brown beans, Blackbeans Jumble is made with blackeyed beans and this recipe has creole influences but was mainly inspired by leftover greens, the use of spices like smoked paprika powder and cumin makes it interesting. You can add peppers if you like the heat or leave them out, by omitting the meat it will become a full vegan dish.

Blackbeans as comfort food

Blackbeans as comfort food

Lemongrass ginger herbal tisane – My Cup 茶馆

Lemongrass & Ginger tea, a thirst quencher with nutrition and health benefits.

Lemongrass & Ginger tea, a thirst quencher with nutrition and health benefits.

While I am typing this post it is raining again as it was yesterday, although I don’t mind the cold or wetness it’s the sun and warmth I crave the most. This early morning the day started with sun rays bursting through the window, but winter chills is still holding a firm grip and the wind doesn’t help much to change the mood throughout the rest of the day. While browsing through the fridge to see what I would come up with for dinner, I saw one last stalk of Lemon grass left. I decided instead of using to cook with it I would make a soul-warming tea with ginger to warm up my body and at the same time a soothing taste comforting me by filling up the house with fragrance and taste of the tropics.

Lemon grass has tremendous health benefits and is packed with so much goodness, it aids many chronic conditions due to its anti-microbial, anti-oxidant,
anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer properties. Lemon grass as a therapeutic tea helps improving digestive tract, detoxifies, lowers cholesterol and has a purifying effect just to highlight a few remedies.

Consumption of ginger has great health benefits too, I discovered not early enough that it is a great remedy in aiding to reduce pain with menstruation cramps and relieving tremendous migraine pains as well anti-inflammatory effects. In my younger years I relied to much on painkillers and have taken larger dosages to find release and feeling comfortable again. At that time I also didn’t appreciate the taste nor the belief that Ginger would help. Well that changed 360° after my first mug of infused ginger tea, since then I have been praising the benefits and healthy nutrition of ginger and advocating to others to chop, slice, dice, mince more of ginger to eat and drink of this mighty Ginger rhizome. See Ginger root, raw nutrition facts here.

If the pure ginger flavour is too strong at first, start with a light infusion to get used to the taste  even as a flavoured water it still works its magic for you. How to make ginger infusion tea from light to strong to each taste preferences will appear shortly, but after intake you will absolutely notice difference in your body it will lift up your mood and responsiveness. The combination of Green tea, Ginger & Cinnamon tea has been proven to reduce blood sugar level after a meal, read this article on synergistic effect of green tea and spices.

To add sweetening to ginger tea with mixed herbs or spices, you may add a teaspoon of sugar cane  sugar or coconut palm sugar (both have low GI index as a better health choice) or honey.

Here are some other variation of infused Ginger Tea’s to make at home instead of pre-made bags and packages:

  • Green tea with Ginger & Cinnamon tea
  • Cinnamon with Ginger & Date tea with honey (Korean-style)
  • Lemon-honey with Ginger
  • cinnamon, cardamom & ginger tea (Indian fused style)
  • Ginger tea with Cinnamon & Anise
  • Coconut & Ginger tea or juice

I’m literally out of my ingredients and need to shop, as soon as I can I will make preparation to upload photo’s of each with recipes and instructions for you to make herbal infusion tea’s at home too.