Tag Archives: heart healthy

Meet our Featured Food Bloggers Melissa & Marcus King of My Whole Food Life!


marcusMelissa and Marcus King are the cooking and creative duo behind My Whole Food Life website. Melissa is the creator, photographer and primary writer for the website and Marcus creates a lot of the savory dishes for My Whole Food Life and manages the site. Their passion is creating homemade healthy versions of unhealthy food so that others can create a healthier lifestyle. Do yourself a favor and follow them on their social media to find such great recipes as Healthy Kidney Bean Pasta, Healthy Burrito Bowl, Roasted Vegetable Hummus Pizza and so much more! Melissa has written two cookbooks: Easy.Whole.Vegan:100 Flavor-Packed, No Stress Recipes for Busy Families and DIY Nut Milks, Nut Butters, and more: From Almonds to Walnuts. Melissa and Marcus have graciously agreed to share their delicious recipe for Mexican Rice that Marcus created.

photo courtesy of My Whole Food Life

photo courtesy of My Whole Food Life

 Mexican Rice
Courtesy of My Whole Food Life
Yields 4-5 servings

3 cups cooked pinto beans
3 cups cooked brown rice or quinoa
2 cups diced tomatoes
1/2 a yellow onion, diced
2 chili peppers, chopped
2 cups corn (we used fresh from the ears, but frozen will work   too)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
Sea salt to taste

Sauté peppers, onions, and garlic 3 to 5 minutes on medium high in a teaspoon of oil.

As they begin to soften, add the tomatoes and beans and let simmer on medium-low for 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the spices and rice and reduce heat to low and let simmer for another 5 minutes and remove from heat.

Serve immediately.

This should last a week in the fridge. Enjoy.

Follow Melissa & Marcus!


Try Some Beans For Breakfast!

Pumpkin bean muffin

Beans for breakfast? What a great way to start your day by making one of these delicious breakfasts. Not only are beans filling, but eating beans will help you avoid the mid-morning slump. Kids home for summer vacation? These breakfasts are easy, nutritious and will give the kiddos energy for all those summer activities!

thumb_IMG_4736_1024 You don’t have to wait for Fall to enjoy these Pumpkin Bean Muffins! Recipe here…

EggIMG_4502 Make your own fast food with these black bean, egg and avocado Mexican-Style Breakfast Cups. Recipe here…

SausageThis recipe for Breakfast Sausage is great to make in bulk and freeze for those quick out the door days. Recipe here…

IMG_3911Pancakes aren’t just for Sunday breakfast…make these pancakes made with pureed beans during the week for the kids! Recipe here…

IMG_3948Kids love pizza…and they will love this Bean Breakfast Pizza! Recipe here…

beansandeggsBeans and eggs…so simple but so delicious! Recipe here…

beanscrambleAdd beans to your scrambled eggs for extra nutritional value and protein. Recipe here…

What are you making the children for breakfast this summer? We want to know! Share your photos on Instagram and tag @californiabeans!




Featured Dietitian Jessica Fishman Levinson


Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN is a registered and New York State-certified dietitian nutritionist and the founder of Nutritioulicious, a New York-based nutrition communications and consulting business with a focus on culinary nutrition. Jessica has extensive experience as a recipe developer, writer, editor, and speaker. She is the co-author of We Can Cook: Introduce Your Child to the Joy of Cooking with 75 Simple Recipes and Activities (Barron’s, 2011). Jessica is also the Culinary Corner columnist for Today’s Dietitian Magazine, and maintains the popular Nutritioulicious blog.

Jessica has been featured as a nutrition expert on television and radio outlets, including NBC, Fox 5, and NY1, in national magazines like Prevention, Glamour, Fitness, and Woman’s Day, and on numerous health and lifestyle websites. Jessica has an MS in Nutrition and Dietetics and a BA in Psychology, both from New York University. She is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) and various Dietetic Practice Groups of the AND, including Nutrition Entrepreneurs, Dietitians in Business and Communications, and Food and Culinary Professionals. In addition to her professional work, Jessica enjoys all things related to food and wine and spending time with her husband and twin daughters.

Make sure to follow Jessica on all her social media sites!
Facebook: Nutritioulicious
Twitter: @JlevinsonRD
Instagram: @JlevinsonRD
Pinterest: @JlevinsonRD
Blog: http://www.nutritioulicious.com/blog
Website: http://www.nutritioulicious.com


Why do you encourage patients to incorporate dry beans into their diet?
Because they are nutrient-rich, delicious, cost-effective, and can be used in so many ways in the kitchen!

What is your personal favorite bean to eat and why?
Chickpeas because there are so many amazing culinary uses for them that span every meal of the day, snacks included!

Please provide your top 3 nutritional insights about beans, explaining why people should eat them.
Rich in fiber, which is a nutrient of concern, as most people don’t get enough in their diet. Helps keep blood sugar levels stable and adds to the satiety factor of meals; High in folate, a B vitamin that’s important for reproductive, nervous system, and cardiovascular health; beans are a good source of lean vegetarian protein, which is important for maintaining lean muscle mass and satiety at meals.

Please share your favorite bean recipe and explain why it is your favorite recipe.
This is a hard one – I have so many! One of my favorites is my Sweet Potato Black Bean QuesadillaI. I love it because it’s full of flavor, full of nutrition, and a recipe my whole family loves -including my 4 year old twin girls!



Homemade Bean Flour Your New Best Friend!


I have to admit I am still intimidated by bean flour. Using it is a new experience for me. Since 2016 is the International Year of the Pulse, I thought I would try my hand at experimenting with making homemade bean flour and baking with it.

Do you have old dried beans in your pantry and don’t want to throw them out but aren’t quite sure how to use them? Make some homemade bean flour! The dried beans don’t have to be old to make flour, it’s just a great way to use them! We will be on this journey together as I experiment with different types of beans and share how I’m using the flour I make. After all, cooking with bean flour is an easy way to add protein and nutrients to any dish. Not to mention gluten free!

I used two different blenders to make the flours. I recently purchased a Vitamix and am still learning all the ways it can pay for itself in my kitchen. It is a significant expense, but this thing is amazing! One thing you have to know when you use a blender to make bean flour: do not run it until the beans are finely ground. You do not want it to overheat! Run it for a minute, then let it rest.

bean flourNotice the difference in the different types of bean flour and the wheat flour for comparison.

IMG_4877Black Bean Flour

IMG_4876Pinto Bean Flour

IMG_4875Lima Bean Flour

IMG_4874Navy Bean Flour

IMG_4873Garbanzo Bean Flour

I found that if you run garbanzo beans on the lowest setting or just pulse them (no pun intended) they just bop around and are hard to grind. If you pulse them at the highest setting and then run the blender at the highest setting for a minute, let the machine cool, then repeat, you will get a fine flour. I used an Oster blender for the Lima beans and they pulverized quickly. I’m not sure how to use the Lima bean flour yet, except for maybe thickening soups and stews. If any of you have any experience with Lima bean flour, please let me know!

Here’s what I learned while experimenting:

These are approximate measurements.

1 cup of whole dried pintos = 1 cup flour
1 cup of whole dried garbanzos = 2 cups flour
1 cup of whole dried black beans = 1 1/3 cups flour
1 cup of whole dried navy beans = 1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup of whole dried lima beans = 1 cup flour

Experiment on your own with blenders or wheat grinders. Let me know what works best.

I tried three different recipes using three different flours. I used straight Lima bean flour to make biscuits … BIG mistake! If any of you need a hockey puck (or 12), let me know.

hockeypuckHockey pucks!

I used the black bean flour to make a bean dip based on a recipe from the Bob’s Red Mill website. I adapted it and added sour cream and a little lime juice, and it’s quite tasty!

The third recipe, garbanzo bean flour, was used to make Farinata Genovese. This dish turned out great! It’s a flatbread that you cook in a cast iron skillet in the oven. The batter has to sit for between 1-12 hours. I am impatient, so it was just 1 hour. I’ll have to try it again after it sits for 12 hours to see if time makes a difference.

beandipBlack Bean DIp

Black Bean Dip
Adapted from Bob’s Red Mill


3/4 cup black bean flour
1/4 tsp cumin (you might want to use less)
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 lime, juiced
2 tbsp sour cream


  1. Boil the water in a saucepan on medium heat.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients. Whisk dry ingredients into the water. Stir 1 minute cooking over medium-high heat.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover saucepan and cook and cook an additional 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture should have the consistency of pudding. If it doesn’t, cook longer.
  4. Cool a bit before adding the salsa, sour cream, and lime juice.

farinata2Farinata Genovese

Farinata Genovese
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s book The Best Recipes in the World


1 cup garbanzo (chickpea) flour
1 3/4 cup water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
Fresh rosemary leaves


  1. Sift the 1 cup of garbanzo flour into a bowl; add salt and pepper. Slowly add the water, whisking to eliminate lumps. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Cover and let sit for 1 to 12 hours. The batter will thicken and should be the consistency of heavy cream.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a 10-inch skillet over medium heat on the stove top. Add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil into the heated pan and swirl to cover pan completely. When the oil is hot, add the sliced onion and let it cook for one minute. Pour the batter into the skillet and sprinkle the top with rosemary leaves. (Use your judgement. If you like the taste of rosemary, add more; if not, use less.)
  3. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top and bake for 20-30 minutes or until it is no longer custardy in the middle and the edges are set. Turn on broiler and broil top until it takes on a golden brown color.
  4. Allow the Farinata to set for a few minutes and then carefully remove from pan to a cutting board using two spatulas. Allow to cool briefly. Best served warm but is good cold.

I would love for you to comment on how you use bean flour in your cooking and baking! Or take a photo of your flour and tag @californiabeans on Instagram.


















Meet our Featured Dietitian Sharon Palmer!


Sharon has created an award-winning profession based on combining her two great loves–food and writing. As a registered dietitian with 16 years of health care experience, she channels her nutrition experience into writing features covering health, wellness, nutrition, and cuisine. Sharon is also a passionate writer about food and environmental issues, having published a number of features on plant-based diets, hunger, agriculture, local and organic foods, eco-friendly culinary practices, sustainability, food safety, and food security. Over 850 of Sharon’s features have been published in a variety of publications, including Better Homes & Gardens, Prevention, Oxygen, LA Times, Cooking Smart, and CULINOLOGY. Her books include The Plant-Powered Diet: The Lifelong Eating Plan for Achieving Optimal Health Beginning Today and Plant-Powered for Life: Eat Your Way to Lasting Health with 52 Simple Steps & 125 Delicious Recipes. Sharon is the editor of the acclaimed health newsletter, Environmental Nutrition and nutrition editor for Today’s Dietitian. She writes every day for her popular Plant-Powered Blog. In addition, Sharon is a nutrition advisor for the Oldways Vegetarian Network and will serve as a returning judge for the 2015 James Beard Journalism awards. She was the proud recipient of the Loma Linda University Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2013.

Living in the chaparral hills overlooking Los Angeles with her husband and two sons, Sharon enjoys visiting the local farmers market every week and cooking for friends and family.


Why do you encourage patients to incorporate dry beans into their diet?
I recommend consuming one serving of beans (legumes) each day in the diet for optimal health and sustainability. It’s a huge part of my message.

What is your personal favorite bean to eat and why?
I like them all, but I love lentils, black beans, garbanzos, and heirloom beans,

Here are Sharon’s top 3 reasons why you should incorporate beans into your diet.

  1. They are a great source of plant-based protein, which is a healthy option for replacing meat  on the plate more often.
  2. Beans are a much more sustainable protein choice than animal proteins.
  3. Beans are a traditional food that has served as a cornerstone of diets around the world.

Sharon has a lot of favorite bean dishes and here is one of her favorites, a Southwester Black Bean, Quinoa and Mango Salad. There are more to be found on her website.

Follow Sharon on Social Media!

Facebook: Sharon Palmer: The Plant-Powered Dietitian
Twitter: @SharonPalmerRD
Instagram: sharonpalmerrd
Pinterest:Sharon Palmer
Youtube: Sharon Palmer

This recipe is from Sharon’s book from The Plant-Powered Diet: The Lifelong Eating Plan for
Achieving Optimal Health, Beginning Today.


photo courtesy of Sharon Palmer The Plant Powered Dietitian

Southwestern Black Bean, Quinoa and Mango Salad
Recipe courtesy of Sharon Palmer-The Plant Powered Dietitian

The jewel-like black beans shine in this crunchy, zesty salad. Serve it
with corn tortillas and vegetable soup for an easy, refreshing meal.

1 – 15 oz can black beans, no salt added, rinsed, drained
1 cup cooked quinoa (according to package directions)
1 cup frozen corn
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped fresh mango
¼ cup chopped red onion
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped (or 2 tsp dried if not available)
1 small fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded, finely diced
1 lemon, juiced
1 1/2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric


  1. Mix beans, quinoa, corn, pepper, mango, onion, cilantro and jalapeno together in a mixing bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, chili
    powder and turmeric together.
  3. Toss into salad mixture and chill until
    serving time.

Makes 6 servings (about 1 cup each)

Nutrition Information per Serving:

Calories: 201
Fat: 5 g
Sat Fat: 1 g
Sodium: 9 mg
Carbohydrate: 36 g
Fiber: 8 g
Protein: 8 g

Recipe from The Plant-Powered Diet: The Lifelong Eating Plan for
Achieving Optimal Health, Beginning Today, copyright © Sharon Palmer,
2012. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment.



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Blackeyed Peas are Good Luck and Good for You!


This New Year found me seeking out tried-and-true recipes from the circa-1990 Cooking with California Dry Beans Cookbook. Eating blackeyed peas is a Southern New Year’s Day tradition that is supposed to grant you prosperity during the coming year. The Jewish New Year doesn’t start until October, but blackeyes are eaten at Rosh Hashana for good luck … however, eating them all year long is not only good luck, but also good for you!

These little one-eyed wonders are known by different names: blackeyed peas, beans, or cowpeas. Whatever you call them in your neck of the woods, and however you fix them, they are delicious! Use them in Texas caviar, chili, or Hoppin’ John, but make sure you have them in your pantry for a change of pace.

Texas Blackeyed Chili

½ pound dry blackeyed peas
1 pound ground beef
1 ½ cups chopped onion
1 ½ cups diced celery
1 ½ cups tomato puree
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 to 2 tablespoons chili powder

Soak beans by your preferred method. Hot soak method directions are on our website.

Brown meat, add onions and celery, and cook briefly. Add tomato puree, seasonings, and the drained, soaked blackeyed peas with about 1 ¼ cups water. Cook over low heat about one hour or until chili is thick and beans are tender, stirring occasionally. Add water, if necessary, to maintain consistency.

Brown meat.

Brown meat

Add onions and celery.

Add onions and celery

Add the rest of the ingredients.

Add the rest of the ingredients

Cook about 1 hour.

Cook about 1 hour.

This is a mild chili by some Texas standards. If you want it “Texas hot,” use the full measure of chili powder and add hot pepper sauce to taste. Makes 6-8 servings.

*As an alternative, substitute seasoned smoked sausage for ground beef.