SOUTH OF THE BORDER
...where lots of good things start with

BASIC BEANS

2 cups Pinto Beans (or half-and-half Pinto and Small Red Beans)
1 tsp Baking Soda
Wash Beans, put in lg pot with plenty of Water, add Baking Soda, soak overnight. OR -- bring to a boil, turn off heat, cover, let sit for at least one hour. Rinse, add fresh Water if not using immediately.
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To cook:
Put in lg. microwaveable bowl, add the following seasonings:
1 Tbsp EACH ground Cumin, Garlic Powder
1/2 Tbsp EACH Black Pepper, ground Coriander
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper

In microwaveable bowl, just cover the soaked, rinsed beans with water or vegetable broth, add a Vegetable Cube or an envelope of Washington's Broth and Seasoning Mix. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, cover (lid or a double layer of plastic wrap). Nuke for about 12 mins or until you can see it bubble. Continue to nuke on low for 30 mins, then on on an even lower setting for another 30 mins (experiment with your microwave, it will boil over if it's on too high). Beans are done when they mash easily (use a potato masher). They now form the basis for Bean Dip or Chili (for Chili I like a mixture of pinto, red and kidney beans plus about a half cup of dry Chickpeas--and DO NOT mash after they're done!).

Use more or less beans depending on your need, once they're all cooked up and mashed they freeze quite nicely.
BEAN DIP

1 recipe Basic Beans
1/2 to 3/4 of 8-oz bottle of Ortega Thick and Smooth Taco Sauce (to taste)
Mash the Beans (a potato masher works well) while they're still hot until quite smooth, mix with Taco Sauce. Might want to add a bit more Cumin now.  If it's too thick even after the Sauce has been added, pour in some Beer or Tomato Juice, Broth or Water. Too thin, add a spoonful of Cracked Wheat or just simmer down.
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1 large Onion
1 Green Pepper
about 2 cups of Celery
5-6 cloves Garlic
Jalopenos or Scotch Bonnet (optional)
EVOO for frying


Finely dice veggies, fry in a bit of Oil (keep back the Garlic) until they're quite dark, a bit on the burnt side even! Add Garlic a couple of mins before you're done frying. The darker the veggies, the better the taste of the beans -- always keeping it this side of charcoal. Stir veggies and the mashed, seasoned beans together, bring to a simmer, stir, keep simmering for a few mins. Achieve desired consistence with either a bit of water or broth or simmer it down; you don't want it too thin. Adjust taste for Pepper, Cumin or Taco Sauce. This dip is quite versatile and can be used as the basis for a number of dishes.

DIP: Sprinkle hot Dip with grated Cheese, scoop it up with Celery Sticks or Corn Chips. Might mix the Beans with a bit of Pace Picante beforehand.

Use for TACOS, TOSTADAS or BURRITOS and BREAKFAST BURRITOS.

SANDWICH SPREAD: Use thick slices of Whole Grain Bread, spread with the Dip and top with shredded Cheese, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Onions, Cucumber, Sprouts ... whatever sounds good.
TACO SALAD DIP
Bean Dip
1 sm container Sour Cream
(real or soy)
Guacamole
(make your own or buy frozen with 1 fresh Avocado mashed in)
Pace Picante
Shredded Cheese
Shredded Lettuce
Diced, de-seeded* Tomatoes
Diced Onions
Black Pepper
Optional Garnish:
chopped Spring Onions
chopped Black Olives
In a deep dish (best with fairly straight edges) put down a layer of Bean Dip. Smooth on Guacamole, then Sour Cream (use your taste and judgement as to the thickness of the layers, I recommend to not overdoing these layers -- definitely not more than about a centimeter). Drizzle more Picante Sauce on top of this. Add layer of shredded Cheese, layer of shredded Lettuce; use a bit of Picante Sauce as a dressing on the lettuce (carefully work it in with a fork). Top with finely diced, seeded Tomatoes which have been mixed with finely chopped Onions and Black Pepper. If desired, garnish with the green part of some Spring Onions, finely chopped (makes it look very seasonal for a Winter Holiday Party). Or use Black Olives for Garnish. Scoop with thick, sturdy Corn Chips. Take this to a party and receive raves.

HINT:
When first starting in on this Dip, it's easier to scoop some on your Chip with a teaspoon.

*NOTE: When de-seeding Tomateos, don't throw away whatever you scrape out of them, freeze and throw it in your next soup or Pasta Sauce or whatever!

SUPPER (OR LUNCHEON) IDEA:
I had some leftover dip recently and wasn't in the mood for anything with chips, so I baked a Potato and piled on the dip. It was delicious.
SUPER DUPER DINNER NACHOS
Corn Chips
Bean Dip (pre-heated)
Pace Picante
Shredded Cheese
Shredded Lettuce
Diced Tomatoes
Diced Onions
Cucumber Dressing

Optional toppings: 
Diced Cucumber, Spring Onions
Crush Corn Chips on microwaveable plate (I like using a glass pie plate, size depends on your appetite). Sprinkle with Cheese, top with hot Bean Dip, smooth it down with the help of a spoonful of Picante Sauce.  Top with the Lettuce, Tomates, Onions, Cucumber, moisten with Cucumber Dressing (or Cracked Pepper Ranch or plain Ranch). Garnish with chopped Spring Onions or Black Olives, if desired. Enjoy!

VARIATION:
You can build this whole concoction on top of a baked Potato instead of the Corn Chips. It's VERY delicious and a lot better for you :)
NACHOS

Cover a large microwaveable platter with Tostitos, sprinkle with shredded Cheese -- put some in between layers of Chips, too!  Nuke until Cheese is melted. Garnish with little heaps of shredded Lettuce, diced Tomatoes mixed with finely diced Onions, chopped Spring Onions, Sour Cream, Guacamole and mounds of Bean Dip, serve with Salsa. A great snack or a light meal!

NOTE: Serve little bowls with extra toppings on the side.
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all recipes copyright
Valkyrie Grant
BURRITOS
Chop a de-seeded Tomato, mix with some minced Onion and a dash of Black Pepper. Grill meat-free Burger Patty (toaster oven or microwave), chop it up and mix with about 3/4 cup of heated Bean Dip. Toast 2 large whole-wheat Tortillas (briefly drop them on a medium-hot burner if you have an  electric stove, or use a pan with a dash of Peanut Oil or EVOO). Divide and spread the Bean Dip/chopped Burger Patty mixture on the Tortillas, add shredded Cheese, top with the Tomato/Onion mixture, add Hot Sauce if desired.

NOTE: The BOCA original vegan burger patty is my favourite.

PICTURED: Just Bean Dip, shredded Cheddar, diced Tomato and Onion, shredded Lettuce, Sour Cream.
SOUTH -- SOUPS -- SANDWICHES -- PASTA -- MAIN DISHES -- INDIAN INSPIRED -- MISCELLANEOUS -- VEGETABLES -- CAKES -- COOKIES

THE FULL ENGLISH BREAKFAST -- VEGETARIAN STYLE
(and other breakfast ideas)

QUICK LUNCH or SUPPER (it's all about Potatoes)

WHAT TO DO:  WITH VEGGIES LEFT AFTER COOKING,
OR WHEN FRIENDLY GARDENERS SHARE THEIR SUMMER BOUNTY


RECYCLING TIPS     CRAFTY HOUSEHOLD HINTS

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