Friday, September 6, 2013

Deliciousness Born Out of Necessity

Someday I'll be brave enough to try the hot peppers...
I've been pretty broke the last few weeks and you know what I've discovered?  Apparently the best way to get me to eat healthier is to be broke enough that all I can afford is to pay my bills and buy fresh food.

It also helps that the Saturday Farmer's Market is only a few blocks from my apartment.

Since I've been broke and not able to go out to eat or order take-out as often, I've been forcing myself to use my food budget for good instead of evil.  I've been making myself buy fresh veggies, which in turn means I need to cook the veggies within a few days before they go bad.

This method is working pretty well so far.  (Note to self: Whenever I need to do something, make desperation be a factor.  Oh my god I hope it doesn't take me getting fired to finally finish writing a book.)

I've also been expanding my palate in the mean time.  For one thing, I've learned that I love tomatoes.  I mean, I'm still a ways away from eating a tomato like an apple, or eating a bowl full of chopped tomatoes for lunch (I saw my coworker do this a few weeks ago - do other people do this??) but where I used to be like "Oh crap, there's a chunk of tomato in this tomato sauce GET IT OUT!!"  I'm now like "Ohhhh yeeeeeeaaaaahhhh, I tots want that thick slice of juicy red tom on my turkey sandwich!"

One problem I've always had with veggies is storing them properly so they don't go bad before I get a chance to use them.  The internet has 5,000 different ways to store millions of kinds veggies.  Some are extremely crazy and perfectly impossible to do unless you have five kitchens and at least ten root cellars.

But I have found that this website has an awesome, practical list of how to store most common fruits and vegetables that we have here in North America.  So far, all of the tips have worked very well for me and I've tried about 50% or more of the tips on the page.  One great thing I learned?  Don't keep your onions and potatoes next to each other - they ripen faster when they're together!  And there are other fruits and veggies that should be kept separate as well.

So I mentioned in my post yesterday that I was going to make coconut oil refried beans.  They were delicious!  I started out following this recipe but because I'm broke and had to make-do with what I had in my cupboard I like to experiment, I did a little improvisation.  Here's my take on the recipe:

Coconut Oil Refried Beans

3 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 can black beans, drained
1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained


  1. Add garlic and coconut oil in a medium sauce pan over medium/high heat.
  2. Heat until coconut oil is melted, stirring constantly.
  3. Add onions and heat until onions have turned translucent.
  4. Add in beans and heat until very warm, but not boiling.
  5. Turn off burner.
  6. Mix and mash beans in the pot with a potato masher (or a fork if you don't have a masher).  Since this recipe uses chickpeas, which are a little "tougher" than the black or pinto beans, you'll need to mash for a while to obtain the desired consistency.
  7. Beans should have retained enough heat that you don't need to reheat them, but if you do, turn the burner to low and stir frequently.
  8. Sprinkle with cheese if desired, but I felt like they were flavorful enough that I didn't need it.

I'm sorry I didn't take any pictures - I was just starving by the time my meal was prepared!  These beans will look different than your usual refried beans because of the chickpeas, but I thought that the chickpeas lent the perfect texture, color and flavor to the mix.  I also grilled chicken and made Mexican rice using the peach/jalapeno salsa I made.

Sometimes being broke can be delicious!  It definitely causes me to cook more and experiment with what I have around more often.

Have you ever created a culinary masterpiece from what you happened to have sitting around?

Happy Feasting,
Annie Jay


  1. I need to do this. I don't like most cooked veggies - just raw. Share your tips, though!!!

    1. I like my veggies raw most of the time too. Especially raw broccoli and celery...mmmmm

      But yes I'll definitely share tips as I find them!!

  2. I'm picky about my veggies. Raw broccoli, tomato and cauliflower kinda ick me out. But cooked? Yum.

    1. I love cooked cauliflower - I definitely can't eat it raw. Well... not unless I douse it with unhealthy amounts of ranch dip ;-p