When I was a kid, my Mom would occasionally make “Franks and Beans” for dinner. She referred to them as “Teenie Weenie Beanies.” Why? I have no idea. Probably because I was about four and when she wasn’t talking to me like I was a full-blown adult, (which was most of the time…) she had these weird little things she would say. “Teenie Weenie Beanies” was one of these idiosyncracies:
This was in the dark days of culinary delights when “Less Work For Mother” was in vogue and it was very hip to use convenience foods. My family wasn’t served processed food very often and fast food even less because my parents hated it and besides, “It’s just too expensive and we can’t afford it.” my Mom declared. Of course, both of my parents were products of the The Great Depression. Consequently, we lived as though Roosevelt was still in office, and any minute someone was going to force us out of our house to live in a tar paper shack. Naturally, this wasn’t the case, but I was led to believe that one never knew where the next meal was coming from so, “Eat up, kid!” The hell with the kids in China, I was worried about tomorrow night right where I was!
Leftovers were the norm, and I saw more potatoes than you could shake a stick at. We tended not to waste much. I would watch a Christmas duck go from a duck dinner, to two duck leftover meals, to duck sandwiches for school lunch, to duck soup.
But every now and then, my Mom would find something to serve that was canned and on sale or she knew she was having a busy week and the cans might come in handy. And again, best put things like this in the pantry for a “Rainy day,” This “processed food” thing was fairly new. And nobody thought anything of it. Nobody knew any better and if it was advertised on T.V. then, well, it had to be okay. Didn’t it? Of course now things have changed. Fresh food and home-made are now back in vogue. Heirloom and local ingredients are all the rage:
A while back I stumbled on to processed food for birds. There are many companies that have begun making it. One company of note was “Beak Appetit:”
While I purchased a bag or two of this stuff, it really didn’t go over with my Greys. And it was pretty expensive. On top of that, I found that it had a slightly funny smell; a smell I couldn’t put my finger on. And I didn’t particularly care for that smell. So I stopped buying it because the birds just weren’t eating it. However, it’s a moot point now because they went out of business.
But I did notice that my birds liked beans.
So I decided to make a pot of beans for my birds and freeze it just like I do with the “Chop.” Since that first modest batch a couple of years ago to about eight massive batches later, now made in the same stock pot I make the “Chop” in, I’ve concocted different versions of it. Here’s how I made it today:
I start out with what I call my “Big Ass Stock Pot.” If you don’t have one of these, I highly recommend you get one. Used is fine. Flea market is great. Garage sale? Even better. This one came from my Dad’s house that I got after he passed away:
As you can see, these are lentils, 15 bean soup (without the flavoring packet) frozen corn niblets, broccoli slaw, wild and brown rice, organic quinoa, and in that Mason Jar on the right, you’ll spot some barley. I chose to add corn this time because I don’t ever really give them very much of it and they get a good dose of it in their pellets.
Method: Find a colander. Put all of the beans and lentils in it and rinse them well. Pick through them to make sure you haven’t purchased any pebbles. If there are any, throw them in the trash because they’re hell on the disposer. Put them in the stock pot and cover with water. Make sure there is three times the amount of water as beans. Let them lay there, bathing and soaking while you go do something else. Forget about them. Eight hours is good, overnight even better.
When the time is up, go back to your beans and rinse them again. And again. You might find the hulls of the beans have loosened and have floated to the top. Skim them off and discard. Keep rinsing until you get sick of it. 5 or 6 times ought to do it. You want a clean mix here. These are some clean beans!
When you have finished rinsing, refill the pot with clean water, again with about three times as much water to beans. Put the fire to it on high until it begins boiling. Turn it down to medium low. You’ll notice a bunch of scum coming up:
You’re going to want to get rid of it:
Attractive, isn’t it? You’ll also find those little bean jackets still floating to the surface. You don’t have to be fussy about it, but get rid of those too if the opportunity presents itself. This is what the scummy scum will look like as you are skimming the scum, so to speak:
Once the beans are pretty cleaned up of the scum, turn the heat to medium low and make sure the pot is covered. Don’t want any “winged things” flying into the pot. Safety first! Cook for an hour or so until the beans are “al dente’ ” or still firm. This is going to have to be up to you because I can’t gauge your stove or the beans you choose. You’ll need to taste them. At this point, add the brown and wild rice mix. Cook for about 45 minutes until the beans are cooked but not mushy and the rice is cooked. Add the quinoa. Let that cook. This will take about 15 or 20 minutes. Turn off the heat. Now this is where your creativity comes in. For this batch I added a couple of carrots chopped roughly, some chopped up fresh ginger, some celery tops, roughly chopped cilantro, a tablespoon or so of hot crushed red pepper and some poblano pepper:
And when you’re done, it’ll look something like this:
And the end result? Well, it’s this:
After it has cooled, simply bag it up as you would “Chop” in one meal portions for your entire flock: One bag should contain enough beans to feed your entire flock one serving for a meal. Place in larger freezer bags, label and date and freeze. Once again, you’re off the hook in the bean department for as long as it lasts. Welcome to my world! I’m hittin’ the freezer!
Making delicious and nutritious beans for your birds doesn’t have to be a pain in the keester as long as you know how to make them. And you don’t need to buy the packaged stuff to pull it off. It’s cheap, it’s an efficient way to feed your birds part of a good diet and they are getting nothing but the food you choose to give them. I think my parents would be proud!