April 2, 2012

Spring Cleaning & Easy Crock-pot Caribbean Black Beans

Hello again!  It's been busy around our households the past few days - hence the lack of posts.

However, I can excitedly report that all of my closets are organized and de-cluttered, and my kitchen cabinets have been purged of junk and are all perfectly, beautifully organized.

Ahhhhh this is the part of spring I love best - starting fresh and new, cleaning and purging.  Is that weird?

The best part, though, was organizing my pantry.

Oh my pantry.......my stupid, small pantry.  I have dreams of one day owning a pantry the size of my house, kind of like a small vegan grocery store.  Is that weird?

But alas, I have a small closet pantry so I have to be creative.  I call it my "Monica's closet" - a Friend's reference (let us know if you get it!).  I gave up on it and let it go for so long - just shoving crap in as best I could, squeezing it closed and making sure no one ever saw the innards.  However, my husband went out of town this past weekend, so when the cat's away, the mouse will........organize her pantry.

Off to the The Container Store I went.  It was overwhelming and I spent an embarrassingly long time in the store, carefully measuring and choosing the right containers.  Is that weird?

I sectioned off the pantry according to the contents (for the most part) - I have two baking shelves, a grains shelf, a snack shelf, and a canned goods/condiments shelf.  Here are the after photos (yeah right, like I would post the "before" pictures):

Baking shelves

Grains shelf on top, snack shelf on bottom

Snack shelf on top, canned goods/condiments on bottom

A pretty productive week all around!

On to the good stuff.....the food.

I made this awesome recipe last week - and it was SO GOOD!  I got the recipe from Heidi, who worked with us for the Heart Lecture and the Healthy Kids Lecture.  Heidi has a great blog, It's A Wicked Good Life, with tons of vegetarian recipes (some are vegan and most are easily veganized).

At one of the lectures, Heidi made her Caribbean Black Beans - I had one taste and I was hooked.  Then, when she said it was stupidly easy and made in her Crock-pot, and I fell in love.

I served the beans over rice the first night, and then put them into a tortilla with Daiya Pepperjack Cheese and guacamole the second night.  Heidi suggests serving some mango salsa over it as well.  You literally throw some stuff in a Crock-put, take it out hours later, and you have two night's worth of meals!  Love it!

Stay tuned because tomorrow we're starting our Easter recipes!  Tomorrow will feature Easter brunch recipes and menu ideas, followed by Easter dinner recipes and ideas (and maybe a little dessert too!).  

Love & Kale,


Caribbean Black Beans
Serves: 4-6 people
Recipe from It's a Wicked Good Life.
So wonderfully delicious, these beans are bursting with flavor, that's developed in the Crock-pot over a few hours.  Leftovers are even better and Heidi says it keeps well in the fridge and can be frozen.  Easy, full of crazy good flavor, and healthy.  Rice and bean perfection.

Print here.

  • 1 tbsp broth or water
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8-1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder 
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano (I used regular oregano)
  • Large pinch epazote (if you have it, if not leave it out)
  • 4 1/2 cups cooked (from dry) black beans or three 15.5-ounce black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 cups cooked rice (I use Trader Joe’s rice medley which is frozen and has brown, red and black rice in it).
  • Optional garnishes: guacamole, mango salsa, vegan sour cream, Daiya pepperjack cheese, cilantro, chopped tomatoes, etc.
  1. Heat water or broth in a large skillet. Add onion and bell pepper, cook 4-5 minutes. Stir in the ginger, garlic, cumin, allspice, oregano and epazote (if using) and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Put sautéed mixture into slow cooker with beans, water, maple syrup, and salt; cover, and cook on low for 6-8 hours (Alternatively, you can cook it for 2 hours on high than 2 hours on low - that's what I did).
  3. Serve over rice with garnished of your choice and ENJOY!

This is ginger - in case you've never worked with it before - it's literally a root, just peel it and mince it like garlic.

Saute your pepper and onion

Add your spices, ginger and garlic

Throw everything in the pot!  Here's the before shot.

And here's the after.  You can just SEE the flavor!

I served it over brown rice and guacamole, with a huge salad.



  1. Beans and Rice is one of our favorite meals, so this looks wonderful to me! I'll definitely be trying this one :)
    Happy Easter!!!