Foodie Penpals: September

Hi Friends!

Happy Friday! Today it’s time to recap the first month of Foodie Penpals! In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact each other and get mailing addresses and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. *US Residents only please at this time- hopefully we can expand soon!*

If you’re interested in participating for October, please send me an email at t[email protected] and include the following information:
-Your full name
-Your email address
-Your blog name/address
-Your twitter handle (if applicable)

I will need to hear from you by October 4th as pairings will be emailed on October 5th!

Now on to the good stuff….

This month I received my goodies from Kayla @ SproutyBuns. I was super excited because I love Kayla’s blog and I just knew she’d find some good stuff to send me.

The post office had a little trouble with the box:

But not to worry! Everything made it in one piece.

And was was inside you ask? Lots of goodies.

Kayla wrote me some hilarious instructions on the best ways to eat all of these foods 🙂

First, bagels! I love them. The flavor was delicious, and there are 7g of protein and 7g of fiber in each bagel! I’ve been eating them for lunch and stored them in the fridge to help them last longer since they’re preservative free!

I’d never heard of the brand but now I can’t wait to find out if they sell them around me.

Up next: Yogi Granola Crisps. Another brand I’ve never heard of but now absolutely love! She send me the blueberry flax flavor and I’ve been enjoying them on my oatmeal and with some yogurt. They’ve got some fiber and protein, are pretty low in sugar and they taste great! I can’t wait to try other flavors!! Oh, and they’re made with all sorts of fun grains 🙂

I haven’t tried the vegan queso yet, but I have big plans to bust it out at hubby’s bday party this weekend!

And finally, my favorite of all: The mini spoon! To say i’m obsessed with this thing would be an understatement. I LOVE small spoons to begin with and have several to eat my cereal with that don’t match the rest of our silverware…and this one is even smaller! WIN!!!

I even tweeted about it when I opened my package, and I think I fell just a little bit more in love with Miss Kayla that day 🙂

Thanks to everyone who participated in Foodie Penpals this month and special thanks to Kayla for all my goodies! If you want to join in the fun, just let me know 🙂




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The Bean Turns 1!

Happy Bloggy Birthday to The Lean Green Bean! It’s pretty hard to believe that it’s been an entire year since I sat down and wrote my very first post! You can check it out here if you’re a new reader 🙂 hilarious if you ask me!

Since this is how I’m spending the next week:

I didn’t have a lot of time to make a cake.

I did make these… (sneak peak…recipe later!)

So that’s just gonna have to do.

In celebration of this special day, I thought I’d highlight a few of my fav recipes from the past year in a little virtual meal that i WISH i had time to make for myself.

I’d start with some Spicy Salmon Cornmeal Cakes.

For dinner: Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Rainbow Peach Salsa

With a side of:

Farmer’s Market Potato Hash

& a slice or two of Dutch Oven Bread

And for dessert, a Ginger Oatmeal Cookie w/ Cranberries & Reeses

and a few Almond Graham Banana Bites 🙂

So there you have it…a meal for the bean. Now who’s coming over to make it for me?

Tell me, what’s your absolute favorite blog post? (Mine, yours, someone else’s…) Leave me a link!



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Veggie Month- Week 1

Hi Friends!

Some strange, yet wonderful things have been happening around The Bean household lately. The hubby’s been saying things like, “We need more hummus” and “It tastes pretty good” (with regards to tofu) and “This is the best thing I’ve ever made” (about something that has no meat in it).

Let me back up a little bit. Two weekends ago, I was working in the family room on my computer and the hubby came into the kitchen. He said, “Do you want to not eat meat for the next 6 months?” Not gonna lie, I may have had a mini heart attack! Who was this guy and what had he done with my hubby?

If you’re a long-time reader, you know that I quit eating meat for 3 months last year and I don’t eat a lot of it to begin with. My hubby, on the other hand, loves his meat- especially steak (which he rarely gets because I don’t eat red meat). As shocked as I was, I immediately wanted to jump on board with this challenge. I said, “Sure! But six months might be a bit of an aggressive goal….maybe we try one month and see how it goes?”

I already had salmon thawing in the fridge so I used that up to make these Thai Peanut Salmon Burgers and the next day we were off to the races. We’re still eating eggs and drinking milk…but no meat!

So what have we been eating for dinner this past week?

Let’s recap!

Wednesday: Spaghetti with Veggie and Lentil Bolognese
Thursday: Flatbread Veggie Pizzas
Friday: Spicy Bean & Mushroom Curry with Rice and TJ’s Naan
Saturday: BBQ Tofu Tacos with Corn & Fiesta Quinoa (quinoa mixed with garlic, onion, red pepper, spinach, mushrooms, corn and black beans)
Sunday: Portobello and Fried Egg Sandwiches (sorry, can’t find my picture of that one!)
Monday: Soba Noodle and Veggie Bowls
Tuesday: Loaded Sweet Potatoes (topped with Fiesta Quinoa for me and a mixture of brown rice, black beans, onion, red peppers, tomato, cheese, cumin and cholula for him)
Wednesday: Leftovers!

For lunch we’ve been kind of obsessed with veggie wraps. Usually they include a mix of homemade Roasted Garlic hummus, baby spinach, carrots, red peppers, portobello mushrooms, avocado and fresh mozzerella cheese. We’ve also turned these into veggie quesadillas. Fresh fruit with Greek yogurt is always a lunchtime staple and I’ve really been loving my fiesta quinoa.

Everything we’ve had so far has been great! I’m so proud of my hubby for doing this challenge! I’m working on trying to get him to write a guest post about what he thought of the whole thing. Whaddya think? Would you guys like that?

Now here’s where you come in. The first week of a challenge is always the easiest. Give me your best veggie ideas (meals, lunches, snacks…whatever you got) to help us get through the next three weeks!

Here are some things that are already on my list:

Veggies with roasted red pepper sauce
Mediterranean chef salad
Miso soup with sweet potato dumplings
Veggie potstickers
Portobello philly cheese steak sandwiches
Portobello parmesan
Black bean burgers
Taco salad (rice & beans)
Veggie grilled cheese
Barley and vegetable soup
Pesto pasta
Veggie spring rolls
Veggie potato lasagna
Veggie fried rice stuffed mushrooms
Veggie pot pies
Indian- not sure what yet

Got any good recipes for any of those?!

Wish us luck 🙂

Enjoy your veggies!






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Spicy Bean & Mushroom Curry

Hi Friends!

For my birthday this year, the hubby got me a cookbook devoted entirely to Curries. Last week we looked through it and got some inspiration for whipping up a curry of our own.

I didn’t take very many pictures while we were actually cooking, but I just HAD to share the recipe with you because it turned out so well.

For the veggies, we used approximately 2 cups green beans, 1 cup portabello mushrooms, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 red pepper and 1/2 cup onion. We added black beans and cannelini beans because the hubby isn’t the biggest fan of chickpeas and lentils…but I think both of those would be excellent substitutes.

Our veggie base was pretty basic and you could add or subtract veggies based on your personal preference, but it’s the sauce that made the dish. Here’s what we came up with:



Red Curry Sauce

1 can lite coconut milk
1 c veggie broth
3-4 Tbsp hot red curry paste
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar
4 dried red chilis
1 jalapeno

Pour the coconut milk to a saucepan and heat it over medium heat until warm. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes.



We poured the sauce over the veggies and let everything simmer together for about 15 minutes and then served it all over rice.

This sauce is SPICY…but not so spicy you can’t eat it. If you’re not a fan of spicy, use mild red curry paste and leave out the dried red chilis.

I preferred sauteed veggies which is why we cooked them separately, but the hubby says it’d be better to cook the veggies IN the sauce so they can absorb more of the flavor. You choose!

What’s your favorite curry recipe?



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Wanna Be My Foodie Penpal?!

Hi Friends!

I’ve had this idea floating around in my head for a while now and I’m super excited to share it with you!

Everyone likes getting mail right? I know I do! And we all know how I feel about food….put those together….food in the mail!!!

Allie of Healthy Balance, Healthy Life and I are looking to put together a group of people that are interested in being Foodie Penpals. We’re still hammering out the details but the basic gist is that once a month you would be assigned a penpal and you’d gather up some of your favorite local/healthy/foodie things and exchange them with your penpal for the month. It’d be an awesome way to try some new products, especially things local to your penpal that you might not otherwise be able to get!

After tweeting the idea on Friday, we’ve already got 10 ladies who have expressed interest!!

If you think this is something that might interest you, send me an email, leave a comment, tweet me or something to let me know. I’ll add you to the list and keep you updated as we figure out the details- like the $ limit. From there, you can decide whether or not you want to participate! Feel free to spread the word on your blog or tweet about this. The more the merrier 🙂

Happy Saturday!


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Silent Saturday: Farmer’s Market

Happy Saturday 🙂


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Celebrating Life

This weekend we were out of town remembering and celebrating the life of my grandma.

We enjoyed our time with family members- eating, drinking and reminiscing.

We looked at pretty flowers and saw beautiful sunsets, all the while celebrating a beautiful life.

We gathered together as a family and laughed over the antics of a crazy dog.

We played Grandma’s favorite game and revisited our childhood.

And we looked at hundreds of pictures and remembered all the beautiful things grandma was a part of and gave thanks for the wonderful years we shared with her.


We didn’t always live close by, but she was always there for me. She watched countless soccer and basketball games, hosted a million birthday parties and holiday dinners, and she was there for every single milestone in my life- my Confirmation, all of my graduations, my wedding….She was a beautiful person, inside and out and she will be missed.

I love you Grandma.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to make some of Grandma’s jello and a big bowl of Turkey Dumpling Soup.





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2 Hours of Food Prep on a Sunday

This is what two hours in the kitchen on a Sunday morning can get you:

That would be 10 meat muffins, 6 turkey burgers, 1 pan of lasagna (baked in 3 individual pans) and 2 containers of spaghetti sauce.

Also known as “what the hubby will be eating on Tuesdays and Thursday evenings for the next several weeks.”

Spring quarter starts today, and since I’ll now be gone on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, I knew I needed to prepare some simple meals for the hubby…unless I was ok with him eating an entire frozen pizza two nights a week! That doesn’t exactly jive with my “Dietitian in training” status so I got to work.

I started with the meatloaf and the turkey burgers. Since they have pretty similar ingredients, it was easy to make them at the same time. I opted to cook the meatloaf in muffin form to make it easy to store in individual batches.

While those were cooling, I got to work on the meat sauce for the lasagna. As usual, I added a ton of vegetables and garlic. After they had been sauteing for a while,  I added two big cans of no-salt-added crushed tomatoes and a can of no-salt-added fire roasted diced tomatoes to the pan.

While the sauce simmered, I cooked the lasagna noodles and mixed together the frozen spinach and ricotta cheese. I had to trim each noodle by about 2 inches so that they would fit in the disposable pans I bought, but I knew it would be a lot easier to store the three separate pans than it would be to make room for an entire pan of lasagna in my freezer. I essentially put one “row” of my typical pan of lasagna in each container.

I covered each one with foil and into the oven they went for 30 minutes. Once everything was cooled, I got it ready for the freezer. I wanted to divide everything into typical “dinner portions” for the hubby so I paired the turkey burgers and split the meat muffins into 3, 3 and 4. This will make it easy for me to simply grab a bag out of the freezer the night before and put it in the fridge so that all the hubby has to do is heat it up. For the lasagna, I can take out on pan at a time and he can eat half for dinner and the other half for lunch.

I divided the remaining sauce into two tupperware containers so I can just pull one out and defrost it for an easy spaghetti dinner during the week!

Later in the afternoon, I did some more prep work. I cooked a big batch of quinoa to eat throughout the week and I roasted a couple cans of chickpeas (one of my favorite snacks!) so that I could pack them to munch on between classes.

Last week, I saw Heather’s post for Crunchy Green Split Peas and I was immediately intrigued. I’ve never cooked split peas myself and have no conscious memory of ever eating them…although I suspect my mom probably made them when I was younger…but they’re packed with protein and fiber so I decided to give them a try. Like lentils, you don’t have to soak them- just rinse them off, put them in a pot with some water and let them simmer for 20 minutes or so. Since I was already roasting the chickpeas, I decided to do the same to the peas. I patted them dry, sprayed them with olive oil and seasoned them, then stuck them in the oven at 400 degrees F, stirring them every 10 minutes or so until crunchy.

The result? They’re good! I saved half of them after cooking so I can try them non-roasted. I’ll have to get back to you on my opinion.As for the roasted kind? Perfect to munch on mixed with my chickpeas.

If you close your eyes and use your imagination, they taste just like candy buttons. Remember those?!

Ok, so not exactly….but the size and shape are dead on!

So there you have it! I’m ready to face this quarter head on 🙂 Now you tell me- have you ever had split peas? What’s your favorite way to eat them?



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