Seasonal Sundays (Week 9) Dried Beans for "Bridge" Season

Let's cook some beans! They're economical, healthy ... and extra-perfect as the seasons transition. I hope you'll find one or two or three recipes that inspire and once cooked, insert themselves into your own collection of "keepers" ...

Seasonal Sundays, a weekly newsletter ♥, a seasonal collection of recipes and life ideas in and out of the kitchen.

Welcome to Seasonal Sundays ...

Hey, all. Thank you for following Kitchen Parade, for checking in on these Sunday recipe collections. It means the world to be welcomed into your InBox and RSS readers and most of all, your kitchens. So thank you, thank you. And if you like this week's recipes, perhaps you'll share them with a friend or social circle?

Today is sponsored (ahem) by two public service announcements.

First, spring starts this week, if we will it with sheer gumption. Bring it on, you March lion.

And yeah, yeah, the stars in charge of all things astronomical insist that Spring launches on March 20th.

But me? Nope. After all these years, I've finally figured out my Inner Calendar. Spring is March, April and May. Summer is June, July and August. Fall is September, October and November. And winter is December, January and February.

You're welcome.

But then, real life inserts itself into the equation. In Florida, March may definitely push spring-like and even summer-like but in my home state of Minnesota, March (and even May) is likely to lean into winter more than spring.

That means some weeks and even whole months are "bridges" of transition. For awhile, you're standing on one end of the bridge, then maybe there's a day or two on the other end.

And how, you're wondering, does this affect seasonal cooks? Well, who can predict more than a day or two or three in advance where we stand on the metaphorical bridge?

So it pays to be prepared! And ready to switch at the first sign of steps forward ... or back.

Second, it's time to cook all those beans we've been buying since fall. Cuz they're not gonna keep, Why Dried Beans Won't Cook. Take it from this long-time bean lover, cook 'em now or throw them away in the fall.

And while we're on the bridge, those beans are going to taste so-so-so good. "Light" as in plant-based, even if there's a meat protein involved. But "hearty" as only beans can be.

About the Photo By Popular Request, a Little Insight into the Top Image: That's an abandoned railroad bridge somewhere in Missouri, maybe Washington County. I took it twelve years ago this week.

In Praise Of ...

  • ... seasonally appropriate daffodils fronds pushing sunward, much welcome, unlike the seasonally INappropriate ones spied on, get this, New Year's Day, way way too early

  • ... the stoic eagle mamas (and papas) who this week withstood historic blizzards in central Minnesota and southern California (California? southern?! its first since 1989) wholly unaware of the hundreds and even many thousands of human eyes observing the nesting pairs from afar, thanks to live cams in Minnesota and California. I admit, I checked several many times a day and even in the night and finally just kept both live windows open for hours at a time. Just beautiful!

  • ... the Manna Café and Bakery Cookbook by Barb Pratzel, the source of the Oatcakes (Oatmeal Pancakes) so many of us are loving. I've been cooking from it all week and have another dozen/more recipes bookmarked. The recipes are really well-written (and tested by a circle of friends/fans) and straight-forward and easy to riff from. I have dozens (hundreds?) of cookbooks and it's been a long while since I've been so smitten.

Democracy Matters

The country needs calm, thoughtful and assertive voices amid the chaos inflicted by a minority hellbent on taking/retaining generational power by strangling democratic principles and equal rights. None of us have to personally change the world. We just have to do our part. Pick one thing for the top of your To Do List this week.

It's impossible to keep up. But one very good way to stay generally aware of the assault on democracy is to follow / subscribe to Democracy Docket. There's no way to "read" it all but even a quick scan will keep you primed for the attacks not only at the federal level but especially at the state level.

Honestly, it's stunning.

SEASONAL INSPIRATION: Seven Bean Recipes (Some with Dried Beans, Some with Canned)

How to Cook Dried Chickpeas for Hummus ♥ Yeah, it's worth the effort.

Greek Baked Beans (Gigantes Plaki) ♥, healthy beans cooked in the oven until creamy with tomatoes, warm spices. Weight Watchers Friendly. Gluten Free.

Cabbage & White Bean Stew, another easy, healthy vegetable soup ♥ Very Weight Watchers Friendly. Vegan. Gluten Free.

Vegetable Chili with Sweet Potatoes & Chipotle ♥, a confetti of colorful vegetables and beans warmed with chili spices.

At Last Black Bean Soup ♥, Laurie Colwin's recipe, just dump in the ingredients and cook it on the stove, in the oven or in a slow cooker.

Red Beans & Rice, another slow-cooked healthy dinner ♥ Meaty or Vegan. Weight Watchers Friendly. High Protein. Great for Meal Prep.

Ham & Beans ♥, an easy, budget-friendly one-pot supper that makes best use of a leftover ham bone. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly.

What's New?!

Wondering about a recipe from the last while? Check Recent Recipes from Kitchen Parade and Recent Vegetable Recipes from A Veggie Venture.

How to Cook Dried Beans from Scratch Mexican-Style in a Slow Cooker or Slow-Cooked in the Oven ♥, easy, healthy and delicious.

Looking Ahead ... ...

  • Fridays During Lent - Friday Fish
  • March 1 - Alanna's Unofficial First Day of Spring ;-)
  • March 14 - Pi Day
  • March 17 - St. Patrick's Day
  • March 20 - First Official Day of Spring
  • April 9 - Easter
Friday Fish ♥, a collection of simple fish recipes for easy dinners.
  • THE COLLECTION Kitchen Parade's Fish Recipes, many Quick Suppers, many healthy meals.
  • AND ANOTHER Kitchen Parade's Seafood Recipes including shrimp, oysters, lobster, crab.

Recipes for St. Patrick's Day ♥, including green food.

Easter Ideas & Recipes ♥, from Hot Cross Buns to Twice-Smoked Ham.

Looking Back ...

A Quick Peek Into a Real-Life Kitchen

Just so you know, everything's not all pretty pictures around here, in the background is a pile of dirty dishes. And just like many (all?) of us, come five o'clock, I too draw a blank about what to make for supper, despite so many recipes I so dearly love. Here's a quick peek from the last week.

How to Make Green Smoothies with Leafy Greens ♥ 14 Tips + 5 Sample Recipes.

  • THIS WEEK Warm morning temps made it feel like spring, the start of smoothie season, yes? I've taken to mixing a blenderful (this week avocado, arugula, some drying-out tangerines, buttermilk and ice), removing a small portion for myself, then finishing it with maple syrup, flax, etc. for my husband. The extra goes in the fridge because we all know about Make-Ahead Smoothies, right?!
  • THE RECIPE Green Smoothies 14 Tips + 5 Sample Recipes

Perfect Thick Pork Chops ♥, how to cook a thick pork chop, turning out juicy, perfectly cooked meat every time.
  • THIS WEEK My husband can't pass up a good smoked pork chop, nothing makes me happier. I use this recipe for thick chops, this week with a new Creole seasoning for the chops and repeated on some roasted potato wedges. Dare I say, man friendly food?!
  • THE RECIPE Perfect Thick Pork Chops Turn out juicy, perfectly cooked meat every time.

How to Roast Carrots ♥, with simple detailed Instructions for new cooks.
  • THIS WEEK So it's the time of year when more often than not, a tray of veggies goes into the oven more nights than not. This week I roasted a tray of those beautiful multi-colored carrots from Trader Joe's. So pretty! And purple, yellow and white carrots have slightly different flavors too! Recommended!
  • THE RECIPE How to Roast Carrots Written especially for new cooks.

Just Updated!

Spiced Preserved Lemons ♥, just lemons, salt and pantry spices, the cornerstone ingredient in Moroccan cuisine.

Best Recipes of 2005, Just One Per Month ♥

Steamed Broccoli Rabe (Broccoli Raab), another quick, healthy vegetable recipe ♥

How to Roast a Whole Butternut Squash in the Oven, no knives required, perfect results ♥

Hamburger Soup ♥, a hearty meat and vegetable soup, easy comfort food.
  • THE RECIPE Hamburger Soup A hearty soup with chunks of meat and a cornucopia of bright-colored vegetables.
  • ANOTHER TAKE My Chicken Noodle Soup The way I make it, meaty and noodle-y with just a few noodles.

Don't Be a Stranger ...

I'd love to hear from you. Comment, send me a quick e-mail (my current address is in the FAQs), dot-dash in Morse code, build a fire for smoke signals, launch a message in a bottle, send a Christmas letter, get the dog to yip, toss me a note wrapped in a rubberband, write a message in the sky, scratch a note in the sand, listen to a seashell, tuck a question into a plastic Easter egg, whatever.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. When you make my recipes, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below or better still, on the specific recipe's page.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.