A Big Ol’ Pot of Beans

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My friend Cindy is a woman who inspires me in a multitude of ways. For starters, she has raised three biological children to adulthood and is raising five more who came to her and her husband, Mike, by way of adoption.

Each of Cindy’s and Mike’s five children at home have particular challenges, from fetal alcohol syndrome to Asperger’s to severe asthma to Cerebral Palsy. Cindy and Mike take it all in stride with big doses of humor. They love these kids fiercely, and their whole family is a joy to be around.

Cindy is one of the moms who gets my frequent questions and pestering, and she is always generous with her answers. In this case, I remember her telling me once about beans she cooks up and keeps warm on the stove or in the slow cooker for her kids to eat whenever and however they want.

It’s a great plan: cheap, nutritious, filling, and self-serve.

I cooked these up last month and my kids loved them.

Cindy’s Beans

pot of beans


Pinto beans: 1/4-1/2 cup per serving (beans cook up to almost 3x the volume)
Vegetables, chopped: onions, garlic, jalapeno or bell peppers
Seasoning: salt, pepper, cumin

Soak beans overnight in 3x the amount of water as beans. Drain & rinse thoroughly or you will be singing the song.

Stovetop Directions:

  1. Place soaked beans in fresh water and bring to a boil for 3 minutes. Let sit for 1 hour; drain & rinse.
  2. Add the chopped vegetables and bring to a boil; reduce heat to a medium.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients for the last 30 minutes. This takes us about 3-4 hours.
  4. Serve! Sometimes we mash and sometimes we leave them whole.

Slow Cooker Directions

  1. Place the vegetables and seasoning into a slow cooker with soaked beans and three times as much water as beans. Stir to combine.
  2. Cook on High for 8 hours, adding more water if needed. Note: if more than 1 cup of water has
    evaporated during cooking, then the temperature is too high.
  3. Once the beans have cooked, strain them, and reserve the liquid. Mash the beans with a potato masher, adding the reserved water as needed to attain desired consistency.

In addition, I add a dab of butter and another dab of tomato sauce or paste.

I don’t measure. I’ve never used exact amounts – only the ingredients. I’m a dumper and dabber.

Kendra FletcherKendra Fletcher is the homeschooling mother of eight, ages 19 down to 4. She has never known what it means to homeschool without the presence of preschoolers, and loves to encourage other moms beginning their homeschool journeys with little ones underfoot. She is the preschool columnist for The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine and the author of a popular ebook about creating a Circle Time for your homeschool. Her website and blogs can be found at Preschoolers and Peace and KendraFletcher.com.

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