Thursday, November 11, 2010

Frijoles! The Snacktime Meal (And a Small Giveaway)

So for a really long time now, I've been wanting to write about nutrition and how it can affect your child's performance in school. I became interested in this after I began to notice how my daughter's ability to focus, sit still, and emotional state could really vary from one day to the next.

For a while, I worried about things like ADD and ADHD, but after talking to a friend, I did more research into nutrition and started monitoring what my daughter was eating. I eventually determined that she had a really high metabolism (like most kids her age) and she required a lot of fuel for her brain, as well as her body, for optimal performance during our classtime. She sounds like a car, doesn't she?

Well, it's very similar. And, in fact, thanks to this book by Dra. Isabel, that's how I explained it to my kids so that they could understand. Learning to read, or doing math, science, geography - or ANYTHING that requires a lot of concentration - uses up a lot of energy. And if we don't fill our kid's bodies with protein-rich foods, we're only making their learning experience more difficult.

Long story short (too late!), I started making some changes in their meals. But this was really difficult, because my son is a picky eater. My daughter will try almost anything once, but my son is not so adventurous. Fortunately for me, one of the foods they both wound up liking is FRIJOLES (or pinto beans for all you non-Spanish speakers.)

So now one of our favorite lunchtime meals is bean burritos. Served on corn tortillas, my daughter and I like to add fresh bell peppers and cheese to ours. But my son prefers it straight, with no additives. Honestly, after reading about the many benefits of these little beans, I don't even care. I'm just happy to have found a nutritious meal that he will actually eat. This picture is a sneak peek of our lunch today.

Anyway, when researching pinto beans, here are a few of the interesting facts that I discovered...

• Pinto beans originated in Peru (who knew?)

• It is the state vegetable of New Mexico

• There are four varieties of pinto beans: Burke, Sierra, Othello, and Maverick

• Pinto beans, or frijoles pintos, literally means painted bean. It gets its name from the splotched pattern on the beans (think pinto horse).

• In addition to being high in fiber, proteins, and minerals, they also restrain sugar levels in the blood.

Lots of really interesting stuff, and it makes me happy to have added this dish to our regular diet.

When I was growing up, my 'Buelita used to always have a big pot of frijoles bubbling on the stove. I don't know what her recipe was, but they were always YUMMY! (I liked to mix them together with a little Spanish rice and then scoop the mixture up on a tostada and down the hatch it went!)

But I have to be honest here.

I don't cook my beans like that. First of all, I don't have a good recipe. Second of all, I'm always in a rush. Third of all, I am not a good cook. There. I said it. Pass the Kleenex box, please.

So what do I do, you ask? I cheat. And I buy Old El Paso refried beans IN A CAN! Sniffle.

And you know what? They are good and we like them! Now, I have to say that I honestly don't know how much of their nutritional qualities they retain after being processed for mass distribution the way they have been, but I would imagine they retain SOME of their great qualities, don't you? 

We also have a traditional family taco night here at least once a week or once every other week. Sometimes we have a houseful of guests all squeezed in around our dining room table madly wolfing down their tacos, each one trying to outnumber the other for actual number of tacos eaten. (I think our taco nights are kind of popular around town because we use ground venison instead of beef - but that's another story.) 

So I actually do buy a lot of cans of OEP's refried beans. For those of you who do, too, here is a nice little coupon for $.60 off any two OEP products.

And for some extra giggles around the taco night table, go check out El Tacodor, a trivia game created by the PR gurus at Old El Paso. Once there you can download instructions, a score card, and a challenge sheet. Then let the fun begin!


The OEP guys are offering one you an Old El Paso "family taco night” prize pack which includes a packet of Old El Paso Taco Seasoning, a Cactus Chip & Dip Serving dish, a set of 3 Fiesta Chili Pepper serving dishes and a $10 gift card to purchase your taco fixings. (They sent me one to try out first, so I can tell you that the serving dishes are plastic, but cute, and your kids will love them. Oh. And I've already spent my $10 on mas frijoles! Hey! It's free grocery money, People.)

So if you'd like to enter to win, all you need to do is leave a little comment telling me how you like your beans best: refried, baked, in chili, etc...

Contest ends November 17th at 11:59 EST. Winner will be selected via
This is a sponsored post. The prize pack and coupon are being provided by Old El Paso and My Blog Spark, but the history of beans and silly family stories are provided by me.


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