Thursday, November 24, 2011

What's Cookin' and Happy Thanksgiving

 Plan B: Cranberries, mashed potatoes,

November 23, 2011
I am grateful for two gray girls in our backyard, and pleased that they get along so well.  I feel honored to care for two of God's most magnificent creatures.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Trust But Verify

If you are thinking of getting a tattoo of your favorite equine figure, verify the talent of your artist first.

 Photo Source Unknown

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Shades of the Morning

When I stepped outside to feed the horses Friday morning, I was stopped in my tracks by the beautiful color of the sky.  I grabbed my camera so I could capture the sight before it disappeared; the light and colors change so quickly as the sun rises.

The first shades of morning.
Shades of pink emerge.
Misty: "Quit lookin' at the sky.  Can't you see I'm starvin' here?!"
My favorite shades of gray.
 (And you can see that Misty is far from starvin'.)
SaraJane LOVES her Progressive Diet Balancer pellets. After scarfing down her pellets in her stall next door, she visits Misty's stall to Hoover-up the few pellets Misty always leaves behind in her grain bin.

SaraJane: "As long as I'm here, I might as well help myself to Misty's hay too."
The girls get some loose hay in their troughs and a larger portion in their individual Porta-Grazers, to slow them down a bit. They go back and forth between the stalls, nibbling from both slow feeders and troughs.

Barn chores done; horses fed; manure scooped.

Shades of gold are joining the pinks.
Shades of gold chasing shades of pink.
The gold has consumed the pink.
It's time for me to go inside and get ready for work.

What a great way to start the day.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Attack of the Killer Kidney Beans

Ok, I've watched too many low-budget horror movies lately.

If the Halloween zombie horses didn't get you, please tune in for the following announcement.

Beware the Red Kidney Beans

Tis the season for warm soup, stew, and chili.  Prepare these comfort foods with caution if they call for red kidney beans.  Canned, processed kidney beans are relatively gentle, peace loving legumes.  But dried red kidney beans are armed and dangerous.  They must be frisked at the kitchen door and rendered harmless before you invite them to dinner.

I attended a Halloween party last weekend that included a popular Fall culinary event:  The Chili Cookoff.

The buffet table was lined with 20 or more crock-pots containing a variety of chili concoctions.  I sampled three of the chili dishes.  A few hours later I became ill - violently ill - like I've never experienced before.

I suspect I fell victim to kidney bean poisoning.

Dried red kidney beans contain a toxin called Phytohaemagglutinin.  This toxin is present in many types of beans, but the red kidney bean wins the prize for packing the highest concentration. It only takes a few unfit beans to make a person very sick.

One of the most sinister methods of cooking dried red kidney beans is to slow-cook them in a crock-pot (or slow-simmer on the stove).  The temperature may not get high enough to kill the toxic agent.  In fact, slow cooking may increase the potency of the toxin.

The raw beans must be boiled for at least 10 minutes

If you ingest toxic kidney beans, your tummy will expel the ghastly substance as quickly and thoroughly as possible.

The process is absolutely miserable!

But good for a rapid 2 pound weight loss.

Suggested steps to prepare raw beans before using them in a recipe or crock-pot:
  1. Soak raw beans for at least 5 hours.
  2. Discard the soaking water.
  3. Place beans in clean water; bring to a boil and continue boiling for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
I'm not a scientist, doctor, toxicologist; nor am I a professional chef.  So don't take my word for it.  Research multiple online sources (not all Internet cooking advice is valid) and be careful when cooking with raw beans.

Interesting resources:

Bad Bug Book: Phytohaemagglutinin (Kidney Bean Lectin)  from U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Beans! Beans! The Poisonous Fruit!  from

Red Kidney Bean Poisoning  from

P.S.  Horse Owners:  Beware the White Kidney Beans too.

Abstract from

Thirty-four mixed breed horses from two separate farms showed signs of abdominal discomfort, pyrexia and dehydration after being exposed to a new batch of 14% complete horse feed. A new batch of cattle feed from the same manufacturer resulted in dairy cows showing depression, a drop in milk production and diarrhoea. Examination of both diets revealed the presence of white kidney beans (Phaseolus vulgaris). Inclusion of raw beans of this genus in animal feeds is to be avoided.