Tag Archives: iron

Flora’s seasonal recipe: comforting lentils

9 Nov

One of my favorite foods growing up was lentils (yes, it’s true!).

My mom used to make lentils with olive oil, sprinkle of parmigiano regiano and a dash of salt. I always treasured the times that she made this dish, as it always made feel great.

Eating these lovely legumes on a cold fall or winter day, warmed me up, and lifted my spirits. It made me feel calm, centered and healthfully full.

Every time I ate a bowl of lentils, I could feel my iron levels increase dramatically, as my mom would always tell me how high in iron they were. Popeye and I had some things in common! Women need a good amount of iron, and I always turned to lentils instead of taking an iron supplement.

Little did I know that lentils not only contained high level of iron, they also contain protein, fiber, folate and magnesium which are great for building muscle, improving digestion, strengthening your nervous system, and improving blood circulation. Go lentils!

A bowl of lentils is one of the easiest recipes out there, so get excited for these very short directions! To make the meal more balanced you can always mix it up with some brown rice, quinoa or add it into tomato sauces, and pastas.

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

Directions:
Bring your water to a boil, add lentils. Lower to a simmer, and cook for 30-40 minutes (depending on the lentils you use). Once cooked, and water fully absorbed, add your lentils to your favorite bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, then mix. Top with fresh parmigiano reggiano cheese, a dash of salt. Sit and savor each bite.

“Let things taste of what they are.”
-Alice Waters

homage to herbs

18 Jun

1224527043_e132d2f026Herbs are a delicious and nutritious way to add flavor to lots of dishes. They taste magical in various outlets; omelets, spritzers, on all sorts of meats, seafood, tofu, in ice cream, vegetables, pasta sauce, salad dressings, marinades and rubs, and in creative desserts.

As wonderful as they are as accompaniments to many dishes, have you considered using them to make an herb salad, containing only herbs?  Yes, it can be done, and the results will leave your taste buds as happy as ever!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of the following herbs: parsley, basil, chives, taragon, dill
  • 1/4 cup white wine or cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

Wash all herbs in cold water and pat dry. Tear off the leaves and combine in a large bowl. Cut chives into 1/2 inch pieces and add to the rest of the herbs. To make the vinaigrette, mix the mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper together, then slowly whisk in the olive oil until the mixture gets thick. Toss the salad with enough dressing to lightly coat each leaf. It is also fun, and pretty to add edible flowers (like nasturtiums) as a garnish, or serve as is.

Herbs not only taste great, but are also packed with important nutrients. We used the following herbs in our salad:

  • Parsley: Derives its name from the greek word for “rock celery,” parsley is packed with vitamins B, A, C, K, E, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium.
  • Basil: Prized in many cultures as the “holy herb,” basil is a great source of vitamins A + C, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium.
  • Chives: Containing the most vitamin A of all of their allium family members, chives are rich in vitamins K, C, B and minerals such as copper, iron, manganese, zinc and calcium.
  • Tarragon: Used to treat toothaches in Ancient Greece, tarragon is full of vitamins A, B, C, potassium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc.
  • Dill: Native to Southern Russia, this fernlike herb is a great source of calcium, iron, magnesium and vitamin A.
Photo courtesy of Denise Defreyne

mulberry madness

6 Jun

As a pedestrian it’s easy to overlook many details of street life, especially while texting, finishing off that last paragraph in your book, holding a coffee cup, a bag and trying to cross the street without bumping into people, or moving vehicles all at once. If we took a moment to put down our phones, books, beverages and become more present on the street we are bound to see many beautiful scenes unfold before our own eyes.

Mulberry trees are abundant in our environs, and you have probably seen them. They are those big green trees with black berries that fall easily onto the pavement. They get smashed really fast by pedestrians, and most dogs that walk by sniff them as though they were a treat. These trees grow well in New York City since they thrive in poor growing conditions, as they are strong and resilient just like us New Yorkers.

You know a mulberry fruit is ripe when it has turned black like a blackberry. Harvesting techniques vary but you can help yourself by removing berries with your hands (warning: they stain and actually make for a great natural dye), the stem is indeed edible, just make sure to give them a good rinse before eating. These berries have countless health benefits and contain resveratrol (found in red grapes, goji berries), vitamins C, A, E, K, iron, potassium, magnesium. Not so bad for a New York City street tree!

our love affair with beans

2 May

8035456049_0801afba3fHere at Butter Beans, we truly love our beans!

You may have wondered where we came up with the name Butter Beans? Our co-founder and CEO, Belinda grew up in North Carolina on a farm and used to shell butter beans with her grandmother. This experience stood out to her as one of her fondest food memories. Butter beans are extremely nutrient dense and delicious, and were one of Belinda’s favorite foods she enjoyed as a child. Now these beans have come to embody our mission of feeding children nutritious foods at lunch-time, teaching children about nutrition, and the skills to cook up homemade meals for themselves and their families.

Beans are an excellent source of protein, are filled with fiber, vitamin B, folate and minerals like iron, potassium and zinc. Eating beans helps keep your heart, circulation, blood pressure and digestion strong! They make a great addition to most dishes; mixed into rice or quinoa, tossed into salads, blended into dips, sculpted into patties, stewed in soups, and spiced up to make a tasty chili.

Buying them in a can is great for saving time (always rinse the beans in a colander after opening the can to remove some of the sodium, and look for cans that are BPA free), however, buying them dry then soaking and cooking them on your own can save you money and time too (say thank you to your freezer)!  Soaking your beans also allows for easier digestion, and contain a lesser amount of sodium than canned beans.

Here’s how you can make your very own delicious beans at home:

Add 1 cup of dried beans to a bowl (they get bigger when you soak them, so with 1 cup of dried beans you end up with 2.5-3 cups depending on the bean), add water to cover the beans and place on your countertop or in your fridge for at least 8 hours. Rinse your beans off in a colander, and place in a pot. Add water to cover your beans by at least 2-3 inches, bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 minutes- 1 hour (they are pretty low maintenance). Like you would when cooking pasta, taste a few beans to make sure they are cooked to your desired texture.

Use your cooked beans for lunch, dinner or even breakfast (huevos rancheros, yum). With your leftover or extra beans, place them in freezer bags or glass containers and place in your freezer for later use.

Photo courtesy of tonrulkens