By: LaSashea Feagin
CWP Blog Writer
That Hoppin’ John recipe from last week was delicious. However, in one evening, served over rice and a kale/spinach mix, the recipe left over half the crockpot full of beans. Delicious, flavorful beans.
I don’t like eating leftovers, but my income situation says that throwing food away is not the smart way to live. Seriously? Throwing away all those beans should be a crime. Additionally, this recipe has a bunch of iron in it. Iron keeps my extremities from turning into icicles. I like iron. There’s fiber in here too. We all know what fiber does, right? Calcium. Vitamins A and C. No cholesterol. Low sodium. The green onion garnish was to die for! Bottom line, we need to eat this again. I’ve got to save these for later.
I know that we’ll probably eat these as a side dish to complement a dish with meat later. My husband’s words, edited for profanity, “Thank you honey for making this delicious meal with no meat. But I am going to go crazy without meat. One day, you’re gonna walk into the kitchen and there will be meat every freakin’ where. I’m going to fix that brick thing in the back yard and roast a whole pig. A. Whole. Freakin’. Pig. I’m going to make steaks and shtuff and there will be meat all over the place. We’re going to be like barbarians!”
The gleam in his eye… frightened me. So, to appease the barbarian, I won’t force this healthy stuff down his throats as a main dish again for a while. But, it’s already cooked. And I know we won’t want black-eyed peas side dish for a wee bit. We like beans, but not that much. Ziploc to the rescue.
Split the beans into three 1-gallon bags.
Squeeze as much air out the bag as possible.
Lay flat in the freezer.
Once completely frozen, move them into the deep freezer until we want them again.
I am sure these
will keep for maybe a month or two. There’s no meat to freezer burn. The ingredients lend themselves to thawing well. I am quite certain they won’t last that long. These bad boys are going to be recycled quite soon. A smaller portion over rice and kale again next to some seasoned chicken breasts will make the husband happier, probably.
If I can think of other ways to pair this dish with things we already love to eat, it can stay in the rotation. Storing dried beans is easy. Rice is always available. The only perishable is the kale and spinach, which can be purchased on a weekly basis and used in other dishes as well so they don’t go bad. Waste not; want not. AND stay out of the kitchen.
My daughters and I were sitting quietly on the couch watching TV when my husband walked through the door. Before he could say hello to us, he started to sniff the air. He walked around the house just sniffing.
“What is that smell?” He asked. “It smells like burnt curtains and ass.”
I fixed my mouth to say “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
But my 5-year-old, forever talking and forever ratting me out said “Daddy mommy almost burned down the house.”
Now that was an exaggeration on her part. I did not almost “burn down the house”.
Aaannnnddd, I knew what I was doing because I learned how to put out grease fires from the many times I had to put out grease fires.
You see, I wasn’t always the amazing cook that I am today. There was a time that I couldn’t boil an egg.
(Public service announcement: just to let you know, if you boil an egg until there is no water left… It will explode.)
But I am persistent; when I set my mind to do something I do it. As I said before I watched and I studied the Food Network channel until I could make those dishes and still make those fabulous dishes for my family today. I practiced them and I did some trial and error testing. After all that I decided that pastries were my thing.
Don’t get me wrong, I have found quite a few recipes from my mom and my own concoctions that my family love, but my passion is with baking. You can’t start a grease fire baking.
(Unless you are trying to make a cherry compote to go on top of a cake. But that was just one time.)
Anyway, everyone knows me for my desserts. They especially know me for my cookies and cupcakes. (My sweet tooth is paying off and is good for something other than giving me high cholesterol. Which of course it has given me high cholesterol)
I wasn’t born to cook like my mother. And my mother was also afraid that I would go to college and not have a cooking bone in my body. I think now I would make her proud now with all the dishes of hers I have made.
I’m no longer that woman that has to use the smoke alarm as a way to tell me when the food is ready. I’m now a very good cook and a very great Baker. But from all my mistakes I just have one thing to tell you, if I can learn to cook you can learn to cook.
Crockpot Hoppin’ John recipe by LeSashea Feagin
I found a recipe on one of my favorite sites, Thug Kitchen, for a flavorful, meatless New Year’s dish called “Hoppin’ John”. Serving suggestions were to put it over kale and rice with chopped up green onions. The Thug in the kitchen, though, has no aversion to the stove. He’s a thug. Thugs fear no stove. I am not as bold.
I tweaked the recipe to make it crock-able, guesstimated on the increase in ingredient additions, and prayed. Numbers are here despite my disdain for hierarchy. Necessary evil.
You need this. For the beans.
In this order.
Read left to right. Top to bottom.
2 – one pound bags of dried black-eyed peas
2 yellow onions
4 bell peppers (green, red, yellow, whatever. I wanted to use more color, but I only had green. Sad face)
6 stalks (is that what they are called? stalks?) of celery
4 bay leaves
3 – 12 oz boxes of low sodium chicken broth
4 teaspoons olive oil
6 cloves of garlic
3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
3 teaspoons of dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon paprika
10 or so turns of the pepper grinder worth of pepper
½ teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
You need this. For the rice.
In this order.
Read left to right. Top to bottom.
1 cup of white rice
2 cups of chicken broth
You need this. For the salad.
In this order.
Read left to right. Top to bottom
Green onion, diced
Step 1: First things first. You want to rinse your beans. I throw them in a container with 10 parts water, 1 part vinegar and let them just sit for 10 minutes, swish around, let sit for 10 more minutes, strain. Then I rinse with cold water. (time in kitchen: 1 minute. What? Leave when they are soaking. Come back and swish. Leave again. Whatcha watching them for? They won’t do anything spectacular. They. Are. Beans.)
Step 2: Rinse beans with cold water. (2 minutes)
Step 3: Put the beans in a bowl to soak. Cover with about 6 inches of extra water overnight. Soaking overnight shortens the cooking time because the beans will already be expanded. If you do soak overnight, cover with foil and poke a few holes in it. There’s gas escaping whilst the beans are being rehydrated. This mixture needs to breathe. Soaking advantage: less gastrointestinal discomfort after consumption. (time in the kitchen: 30 seconds.)
Step 4: Rise and shine, cupcake. Get those onions and chop ‘em up real pretty-like. Sit in a bowl. (1 minute, max.)
Step 5: Chop up the celery and bell peppers. Sit in a separate bowl. (1 minute max)
Step 6: Put the olive oil into a pot and heat it up. (If you’ve got a nice cast iron, 30 seconds)
Step 7: Cook the onion until it turns a little brown and is smelling up the kitchen. Make sure the oil coats the onion chunks. (1 minute or so)
Step 8: Add the celery and bell pepper to the mix and cook until they are soft-ish. (Call it 2 minutes)
Step 9: Throw this mixture in the crock. Oooh. Put those bay leaves in there too. (2 seconds)
Step 10: Pull those beans out and drain them of the water. (10 seconds)
Step 11: Throw them in the crock. (2 seconds)
Step 12: Pour the 3 boxes of broth into the crockpot. (45 seconds)
Step 13: Start cooking them on low. Top on please. (10 seconds)
Step 14: Mince up those garlic cloves. (1 minute if you’ve got to peel them)
Step 15: Split three peppers in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds. Move them very far away. To the trash bin. Those little things are HOT! (30 seconds. 10 seconds on each pepper)
Step 16: Mince all three peppers and mix with the garlic. (15 seconds)
Step 17: Throw that mixture in the crockpot. (2 seconds)
Step 18: Turn up the heat on the pot. Like… put it on high. For 4 hours, why not? (10 seconds)
Step 18: Go away. Leave the kitchen. Read a book. Go to work. Make some tea. Whatever. You got 6 hours until your dinner is done. Turn up, why don’tcha?
Step 19: About 45 minutes before your beans are all done, put one cup of rice, two cups of chicken broth in the rice cooker. (1 minute)
Step 20: Finish that tea you were sipping on whilst waiting for the beans. Do this in your bedroom. Maybe post something on Facebook about how delicious dinner will be.
Step 19: About 5 minutes before bean time, rinse your kale. Rub it with some oil, extra virgin olive, if you’ve got it. (10 minutes. You gotta rub the oil in REAL good)
Step 20: Chop the kale up into bite-sized pieces. (If it’s bundled properly, this oughta be a 1 minute job)
Step 21: Mix one part kale, one part spinach in a bowl. Toss. (30 seconds)
Step 22: Chop up that green onion I told you about. Put in a lil bowl off to the side. (30 seconds, easy)
Step 23: Arrange the kale/spinach mix on plates. (5 seconds per plate)
Step 24: Scoop some rice over top the kale. (2 seconds per plate)
Step 25: Scoop some beans over top that. (2 seconds per plate)
Step 26: Sprinkle the chopped up green onion. (1 second per plate)
Step 27: Take a picture and tell your Facebook friends all about how you are about to SMASH!
Step 28: Eat.
How’s my time?
Roughly 30 minutes in the kitchen. And most of it not contiguous. WIN! Now. We can eat.
Friday February 21, 2014
Bakersfield Mom’s With Talent are sponsoring
a Community Craft and Art Fair from
The Fair will showcase women and men of Bakersfield with various different talents such as:
Health and Body Care Suppliers
I used to be so envious of all the women that could just make amazing dishes from scratch, run a household and knit and make little bonnets on the side all while being pregnant with triplets. I hated seeing those women brag about the amazing goodies they could produce and the expensive equipment that they used to produce such yummy things that was also nutritious.
I settled for a life of passing off boxed cake and store bought icing as my own creation from scratch and at the time I had no kids. I had just graduated from college and didn’t even have a job.
I realized that I had only planned to make it out the hood, graduate from high school, get a college degree and…no more plans after that. That landed me four months of sitting in front of the TV watching Food Network al l day. After a month of watching, I realized I had so much time on my hands and so I decided to start trying to make those recipes.
There were some good days, some bad days and a few burnt days. There were also some “Let’s just go to Burger King” days.
Eventually, I started making amazing meals. Meals that I had only dreamed about making and they were all from SCRATCH!!!!
When I first realize that I could make anything from scratch, do the laundry, pop out two babies, buy a house, work full time and write the great American erotic novel , I felt like a domestic goddess.
I felt a power I had never felt before and went through a time where I did everything from scratch. Dinner started to take a longer time to make. The kids would eat and then go straight to bed. I would start breakfast at 9am and we finally get to eat it at about 11ish.
Yet, I didn’t care…at first.
I was making sweet-and-sour sauce and other things like gravy, barbecue sauce, muffins, cupcakes, birthday cakes, biscuits, Buffalo wing sauce, sweet onion sauce, coleslaw, hash browns, pancakes, waffles, etc. I made red velvet pancakes, waffles, cookies, cakes, cupcakes, muffins, brownies (Ok I love Red Velvet. Can you tell?)
It felt great and my family was happy with all the good food they were getting. After a few months of that, something happened that I could not have guessed would happen to me. Not to me.
I burned myself out.
I didn’t want to cook. I started just buying precooked skillet meals from grocery stores and ordering fast food. We had fried chicken two days a week because that was the only food that my 13 year old could cook. Cereal was back on the menu (sorry no more pancakes from scratch).
After a couple of weeks, I started to get by cooking power back (Oh how I missed it).
It was a scary experience that left me a little traumatized.
I decided that I needed to give myself a break. I hated feeling burned out. So I decided it was okay to use some help from the store sometimes and just add my own twist. I even love this show on Food Network that shows you how to cook and make things semi homemade.
It just takes so much time to cook from scratch. When children started popping out it became harder. Trying to be a mom, a writer, COO of the Harris Home, a businesswoman and a food goddess all at the same time was causing me to burn out.
So in one of these jobs that I do, I had to give myself a demotion.
Semi-domestic goddess it is.
Written By: LeSashea Feagin, CWP Guest Blogger
In my quest to manage Kitchen Anxiety Disorder, I have an arsenal of tools that just make it easier to get into the kitchen, whip up a meal, and be out in 45 minutes. I don’t have a favorite. I love them all equally.
1: My slow cooker
This thing is heaven sent. Did you know it’s nearly impossible to burn stuff in here? I say nearly because I have done it before. That was The Chili Incident of 2011. I am still not ready to talk about it. But this slow cooker has a timer. That means I can put the food in there, walk away forever, and it will only be on “warm” once the cooking is complete. Magic, I say!
Q: The freezer
I have taken to buying items in bulk. It’s cheaper, better for the environment… let me stop. The main concern is cost. If I buy ten pounds of chicken breasts and split them into meal sized portions before I freeze them, I save money. Another benefit of the freezer is all those crock pot soups and stews that are so delicious the first time around get to be stored in there to eat again later on. This brings me directly to my next weapon.
Tap Shoes: Ziploc bags
Magic. Elven princesses use these things to store their magic sparkle dust. No joke. These things rock my socks. If I make too much of a stew or beans, I can put the cooled dish into one of these bags, store it flat in the bottom of my freezer until it hardens, and then sit it upright like a book until I’m ready to eat that again. Be. Still. My. Heart. Also, the sandwich baggies make great portion control helpers. I sometimes freeze individual servings of grapes.
Unicorn: The rice cooker
It is totally possible to burn things in here even though it claims to switch to “warm” once the rice is cooked. Yes, I learned this by experience also. Thank you for bringing up difficult memories. But, so long as I have the right ratio of rice to water or broth, I have rice. I have been experimenting with other uses for this weapon. The last experiment was basmati rice, which is the choice grain of Hindu gods I’m certain. I am getting around to quinoa, brown rice, jasmine rice, and oats.
I have more. Weaponry that is. My KAD does not allow me to stand over a stove or stove-like object for more than 5 to 10 minutes at a time. However, this list is long enough for right now. Next week, I’ll show you how my slow cooker and rice cooker work together to keep me out the kitchen. I have a recipe I want to try out, and you all get to come along for the ride. I don’t think I can mess it up. It’s super easy to throw things into a container and push buttons. But, knowing my history, I will never underestimate my ability to burn a dinner.
See you in seven days.
By: LeSashea Feagin
Featured Guest Blogger
Before I get started with my weekly guest posts, I must warn you, I am not a professional cooker-person whatever. I burn rice, vegetables, toast, meats, and all other manner edible nourishment. You name it, I’ve burnt it at some point in my sordid kitchen career.
Now, a normal person may be inspired to cook more. Try not to burn food in the future. Not I. I have what professionals call (by professionals, I mean me) Kitchen Anxiety Disorder (KAD). One failure is enough to keep me away from making that particular dish forever. I have not baked a brownie since The Brownie Incident of 2007. I am still not ready to talk about it.
My KAD may also be fueled by my peculiar brand of feminism. It just feels so anti-everything-I-claim-to-believe to stay in the kitchen for more than 45 minutes for meal preparation. And by “meal preparation”, I mean all three meals and the two snacks that I should eat per day should be completed in 45 minutes. I should walk in the kitchen at 7 AM and have breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner complete before 7:45 AM. I realize this is unrealistic, but the professionals (read: I) have come to the conclusion this is best for me.
I do have people who love me and help me manage my disorder. I can usually count on dinner and a take-home plate out of family members or close, loving friends if I ask in advance. A few love cooking so much that they are willing to accept my raw ingredients and prepare an entire meal for me to take home. My husband, bless his soul, loves to cook. I haven’t yet convinced myself that I love him for more than that quality. Then there are restaurants. Those places where you can go in, choose whatever you would like, pay money, and walk out fat. They. Are. Magic.
This lifestyle is expensive, though. Either I am driving to deliver ingredients, pick up cooked food, deciding where I want to eat (and then paying for it!), tipping waitresses, or somehow investing much more than my income says is prudent in obtaining and consuming food. I can’t just not eat. I have two children who would miss me and probably hate me for “abandoning” them by meeting an early and totally avoidable demise.
For the sake of my budget, my children, my health, and my independence, I have decided to take tackle my KAD. I will be venturing into the kitchen, with caution. I will try to stay within the guidelines my doctor has strongly suggested: 45 minutes (maximum) of kitchen time each trip into the kitchen. I will be sharing my management techniques as I stumble upon new ways to make these guidelines work. Maybe next week I’ll let you know all about my weapons against KAD, huh? You’ll just have to tune in to find out. See you in seven days.
Donnee Padgett-Harris Demonstrates a new product soon to be available in February by cooking with patt sponsored by First Draft Publishing.
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt.
¼ cup cocoa powder
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 2/3 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 box of vanilla pudding
Chocolate icing (store bought or homemade)
Prepare filling first. Whisk together the vanilla pudding mix and 1 cup of the whole milk. Set aside.
Heat oven to 350° F.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a bowl beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, stirring after each addition. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating it with the rest of the milk and mixing just until incorporated. Add the vanilla.
Divide the batter among 12 cupcake tins with paper liners. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins for a few minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Cut holes in the middle of the cupcakes removing some of the cake. Save the cut out portions to put back onto the cupcake. Fill the middle of some of the vanilla pudding filling. Place the tops back on the cupcakes. Frost with chocolate icing.