The Lean Green Bean

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Year, New Look!

Haaaaappy Friday Friends!

Continuing my trend of new things this Friday, I'm SUPER EXCITED to announce some changes to The Lean Green Bean!

1) MOST IMPORTANTLY: New website: Please click here to visit the new website!!!! It no longer includes blogspot in the web address! Movin' up in the world.

2) New look: Huge thanks to Julie over at Savvy Eats!!! She worked her magic,  moved all of my content over to the new host AND worked on the design for the new page! I LOVE the way it all looks and couldn't be more excited!!!!!!!!!! Can you tell?! Seriously, Julie is amazing...if you need help with your blog, I'd highly recommend her!

3) I'll now be using Wordpress instead of Blogger. This probably doesn't mean much to some of you, but I've heard good things about it and I'm excited to give it a try.

4) If you subscribe to The Lean Green Bean in a reader or through email, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE visit the new site and re-subscribe. There are 4 colored buttons on the right-hand side of the page. Just click the envelope for email or the rss symbol for a feed. It will just take a second!

5) If you're reading this and you haven't subscribed, please see #4 :)

6) Thank you so much for reading! I'm on a blog high right now and can't wait to see what's next!

7) Finally, I'm guest posting for Mindy today over at A One Girl Revolution. You can click here if you'd like to read the post!

See you all over at :)


Lindsay's Lunchbox: Part 1

Happy Friday, friends! Today I'm going to start something new.

One of the biggest requests I got when I asked readers what they wanted to see on The Lean Green Bean in 2011 was suggestions for packed lunches. (**Sidenote, my new lunch box for this year is a Fit N Fresh and has all of those cool containers pictured above in's awesome!) As many of you know, I'm currently a student. I have class every day of the week. I'm taking classes at two schools. Most days I'm gone 7-5, just like a normal work day. While I don't exactly get a lunch break, unless you count sitting in my car, cramming food in my mouth in the school parking lot, all the while looking over my shoulder to make sure I don't miss the bus a lunch break. But I do pack my lunch....and I eat it when I can :)

SO, from now on I'm going to use Fridays to share some lunch ideas with you! Many of them will be cold lunches, since I don't have access to a microwave most days, but some will be hot (I do get to eat lunch at home a couple days a week)! And many can be altered or added to if you want to heat them up.

Are you ready? Here we go!

The best advice I can give my fellow lunch-packers is to start early. I usually start getting my lunch components ready on Sunday.

For example, this past Sunday I:

-made a batch of Sweet Potato Hummus
-threw some chicken breasts in the crockpot when I woke up with some broth and let them cook all day. When they were done, I shredded them and made a big batch of chicken salad
-washed a bunch of spinach and sliced some red onions to be used for spinach salad
-made a batch of roasted chickpeas

This makes it a lot easier when you actually get ready to pack your lunch each night. (Please do it at night. You're WAY more likely to actually pack it. If you wait until morning, before you know it you'll wake up late and find yourself running out the door with no lunch!

Here are my suggestions for this week:

1) Hummus.
Easy to make, keeps well in the fridge and the lunch box, cheap! And it's versatile. Eat it with crackers, pita chips, bagel chips (my new favorite-lower sodium than pita chips) or fresh veggies. Currently loving sweet potato hummus.


2) Chicken Salad.
Shredding your own chicken cuts down on the sodium vs. canned. You can make a big batch of plain chicken, turn some into salad and freeze some for another week. Or, turn half into salad and store the other half in the fridge. After a few days, decide whether or not you're sick of it. If you are, put the rest in the freezer. If not, make another batch of chicken salad. I like to eat mine using crackers as a scoop. You can also put it on a sandwich.

All I do when I make chicken salad is add a little (emphasis on little) bit of light mayo OR some plain greek yogurt to the chicken, top with lots of curry powder and cayenne pepper, toss in some green onions and stir to combine. Super easy and super tasty!

3) Spinach salad.
You can buy big bags of baby spinach at the grocery store for pretty cheap. Prep a big tupperware of the staples (for me, spinach and red onion), then just take some out each day to pack in your lunch. You're more likely to eat it if it's already ready to go.

Add the other toppings the night before. This week I liked sliced apples and pomegranate...deeeelicious!

If you want to add dressing, put it on the bottom of your tupperware so all the spinach doesn't get soggy, then mix it around before eating. Just don't forget your fork, or you'll be eating with your fingers like I did. Don't judge me!

4) Fruit and yogurt.
This is my go-to lunch. I could eat it every day. Put some chopped fruit in a container, pack some yogurt and then mix it all together at lunch time. More apples and pomegranate arils!

With Chobani. YUM! Speaking of Chobani...i just may have a little Chobani giveaway going on next week for you guys!!! You'll have to stay tuned :) Greek yogurt is a GREAT way to get some protein at lunch time!

5) Oatmeal bowls
If you have access to a microwave then this one's for you! Make a packet of plain instant oatmeal. Push the oatmeal to one side. Put half a container of greek yogurt (I had some Peach Chobani) on the other side. Top with some fruit (you guessed it, apples and pomegranates) and a bunch of cinnamon. Mix it all together and get some of everything in each bite! Other add-in suggestions include raisins, bananas, peanut butter, chocolate chips, granola, cereal, grapes....the list goes on!

What's your favorite packed lunch? Send me your ideas and I can include them on future Fridays!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Hen Soup

All I wanted to do this afternoon was take a nap.

I never did it.

Instead, I threw together a delicious lunch after I got home from class (which I will share with you tomorrow) and found myself re-energized! As you recall, I made Cornish Game Hens yesterday, and I used the bones to make some stock. I had no real plans for it at the time, but it's always good to have on hand!

This afternoon turned out to be cold and snowy and it seemed like the perfect time to make soup. So I did. Hen Soup!

Here's how it went  down:

I sauteed some carrots, onion and green pepper:

 I tossed in some sweet potato:

I pulled the stock out of the fridge, scooped the little bit of fat at the top, and added to the pot:

I let everything simmer until the potatoes were almost tender. Then I chopped up the leftover meat, and added that too!

 The pot was still looking a little empty so I cooked up some elbow noodles to add:

Then I put the soup away til dinnertime:

When it was time to eat, all I had to do was reheat and add some black pepper:

I added some fresh baby spinach to mine...YUM!

I also sauteed the two chicken breasts I didn't use for the Pad Thai with some pepper and paprika. I added a slice of pepperjack cheese and some spinach and voila! A sandwich for the hubby!

The soup was delicious! The broth had tons of flavor and it was packed with veggies and just the right amount of noodles. I ate two bowls :)

In other news, I tried to make banana bread with whole wheat pastry flour and both loaves are currently sitting at the bottom of the trash can. It ended badly. Live and learn :)


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cornish Game Hens with Pomegranate Sauce


Hi Friends!

Tonight I made one of my favorite childhood dinners: Cornish Game Hens! We used to eat these occasionally growing up...I can remember begging my mom to buy them at the grocery store on several occasions. The hubby had never had them and had been talking about trying them for a while, so last time we went grocery shopping we picked up a twin pack.

I wanted to keep it simple, so after confirming some cooking temperatures via google: Cornish Game Hens, I headed to the kitchen and here's what I did:

I stuffed each with two slices of lemon, rubbed them with olive oil and sprinkled with rosemary and black pepper

Then I put them in the oven at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, I combine the rest of my container of veggie broth (about a cup), the rest of my bottle of white wine (about 1/2 a cup) and the juice from half a lemon:

After 25 minutes, I poured half of the liquid over the hens, turned the oven down to 375 degrees and set the time for another 20 minutes. After 10 minutes, I poured the rest of the liquid over the birds:

Then things got a little crazy. I'd been thinking all day about what kind of sauce I was going to make to go with these and I decided I wanted to use up the other pomegranate that I bought. I pulled out all the arils and plopped them into my mini food processor. 

Then I added two clementines:

And turned it into this:

I poured the mixture into a colander to strain out the pulp:

Meanwhile, instead of wondering what temperature the hens were at, I was using my new thermometer that the hubby got me for Christmas! It's called a TruTemp Digital Thermometer by Taylor. You put the probe in whatever is in the oven and stick the display on the oven door. You can set the final temperature you want and it will beep when it is reached! I'm in love with it!!

When the birds were done, I pulled them out and let them rest (under foil of course, which I removed for the photo):

While the meat was resting, I roasted a mixture of white and sweet potatoes and reduced the pom/clem juice mixture in a small saucepan. After it reduced by half, it was much sweeter so I added the juice from 1/2 a lemon to cut the sweetness. The "sauce" didn't really thicken, but it tasted fantastic!!! *Sidenote, this meal was not the most photogenic...but oh well.

The side juice sauce:

I got tired of dipping and just poured some on my plate :)

The verdict? Good! The meat was moist and it's fun to get your own little bird. The sauce kinda reminded me of cranberry sauce and it actually felt a little like Thanksgiving all over again!

 I pulled most of the leftover meat when we were done, the immediately threw the bones in a pot to make some stock. It's simmering away right now :)

What about you? What's the best sauce you've ever made?


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Reader Request: Pad Thai


Alright my friends, I've got a good one for you tonight! Just before the holidays, a reader contacted me with a request for pad thai. She said she's tried making it twice and it's only turned out so-so. I love pad thai so I was immediately excited about the idea of making it. I told her I'd get right on it after the here we are! This one's for you Diane!

As excited as I initially was about the pad thai idea, I must admit that my excitement quickly faded as I began my search to figure out exactly how it is that you go about making pad thai. It is apparently one of those dishes that EVERYONE makes a different way. This was made quite clear by the fact that I looked at about 20 recipes and all of them were VERY different. Surprisingly, many of the recipes included ketchup in the sauce, which just didn't sound right to me, so I quickly eliminated those.

The first promising recipe I came upon was this one from Savory Sweet Life, but I was a little unsure about the ingredients in the sauce so I kept looking and I found this recipe from Off Her Cork. I liked the ingredients in her sauce better. She also had a link to this tutorial which is a great in-depth explanation about how to make pad thai...I'd recommend checking it out!

After reading through these three posts, my next step was to post on Twitter asking for any tips on making pad thai. I got this advice from Rachel at Hounds in the Kitchen: "Soak noodles, then Saute veg, push to side, cook egg, get pan super hot, add oil and noodles, then sauce." and this encouragement from Marisa at Mind Over Booty: "Oh good luck! That's one dish that I've been afraid of for years, but I'm planning on making it in 2011." With that I was ready!

Here's what I did:

First I chopped the veggies. I used broccoli, onion, green pepper and carrots. 

Then I sliced the chicken. I used two pieces and I cheated and bought the thin sliced chicken breasts since I knew I was making this. On a side note, I read an interesting article in my Cooking Light magazine the other day about the hidden sodium in packaged chicken. It's in the liquid that chicken is packed in. Do yourself a favor next time you go to the store and check the label on your chicken for the sodium content. There can be up to 400mg in a 4 oz serving! I hunted around and found this find that only had 35mg in 4 oz. Much better! It's something I never thought to check so I thought I'd pass it along.


 Next I made the sauce. I used 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 1/3 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup vegetable broth and 1/4 c chili the juice of 1/2 a lemon. I combined it all in a small saucepan, brought it to a boil and let it simmer. Taste the sauce as you go and add more of whatever you want.


Next up: noodles. Or rice sticks as they're called. I had half a package left over from when I made Summer Rolls so I just used the rest. All you have to do with these is boil some water, add the noodles and let them soak for 5 minutes. Then drain and set aside. 

Let's begin! Get your pan really hot (use a wok if you have one- I don't). Add some oil and the chicken if you're using it, along with some garlic. I added cayenne pepper for an extra kick.

 Add the veggies:

 Mix in the noodles and a little sauce:

 When your veggies are almost done, push everything to the side and crack an egg in the pan.

Poke the yolk and scramble the egg, then mix everything together. I used two eggs. 

 Finally, add some bean sprouts and green onions:

I only added about 1/2 the sauce while cooking. I served the rest on the side so it could be added as desired. 

The verdict? A winner! I'm definitely glad I didn't add all of the sauce while cooking or I think it might have been too much. The flavor of the sauce was great and overall the dish tasted really good. The hubby approved as well. We each had a big plate and have some leftover for lunch. This dish would taste good hot or cold!

Give it a try! I did find it was hard to clean as I go like I normally do. Even with all the prep, the dish comes together quickly and kept me on my toes!

Good luck and enjoy!