[Sometimes, you just want a dish that's quick and easy--no fuss. I've decided to offer a mini-post every once in a while, for a dish that comes together incredibly quickly or else is so simple to make that no recipe is required. Here's today's "Flash in the Pan." (For other FitP recipes, see "Categories" at right).]
[See that mound of bean butter? You can eat it all--no guilt!]
Here’s a sentence you don’t relish hearing too often: “I’m afraid you’re going to need a root canal.”
I know; for most normal, psychologically balanced adults, having a root canal is considered a necessary evil: like having to stop at a highway truckstop to use the bathroom, or hiring the gum-snapping, grammatically incorrect babysitter that the kids adore, or dying your hair over 40–well, you don’t like it, but you can live with it. Case in point: when the HH had to have a root canal a few months back, he took off work early, sat in the dentist’s chair watching Under the Tuscan Sun on the ceiling screen for an hour or so, then came home and chewed a bit gingerly for an evening or two before forgetting about the entire thing. No fuss, no muss.
I, however, had a slightly different reaction to that statement when my dentist tersely informed me he’d have to dig out the still-live root of my tooth (which tunnels down into my jaw bone), pack it with cement and non-elastic latex materials, possibly insert a metal rod for stability, then cover the entire thing with a metal-and-ceramic cap (or “crown”). Yep–just as in pretty much every other realm of our lives, when it comes to our philosophy of dental care, HH and I are total opposites. (Seriously. Oscar and Felix have got nothing on us. Oscar and the Cookie Monster–well, maybe.).
[Beautiful--all on its own.]
You see, the HH is 6’1″ (about 185.5 cm) tall, while I’m a mere 5’4.5″ (almost 164 cm)–though, according to the HH, my voice makes me seem taller. (Go figure.) When we first met, I was a quintessential Type A: über organized, punctual, adhering to a strict daily schedule (set out in 15-minute increments); I’d normally wake at at 5:45 AM, planned what I’d wear the night before (to save time), brown bagged it every day (and filled that bag the night before–to save time), organized my linen closet and alphabetized my spices. (Okay, perhaps those habits were a tad anal, now that I think about it; but when you live alone, these quirks do tend to assert themselves).
On the other hand, if there were such a thing as Type Z, that would be the HH. He would prefer to stay up until 2:00 AM and sleep in until noon; never make plans more than 45 seconds in advance; and eat in restaurants every day (in fact, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, he once lived in an apartment for two years and only once turned on the stove). Of course, he’s responsible when it comes to his job and taking care of The Girls, but otherwise, he just lets the breeze move him in any way he feels like it otherwise. Plans to go shop for a new kitchen set for our dinner party tomorrow? But this symphony on the radio isn’t over for another 107 minutes. Supposed to mow the lawn this weekend? Aw, forgot I needed a haircut and then got lost browsing at the bookstore. That meat cleaver just fell off the table and wedged itself into his big toe? It’ll have to wait. I’m still sipping my latte and reading the New York Times.
Yet somehow, despite our contrary personalities, our union seems to work. Not coincidentally, we’ve had many a spirited discussion in which we disagree about finances, politics, how best to discipline The Girls (“What do you mean, Mum? Aren’t we angels who never need disciplining?“), best vacation spots, whether his plaid shirt really does go with those tan cords–in other words, pretty much everything.
[A perfect Sunday brunch.]
Including, that is, my suggested root canal. A few weeks ago, I began to notice a deep, sometimes excruciating toothache, and extreme sensitivity to very cold foods; of course, I visited my dentist immediately. Now, I’m not one of those patients who’s afraid of needles, or who trembles any time the dentist’s drill approaches my face; but after having read this article only a week or two before on mercola.com, the dentist’s proclamation threw me into a tailspin.
Rather than make a hasty decision, I sought out a second opinion; in other words, I did exactly what the HH didn’t, and uncovered
a bit some a lot a boatload of research; I polled you all on twitter and Facebook; and I set up an appointment with not one, but two holistic dentists so I could weigh my options. (As you might suspect, the HH thinks I’m daft. His response? “Just go get the damn root canal and don’t worry about it.” My response? My immune system is burdened enough with candida and a slew of other chronic conditions, thank you very much; I don’t wish to add anaerobic bacteria to the list. And besides, I’ve already seen Under the Tuscan Sun.). Sometimes, I really do wish I were more like the HH. Sigh.
So, while I continue to chew over the matter (sorry, you knew I couldn’t resist that one, didn’t you?), I’ve been chewing very little else.
Enter this bean butter.
Some of you who’ve followed this blog for a while might remember when my immutable love of chocolate drove me to create this Chocolate Bean Butter, a rich, thick, softer, smoother, more quotidien version of the black bean fudge that made the rounds on Pinterest last week. I also loved the Carrot Cake Bean Butter I created for a guest post on Kelly’s blog. This cinnamon pecan toffee bean butter marries my love of nut butter and beans. And we all know how much I love my nut butters–there are no less than five separate flavors of the stuff on this blog already–but the calories and fat in nut butter can add up pretty quickly (I’m sort of an expert on that). With bean butter, you cut the fat virtually in half without losing any of the richness or flavor. You also bump up the fiber and protein quotient. It tastes like an indulgent treat, but bean butter triggers no remorse when I smear it thickly on a rice cake, or add a huge dollop to a stack of pancakes. It would also be fantastic as a filling rolled in crepes or used in a pinch as a frosting; just add a little extra milk and whip it up in the food processor to use atop cupcakes or sandwiched between cookies.
I absolutely adore this spread, and have been slathering it on pretty much everything lately; it’s been a lifesaver while I’m nursing my sore teeth. As it turns out, the HH wasn’t as much a fan as I was. Of course, given our natures, that didn’t surprise me in the least.
For all of you (or those with kids) heading back to school, welcome back! (Over here we start the day after Labor Day, which means I’ve got a short break before the next semester. Whoo hoo!).
Cinnamon-Toffee Pecan Bean Butter
This spread brings together some of my favorite flavors that I often use in cookies, blondies and bars. It’s a great topper for pancakes, muffins, or rice cakes, and would be delicious in a school sandwich as well, instead of peanut butter (for entirely nut-free, see recipe).
1 cup (4 oz or 115 g) raw or lightly toasted pecan halves (nut-free: use 3/4 cup/180 ml sunflower, pumpkin or hemp seeds; or 1/2 cup/120 ml smooth natural sunflower seed butter)
2 cups (480 ml) cooked kidney, romano, or white beans; rinsed and well-drained canned is fine, too (I used white kidney beans, navy beans, and Romano on different occasions; I like the romano best)
2 Tbsp (30 ml) coconut oil, preferably organic
3 Tbsp (45 ml) lucuma powder
2 Tbsp (30 ml) cinnamon (or use less if you prefer–I like it cinnamony!)
fine sea salt
2 tsp (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
30-40 drops plain or vanilla stevia liquid, to your taste, or about 1/4 tsp (1 ml) powder
1/3-1/2 cup (80-120 ml) plain or vanilla rice milk, depending how soft you want the bean butter
Whir the pecans in the bowl of your food processor until they are broken down and almost pecan butter. Add remaining ingredients and blend until well combined and silky smooth, up to five minutes, scraping the sides occasionally. Taste and adjust the salt and stevia levels; blend again. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator (it will firm up a bit more when chilled). Will keep up to 5 days.
Suitable for: ACD All Stages and beyond, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, vegan, low glycemic.
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Four Years Ago: Musings on Food and Meme-ish fun (happy to say I’ve now mastered Number 84).
© Ricki Heller, Diet, Dessert and Dogs