Monday, September 30, 2013

You're A Vegan, What Do You Eat? (Adzuki Bean Edition)

It is almost October.  The mornings are cold (and dark) when I get up to run, and even though the temperature still rises to the mid-to-high seventies during the afternoons, it is time to face the facts: summer is coming to an end.

This is difficult for me to come to terms with.  There is not a whole lot in this world that I dislike more than winter.  So while the sun still shines, I figured I might as well write a post about adzuki beans, the main ingredient of one of our favorite summer meals.

Azuki Beans


Adzukis are small red beans, originating in East Asia, and often used in both sweet and savory dishes.  They are pretty easy to cook; that is, they seem to require less soaking and cooking time than do other beans I prepare.  Still, the creation of our summer adzuki bean dish requires a fair amount of planning ahead.

I start by soaking the beans, usually overnight, even though most websites say you don't actually need to soak them that long.  Then I rinse and boil them.  I use my patented foam skimming technique to make them digestive-system friendly, but that is probably not really necessary.  These beans rarely have much in the way of foam on top.

I cook them until they are tender, which probably takes 45 minutes give or take.  After rinsing them and letting them cool a bit, it is time to add the stuff that makes it delicious.

I add a ton of chili powder and some sea salt.  I stir that up and then go for the vegetables: chopped tomatoes, peppers, green onions, cilantro, and avocado.  Avocado is key.

This is probably one of my all-time favorite meals, though unfortunately, William will not eat it.  

IMG 2178

I guess it doesn't look all that pretty, but it tastes really good.  As you can see, it makes a gigantic quantity, so we usually eat it for 2-3 nights in a row (and there's enough for me to take for lunch as well).  I douse mine with hot sauce.  I try to remember to take out some of the beans before I add all the vegetables and set them aside for William.  He will eat adzuki beans if I mix them up with rice or quinoa, just not once I've added all the chopped vegetables to them.

I did not invent this recipe on my own.  The inspiration for this dish comes from Healthy Green Kitchen.  The original recipe has a lot of other suggestions for how to prepare adzuki beans, but I've never tried anything other than the chili powder, avocado, peppers/tomatoes/onions creation.  Just about the perfect thing to eat on a hot day.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Dear William (49 months)

Dear William,

Today you are 49 months old!

We started off the month with a trip to Colorado.  It was the greatest trip ever!  You can read about it here and here.  And you can look at a slideshow of our photos below.

After we got back from Colorado, I returned to work full time, and you moved up to the Big Kid Room at school. For the most part, you have been thrilled about it. Several of your friends moved up at the same time too, so the transition was smooth.  In the Big Kid Room you do fun things like have Show and Tell on Fridays.  You really enjoy choosing what toy you are going to bring each week.


You are very interested in planes right now, and for Show and Tell you have been bringing toy planes that you got for your birthday.

You have continued riding bikes this month, and you've even begun riding the "ride behind" bike to school with daddy.  You call this your "one wheel bike," I guess because your section of the bike has one wheel, which is attached to the back of daddy's bike.  You are thrilled to be able to ride this bike to and from school.  You are equally thrilled that you get to show off to your friends a little bit when they see you arriving or leaving school this way.  Their parents are not as imaginative or adventurous as us, and so they get picked up in cars (or SUVs) every day.  You are kind of the cool guy on campus.

We don't have as much time as we did when I was not working over the summer, but every once and a while, there is still enough daylight left when you finish your dinner that we can go have bike races in the church parking lot up the street from us.



Your dad signed you up for the Lego Jr. Club, and this month you got your first magazine.  It arrived, addressed to you and everything.  You have read that magazine cover to cover so many times that it is literally falling apart.  You love legos so much.  Your daddy does too, and you and he have enjoyed building some of the things that were in the magazine.


A plane, of course!

This month, you briefly helped mommy and daddy take care of some orphan baby squirrels we found in our yard.  They were really cute.  We named them Romulus and Remus.  We loved them, but we didn't really know what to do for them.  We took them to a wildlife rehabilitation center, and they told us that the squirrels had a very good chance of survival.

Remus Romulus

We had some record breaking heat this month, even reaching 100 degrees a few times.  You cooled off by playing with your Slip-n-Slide.


You went to a birthday party this month for one of your friends at school.  You had so much fun.  And I had so much fun too.  I got to see you running around and playing with your friends.  You introduced me to your (new) BFF.  When he arrived at the party, both of you squealed, ran towards each other, embraced, and then joined hands and skipped around the gym.  I had never before seen anything so adorable in my whole life.


You and K and K's mom.

You were served pizza and cake at the party.  When the server came around the table to you, you announced (very loudly): "I AM A VEGETARIAN."  So she gave you a slice of cheese pizza.  You started to cry.  You are terrified of both melted cheese and red sauce, and for these reasons, you have never eaten pizza before.  I asked you to please, please, just try it.  You kept crying and shook your head.  Your little friend K was sitting next to you, enjoying his slice of pizza, and he said, "Try it, Will.  It's yummy!"  So you very gingerly picked up your slice of pizza and took the tiniest bite possible.  You seemed completely amazed that it didn't kill you.  With a bit more coaxing, you eventually took a few more bites.  I was so proud of you!  Getting you to eat food is the biggest challenge we face, and it meant so much to me that you were brave enough to try something new.

William, you have been so very sweet this month.  You hug and kiss me, and all the time you are telling me, "Mommy, I love you," or even, "Mommy, I love you so much."  It is the best feeling in the world, when you say that to me.  You have so much love.  We cuddle every chance we get.



A few times this month you've woken in the night with a leg-ache.  It hurts so bad and you cry.  I rub your leg and hug and kiss you.  But you are still scared because your leg hurts.  I let you sleep in bed with us when that happens.  But one night when you had a leg-ache, your daddy was going to be running a big trail race in the morning.  I didn't want to disturb him, so instead of letting you come to bed with us, I climbed in your little bed with you.  You giggled because it was funny that there was hardly room for me.  Your leg still hurt, so I got you a tylenol and at first you didn't want to take it, but eventually you did, and you realized it tasted like candy.  You wrapped your arms around me and said, "Thank you for the tylenol, Mommy.  I love you so much."  We stayed that way, with our arms around each other.  It was the middle of the night, but now that you had me all to yourself, you kept whispering to me.  You told me all about your day and everything you had done, and then you made up stories about your toys and animals.  I was tired and my back hurt from being squished into your little bed, but I was as happy as I could be.

William, you are the best thing on this earth.  You are such a good, sweet, and wonderful child.  I look forward to every minute I get to spend with you.  I am the luckiest mom in the world.

Love to you always,   Mama