Wow, it’s been a week since I’ve posted anything on this lil’ ol’ blog. It’s not because I don’t love you. I do. I think life just got in the way a bit. And that’s not always a bad thing.
This past weekend was busy, as always, and I spent a good deal of time in the kitchen…as always. When I wasn’t in the kitchen, I was spending time with the kids, and enjoying some time with my husband, celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary. However, when I was in the kitchen, the kitchen adventures were not blog-worthy. I made a chicken and sausage stew that was just mediocre. I scrambled eggs, sauteed zucchini, and fried some bacon for Sunday breakfast. I attempted a grain-free carrot cake, but wanted to make it in layers. I should have lined the pans (even though I greased them) with parchment, because they stuck, and came out in quite a few pieces. It was a promising start, however, because those crumbled bits did taste pretty good. Hopefully I’ll have a successful version soon, but until then…
Here are some green beans.
While that sounds like the consolation prize of the year, let me assure you – these are anything but consolation-prize green beans. They are definitely more than the sum of their parts. Something magical happens when smoked paprika enters the picture. It’s one of my favorite spices – a little bit adds a wonderful depth and interest to a dish without overwhelming. Paired with the fresh green beans, nutty pecans, and just a touch of oil, smoked paprika welcomes the cooler temperatures and heartier flavors of fall. It’s becoming a mainstream spice, and I’ve found it at just about any well-stocked grocery.
What I love most about this, however, is its simplicity. During the week, my days are pretty full. The alarm goes off before 5:00 AM, and I’m up. I squeeze in a quick workout, and I’m out the door to work by 6:30-6:45, so I can try to beat some of the traffic and get to the office in under an hour (my commute is over 30 miles each way). I get home around 5:45 PM, and by then, I’m beat. Most of the time, the creative juices just aren’t flowing, and I am ready to figure out the quickest way to get dinner on the table. This is where simplicity is king. Unfortunately, that often means my side dishes and vegetables are nearly afterthoughts – I simply steam fresh vegetables and season with salt and pepper. While I love steamed fresh veggies, especially broccoli and asparagus, adding an ingredient or two makes a big difference without actually adding a lot of effort. Such was the case with these green beans – opting to toss with coconut oil and these spiced pecans made the green beans seem special.
In fact, they seemed special enough to serve company, or even at a holiday dinner. In fact, I would love to serve these at Thanksgiving, come to think of it. I’ll have to keep that in mind as time draws nearer.
Until then, I urge you to make these green beans.
Green Beans with Smoky Pecans
¼ c chopped pecans
1/8 t smoked paprika
1 lb fresh green beans, ends trimmed
1 t coconut oil
Salt to taste
Heat a small skillet to medium heat. Add pecans and toast, tossing/stirring regularly, for a few minutes. (Make sure you don’t walk away – the nuts can burn quickly!) Remove and toss with the smoked paprika and set aside.
Set up a medium saucepan with a steamer insert. Steam green beans until crisp-tender, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from steamer. Toss hot green beans with coconut oil. Season to taste with salt and toss in pecans.