Tag Archives: meals for the whole family

Anasazi Green Beans

If you have seen my previous posts on Anasazi Beans then you know I am a huge fan of the heirloom bean. Although we typically allow them to dry right on the vine and then use the beans as you might use pintos or black beans, I recently learned that Anasazi green beans are another delicious option!

anasazi green beans

Papa Bird has Anasazis growing as vines along our bottom fence, but discovered a gopher had eaten the roots off of one of the plants. Since the plant was on the verge of toppling over, he picked them for use as Anasazi green beans!

For a recipe for the most delicious veggie burger ever, the legend of Anasazi Beans, and more on victory gardens, see my post on Anasazi Bean Burgers. And for more growing tips on Anasazis and a recipe for a twist on a Southern holiday classic, check out Anasazi Bean Hoppin’ John.

Can you recommend a recipe for Anasazi Green Beans?

We usually cook green beans simply, and Little Bird loved to gum them as one of her first “holding” foods at 8 months. But please tell me, what are your favorite recipes for green beans?

Chia Strawberry Shortcake Parfait with Very Vanilla Chia Pudding

This Chia Strawberry Shortcake Parfait was the happy result of an accident. We were on a good nightly kick of classic strawberry shortcake until I accidentally dropped and shattered the glass container of whipped cream on the kitchen floor. Messy. Luckily, true tragedy was averted when I improvised this dessert featuring my Very Vanilla Chia Pudding that I’ve been tinkering with for ages and a vanilla bean yogurt. My husband now likes it better.

Chia Strawberry Shortcake Parfait with Very Vanilla Pudding

We LOVE strawberry shortcake. And strawberries are so sweet right now. My daughter communicates with a mix of mostly English, a little baby sign, and some Spanish. But occasionally she makes up her own words. For example, she calls strawberries “Pita” or “Peety” and will absolutely insist on eating them as soon as she sees them in the fridge (or neighbor’s yard.)

Cha-Cha-Cha-Chia! If you are only familiar with Chia as in Chia pets, then you are in for a treat! The same plant that grows a furry covering on chia pets is also the health food of the moment. The seeds are loaded with Omega-3’s, protein, fiber and antioxidants. They have very little calories and can be thrown into smoothies, oatmeal, or just about anything. I think they look like poppy seeds and when eaten dry, I feel like they get stuck in my teeth. Luckily, their coolest feature is that they can turn nearly any liquid into a pudding, plumping up to resemble little tapioca balls, without cooking! Try it out as a healthy pudding or in this chia strawberry shortcake parfait.

Chia Strawberry Shortcake Parfait with Very Vanilla Chia Pudding Recipe

For the Very Vanilla Chia Pudding

Ingredients for Very Vanilla Chia Pudding

Mix all the ingredients well and chill in the refrigerator. IMPORTANT: For best results, stir the pudding again after 45 minutes to prevent all the seeds from falling and clumping at the bottom. Chill for 2-3 hours or until set.

Very Vanilla Chia Pudding

For the Strawberries

Rinse and slice ripe (preferably organic) strawberries and place in a bowl. Toss with 1 teaspoon of sugar or sweetener of your choice. Chill for 30 minutes or until a slight syrup forms.

For the  Chia Strawberry Shortcake Parfait

Arrange in layers in a parfait glass, clear bowl or wine glass:

  • Very Vanilla Chia Pudding
  • Strawberries
  • Crumbled Shortcake (I used shortcake pre-made by Trader Joe’s, but homemade would be delicious.)
  • Vanilla or Honey Greek Yogurt OR a little whip cream


Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Pesto

This red pepper pesto recipe is one that my family requests over and over again. The pesto, once made, can be stored in the fridge (although ours rarely lasts long) and is great for snacking, entertaining, or can pull together a quick dinner.

red pepper pesto recipe

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Recipe

Adapted from the Vitamix Create Recipe Book 

  • 2-3 red bell peppers
  • 1 head of garlic, divided use
  • 3/4 cup (75 g) walnuts
  • 1/2 cup (27 g) sun-dried or oven-dried tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup (20 g) fresh basil or 1 oz prepared pesto (previously frozen fine)
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) balsamic vinegar

red pepper pesto recipe

1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Halve and trim red peppers, place skin side down on baking sheet, lined with a silicone mat, or directly on oven rack. (Energy saving tip: try fitting in a toaster oven.) Slice the uppermost portion of the head of garlic off, so that the tops of several cloves are visible. Reserve the top for later use. Sprinkle with a touch of salt and pepper and a few drops of olive oil. Wrap the garlic in foil and add to the oven. After 20 minutes or so, check on peppers. Cook until the skin starts to blister and darken. Immediately place in a covered bowl or sealed bag so the steam helps loosen the skin. (See this post on Spanish Tuna Stuffed Peppers for a photo of this technique.) Cook garlic for 45 minutes or until soft. Once the peppers are cool, peel of the skin, reserving any liquid.

2. Measure out 6 ounces (270 g) of roasted bell peppers.

red pepper pesto recipe

3. Place in a good blender along with a little bit of their liquid, the roasted garlic, the reserved bits of raw garlic, and the rest of the ingredients.

red pepper pesto recipe

4. Blend. For reference, on a variable speed Vitamix, start on variable “1”, slowly increase speed to “3”, and blend for 30 seconds or until desired consistency.

red pepper pesto recipe

Serving Suggestions:

This is just amazing on bread and makes a great appetizer for entertaining. For a quick dinner, toss over pasta and shrimp. Add any extra roasted peppers, too! (I might add peas next time for a bit of fresh green.)

red pepper pesto recipe with shrimp

“Semi-Homemade” Time Saving Tips:

I have also made this using roasted, peeled bell peppers in the jar from Trader Joe’s. Instead of roasting the garlic, you can just use 2 cloves of raw garlic. I use frozen, peeled, uncooked red Australian shrimp from Trader Joe’s. I usually have a bag in my freezer.

Sprouted Hummus, Raw and (Pregnancy-Friendly) Nearly Raw Versions, Step by Step with Pictures

Who doesn’t like hummus? If you have made it at home, then you know how much more delicious and economical it is compared to store-bought hummus. Try this recipe, starting from dried chick peas or garbanzo beans to take it to the next level. Sprouting them gives an extra nutritional boost, as well as an extra sweet, nutty creaminess. And starting from dry saves a lot of money and improves the taste and texture. I have really been preferring dry beans over canned in general, and they just shine in this sprouted hummus recipe.

Sprouting Chick Peas (Garbanzos)

Sprouted Hummus: Step by Step with Pictures

  • 1 cup dried chick peas or garbanzo beans
  • fresh, filtered water (reserve cooking water if cooking)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4-1/3 cup tahini
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • juice of 1/2-1 1/2 lemons
  • salt
  • pepper
  • cumin, cayenne, paprika
  • (optional) zatar for serving

Special equipment: blender or food processor; coarse cheesecloth; colander

1. Sprouting: Rinse and then soak the chick peas in a bowl in fresh water, covering them up at least twice their height. We have a water filter for drinking water, and I prefer to use that. Soak for about 8 hours, they should grow and plump up. Rinse the beans in a colander, rinse out the bowl and then return them to the bowl. Add a very small amount of water, they should not be covered, just a little wet at the bottom. Cover loosely with a coarse cheesecloth and place in a cool (room temperature) place, out of direct sunlight. Every 8 hours, rinse the beans and the bowl and repeat. Continue until you see 1/4″ sprouts on most of the beans, about two days. Discard any mushy ones.

Sprouting Chick Peas on Baby Birds Farm

2. Cooking: (optional) Any kind of raw sprout is unfortunately on the “avoid” list for pregnant women, as —cats out of the bag— I know now. To eliminate any risk of bacteria AND retain much of the nutritional value, simply cook the beans for one minute only. Rinse the sprouted beans and cook in fresh water. Bring to a boil for one minute. Drain, but reserve the cooking liquid.

Nearly Raw Sprouted Hummus on Baby Birds Farm

3. Blending: In a good blender or food processor, add the beans, 1/2 – 1 cup of the cooking liquid (use fresh water if you did not cook your beans) and the rest of the ingredients. Start with the smaller suggested amounts. When using dried beans instead of canned, you will need to use more liquid then you are used to. If you find your blender struggling, add a little more of the cooking liquid or water. For reference, on a variable speed Vitamix, I blend for 30 seconds on “4”. Taste (and have your kitchen helper taste.) I often decide to add more of one or more ingredients, so try adding up to the larger suggested amounts.

Hummus and Toddlers: a good blend

4. Yums: Serve topped with zatar, paprika and/or a drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy!

Sprouted Hummus on Baby Birds Farm

Rustic Split Pea and Chicken Stew in a Pressure Cooker

We have really been enjoying our pressure cooker. I think it really shines in a dish like this Split Pea and Chicken Stew. (I make this recipe multiple times a month with either lentils or peas.) In twenty minutes I have a dish that tastes like it cooked all day. I also love that I can sear in the same pot, unlike in my Tagine or slow cooker, making this an easy, one pot meal that the whole family enjoys. Combining the lentils or peas with a small amount of chicken really stretches the protein, making it very economical. And the small amount of pancetta is optional but adds a secret richness to the peas. The result: well, the next morning, Little Bird asked for “soup” for breakfast.

 Rustic Split Pea and Chicken Stew

Rustic Split Pea and Chicken Stew Recipe

  • 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 oz of diced pancetta (optional)
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 oz mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup of dried split green peas (or lentils)
  • 3-4 cups of chicken broth or water (use the larger amount if you want it to be more like soup)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 sprigs of thyme
  • 1/2 tablespoon of a dried spice and herb blend
  • balsamic vinegar, for serving

In a pressure cooker, over medium heat, sauté the onions and pancetta (if using) followed by the carrots, celery and mushrooms, until soft, adding the garlic and any spices for the last minute. Add a splash of broth to deglaze, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan and mixing it into the broth. Add the rest of the broth, the split peas or lentils, chicken, and any herbs and spices. Give a quick stir and then cover and cook in the pressure cooker, according to the manufacturer’s instructions for 10 minutes at pressure. (At this point mine just starts to smell like split peas.) Allow the steam to release naturally (or quick release if you are inpatient like me.) Taste to check the seasoning, and adjust if needed. Serve with a drizzle of the balsamic vinegar.

This serves 4-6. (Or two hungry adults and one toddler, twice.)

Split Pea and Chicken in a Pressure Cooker