Healthy Slow-Cooker Recipe: Red Beans Over Spanish Rice

This is a Great recipe for a healthy meal that will definitely keep your kitchen clean, and smelling very good.  It is a low-prep time meal that you can pop in the crock pot in the morning and have a great healthy meal at night.  Let us know what you think! Ingredients: -Fresh Jalapeno Peppers, sliced(amount to taste) -2 Cups dry red beans or dry kidney beans -1 6.75 ounce package spanish rice, cooked -4 cups water -5 cups COLD water -1 Tablespoon vegetable oil. -¾ pound boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1 inch peices -2 ½ cups chopped onions -6 Garlic Cloves, chopped -1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin   Directions:   -Rinse beans, then drain.  In a saucepan, combine beans and the 5 cups of water; and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. -Remove from heat, and cover and let stand one hour.  Rinse and drain beans. -Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook pork in two batches, then drain fat. -Coat a 3-4 quart slow cooker with cooking spray, then add the beans, pork, onions, garlic, and cumin.  Pour in the 4 cups of water, then stir. -Cover, and cook on low heat for 10-12 hours. -Using a slotted spoon, remove the beans and pork.  Serve beans over rice, and spoon liquid over the top.  Garnish with sliced Jalapeno.   Nutrition facts: 344 Calories, 19g Protein, 68g Carbohydrate, 1g Fat, 17g Fiber

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Worm Life Cycle and Reproduction 101

Have you ever wanted to know where worms come from?  We think of them as insects, but sometimes they are much easier to think of more like animals.  Did you know that worms are basically an insect version of a hermaphrodite?  Worms are multisexual, basically they have both male and female reproductive traits.  I thought it would be a good topic to take a look at how worms reproduce, and what their life cycle is like. Let’s go ahead and start with a month old worm.  This is the age that a worm is typically about ready to start reproducing.  When they are about this age, you start to see a band around the worm, called a clitellum.  This is where all the reproductive organs are.  Now, they do actually need another worm to reproduce, even though they have both sex characteristics. Basically they put their clitellums together, and sperm will be passed back and forth, and stored in sacks. After this, we have a cocoon in each worm’s clitellum, and the sacs hatch when it is dry, and conditions are ideal for them to hatch.  Once the baby worms hatch, they basically go their own way and start eating.  They do not need to be “babied” as it were! Worms are a bit unique, compared to other insects, in that they can live for a LONG time!  If conditions are right, they may even live for years!  Worms have so much water in them, that they will die if …

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Earthworms 101: How They Help Build The Soil

If you want to get your hands on a healthy garden, you may want to pay attention. It is a great experience, and can be quite fulfilling.  As anyone who has gardened in the past knows, it is also, at times, a strenuous and at times, a task that requires some basic knowledge and understanding of what is actually going on with your garden, and that none of it is just pure magic.  There are tons of things you can learn, and many different techniques that lots of gardeners use to make the best soil conditions that they can, but there are some basic fundamentals here that we want to make sure we do not overlook.  There are many different organisms and living creatures in the soil that we garden in, and since we are all nuts about worms here, lets talk about those! When earthworms are in the soil, they burrow around and feed on the microorganisms and different organic matter that is in the soil.  Typically, as the earthworms feed, and eat all of the organic stuff in the soil, they excrete microorganisms that are stabilized in the soil and happen to keep soil a bit “fluffy” if you will and help with less compaction of the soil.  This worm excrement helps to store nitrogen in the soil, as well as carbon.  The mucus from their bodies also contains nutrients that are good for the soil, and therefore good for the plants growing in the soil. If you …

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