Swimming steadily versus drowning in busy and noise (oh, and a bean recipe)

My lack of posts this past week has been the direct result of a plethora of positives. Sleep accounts for 50 of the past 308 hours (7 days), leaving me at 252 waking hours; then work as a nurse accounts for 56 of those hours with another 5 added on for driving to and home from said work and delivering my records, which leaves me with 191 hours; 4 hours for my round trip to the VA hospital including visit, 4 hours spent meditating, 8 hours accounted for with training (run/swim/bike), another 15 hours spent this past week emailing or talking to someone I met who has special potential, 8 hours spent with my son and I am still at 152 hours. My little star chart says I did actually accomplish most of my goals last week but seriously, I look at that number “152 hours”. That is actually my “free” time, or that amount of time I get to divide between my wants, needs and desires.  It looks like a lot until its spent. This morning I feel a wee bit frazzled, like there just isn’t enough time to do everything.

This also is how money works out for me, did my budgeting (a weekly Monday morning chore). The money looks like such a large amount until I start looking at too big a picture. Like my time, a certain amount of my money is committed immediately to bills. I have the standard stuff like rent, electricity, trash pickup, water, car insurance, life insurance, cox bill for phone and internet (nope, not TV, just the necessities), medical bills, student loan payment; but they all add to an amount that is less than my take home (I remember many times when they didn’t, grateful they do now, most months anyway).

So why am I always broke and out of time?

I know the answer is budgeting.  I have been working towards making and keeping a budget ever so slowly.  In fact, I sort of had it down there for awhile, but then, just like my journey towards a healthy body and mind, I take three steps forward and two steps back.

It all boils down to discipline and balance. Its easy to make goals, its a whole other thing to say yes to crawling out of bed at 4 AM and making it to the gym to swim, or out the front door to run or bike. Its one thing to decide to be frugal, its quite another to actually sit down, devise a budget, and then say no to the first, second and third off-budget temptations. It does get easier with practice, just as repeated slips make it easier to fully embrace old and broken behaviors. So I am practicing my discipline this morning and writing.

I mentally recommit to the Monday morning budgeting of both my time and my money which means giving writing a prominent place once again. However, since I am actually working on a Biography and a novel as well as this blog, I will be trading off the writing times and may blog more, but only promise one blog a week. I do promise to get back to book and music reviews as well as all this posting of recipes, I have made some incredibly awesome new word friends and well, I know I am too old to even say her name, but have you listened to Amanda Palmer?

All this talk of budgeting leads me to today’s recipe. It is actually more of an instruction manual for those who keep wasting their precious pennies on prepared canned beans when dry beans are the cheapest, tastiest and best-for-planet-Earth protein source in the grocery.

Cooking Dry Legumes (fancy talk for beans)

Pick any bag of dried beans except Kidney beans (due to potential toxins, they are special case, not a beginner bean). I think garbanzos or black beans are great ones to start with, buy organic when possible. Take yourself, a large soup pan (able to hold minimum of 12 cups – 3 quarts), and a light colored plate or breadboard to a table and sit yourself down with the pan to the side. I actually place the cooking on a chair to the right of me and my compost coffee can on the chair to the left of me and  use the Pampered Chef large flexible cutting mat.

Cut open the corner of the bag and pour a handful onto a light colored board, sorting likely looking beans to the right into the pan and all sticks, rocks, and “mummy beans” (just like it sounds, they are dryer, wrinklier and smaller than the rest) to the compost catcher on the left. Once all the beans are sorted fill the pan with water and slosh it around a bit them dump it all into a colander and rinse. Dump back into the soup pan and add 10 cups of water. Here comes the easy part, let them soak for 2 to 10 hours (I put them in at night, so they soak while I am sleeping) and then dump the water on your grass or garden to give your growing things a nutritious treat as well, over the colander of course, and then rinse again.

Not cooking in the soak water helps reduce the fart factor of beginning bean eating. I still rinse them, even though I am a great bean eater because everyone notices if I get lazy and don’t, LOL.

Add 10 more cups of water. For low salt, add 2 tsp. For regular salt add 1 T. I also add two Bay leaves if I have them as they also help counter the gas producing qualities of bean digestion. Bring to boil and then simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally, and testing 3 or four beans for done-ness. (Or throw it all in your slow cooker and ignore for 6 -7 hours while you go work or play, again test beans for texture when done.)

I eat the first batch warm, spiced with a dash of tobasco and served with warm tortillas or dark bread, then I refrigerate or freeze the rest in 2 cup quantities and replace into any recipe calling for a can of beans at much lower cost to my wallet and the enviroment!

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