Try This: Cranberry Beans


In the food world, cranberry beans are Cinderella-at-the-Ball-until-Midnight.

(Indulge me, you know how much I love drawing analogies between food and storybook, movie or television characters).

Shelly Bean

You have to appreciate the fleeting magenta-speckled loveliness of cranberry beans because, sadly, after you cook them, the streaky reddish-pink color disappears. Vanishes. But, just like Cinderella, it’s what’s on the inside that really counts.

Cranberry beans (aka Supremo, borlotti or shelly beans) are packed with fiber: a half-cup serving will give you almost 40% of your daily need! They’re also loaded with protein, have few calories and NO fat.

Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?Cranberry Beans, Shelly Beans, Borlotti Beans, Supremo Beans

If you find these beans in the farmers market, they should have a soft leathery pod. Inside, the pod should be moist and the bean tender.

They’ve got a very subtle chestnut flavor and won’t overpower a dish. In fact, they’ll add a nice creamy succulence whether served hot or cold. I cook them up for 30 minutes or so, cool them down and then serve them with a drizzle of olive oil and a splash of lemon on top of heirloom tomatoes. Yes.

The one downside to these beans is that you have to shell them (hence the name shelly beans), and that can be time-consuming. But, sit your kids down… tell them about Cinderella, and that midnight is approaching. Challenge them to shell as many as possible in 15 minutes… before the spell is broken.

And watch the fun begin…


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Try This: Popcorn On The Cob


Found these in the farmer’s market last week, but I’ve also come across them in the supermarket: Popcorn still on the cob that you pop in the microwave… cool!

October is National Popcorn Month, so I thought I’d try it out. These crisp autumn days are just begging for a big bowl of hot popcorn sprinkled with a little Parmesan cheese… lo-cal comfort food (except the cheese, of course).

And you know how much we love popcorn around here. Click here… and here.

Golden yellow Popcorn on the Cob differs from Flint corn, also known as Indian corn or calico corn. Flint corn is absolutely gorgeous, with kernels of purple, burgundy, red, orange, yellow and white…but it’s also hard as a rock (hence the name “flint”). Great for fall decorations…not so great on the teeth!

Don’t try popping up a bowl of Flint corn… it’s too tough.

If you see Popcorn on the Cob, grab a couple of ears. Place one cob in a brown paper bag and fold the top of the bag to seal it. Put it in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the popping slows (watch and listen carefully!). Eat it right out of the bag.

I promise the kids will be fascinated… and it’s the perfect complement to family movie night!










I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: