Fork and Beans. They say that early experiences influence who becomes a mature adult, and that may be true in my case. I experienced baking for the first time in my mother’s kitchen, where she was often asked to make cookies. Occasionally, during the summer, I volunteered in the kitchen of the big diner where my mother worked, learning a few work tricks under the guidance of a chef. I remember the dirty dishes and the small table where tired staff gathered to talk and rest. Then, as a young man, she had the pleasure of working as a pastry chef in a bustling restaurant for a year. Today I would like to share with her one of these tricks.

Nothing beats the pleasant decadence of a lovely cake. Store-bought clams are often laden with lard and preservatives, over-wrapped, flat, and unfortunately tasteless. While making freshly baked pie shells yourself is preferable, many people struggle to keep the crust perfect. One of the most common problems is the formation of large air bubbles. Another problem with frying mussels is that the mussels can shift, warp, or be less than perfect in the pan.

A simple solution of forks and beans can prevent all this.

Keep a container of 3 cups of uncooked red kidney beans handy to hold the crust in place. Due to the weight of the beans, the dough will not deform when baked.

After filling the bottom of the cake mould with raw dough, poke several holes in the bottom with a fork. Cut a circle out of baking paper and line it up to cover the edges of the dough. Put the beans in the cake pan.

At 375°F, he bakes for 12 minutes or until the crust is light golden brown. Place on a wire rack to cool. Once the shells are cool enough, gently support the shells while pouring the beans into a small bowl. Cool beans entirely before storing them in the pantry. Label the container to avoid confusion later. These cake beans are never edible but can be reused many times and composted once the beans decompose.

Health on Your Fork

Recent headlines identifying the American healthcare crisis have helped stakeholders clarify the changes needed to promote this precious commodity called health or change habits to minimize the risk of disease for individuals.

Decades of research by Dr T. Colin Campbell, published in his book The China Study, and clinical research by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, MD, published in his book Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease, compared the incidence and effect of nutrient intake. Recently, Dr Neil Barnard, Founder and Chair of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, the link between plant-based diets to improve diabetes. The compelling relationship between diet and disease is reflected time and again in published studies, clinical trials, and personal stories. This option consists of rejecting the Standard American Diet (SAD) and starting a plant-based diet.

As simple as this recommendation is, why are so many people avoiding health and wellness? Would you choose never to eat this food again? Would you change your diet if you were told to eat the food you love, what does diabetes cause and ultimately lead to? Blindness? More and more people are finding no cures in the medical community for inflammatory, chronic, or autoimmune diseases that are affected by our diet, and it is becoming increasingly evident that our diet is related to the diseases we suffer, endure, and spend me tended to symptoms with no real hope of a measurable cure.

The truth about eliminating disease lies in understanding the power of plant-based foods to protect and heal the body. Increased access and a strong belief that a powerful yet undiscovered pill can “cure” disease have many people into the trap driven. This food is not that important for actual health.

Perhaps the answer to minimizing disease is too apparent, but we’re missing it! Examine the food on the fork to see if it’s whole or fresh, fruit, veg, leafy, greens, nuts, seeds, or beans. Whole grain products contain no additives, chemicals, or preservatives. Are you consuming herbal protection for your health? The most impressive finding from the many studies and anecdotes surrounding diet and lifestyle interventions is how quickly the body responds to eating from whole or fresh plant-based food sources. You can measure this by the foods you consistently choose for your plate and fork.

The other best-kept secret is using pureed white beans instead of shortening, butter or margarine in baked goods. After the beans are cooked, drain and place in a food processor or blender or mash with a fork to create a puree. It should be about the consistency of the fat you are replacing and may be substituted cup for cup or simply for half the fat in the recipe. If the beans are too thick and/or dry, add a little water and stir completely. Many ask, “how does it taste” [in cookies, etc.], and the answer is, you can’t even tell! The foods are delicious and nutritious!

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