Forget Atkins. Throw away your grapefruits (or, you know. Donate them to the Joanne Loves Grapefruit Fund. We are currently accept monetary donations as well. US currency only. Thanks.) Pour that broth down the drain.

There’s a new fad diet in town.

I call it.


Cue drumroll.

Peanut Butter For Life.
I have to mention that this is not entirely my own invention. Sophie had a hand in it as well. (This is what happens when you put two peanut butter addicts in the same apartment. They start to rationalize eating it at every meal and for every occasion. We just finished a test? Peanut butter time! Midnight snack? Peanut butter time! It’s 3:23 PM on a Tuesday? Peanut butter time!)

But the conception of this diet plan has little to do with either my or Sophie’s eating habits. And everything to do with Adam’s.

You see. Adam is very thin. Very. Thin. He must have the metabolism of a wild boar. Because the boy eats whatever he wants. Whenever he wants it. And drinks whatever he wants. Whenever he wants it. And still has a BMI less than mine. (Oh to be a 24-year-old boy.)

The three of us were sitting around my kitchen table the other day. Eating some dessert or another that I had made. And somehow this very subject came up. I think we started talking about intuitive eating and how part of the reason Adam was so thin was that he ate until he was full and then stopped. With no regrets or compulsion to finish what was on his plate and then some (a skill that I aspire to attain).

So then he posited. “I wonder what the upper limit of my metabolism is. Like. How much I would have to eat to gain any weight?”
Sophie and I looked at each other. The inner research scientists in us bursting forth. Sparks flew.

And that was when it all began. We put Adam on. The Peanut Butter For Life Diet. The deal is that he has to have a scoop of peanut butter before every meal. We figure that will amount to about 600 extra calories a day.

Unless you do what he did yesterday, which was to eat a seventh of the jar of peanut butter before every meal. He’s really in it to win it.

Sophie and I looked at him in amazement as he shoveled spoonful after spoonful into his mouth. And proceeded to moan in delight with each lick of the spoon.

Actually. We almost pummeled him. With jealousy. It’s a rough life. Being forced to each peanut butter. In the name of research. But someone’s gotta do it.
So there you have it. The PB For Life Diet. The next big thing in weight control. Maybe. At least if you have the metabolism of a crack addict.

Disclaimer: This diet is not for everyone. Please see your doctor before undertaking any new diet and exercise regimen.

In the spirit of our little experiment (and so Sophie and I wouldn’t feel quite so left out) I knew that whipping up something with peanut butter was in order. When I came across this recipe for Nigerian Baked Beans on Lisa’s Kitchen, which called for not only peanut butter, but curry and a whole slew of other spices? I decided it was too serendipitous for me not to make it. And then to go with it? Spiced Carrot and Zucchini Barley from Bon Appetit’s Fast/Easy/Fresh (it was originally quinoa. But I ran out. Somehow.) The intense flavor and spiciness of the baked beans was balanced so nicely by the cinnamon-infused barley, which did really well to cool my palate after it was set on fire. (Or at least felt like it.) This is possibly one of the best meals that I have made so far this year. I am submitting the beans to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, which is being hosted by Ruchika of Ruchika Cooks. The spiced carrot and zucchini barley is going to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Haalo of Cook (Almost) Anything.

Nigerian Baked Beans
Serves 4, adapted from 660 Curries by way of Lisa’s Kitchen

1 cup dried cranberry beans
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 jalapenos, seeded and stemmed, chopped
1 tbsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
3 tbsp peanut butter
1 1/4 tsp salt
a lot of freshly ground black pepper

1. Soak the beans overnight in water.

2. Drain the beans, discarding the soaking water. Put the beans in a large pot with 3 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil, skimming off the scum that rises to the top. Cover the pot partially, turn the heat down to low, and simmer gently for about 40 to 60 minutes, or until the beans are just tender.

3. While the beans are cooking, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and stir and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the onion has just wilted. Put in the garlic and hot chilies and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the curry powder and ground spices and stir once or twice, then stir in the tomatoes. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the tomatoes have softened.

4. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit.

5. Put the peanut butter in a small bowl. When the beans are finished cooking, slowly add a few scoops of the cooking liquid to the peanut butter, stirring as you go. Empty the beans with their remaining cooking liquid into a good size casserole dish. Add the tomato mixture, and stir in the peanut butter mixture, salt and black pepper.

6. Bake, uncovered, for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours, or until the beans are very tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.

Spiced Carrot and Zucchini Barley
Serves 4, adapted from Bon Appetit’s Fast/Easy/Fresh

This dish originally served 8, but I halved the barley and left the same amount of veggies. I also used raisins instead of currants.

2 cups water
1 cup barley
2 tbsp raisins
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
2 medium carrots, cut into small cubes
2 medium zucchini, cut into half moons
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup cilantro

1. Combine the first four ingredients in a rice cooker. Cook for one cycle. Alternatively, you can cook them in a saucepan as you would rice.

2. Heat oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add carrots; saute until tender, about five minutes. Add zucchini; saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Mix in paprika, cumin, and cinnamon.

3. Add barley to the skillet; toss to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in cilantro and serve.
NOTE – Sorry for not having the Regional Recipes Round-up ready. I am actually going to create a separate website for it this weekend. It will be up by Monday. I swear. In the meantime…I am going to announce our next country so that you guys can get cooking and thinking and brainstorming! So let’s see. So far we’ve explored the Middle East and Ireland.

For this month. Let’s globetrot all the way to…Haiti! The mix of French creole cuisine in this country is rife with flavor and possibility. I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with!

And before I forget, be sure to check out my post over at Our Krazy Kitchen!

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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50 Responses to Nigerian Baked Beans with Spiced Carrot and Zucchini Barley

  1. Pam says:

    Good story! Love the zucchini with the barley and raisins! It all looks delicious! Peanut butter for life diet sounds great to me! πŸ˜‰

  2. HAHHA i tried the PEANUT butter before every meal. it makes you gain weight, FOR SURE! =D

  3. elra says:

    Scrumptious scrumptious! This is hopefully, will be a good way to introduce bean to someone who doesn’t like bean.

  4. First of all, let’s set up a joint caronae-and-joanne grapefruit fund. And we can eat them all day long together! Then, we’ll set up a joint peanut butter fund. And we shall be happy for the rest of our lives!

    I’ve never even heard of cranberry beans! But the dish sounds yummy anyways!

  5. Alisa says:

    Oh darn, I just ate our last grapefruit last night; I had not idea of its monetary exchange value!

    I did try the peanut butter for life diet a couple of months ago, but the husband vetoed it. It seems PB love doesn’t run deep in this house. But, I do try to sneak it in with some meals, and this looks like a good one!

  6. Thats nice blend of ingredients for baked beans,sweet & spicy…but looks very delicious

  7. Angie says:

    peanut butter will put the weight on, so will nutella, maybe he can eat both. I was about 117 and 5’9 and 1/2 when I went from eating whatever to force feeding myself everything in sight to try and gain weight. It got out of control though, and I gained too much, almost 40 lbs, then I had to lose a bunch. Its not as fun losing as gaining πŸ™‚

  8. oh i love this! i can relate just sub peanut butter for almond butter for me. oh i can pic that 24 boy eating spoonful after spoonful of delicious butter-yum and luck guy! wish i had that metabolism for one day. though you did mention a good point….he stops when he is full-i am practicing but it is not always easy for me to leave food on the plate-ugh-darn parents who made me eat and eat as a child. to have not been brought up greek would have helped!
    have a great day Joanne!

  9. sigh… enjoy this time in your life… Or keep running every day

  10. Karine says:

    That’s a cool diet. I hope that would solve Adam’s not gaining weight problem.

    I love peanut butter but my spouse hates it dearly. He won’t even eat a sauce that looks like it contains peanut butter but actually does not. Anyway, you baked beans looks delicious! I would never have thought to mix beans with peanut butter. Maybe I should try to trick my spouse? (I love to do that)

  11. Azita says:

    love the combination of beans and spices.looks so delicious! I’m giving this a try. peanut butter for life diet sounds wonderful to me!

  12. Marcia says:

    Okay, wow. Here’s another one that I am going to have to bookmark. Beans, barley, and peanut butter, all in one?? I probably won’t have cranberry beans till late summer, but I can make do with pinto.

  13. Yasmeen says:

    For all it goodness and adaptability in cooking ,I’m in for PB diet πŸ˜€

  14. Debinhawaii says:

    Can’t wait to hear the results of the peanut butter diet πŸ˜‰ Both of these dishes look great. I am especially intrigued by the bean dish–love the ingredients.

    Haiti…hmm…I’ll have to put my thinking cap on for this RR. πŸ˜‰

  15. Shirley says:

    Peanut butter diet is a great idea. I’m one of those with Adam’s metabolism. Mum tried her level best to see some flesh on me with no avail. I finally put on some weight only after my first delivery!
    I like the way you’ve done the barley. Never tried it that way.

  16. Chef Aimee says:

    Wow this is timely! Dont laugh, but my two female team mates on the trading floor have gotten addicted to Skippy lately and have jars sitting on their desks. Its not funny…we FILM live on CNBC! Ok its funny, and they eat it nonstop! I call them the Skippy Crew! I can’t do it…I did it as a teenager when I had HIGH metabolism and ate it out of a jar, but I stick to the Trader Joe’s BETTER THAN PEANUT BUTTER so I don’t become a butterball!

  17. Pam says:

    Oh to have the metabolism of a 24 year old boy! But, I will console myself with these wonderful dishes!

  18. theUngourmet says:

    This is some good eatin’! I actually think the barley substitution would be quite tasty!

    I should put my son on this PB diet. He is thin as a rail!

    Happy Easter, Joanne!

  19. Nice experiment!! My brother has a ginormous jar of peanut butter on his desk at his office…he’s addicted to PB for sure!

  20. Debbi Smith says:

    I would so love the peanut butter diet. Funny, I had a PB&J sandwich today for the first time in what seems like forever, it just sounded good. I could totally eat them everyday.

    I have never heard of cranberry beans? The chili looks interesting, it looks very hearty.

  21. gaga says:

    This sounds like a diet I’d like!

  22. Katerina says:

    I used to be like your friend, eat whatever I want with no weight gain, but let me tell you, when you reach 40 your whole body changes and you must forget things you used to do in the past. Now I gain weight even as I breath. I am always watching what I eat. This dish looks really good.

  23. vickys says:

    Oh to be like Adam…lucky duck!

    I love the idea of peanut butter in EVERYTHING. because it could go with ANYTHING! I once made an African stew and it has PB in it, you can google it on Jif. And I bet PB in satay sauce would be mighty awesome.

    PB for life! πŸ™‚

  24. Marisa says:

    Oh man that sounds good! I’m not a big peanut butter on it’s own person, but put it in a meal and I’m THERE. Yummo. PS: I think all your female readers are super jealous of Adam! No fair…

  25. That looks delicious. Dropped by to wish you a Happy Easter.

  26. Faith says:

    I could really get on board with the Peanut Butter for Life Diet…if I had Adam’s metabolism, lol! I can’t wait to see the results though. This meal looks delicious, I love the peanut butter with all the spices!

  27. teresa says:

    peanut butter! ah, to be able to eat whatever you want and not gain…my dream come true!

    this looks fabulous, so much flavor!

  28. Mary says:

    I am green with envy. The thought that anyone can eat anything and not gain an ounce destroys me. Not enough to not love your beans and barley combo. That looks and sounds wonderful. Have a fabulous day. Blessings…Mary

  29. Julie says:

    hahahahahaha this is hilarious. i want you to PLEASE take a picture of adam before and after. please please please please. hahaha this is genius

    and i’m also super jealous that he’s gonna get to eat a spoonful of pb before every meal. not that i can’t but i don’t want to gain weight haha so him wanting to via peanut butter is so awesome

  30. Rettabug says:

    “metabolism of a crack addict” LOL I WISH!!

    Just popping in to wish you & your family a wonderfully joyous & blessed holiday. I so enjoy reading your wonderfully witty blog & recipes. I wish I could try them all!

  31. Andreas says:

    One more barley recipe to try.

    The picture of the beans would probably make a nice photo wallpaper.

  32. KC says:

    Beautiful dish. I love anything with peanut butter too. I prefer the crunchy. Happy Easter Joanne.

  33. ruchikacooks says:

    I am on the hunt for French Recipes! Atleast this one I can manage πŸ™‚

    Thanks for the entry Jo. I wonder why you dont select me to test a peanut butter diet, who says diet has to be boring?

    Happy Easter!

  34. Jessie says:

    Oh, COME ON. Why do guys get to suck down creamy delicious PB like it’s diet soda? Sometimes, life is just not fair. It’s amazing that your friend Adam still has his intuitive eating facilities intact without trying – that’s very rare for someone once they’re not a kid. Actually, my husband is the same way – he can eat anything he wants, and still not gain wait (he’s pretty thin, too). Your baked beans look delicious! I’m bookmarking these because I love baked beans! πŸ˜€

    Will you accept grapefruit by parcel post?

  35. Foodycat says:

    I really, really don’t need to put any weight on, but spicy, peanut buttery beans sound fantastic! And so nutritious.

  36. Chris says:

    I might try mixing in the PB diet this summer. I need the extra protein too, I’m trying to add a few pounds on while strength training.

    I like the Nigerian beans, that would be good for something different with BBQ other than the usual BBQ baked beans.

  37. I could go for that diet! I am in the peanut butter loving club too. One of the best meals this year? That is saying a lot because you’ve cooked some impressive dishes! I love the sound of it with the barley to cool you down. The flavors are amazing.

  38. Erica says:

    Those beans are popular in Colombia.I could eat beans every day and be happy. Your recipe sounds delicious. Happy Easter πŸ™‚

  39. maybe it will fill u up so you eat less!! love the baked beans

  40. Happy Easte to u Joanne,, wooow,,peanut butter diet sound sgreat dear,,yes now i came to know why you love peanut butter lot,, waiting for the peanut butter diet recipes… baked beans,barley zuchchini n raisins all these ingredients are great one simple n healthy good for health dear,,,you are rocking joanne with diet foods,,, superbb keeep up dear,,,thanks for sharing dear,,,hope u also enjoyed ur long weekend with ur family,,take care n keep on smiling,,

  41. katiez says:

    First, the PB – I add it to stir-fries, stir it into plain barley, add it to meat sauces – it’s a great thickener and adds interesting flavor. I even added it to yogurt for a dip!
    As to the weight gain, the hubs had his pancreas removed last spring and weight maintenance is an issue. He eats peanut butter and avocados like crazy. It’s not an easy kitchen to be in for someone (me) who does NOT need to gain weight….

  42. Kim says:

    Yum – the peanut butter for life diet sounds like a fab idea! I think Natashya also is a huge fan of the 660 Curries book where your Nigerian Baked Beans originated. Based on your glowing review, I’d say it’s a book well worth checking out! I’ve heard a lot of great things about it.

  43. Michelle says:

    I use many more cranberry beans if they kept their gorgeous color after cooking!

  44. Oh you crack me up, girl! πŸ™‚ I hope if ever I have to be tortured you’ll be there to recommend The Peanut Butter. πŸ™‚

  45. Dana says:

    I could never get into the spoonful of peanut butter thing but I do so love it in all kinds of dishes. This looks terrific! Both of my brothers have that kind of metabolism – they can truly eat all day and not gain an ounce. I didn’t get that gene.

  46. Simona says:

    Nice recipes both. I will definitely try the barley one, as I am a fan of barley and I get some every month through my CSA.

  47. grace says:

    i really should be using peanut butter in more savory applications, and it only makes sense that i start with beans since they’re pretty much my favorite non-dessert thing to consume. these are really interesting and appetizing recipes, joanne–thanks!

  48. Graziana says:

    I LOVE peanut butter, simply spread on toasted bread or in interesting recipes like this one!

  49. So I (a) love 660 Curries and don’t use it nearly enough (b) adore Lisa’s blog and (c) could eat PB in everything, so I think this recipe and me will get along great! I’ll have to tell the bf about this new diet. He’s generally not into fads, but this is one bandwagon he’ll leap onto 8p.

  50. […] hearty fall recipes from my favorite bloggers: Fall Harvest Pumpkin Turkey Chili @ The Candid RD Nigerian Baked Beans @ Eats Well with Others Lentil Veggie Stew @ Andrea’s Wellness Notes Double Chocolate Oatmeal […]

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