Archive for October, 2011

20 Minute Cider Black Beans with Bacon

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

A confession: I avoided black beans for nearly a decade, after being scarred by my mother’s frequent cooking of them during my high school years. Thanks to the open floor plan of my childhood home, the scent wafted throughout the house relentlessly. I don’t know why it was so offensive at the time, but just the mention of black beans made me nauseous for years after I left home.

Fast forward a few years, with a new baby in the house, and it became unavoidable as I researched real food options for babies that I would, in fact, have to learn to cook black beans. (Black beans are a good source of protein, iron, magnesium and folate.) It was one thing to order black beans on the side when out to eat, but I still shied away from making them at home.

cider black beans with bacon

Recently, the boy requested that we start observing “Taco Tuesday.” Now, he doesn’t eat tacos, but that didn’t deter him from the idea. He figured I’d make him a quesadilla and the rest of us would have tacos. For week one, I made these cider baked beans and pork carnitas. Week two I had less time, so used chicken breast for the meat — but the boy was so excited about the beans that he decided to try a bean and cheese “taco” (really, more like a burrito). And last night he asked for it again — so I think we have a winner on our hands. Now, I also used bacon in the beans — so it’s not a meatless recipe — but it won praise from my previously bean-adverse husband as well.

You could use dried beans and cook this the slow way — but thanks to my favorite Eden Foods canned beans (BPA-free and no added salt), this can be ready in 20 minutes flat. Just enough time to warm tortillas and prep the other taco fillings and accompaniments. (I think half the reason the boy requested taco night was for the all-important tortilla chips and salsa.) Thanks to the Washington Post, whose recipe for cider baked beans inspired me to add the sweet boiled cider here.

Recipe: Cider Black Beans with Bacon


  • 1-2 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons boiled cider*
  • 1/2 cup water
  • pinch salt and black pepper


In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Add onion and cook 3-4 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add beans, stir and cook one minute. Add boiled cider and water and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer, stirring just once or twice, for about 15 minutes (until most of the liquid is absorbed). Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with brown rice, tortillas, and thinly sliced peppers, shredded carrots or other favorite vegetables. Makes 4 servings.

[*Note: if you don’t have boiled cider on hand, replace the boiled cider and water with fresh apple cider. Alternatively, you could swap it for pure maple syrup.]

Do you have a theme dinner night at your house?

Eat Food. Real Food. Together.

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Happy Food Day! Yes, we just marked World Food Day about a week ago, but today is US Food Day — a day to celebrate real, good-for-you & good-for-the-earth food. It’s also Monday, so if you’d like to learn more about Meatless Monday, here’s a look back to our feature on NPR. As I thought about what to say today, I thought I’d try to summarize our food philosophy. Just about every recipe I post contains farm-fresh real ingredients. Why? Because Foodie Tots know their farmers, know where their food comes from, and know real food helps grow strong and healthy minds and bodies. And so I present the Foodie Tots manifesto:



Tonight we’ll be eating mushroom risotto. {Check out our recipe for carrot risotto for a kid-friendly favorite.} What’s on your dinner table tonight?

P.S. Please take a moment to sign your name to a letter to Congress urging their support of the Eat Real agenda.


3 Days Left to Dine Out for Farms

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

While the number of farmers markets continue to grow, the amount of farmland in America is shrinking — nearly 1 million acres are lost each year. The American Farmland Trust works to reverse this trend by supporting farm and ranch land conservation. To help fund their efforts, participating restaurants in the annual Dine Out for Farms event are donating to the cause. You have three nights left to participate — visit the website to find a supporting restaurant near you. Locally, the José Andres empire (Jaleo, Oyamel, Zaytinya), DC Coast, Founding Farmers, Graffiato and Pinkberry are among those participating.

dine out for farms kick-off
At the kick-off event, Graffiato Chef Mike Isabella (you may recognize him from Top Chef) and Virginia’s Bev Eggleston, EcoFriendly Foods (pictured above with AFT’s Jon Scholl), talked about the importance of chefs partnering with farmers and some of the challenges in doing so. It can be hard for an individual farmer to provide the steady supply needed by restaurants, but by forming cooperatives — the business model for EcoFriendly — the relationship can be much more successful. And profitable for the farmers, ensuring they can continue to farm on their land.

Dine Out For Farms runs through Saturday, October 22. Do you make a point to dine at restaurants who support local farms?

Peanuts Come From the Ground, Not Jars {Blog Action Day}

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

Last weekend, we headed out to the country for pumpkins and apple picking. It was a gorgeous fall day (at last!) and the farms were packed. At Hollin Farms, we came across an unexpected treat: dig-your-own peanuts! The boy and husband got to work loosening the plants and we all picked through the roots for the buried treasure.

digging peanuts at Hollin Farms

At home, I soaked, scrubbed, roasted and boiled to try our fresh peanuts two ways. FYI, fresh peanuts taste not unlike raw potatoes. With enough salt, however, they are delicious. And the boiled peanuts, still soft in their shells, are oddly addictive.

While I’m not going to start growing enough to make my own peanut butter anytime soon, at least the kids know now that peanuts come from the ground, not jars.

This post is part of Blog Action Day 2011: Food. One of my favorite local causes, the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture, is bringing schoolkids to their farm on the grounds of the historic Woodlawn Plantation in Virginia to see where their food comes from. Visit their blog for updates from Farmer Mo, and if you’re so inclined, you can support their efforts by attending their upcoming November 5 fundraiser, The Vices that Made Virginia.