Because delicious & healthy aren't mutually exclusive.

When I ask my daughter, or anyone who might be supping with us on any given day, if there’s anything they particularly want or are interested in eating, I do hear you. But chances are what you get served up on your plate will not be what you envisioned. Let me walk you through what I mean.

Me: Is there anything you’d like to have for supper? Anything you’re craving?

Teenager Residing in my Daughter’s Bedroom (TRIMDB): Oh! Yes, how about something with noodles?

Me: (interpret that to mean spaghetti – and we all know what that means if she wants spaghetti it’s a no frills, open the jar of prepared sauce – that I may or may not be allowed to liven up with some extra veggies, but if I do I must puree them because texture is an issue and besides, spaghetti sauce isn’t supposed to have any lumps in it, right? – and dump on top of boring pasta noodles) Okay. Noodles? I’ll see what I can do.

TRIMDB: Thanks, Mom! (and off she skips to the bedroom to complete her homework, I’m sure in anticipation of a favorite meal at the end of her long night of studying.)

Meanwhile, back at the ranch. . . .

I mull over the idea of noodles. I contemplate in what various ways I can prepare and serve noodles. I conduct online searches for noodle recipes. I consider the ingredients living right now in my fridge and pantry. I am determined to create a noodle masterpiece that will rock her noodle-craving world.

And then I remember how cold I am; it’s been winter for two days in the middle of autumn. Which, if you ask me, is totally unacceptable because autumn is not the time to break out my down coat just to walk the dog. Autumn is time for fleece pullovers and socks for the first time in six months, but down coats? No, sir.

Right, so I’m cold. And when I’m cold I want to be warm. But warming me up is a monumental task since my fingers, toes and nose are cold in July – you can imagine on a 45 degree day in October how much I need warming. Soup always warms me from the inside out and that sounds so inviting I’m getting warm just thinking about it, and before I realize what’s happened, I discovered a lovely Moroccan-flavored soup with beans and lentils and oh, the spice combination! Besides, I told myself this morning we should have beans in some variation for supper. And now it’s decided, I’m going to make soup and that’s that.

Moving into the kitchen, I start gathering my ingredients for soup – did I mention there are sweet potatoes in it, too – when my eye spots a bag of buns left over from last week’s Snobby Joes. Hmmm, if I don’t use those, they’re going to spoil. Snobby Joes sound really good right now, but I always make those when I can’t think of what else to make and we did just have them during Aunt Dawna’s visit. Besides, there are countless other ways to make a bun useful, right?

Oh, you know I think I remember seeing a section in Veganomicon for sammiches and that’s where the Snobby Joe recipe resides. Let me see what else is in there. And as I opened to page 189 the choir above me sang and I knew exactly what we were having for supper: beanballs.

This is perfect because I’ll make the beanballs and get beans just like I wanted, and then I’ll serve them on toasted buns, using the bread before it goes bad, and I can saute that remaining yellow squash so it doesn’t go bad and put those slices on top of the beanballs and THEN I can smother the whole thing with marinara sauce, which is what you have with spaghetti! Everyone wins!

The kidney beans need a good mashing before they can become beanballs later in their life. I love my potato masher, which I’ve not yet used against potatoes – just lots of beans.

I needed breadcrumbs for the recipe, so made my own. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup and I pulverized two slices of bread, which made more than I needed. Probably one slice would have sufficed. Oh – and this is totally an action shot. Those bread crumbs are spinning around faster than the gravity ride at the fair, but I was able to catch them with a fast lens! (impressed?)





Do not be fooled by the camera. What you see on the left is not, in fact, strawberry shortcake (as my daughter thought), but the mashed up beans and all the other goodies combined to make the mush you see pictured on the right. Rather than form the balls by hand as the recipe suggested, I used my smallest scoop and placed them on the tray to bake in the oven.Don’t they look great? I love the flecks of kidney bean peppering the mounds. I had no idea what to expect, but knew baking was the option over pan frying them. I got all the beanballs onto one cookie tray and total time in the oven was 25 minutes.Gorgeous, right?! Crispy to perfection (turned once during baking to achieve this) and bite-sized (by design). I could have gone with a larger scoop, but didn’t.The finished product! I toasted the buns in the oven, placed the beanballs, then the sauteed squash (did that on my stone in the oven), and slathered warm marinara sauce on top of that.

So scrumptious. And all for the want of noodles.

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