bean soup + kale chips

As promised I will share these two simply delicious recipes with you, but first a wee update.  Last week, I wrote about our decision to make better food choices and I am happy to report that it is going well.  As I predicted, the bread novelty has worn off, but I have a nice collection of classic recipes to use when needed; you can find many on them here and I will be sharing more in the future.

When we go to the grocery store we buy only raw materials and fresh produce.

We always buy our animal products such as butter, milk and eggs (I think our ladies need a pep talk) from the organic section and all other items organically where and when it is available.

There are huge savings when you purchase items like organic flour ($34 for 25kg) and raw organic cane sugar ($75 for 25kg) through a buying club like the ONFC.

We buy one container of organic apple juice and dilute it for the kids if they want juice, otherwise they drink water or organic milk (a post on raw organic milk and home pasteurization to come).

So far, the weekly bill has not been smaller, but we are eating much better and feeling good about the quality of our food.  The end of the month will tell us more.  I feel like I am losing weight though we don’t have a scale to prove or disprove that inkling.

I know many people struggle with the cost of organics, but to buy food grown without the use of pesticides, antibiotics, or hormones is important.  To know the animals were healthier, provided more space , and treated better is important.  To know the workers and land were treated with respect so we can enjoy some coffee on weekend mornings is important.  To know we’re supporting responsible farmers is important.

Now, I know there have been countless articles written questioning the benefits and practices of organic farming.  I can tell you firsthand that there are farmers out there who still care, take great pride in their work, and follow organic regulations strictly.  There are farmers out there whose breath is slowed and heart calmed by watching their cattle eat.  There are farmers out there who do it because it is what they believe to be right and sustainable.  It isn’t just that the food is higher in vitamins and minerals or contains more “good fats” and less “bad fats”.  It is about demanding better foods and practices with every dollar we spend.  It is about supporting the farmers who are swimming tirelessly against the current.  It is about taking a stand against companies like Monsanto.  It is about weaning ourselves off the unhealthy convenience foods the corporations need us to be addicted to in order to make a profit.  It is about the health of our family, our small farms, and our earth.

Bean Soup Recipe  (loosely based on this recipe)

1 or 2 tbsp bacon drippings or olive oil

1 onion diced

2 cloves of garlic diced

2 or 3 chopped carrots

1 can lentils rinsed

1 can navy beans rinsed

1 can white kidney beans rinsed

salt, pepper, cumin, rosemary, thyme, and oregano to taste

5 cups organic chicken stock

2 tbsp cornstarch + 1/2 cup chicken stock  (optional)

1.) place oil, onions, garlic and carrots in large soup pot and saute until  onions are transparent and fragrant

2.) add all remaining ingredients except cornstarch mixture and simmer until carrots are tender

3.) I like my soups a little thicker so add the cornstarch and stock near the end until desired texture


Note:  I use canned beans because I have never had great success with getting my beans to a non-crunchy texture.  Anyone have any tips for this?  I would really prefer to buy dry organic legumes as it is much more economical.

Kale Chips

1 bundle kale

olive oil

sea salt

garlic powder

lemon juice

1.) Tear kale into small pieces

2.) Combine all ingredients except kale in a large bowl

3.) add kale pieces and toss gently with tongs or hands

4.) bake in 200* oven for 30 to 45 minutes or until they are nice and crisp.

Note:  The kids loved these “crackers” (parenting win right?!), but I found the kids gagged on the pieces that didn’t reach the optimum level of crispy.  I wonder how these would turn out in a food dehydrator.


I have been given some tips:  minimal oil and liquids and a single layer without overlapping the edges.  Next time I will likely omit the lemon juice.

go gently + be wonderful


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  1. Posted January 17, 2012 at 5:37 am by Heather | Permalink

    I use dry beans because it is cheaper :-) I soak the beans overnight and then put them either in the crockpot (if I am making chili or baked beans) and let them cook all day. Or I cook them on the stove, and I think it typically takes a couple hours for them to cook. Just make sure you keep enough water or other liquid in the pot. I always cook extra and then throw them in the freezer, so cooked beans when I need them (like every day :-)). They are done when you blow on them and the skin cracks, but obviously you can try them as well :-)

    • Posted January 17, 2012 at 1:32 pm by erin | Permalink

      More great tips! Do you put them in canning jars or bags to freeze them?
      Thanks so much for taking the time to write!

  2. Posted January 17, 2012 at 8:14 am by Stephanie K. | Permalink

    My post for tomorrow is about using dried beans…because I always buy them, and they look pretty in the jars, but I don’t get around to using them because canned are so must more convenient! Soaking them overnight then boiling them for 1-2 hours seems to be the only way to soften them. I find I’m craving beans more than ever these days…going to try your soup today (improvised with the beans I have on hand). You can cook up big bunches then freeze in can-sized portions if your recipes use that measure. Also, cooking them with kombu (a sea vegetable) softens them and reduces flatulence, or so I’ve read…haven’t tried it (sea vegetables aren’t readily available in the rural Ottawa Valley!)…

    • Posted January 17, 2012 at 1:31 pm by erin | Permalink

      I was thinking about freezing them as well as it is quite a long process and I am rarely that on the ball…

  3. Posted January 17, 2012 at 10:29 am by Kate | Permalink

    I usually do dry beans in the crock pot and I just keep ’em going until they are soft. It sometimes takes longer and more water than the directions say, but the older your beans are the more water/time they will need. I love it because they are cheaper. Thanks for the recipes. I’m always a fan of bean recipes. Cheap, good food!

    • Posted January 17, 2012 at 1:30 pm by erin | Permalink

      Thanks so much! Yes, I hope to eat lots of bean based recipes in the near future.
      Thanks for writing!

  4. Posted January 17, 2012 at 1:18 pm by cindy baldwin | Permalink

    I cook dry beans all the time. My dad lived for 2 years in Mexico before I was born, and so I grew up on beans and tortillas every day for lunch. The key to cooking dry beans is a long soak (to get rid of the digestion-disrupting oligosaccharides) and a long cook. My preferred way to do it is to soak my beans in warm water overnight, then strain and rinse and put them in the crock-pot with fresh water. I cook them on low for 6-8 hours, or until they are nice and soft. It’s possible to overcook beans, but hard! 😉 Also, don’t add any salt until the last few hours of the cooking process; salt toughens the beans. For beans that have an extra tough skin, like garbanzos, add a little shake of baking soda early in the cooking process. It softens the skins beautifully.

    If you forget to soak your beans overnight, you can also “cheat” by putting them in a full pot of water, bringing the water to a boil, and then covering the pot and removing it from the heat to sit for one hour. Then strain and rinse your beans and return them to your pot or put them in a crock pot. On a stovetop simmering on low, they will usually take about 4 hours to cook.

    Hope this helps! Beans are a big part of our diet. My husband had never had a ton of them before he married me… but now he likes them too! 😉

    • Posted January 17, 2012 at 1:26 pm by erin | Permalink

      Thank you so much for the detailed how to! I will be trying this in the near future for sure.
      Great tips for the salt and baking soda too.
      Thanks for taking the time to write.

  5. Posted January 18, 2012 at 12:51 am by Donna | Permalink

    I soak them overnight, drain in the morning, cover over an inch with water, bring to boil and boil for 2 min then let sit for 30min-2hrs. Drain. Cover with water, cook for 1-2 hrs or crockpot on high for 4 hrs. The cooking and draining helps them digest better. Never salt until they are tender. The salt prevents softening. Kidney beans should be cooked for 10 min on stove top before putting in crockpot. They contain a toxin known as Kidney Bean Lectin or Phytohaemagglutnin that causes food-poisoning like symptoms unless cooked to high enough temp.

    Hard water and the mineral content of soil where legumes were grown affects the cooking time.

    I freeze mine in canning jars.

    • Posted January 18, 2012 at 9:37 am by erin | Permalink

      Oh wow! I didn’t know that about kidney beans.
      Thanks for the tips and thanks for taking the time to write!

  6. Posted January 18, 2012 at 10:19 pm by Ana | Permalink

    I soak my beans overnight and then cook for an hour or two depending on the kind of bean, before adding in the other veggies (so they don’t turn to mush).

    I have the most delicious mung bean soup if you’re interested… it’s my new favourite bean!

    • Posted January 19, 2012 at 8:56 am by erin | Permalink

      New recipes are always great!

  7. Posted January 27, 2012 at 7:44 pm by Sara Savel | Permalink

    Trying out this recipe tonight, although I omitted onions and added spinach and mushrooms. To keep it simple and heart healthy for my husband, I used organic canned beans (lower sodium), olive oil, and organic low sodium chicken broth. Though, in all honesty, I prefer a homemade chicken broth with all the fat and flavor, and bacon drippings! Thanks for the meal time inspiration.

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