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Old fashion bean soup, cook a pot of beans weekly

Welcome to Our Sunday Café, we are pleased you stopped by for a visit. Today we are offering another delicious recipe from our kitchen. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did…

One of the reasons I was so interested in being a part of Cookbook Sundays, is this.....

But this shot does not show everything. I was not able to get the whole shelf in the photo! There is a couple of other important items on the shelf, but they are small. Like photos of my kids in high school, and now a little book of photos of my granddaughter. Oh and that bottle of instant chlorine remover, but we no longer have a fish, I guess that could go. Although I don't think that would make enough room for another cookbook.

Even with all those, I continue to pick up unusual cookbooks when I am out thrifting, like the cookbook that only has prune recipes, or the one on Onions. Sometimes I will find a companion book to one that I already own. Other times I will find a good deal on a book I already have, knowing my daughter would enjoy having it. I am always interested in these older theme books, like this one from Southern Living,

Southern Living Inflation Cookbook, Good Food for Hard Times (Published in 1973)

Old Fashioned Bean Soup, a time honored soup that everyone enjoys.
Not a pretty soup, but delicious, filling and frugal.
Old Fashioned Bean Soup
adapted from Southern Living 

2 c red beans

3 qt water (I am using 2 qt water and 1 qt chicken bone broth)
meaty ham bone or hock
1 c chopped onion
2 cloves garlic minced
1 bay leaf

1 c mashed potatoes* OR 1 large potato grated if you are out of leftover mashed potatoes!
1-2 c sliced celery
1-2 c sliced carrots
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 c cream or evaporated milk

Soak beans overnight in water to cover, plus 2 inches. Drain beans, place in a large kettle, add onion, garlic and bay leaf. Add 2 quarts cold water and the stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 2 hours. 


Add grated potato, celery  and carrots. Add salt and pepper to taste, starting with 1 1/2 t salt. Bring back to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 1 hour. 

I am not usually one to call names, however, so far this is one ugly soup! Let's take another look in one hour, when we finish up with adding the milk.

Remove ham hock, if desire mash some of the bean mixture with a potato masher. Remove meat from the hock bone, dice and return to soup kettle.

Stir in milk and serve.

Still not pretty! But by golly this is a very tasty soup.

Makes about 4 qts of soup. Garnish with smoked paprika if desire.

Enjoy!

Thank you for visiting Our Sunday Cafe, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments! 

If you like what you see here, we would appreciate it if you told your friends (we would love more followers!), if not, tell us. Our goal is to share relevant information that you will use and enjoy. 

And now, it is very easy to sign up for 
Our Sunday Cafe posts by email. You will find the form located in the left sidebar, thank you for subscribing!

PS, you may also enjoy our Homemade Household page, it can be found right at the top of the blog!


An update of random thoughts:   Next time (and there will probably be a next time, this is a very good, basic recipe) I would use white beans, 2 potatoes, 2 bay leaves as well as increase the celery and carrots to 3 c each. I would add new, 1 t thyme leaves - crushed, and 1 c frozen or fresh corn.
10

Today at work, the need to take a risk


Welcome to Our Sunday Café, we are pleased you stopped by for a visit. Today we are offering another delicious recipe from our kitchen creative writing/story about life.  We hope you enjoy it...

While not particularly well written, this is the story about folks I have had the pleasure to know and serve, this is also the story about what I have learned along the way. 
Note, this was originally posted 3 years ago, but the message seems very timely as we take on a new year...


In my job, I work with life and I work with death. It is not always pretty, but it is always important. Some of my tenants had been homeless before coming to my building, some were quite prosperous before an economic fall. Some were disabled through no fault of their own and others have worked hard at low paying jobs. But they all are treated fairly by myself and those that work in my building.

I am not a nurse, I am an administrator. Currently I manage low income senior housing. My building is independent housing, with no services provided. Previously I was the Administrator of an Assisted Living Facility. The difference? In independent housing I have many more terminal tenants, than I had in the Assisted Living Facility. Yes you read that right, I have more terminal disease in my current building.

I am not a saint, but I am a hard worker. I have no office staff, I am all I have. I do have excellent support for maintenance and janitorial (thank you gentlemen!). I must follow and adhere to all federal housing mandates, conduct all business per federal standards and do it all, in a timely fashion. And I have to care, because I do not know any other way. And let it be known, I love my job.

I have a nine hour day on most days, plus the hour and half commute. I sometimes have to be reminded to leave, because I have an open door policy and some days that door simply stays open. I also help with some of the tenant activities and often donate funds to keep the program fresh and fun. I often serve as a Social Worker, Mental Health Counselor or Goof-ball for comic relief. But it is important to repeat this, I am no saint.

And now that I have yammered on for four (yep 4) paragraphs, what is the point? The point is about taking a risk. You see, from time to time this been very difficult for me. Maybe I was not interesting enough, or expressive enough, or too brash or even ________________ (you can fill in the blank with your personal favorite). Funny how we get these ideas, isn't it?

  • Do you need to tell someone something? Please go and tell them. Yes, there is a risk, do it anyway. 
  • Do you need to apologize or explain an action on your part that possibly was not understood? Go and start talking. Yes, there is a risk, do it anyway. 
  • Do you need to nudge yourself to do what is needed to be done? Start nudging. And yes there is a risk, but nudge yourself anyway. 

Today I learned that one of my favorite people in my building will be passing away. She is 95 and only stopped driving about 4 months ago. As she explained it, she kept driving because her license was still valid. In some ways you cannot argue with that logic. She was never in a wreck, was never ticketed, and never put anyone in harms way. For 95 years, She took the risk to be all she could be.

So if I stumble on my words, in person or in written form, it was still worth the risk. If my brain works faster than my mouth can keep up, yes it too was worth the risk. If I make a choice and quickly change my mind, yes, it was worth the risk And even if I choose not to trail behind, instead going my own way, it is worth the risk.

You see, taking a risk did not come easily or early in my life, but I am learning how to be comfortable, when taking one. Often I will blurt out my thoughts or concerns, rather than speak them. Often I said how much I cared, thinking later, that possibly I should have waited. In the past I have wondered about how, what I had already said, was received. Even thinking later that I lacked polish in how I presented my thoughts and feelings.

But maybe, I was already taking the risk, and did not realize it in myself.

How about you?


As always, thanks for taking a minute to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!
8

Corn Casserole, a potluck favorite.

While not particularly well written, these are the stories about folks I have had the pleasure to know and serve, this is the story about Laurie.

Sincere
Inspired
Mindful
Proficient
Learned
Enthusiastic

S.I.M.P.L.E., great skills and attributes to possess. Also we are grateful. Pretty much everyday we are sincere, hard-working, and love our family. We are also homeowners, voters, frugal and happy. We tend to like the quiet moments of each day, laughing, we make due with what we have, and when possible we  make what we need ourselves.


The building I work in started out as a children's orphanage hospital in 1886.

Later remodeled for senior housing in 1978.








The well established rhododendrons
are always spectacular!
And what might be the reason for all this banter on a Friday evening? Well, to share a bit about us and how we live, which can be fun. Oh and there is Laurie and her Corn Casserole. You see my husband loved it. He is a casserole kind of guy. This could actually be another story about work, because Laurie is one of my tenants.
This wonderful tree is right outside my office window.

Those with gardens letting the neighbor know the radishes are ready. 

We had a tenant luncheon at work on Thursday, a combination BBQ and potluck. The Burgers and Dogs were provided for the tenants and the side dishes came from the tenants. Also there was cake and root beer floats and after the meal, live entertainment. One of the side dishes was this Corn Casserole.


Lots of wonderful food to share, warm the heart and enjoy time with your neighbors.
When I told Laurie that my husband loved her Corn Casserole, she just smiled from ear to ear and then really spilled the beans. She said that the Corn Casserole was one of her "frugal fifty" that she would teach at church. And of course immediately the following words tumbled out of my mouth "please, I want them all!".

One can never have enough of those old time recipes that are easy to put together, can usually be assembled from what you have on hand (even at the end of the month) and they always taste wonderful  You know the old time recipes found on your grandparents table, the ones you looked forward to being served each and every time you went home to visit.....


Laurie's Corn Casserole
adapted from: Laurie!
serves 6-8

1 16oz can whole kernel corn - do not drain
1 16 oz can creamed corn
1 egg
6 soda crackers
butter
salt and pepper to taste if desire

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a large bowl, beat the egg, add salt and pepper if desire. Stir in the cans of corn. Crumble the crackers over the top, stir in to moisten.

Butter a 9 inch square glass pan, turn the corn mixture into the pan. Do not cover.

Bake 45-50 minutes or until top is golden brown, crusty and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Enjoy!

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always, thanks for taking a minute to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

this post is shared with:
hearth and soul @ premeditated leftovers
2

A kettle full of kindness

While not particularly well written, these are the stories about folks I have had the pleasure to know and serve, this is the story about Kathleen.

I met her briefly a few weeks ago. We were having an early Thanksgiving lunch, for the tenants and their guests. She had just returned from being away. It would have been fun to say that she had just returned from a cruise, where she got to see the rest of the world. Or knowing what I have learned recently, to say she had returned from overseas, helping others. As a nurse, helping others had been her life. She also knew that being a nurse allowed her to have the independence she wanted. As well as finding employment easily, to keep moving on.



But no, she had returned from a skilled nursing unit, to her little apartment in the Senior Housing complex that I have the privilege to work at. She had had open-heart surgery. She was gracious, full of kindness and she also had red hair. She loved to garden, and did so in the courtyard for everyone to enjoy. Meticulously marking out the grounds to know where the most sun was during the day, in order to plan well, and have the best flower garden.  For Kathleen, independence included her enjoyment of time spent alone. It is difficult to get to know folks who enjoy such an activity. But I respect their ways and their choices.


It is also a difficult office task, to locate family not listed on paperwork, when the independent are in charge! When we finally met that afternoon, I was both enriched and saddened by the memories shared by a brother who came to collect what he could, by way of our memories and information, of a sister not seen for so many years. During his visit was my only opportunity to really get to know her, and what a kind lady she was.

I have worked in one capacity or another for over 10 years, caring for people. By extension that includes caring about the people, that care about, my people. This work is different than one would expect. Personal emotions are honed daily, in the living and some days in the dying. I have learned so much, during these years and there is one truth that must be shared.  

Love does endure

Kathleen was just one of those folks, who helped me to grow, even more. Such quiet strength and determination to be independent, displayed with kindness and grace. I am not able to thank her, except by my future choices and behaviors.  I work hard now, but I have even bigger shoes to fill tomorrow.

As you know, there is always something to clean or something that needs to be taken care of. We don’t see it that way at the time, but these tactile tasks keep us in check. We need them, we really do. When you cook, after wards you need to clean the kitchen. When you have a child's birthday party, often the whole house! And when you lose someone, a complete home. Their home.


It is a different cleaning, than the soap and water kind. It is soft and quiet, a wandering through their life, as you carefully pack personal items and, the entire household up. Most for family and friends, and the rest for charity* or those in need.




This kettle was in her kitchen. I knew immediately, I needed this kettle. It is durable, scrubs up good as new, and is strong enough to last for many more years to come. Positive traits, in kettles and human beings as well. I look forward to scrubbing, a little re-seasoning on the inside and cooking with it. For a meal shared, around the table, with my family.  Until then........ food to feed the soul. A recipe for kindness, so that love may endure.


Kindness
Serves all, as many times as desired.

Ingredient list:
A whoop of happiness, within your heart
A smile given freely, to others
A life of work, that is pride driven
A family to be connected to, even if miles apart
A meal shared, the food does not matter
A love of music, a feast for the ears
A desire to learn, so that you may teach
A natural curiosity, fuels a spring in your step

Stir together gently, as the separate ingredients are special. Enjoy it all, to the last drop. You will not be over fed. Mix and repeat, tomorrow and each day forward.

I thank you for this time to share at Hearth n Soul @ a moderate life

* a donation has been made to a designated charity, in exchange for the kettle.

8

MFK Fisher's War Cake, How to cook in a time of war

While not particularly well written, these are the stories about folks I have had the pleasure to know and serve, this is the story about Anna.

When I returned to work this November, I found myself in an old yet distinguished building, built in 1863. It has been remodeled and updated per need and change of law, as years turned to decades and decades turned to centuries. This is home to many people. Each of them with a past, personal history and stories to tell. These lives, also having been updated as life changed and personal decisions made, took effect. It is rare to find an unchanged person, for change is the only constant in this journey.

This building is owned and operated by the Oddfellows. Knowing the history of the International Order of the  Oddfellows mandates that you be a kind person, who has a silent yet strong desire to serve others. The service you provide may be hands on, such as caregiving, cooking or cleaning. Or you could be one of the necessary folks who process paper, enforce rules or oversee the day-to-day operations that a Senior Housing complex might need. All positions, however, are service and caring orientated. I am one of those who works on the day-to-day operations, and lots of paperwork!

There is a woman who lives in this building; she is soft spoken, traveled and very kind. Anna walks her dog Lady several times a day and cares for the dog deeply. Lady is also in the older category, prone to falls and has at times simply fallen over. Lady’s sight is also failing, yet she “knows” where the treats are kept in the office I currently share. Lady, like the rest of us, needs to be concerned about her weight, so her treats are broken in half, that way she gets “two” treats when she visits. I have yet to share this "tip" with those at home, I have concerns it might affect the cookie jar!

When I first began working, it was casually mentioned that Anna’s mother had written a book. I was at some point going to research that bit of information, to help me, get to know Anna better. I would then have a bit of knowledge, that I thought might act as a commonality for us to chat about when she and Lady dropped by. Shortly after that, I learned the title of the book. At that point, I had enough information to help me in my search, and the rest, as they say, is history.

St Helena, CA
My personal philosophy is that you should always be kind because you never know to whom you are talking to. Not that all folks don’t deserve kindness, but some folks have very interesting histories that they bring along with them. However, if you have not been kind from the beginning, it is very difficult to take back any unkindness when you find out something interesting about someone and then want to chat with him or her about it. And such is the case with Lady’s owner.

Remember all this started with a simple remark that a book had been written.

Oh, do you want to know the book that was written? I must tell you right now; in actuality, it is a book among many books written. The third book written from more than 20, in a lifetime lived with passion, hard work, and some sharp-witted humor. The book title was,

MFK Fisher's How to Cook a Wolf
How to Cook a Wolf, by MFK Fisher

I must confess right here and now, I was not familiar with the title of this particular book. But I clearly knew of M. F. K. Fisher the writer. When I brought up the title of the book on Google search that evening, I was flabbergasted. I even shouted out, not my usual method of communication, to describe my enthusiasm! I was stunned and thrilled at the same time. For instance, what on earth would I do with this information?

Fortunately, I already had had several enjoyable encounters with Anna and Lady to develop a very nice rapport. In a short time, we had learned of several commonalities shared. I knew instantly I would want to write about this, yet also wanted permission from Anna, in order to do so. So I did what any bold person does, I asked for permission, and she said yes. Yes! When I got home I could not contain myself and told Honey all about it! 


"First we eat, then we do everything else."

On Christmas Eve my granddaughter and I paid a visit to Anna and Lady. We took a small gift of rhubarb jam and a clove studded orange pomander for Anna and a dog bone treat for Lady. We stayed only a brief time, as Anna had guests coming for dinner and there were tasks left to be done. During our stay, we also got to meet Mr. Elliott. A feisty apricot colored cat, with his own multi-story cat tower. My granddaughter was very interested in playing with Lady and Mr. Elliott, but in a short time we said our goodbyes and made our way home to wrap presents.  

“People ask me: "Why do you write about food, and eating, and drinking? Why don't you write about the struggle for power and security, and about love, the way the others do?" . . . The easiest answer is to say that, like most other humans, I am hungry.”

Last House, Sonoma CA

I am excited for the opportunity to learn more about Anna and the life she lived. I already know from our Christmas Eve visit, that her daughter is a performer with an all woman circus (Circus Artemis). She has three grown children, two that live close by and one in Virginia. She is a mother, a grandmother, a sister and for me, now a friend.  There is more, as there always is when learning about someone and the life they have lived. Alas, this story today is simply an introduction, to my friend Anna. 
"When shall we live if not now?"
M.F.K. Fisher

MFK Fisher's War Cake
MKF Fisher's War Cake


MFK Fisher's War Cake
adapted from:
How to Cook a Wolf
350-degree oven

1/2 cup shortening - (note: you may use part bacon fat**)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon other spices (cloves, mace, ginger..)
1 cup chopped raisins or other dried fruit (prunes, figs, etc.)
1 cup sugar, white or brown
1 cup water (note: you can substitute coffee for part of the water)




Bring to a boil, cook 5 minutes. Cool thoroughly. 

2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder


Sift dry ingredients together and set aside. 

When the raisin mixture has cooled, add sifted dry ingredients, mixing well. 


Turn into a loaf pan and bake 45 minutes or until done in your oven.
Let cool 15 - 20 minutes then turn out from pan, if desired.


Enjoy!


Thank you for visiting Our Sunday Cafe, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments! 

If you like what you see here, we would appreciate it if you told your friends (we would love more followers!), if not, tell us. Our goal is to share relevant information that you will use and enjoy. 


And now, it is very easy to sign up for
Our Sunday Cafe posts by email. You will find the form located in the left sidebar, thank you for subscribing!



This post is shared with:
Hearth n Soul Hop @ a moderate life

weekend cooking@beth fish reads

Tuesday Night Supper Club @ fudge ripple

** I adore bacon, yet have found that personally, I do not care for the taste of the bacon fat in baked goods. 
27

Mother's Dried Lima Beans, cook a pot of beans weekly

Welcome to Our Sunday Café, we are pleased you stopped by for a visit. Today we are offering another delicious recipe from our kitchen. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did…

Mother's Dried Limas, cook a pot of beans weekly!
 Simple white Lima beans cooked in broth garnished with snipped garlic chives.

I have been exploring beans for some time now, long enough to know that I have a lot more to learn. I have had a difficult time learning about beans, as my own dear Mother was a first class bean hater! She tended to be un-lady like in her loud opinion of beans and obvious dislike of them.  My Dad was on the other side of the bean fence and enjoyed beans. Because of this, we would have them for supper by his request, as much as Mother hated beans she loved Dad and cooked the foods he desired.

One of the easiest ways to be frugal is to cook a pot of beans each week. 

It is more fun to cook a different variety each time, however having cooked beans in your freezer ready to go, is the goal. Beans freeze very well, thaw easily in the refrigerator while you are busy with other chores or activities or the best part, playing! Serve them over some brown rice, add a sprinkle of sharp cheese and it is a complete, frugal and easy meal. Beans also make a great side dish, my own favorite way to enjoy them.

I could go on about the different ways to use the already cooked beans, but you don't need that. You already know about the many ways to use beans, this is simply a cooking pattern to share. There is no hard rules about flavor, it is all about your preferred taste and what your family household likes to eat.

When canned beans are used in a recipe, you can use your own home cooked beans. So if you want to look for new recipes and ideas, check out the websites of commercial canned beans,  then simply substitute your own home cooked, custom seasoned beans. I guarantee you, you will never run out of ways to enjoy beans.

When I made Pulled Pork for our Sunday dinner last month, I had this great jar of stock from the simmering process. I knew when it went into the refrigerator that a pot of beans was going to be made from it. I also had a pound of small white Limas that I wanted to cook. Since I have not cooked small Lima beans before, this is part of my continued exploration of beans. When I came across this Lima bean recipe, I knew right away I wanted to make these beans. However, as with any recipe it is subject to pantry stock on hand and used as a guide only, yet as close as possible to maintain correct presentation and flavor.






Mother's Dried Lima Beans
adapted from:
In Mother's Kitchen,
Celebrated women chefs share beloved family recipes

1 pound dried lima beans, sort and rinse, do not soak
1 ham bone, or diced ham or 2 ham hocks ( used pork stock and 2 slices bacon rendered)
1 head of garlic cut in half crosswise ( did not use, there is lots of garlic flavor in the stock)
1 onion sliced
3 T olive oil
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
water to cover

From the book:  Saute the onion in the oil in a large heavy bottom pan with a lid, when onion has softened add all remaining ingredients and enough water to cover. Bring to boiling, then reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook until beans are beginning to break down about 1 1/2 hours. You will need to add water several times during the cooking process. Remove garlic head and bay leaf to serve.

I finally cooked beans in a crock-pot successfully, thanks Honey for getting me this new programmable crockpot!

What I did:  Saute the onion and oil until lightly golden, added all ingredients to programmable crock-pot and let cook 3 - 4 hours on high, or until they begin to break down. Taste for seasonings preference, adjust and serve.
Serves 8 - 10
Enjoy!

Thank you for visiting Our Sunday Cafe, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments! 

If you like what you see here, we would appreciate it if you told your friends (we would love more followers!), if not, tell us. Our goal is to share relevant information that you will use and enjoy. 

And now, it is very easy to sign up for 
Our Sunday Cafe posts by email. You will find the form located in the left sidebar, thank you for subscribing!

PS, you may also enjoy our Homemade Household page, it can be found right at the top of the blog!

Notes on rice: I soak my rice for 8 hours before draining and then cooking as the package instructs. If you do not soak rice and want to use the full amount, I would add an additional cup of water or broth.

14

Alabama Split Pea Soup

Welcome to Our Sunday Café, we are pleased you stopped by for a visit. Today we are offering another delicious recipe from our kitchen. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did…

We all make food goals. Sometimes the goal is to reduce waste, or offer more variety, or even to save money on the foods served. I also made a goal to cook a pot of beans weekly. Beans are a great way to save money, offer variety and reduce waste, all in one goal. I don't always cook a pot of beans weekly because our little family gets several meals from each pot of beans. But I make them often enough that we are always well stocked in the freezer, just like money in the bank.

I have found by cooking up a pot of beans, with no particular plan in place, I have a great spur of the moment meal and a second meal or two in the freezer for those, what are we going to have for dinner? days. Today I am cooking up Alabama Split Pea soup. I have found it is a good idea to have different recipes of each type of soup in the freezer. After all, variety is the spice of life!

This soup is brought to you by way of Alabama, through the lovely blog of my friend Rocquie@Sage Trifle. She has been a great source of information and is wonderful to bounce ideas off! Thank you Rocquie for sharing this great recipe.

Alabama Split Pea soup w/ celery
Adapted from: Sage Trifle
makes approximately 3 quarts

1 pound split peas
2 ham hocks or shank ends
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 bay leaf
2 quarts fresh water
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large dutch oven, simmer 2 - 3 hours. Remove shanks, let cool slightly. Remove meat, dice and return meat to the soup.

Alabama Split Pea Soup, cook a pot of beans weekly!

Alabama Split Pea Soup, cook a pot of beans weekly!













Ladle into bowls and pass condiments so each person may dress their soup according to preference,

soy sauce
hot sauce
balsamic vinegar
olive oil.

Enjoy!

Serve with some crusty bread, a glass of wine and you have a great meal to enjoy on your own.

Enjoy!

Thank you for visiting Our Sunday Cafe, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments! 

If you like what you see here, we would appreciate it if you told your friends (we would love more followers!), if not, tell us. Our goal is to share relevant information that you will use and enjoy. 

And now, it is very easy to sign up for 
Our Sunday Cafe posts by email. You will find the form located in the left sidebar, thank you for subscribing!

PS, you may also enjoy our Homemade Household page, it can be found right at the top of the blog!
5

White Beans with Ground Beef and Tomato Sauce, Our Dad's favorite beans

Welcome to Our Sunday Café, we are pleased you stopped by for a visit. Today we are offering another delicious recipe from our kitchen. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did…

Growing up we ate very little food in rotation. It seemed my folks, Dad especially liked to eat a wide variety of different food. Living in California made this possible. Living in the Marin County area, made this easy. Dad was a commercial refrigeration repairman. He often was called to the docks in San Francisco and worked on some of the largest refrigeration units in "the city" including many on large fishing and crabbing boats.

Food was everywhere, in one form or another. Dad was in the thick if it, everyday. More than once, he came home with some special "find" that captured his fancy in a market or deli tucked out of the way, yet frequented by all the hungry working people in the area. Dad was a "foodie" before the term had been coined, and lucky for him he had a great and loving cook in our Mom.

White Beans with Ground Beef and Tomato Sauce.
White Beans with Ground Beef and Tomato Sauce.
But these beans were kind of a regular, probably three times a year we would have these beans for supper. Usually on a Saturday, as these beans do take a while to cook. Not a lot of attention, but in fact, about 4 - 5 hours cooking time. Dad could of eaten these much more often, there was only one problem. Mom hated beans. And of course she was rather vocal about it, but she did love Dad dearly so she would put away her opinions and cook these for "Daddy" as she called our Dad.

Recently I have been learning to cook beans, a simple little goal I set for myself, a couple of years ago. I thought for the longest time that I didn't even like beans. Maybe it was something I had heard growing up? But truthfully I enjoy beans. I simply did not know how to cook them. I have had very little success in cooking beans in a slow cooker, so I don't bother any more. And besides, there is such enjoyment in smelling the delicious dish as it cooks away on a lazy Sunday morning. These could be cooked in a slow oven, if you wanted to keep busy with other tasks, or wanted to leave for a while.

 Great Northern beans were used for this batch, they are equally delicious.

I have made a small change to how the beans are made. Mom and Dad both used tomato sauce. One can did not seem to be enough, yet 2 cans yielded beans that had too much tomato flavor. Dad would use a partial second can, Mom always used the 2 full cans. My small change is to use a can of tomatoes and "sauce" them up in a blender. I think it provides just enough tomato flavor. This is a simple dish of ground beef and beans. It is homey and comforting. Serve on a soup plate and pass the salt and pepper.



White Beans with Ground Beef and Tomato Sauce, Our Dad Ken's favorite beans!
1 pound of small white beans, prepared*
1 pounds of lean ground beef
1 T thyme
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can ready to use diced tomatoes
water
black pepper (I use about 7 "grinds" on the grinder)
2 t salt


Brown the ground beef.

 
My beef was a bit watery from being in the freezer, simply let it cook until dry enough to brown.

Add the thyme, garlic and pepper. Continue to brown until the flavors of each are fragrant. Add 3 cups of  water to the pan, stir and simmer the brown caramelized juices off the bottom of the pan.


Buzz the tomatoes and 1 can full of water in a blender to make a slurry. Add to the pan, along with the prepared beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover pan. Let simmer 2 hours, stirring at the one hour mark and reset the timer for another hour. Add the 2 teaspoons salt. Cover and simmer another 2 hours or until beans are done. If the mixture is a bit soupy, turn the heat up and simmer off some of the liquid.

Serves 8 - 12

It was interesting to take a process that I observed as a kid, and turn it into an actual recipe. I hope you enjoy these beans as much as we do.

Enjoy!

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Notes on rice: I soak my rice for 8 hours before draining and then cooking as the package instructs. If you do not soak rice and want to use the full amount, I would add an additional cup of water or broth.
* soak beans over night in plenty of water, drain and rinse.OR  For a quick soak, put beans in a large covered pan, cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, simmer 30 minutes. Set aside and let rest 1 hours. Drain well, use immediately or refrigerate until ready to use in your favorite recipe.
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