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Monday, August 26, 2013

Gas-less Beans

Origin of FART

Middle English ferten, farten; 
akin to Old High Germanferzan to break wind, 
Old Norse freta, Greek perdesthai,
Sanskrit pardate he breaks wind
First Known Use: 13th century

As many of you who have followed this blog know,
originally it was a blog about simple living.
Then, as my MCS and my love for the Camino
 took me back to Spain again and again,
it transformed into a blog ABOUT the Camino.

But I'd like to try to get back to my original idea,
which was to give people information that would help them in a tight economy.

Today I want to talk about how you can lessen the effect of GAS when you're cooking beans.
Beans and seeds are an easy food to store in case of emergency.
You can put them in glass or plastic containers,
and until you add moisture,
they'll pretty much hold their food value.
I have a variety of beans and seeds in my storage,
including garbanzos, pintos, white beans,
black beans, mung beans,
and lentils.

But beans have one problem.
They cause gas for many people.
Most of you over 50 will remember this jumprope song.

Beans, Beans!
The musical fruit!
The more you eat,
the more you toot!
The more you toot,
the better you feel!

So let's have beans
for every meal!

Those who don't remember the song
will remember how funny a fart can be to a child.

It's universal humor.

But WHY do beans make us "toot" and is there anything we can do about it?
Let's talk about botany and biology.

What a Bean or Seed Wants

A bean or a seed has one purpose.
It wants to travel and sprout.

To travel, it has made itself attractive to birds and animals;
they want to EAT it!

And then to sprout it needs moisture and fertilizer.
So it needs to make it all the way through some pretty tough digestive systems,
and come out the other end in a nice warm pile of poop!

That's just the embarrassing truth.

In order to survive its journey through the digestive system,
it has developed a defense system; 
a very tough coat, called a "seed coat."

The seed coat is the (usually) colored part of the seed you see.
Black beans have black seed coats.
Kidney beans have reddish seed coats.
Garbanzo beans have cream or yellow colored coats.

This coat protects the seed for 24-48 hours while it travels through a digestive system.
It does not WANT to be digested.
It wants to survive the journey,
so it stays buttoned up for the general time it takes
for it to pass through the host's digestive system.

After that time, it begins to soften and split open,
allowing moisture to reach the seed itself,
and promote sprouting.

Your Body

Your body, on the other hand,
has developed a way to know 
when certain foods are not being digested.
It's called "gas!"

Things you eat are broken down by enzymes, 
stomach acids, and intestinal bacteria 
in order for the energy in them to be made available to the body. 
Through the processes of digestion and fermentation, 
gases can be liberated from what's eaten.

When a food sits in your gut 
and is not being broken down fast enough 
for your body to extract the nutrients,
you develop more gas, and more gas, 
and that gas has to go somewhere!

So you fart!

So that tough little seed coat stays hard for 24-48 hours,
and while your body is working on digesting it, 
begins to ferment. 

And as anyone who has made beer knows, 
fermentation means gas bubbles. 
Soon, your gut gets so full of gas,
there's no place for it to go 
except OUT!

The gases that make up a fart 
are composed mostly of hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane. 
Farts smell obnoxious 
because of the breakdown of compounds containing sulfur
(think rotten eggs). 

Some foods, such as cabbage, eggs, onions, and meat, 
contain more sulfur than others,
which is why some farts smell worse than other farts. 

Vegetarian farts are much less obnoxious than the farts of meat eaters. 
It's just a fact. 

Human + Bean/Seed = Farts

And so, this is why when you eat beans, you get gas.

But there is a way to make the beans LESS gaseous.
And that is to break the seed coat and begin the sprouting process.
Once beans have sprouted, they no longer ferment in the gut.
Instead, they are digested.
Not only do you get less gas, 
your body is more able to extract the nutrients it needs for health.

So... here's the way to cook gass-less beans:

Cover the beans or seeds with cold water.
Use plenty of water - twice the amount of beans.
In a 24 hour period, change the water at least twice.
The more you change the water, 
the faster the seed coat dissolves.
I'm not sure why, but it just works this way.

You can keep these beans/seeds in the fridge or on the counter.
It doesn't matter as long as you change the water.
Keep this up until you see the seed coats splitting and floating on the top.
This could be anywhere from 24 to 48 hours.

I couldn't find a photo showing this,
but you'll see it.
The coats just split and slide off the beans, 
and they will start floating on top of the water.

Now you can cook the beans,
OR you can allow them to sprout 
for even more nutrients.
You can skim off the seed coats if you want,
or just leave them.
It's really a matter of preference at this point.
They are now soft enough to digest.

If you want to gain even more food value
from your beans, 
sprout them a bit.
Once the seed coats begin to fall off,
strain the water off, but keep the beans in a colander
for another day.

During this day, rinse OFTEN - at least 3 to 4 times.
This will keep the beans from fermenting 
and will encourage sprouting.

Once you see tiny sprouts, usually after 6-10 hours,
the sprouted beans are ready to cook.
Mung bean sprouts.
You don't have to see the sprouts.
Once the bean coats split, they're ready to cook.
Mung bean sprouts can be eaten raw.
Always use fresh water to cook your beans.
Don't use the soaking water.

And that's it!
Fartless beans.
Your friends and family will thank you!

If you have small children in the house, 
there may be less laughter.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

DIY Crockpot Greek Yogurt - part 2

Once the milk has reached 180 Degrees F, 
turn off the crockpot, 
take the crock OUT of the pot, 
and let it sit until the milk cool to 120 Degrees.

Once the milk is cooled to 120, 
scoop out about a cup of milk and add it to your 1/2 cup of yogurt. 
Mix it well, 
then pour it BACK into the crockpot.

Put the lid on, 
and wrap the crock well with a big bath towel or blanket.  

I put a cardboard box over the blanketed pot, 
especially in chilly weather, 
to keep off drafts and keep the pot warm. 

Some people put the pot in their oven, 
if they have a gas pilot light.  

The point is to keep the pot warm and out of drafts overnight 
or for up to 24 hours
depending on how sour you like the yogurt.
(By the way, my grandmother called this 
"clabbered milk" 
and it was never tossed,
but used in biscuits, breads, and pancakes.)

Next morning, unwrap the yogurt and take a look!
Put in a spoon, and this is what you should see:

My yogurt this morning looked more like this in consistency:

For me, it wasn't quite "done."
So I wrapped it back up and will let it sit out on the counter,
wrapped and warm,
for another few hours.

Once the yogurt is set up, you have some choices.

You can put it into other containers.
Baby food jars make great yogurt containers.

You like fruit on the bottom yogurt?
No problem!
Just put a spoonful of fruit 
or if you like it sweeter, "JUST FRUIT,"
in the bottom, then add the yogurt.
In the morning, take off the lid,
add a handful of granola,
and you have a healthy breakfast!

You can separate the whey from the curd by using cheesecloth 
or a thin white cotton cloth set over a strainer.  
If you leave it long enough,
then hang it for a while or squeeze it,
 you'll have yogurt cheese! 

The cheese looks like... cheese!

I've flavored this with garlic, salt, and parsley 
to make a really nice spread for crackers or to put in celery.

Store the whey in a glass jar with a tight lid.

The whey is good, and can be used in cereals or smoothies. 
Why pay for "Designer Whey" 
when you can make your own!?

 is also good for making breads, 
like pancakes!

You can whip up the yogurt with a whisk to make it smooth and creamier.

Or you can just eat it like it is!

Just remember to save 1/2 cup for your next batch.
Or buy a small container each time and make half a gallon!
Easy... and inexpensive.

It's time to get back to a simpler life.
Instead of depending on pre-packaging
and preservatives,
learn to be more self-sufficient.

Save money and
what you're putting into your body.

This is a good start:
Make your OWN yogurt!

And if this makes too MUCH yogurt for you?
How about using it in a recipe,
and making your own muffins or bread!



Monday, August 19, 2013

DIY Crockpot Greek Yogurt - Part 1

Do you like yogurt?
Do you know,
you can make your own
 for a fraction of the retail price!

Here's what you'll need.
 I've doubled this recipe and it works great!:

1/2 gallon Milk 
I am using 2% with no RBF. 
You can use organic or non-organic. 
You can use full fat or any percentage.
 I'm not sure if fat-free works, as I've never tried it. 
I have HEARD this recipe will work for soy yogurt, 
but I have not tried it.

1/2 cup Instant Dry Milk
The dry milk is optional. 
To me, it gives the yogurt a thicker, creamier texture that I like.
You can use organic or non-organic.

1/4 cup of live yogurt 
I like the Greek Yogurt - seems stronger - 
but any PLAIN yogurt with live cultures will work.

Cooking thermometer
I have an old glass candy thermometer, 
but any cooking thermometer will do. 
A digital type is especially nice.

Crock Pot 
I have found for yogurt, 
the type that works best is the old style with a removable crock.
 I find the newer models get too hot.

Thick bath towel
This needs to be a nice, thick towel. You will use this to wrap up the crock overnight to keep it warm.

Spoon to stir
Any clean spoon will be fine.

Mason Jar with Lid or Bowl
For mixing the dry milk


Pour the milk into the crock pot. 
Hold back about 2 cups. 
I didn't measure, I just poured and left a little in the carton. 
If you are using an entire gallon of milk, 
you may not be able to put it all into the pot. 
Remember to leave room for about 1-2 cups 
of milk.

1/2 gallon milk in the crock pot.

Pour 1/2 cup of dry milk into the remaining 1-2 cups of milk and mix well.
I use a mason jar and shake the heck out of it. 
You can also mix it up in a bowl.
This step is OPTIONAL. 
Your yogurt will be fine without it, 
but this seems to make the yogurt a bit thicker and creamier, 
which I like.

I use a mason jar to shake up the dry milk with fresh milk

Pour the dry milk mixture into the crock pot. 
If you like, you can use a strainer.  
Stir well, put the lid on, 
and set the crockpot on LOW heat.

Bring the milk up to 180 degrees F.  

This will take between 1 and 2 hours, 
depending on your crockpot.  
Use a cooking thermometer to measure the temperature. 
A digital is nice, but I have an old-timer.  
My finger is at the 180 degree mark. 
It is on the LEFT, not the right.

My old candy thermometer

Now wait... 

I'll post part 2 in about 2 hours, 

Friday, August 09, 2013

We're Buying a House!

I got a nice settlement with my Disability and I didn't want to just spend it on trivial things.

My son and I discussed it and decided to try to buy a home.

We found a few that we liked and had the realtor take us around. There was one that I told him I didn't want to see. I thought it was ugly. Blue painted Cape Cod saltbox. Ugly as sin. "No way!"said I.

But he asked me to keep an open mind and after seeing what was on the market in the areas we were interested in, we drove up to the salt box.

I groaned again.

It was soooo ugly.

BUT... it was within walking distance of my other son's house. Which means convenient for my granddaughter to walk or bike over, and for family gatherings. It has a Safeway within two blocks. It's right on two major bus lines and the neighborhood is beginning to pop.

So I put on my "see what it COULD be" glasses, and walked in the door.

The minute we walked in, we both knew... this is THE house!

It is cute as can be.

Well, not really.  It's still ugly.  It pretty much looks like this photo:

BUT... it COULD be really cute!  Like THIS photo!
Amazing the difference a front porch and a few dormers will make!

The people have the rooms filled with giant oversized furniture which makes the rooms look tiny. The lady has a grand piano in that little living room! But in reality, they are not tiny at all.  Once that furniture is out, there's plenty of space.

The main floor has a bedroom, bathroom, living room, kitchen, dining room, and office. That's the floor my son will live on.

The upstairs has a bedroom and powder room for me, and a small bedroom that will be my art studio.

There is a full sized basement, which we will finish out and put a roommate in.

Once the carpets are torn out, a new floor is laid, and the place is painted, it will be cute as heck. We also have plans to refinish the kitchen, pushing out the wall a few feet into the oversized garage space.

The backyard is gorgeous, and there is a nice enclosed deck to hang out on.  It's like sitting in a park.

I'm happy.
Scared... but happy.

Looks like I will finally have a place to lay my head.
After so many years of wandering, it will be good.
I have a home.