Dear Andrew, Addison and Friends,

I am so tired of winter, the ice, the snow and the wind chill factor. But I shouldn’t be complaining, I live in Texas and my son Addison lives in Montreal , he has at least 5 months of these cold temperatures. But there is good news, during this time of the year, there are some winter power foods in the market. I consider “power foods” the foods that are nutrient dense that offer wonderful “fuel” for our bodies. I am a strong believer in supporting our local farmers and eating foods that are in season. So, for the next several weeks I will share with you some recipes that you can join into your weekly menu planning. Here is a recipe that you can use for lunch or dinner. It makes a lot so you can save it for leftovers.

Power Food #1: Beans and Legumes

First of all, lets clear up this matter, beans are a part of the legume family. Peas, peanuts, lentils and even coffee beans are a part of the legume family. Legumes are a flowering plant that produce a pod or seed bearing carpel. This family of foods provide healthy complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein, calcium, zinc, iron and folate, which supplies antioxidants that provide energy for our bodies. Legumes come in a variety of  forms; canned, frozen, or dried. All are very close in nutritional value. But be aware that canned and frozen may have salt added, so please read the nutritional label. I prefer dried beans, they are cheaper and they can be stored up to one year in your pantry.

You know I love slow-cookers because you can dump everything in, turn it on and come home later and dinner is ready! Here is another tasty and healthy meal.

Chicken, Beans and Swiss Chard

Taste great and its healthy!

This garlic bread is delicious with this soup.

Directions

Arrange onions, fennel and garlic in bottom of slow cooker. Place beans on top of vegetables. Pour over chicken broth.Season chicken all over with salt and pepper and place on top of vegetables and beans in the slow cooker. Sprinkle rosemary over chicken. Place roasted red pepper slices on top of chicken. Arrange Swiss chard all around chicken.Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.

Slice bread and grill or toast, then drizzle with olive oil. Rub hot bread with garlic clove and serve with meal.

Salad of Black-Eyed , Kidney Beans, Barley and Corn

1 1/2 cups corn kernels, from 2 large ears of corn or if you have to, you can buy canned or frozen, watch out for the sodium level.

1 cup of frozen black-eyed peas

1/2 cup pearl barley

1 1/2 cups cooked red kidney beans or use 2 cans of red kidney beans

1 green bell pepper, finely diced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/3 cup chopped parsley

2 tablespoons finely diced red onion

3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

grated zest and juice of 2 large limes

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook the corn for 1 minute, scoop it out and set it aside.  If you are using canned omit this step. But if you are using frozen black-eyed pes and corn, lower the heat and simmer until tender about 35 minutes. Then drain in a colander. Meanwhile in a second pot, cook the barley in enough water to cover, cook about 40 minutes.

Layer the corn, peas, barley and beans in a shallow bowl with the pepper, pepper flakes, parsley and onion sprinkled between layers. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lime zest and juice, cumin,  add a little salt if needed, pour this over the salad. When it’s time to serve gently toss the salad with a large rubber spatula, this will prevent from crushing the beans.

I hope you enjoy these recipes and remember spring is right around the corner!

Love from Mom