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Beans! Beans! Good for the heart! The more you eat, the great way to start…
A super food lifestyle for every meal. The better you’ll look, the better you’ll feel!!

We all remember the poem just a little bit differently as a kid, but the message was still the same…Eat your beans for every meal, the more you eat, the better you feel!! Yes – they are the magical fruit, but if prepared properly and consumed regularly, you’ll reduce the amount of “music” you’ll make! Even better, they are packed with protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, and are low in fat. One half cup of cooked dry beans contains approximately 115 calories and provides a whopping 8 grams of protein. In addition to macronutrients, vitamins and minerals, dry beans contain several types of phytochemicals. They are rich in lignans, which may play a role in preventing osteoporosis, heart disease, and certain cancers. The flavonoids in beans may
help reduce heart disease and cancer risk. The plant stanol esters, or phytosterols, contained in dry beans may help reduce blood cholesterol levels. Do I need to go any further?? Duh! I don’t think so!!

The cool thing about beans is that they can be served in so many forms. Purists cook and eat them as is, but did you know they can be the pureed and served in place of mashed potatoes (white bean, garlic and rosemary puree served with beef stew, what??)? They can be a part of a salad, turned into a soup (who doesn’t love bean chili for football season??), they make great appetizers like a Mexican 7 layer dip! Moms – they are excellent when making homemade baby food. It’s best to wait until they are about 7 months before introducing them to this super food. So many options. I TOLD you beans were my favorite!!

As requested by popular demand, here is our Black Bean Pumpkin Soup that we created for the Healthy Eats Conference back in March. I’ve also added our white bean puree, but I would be happy to give anyone recipes related to beans any time! I just LOVE them and they are so good for us! So eat your beans for every meal!!

~Chef Maria Sparks


Beans! Photo courtesy of


Serves 3-4

1 – 15 ½ ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup drained canned tomatoes, chopped
¼ chopped onion
1 garlic clove
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1tsp ground cumin
¼ cup of butter or olive oil
2 ¼ cups canned or boxed beef broth
1- 16-oz can pumpkin puree
¼ lb. cooked ham, chopped into pieces
1/8 cup sherry vinegar or cider vinegar

1) Puree beans and tomatoes by hand or with a mixer.
2) In a large pan cook onion, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper in butter over moderate heat, stirring until onion is softened and beginning to brown.
3) Stir in bean puree. Stir in broth and pumpkin until combined and simmer, uncovered stirring occasionally, 25 minutes or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
4) Just before serving add ham and vinegar; stir until heated through.


2 cloves garlic
2 cups canned or boxed chicken stock
2 cups canned white beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Hot pepper sauce (optional)
¼ cup combination of any fresh chopped or 1 tblsp dried herbs (chives, parsley, thyme,
rosemary) REMEMBER dried herbs have a more intense concentrated flavor so they should
not be measured one:one with fresh herbs


1) In a saucepan, sweat the garlic in chicken stock. Add the beans and cook until heated through.
2)Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender and puree with the remaining ingredients, except hot pepper sauce. Adjust seasoning, and add hot sauce, to taste. Stir in herbs. Keep warm until ready to serve.

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