recipe: hearty baked beans

My mom has made these beans for as long as I can remember at holidays and upon request.  I started making them for pitch-ins and cookouts because they are easy and a sure crowd-pleaser. This dish is warm and filling and perfect for fall as well. It could stand alone as the entree, but I’ve always served it as a side.  I’m excited to share the recipe with you today while linking up with Sarah from It’s a Vol! for her Life Created series.

4 simple ingredients:

The instructions:
Pre-heat the oven to 350.  Brown the sausage (and mix it up – use the spicier type if your crowd likes more heat or use turkey sausage if your people don’t like pork).  Drain the grease. I actually use paper towels to soak it up. No one wants greasy beans!
(Raise your hand if you have the same green Tupperware strainer from about 1975).
A step I added that I really recommend is to give the meat a few pulses in a food processor (or finely chop it with a sharp knife if you don’t have a food processor).  I want the star of the show to be the beans, not the meat, so I like the texture better if I don’t get a big piece of sausage in every bite. 
Drain the beans. Very important! If you skip this step, they will be soupy. 
Combine all the ingredients in an oven-safe 8×8 or 9×9 pan. 
Sprinkle with brown sugar and bake at 350 for 45 minutes until bubbly and sauce is thick. 
Eat. Eat. Eat.
Hope you try & enjoy this simple delight!

facebook’s annoying, i’m baking, Cincinnati, and vacation

Where’ve I been, you ask? Well, this past week Strep throat knocked me off my feet (literally) for about 3 days.  Wow – I have never had it before and I guess I just thought it was one of those things that people got or they didn’t get.  Well, I got it.  It was worse than I ever realized.  So not only did it knock me out of work for 2 days (I was able to work from home the 3rd day), it knocked me off track with Couch to 5K.  I’m planning on getting back on track (treadmill) tomorrow but I’m a little nervous.  My throat still hurts and otherwise I feel okay, but I don’t know if I’m really back up to full strength yet.

We went to Cincinnati to celebrate my nephew’s 8th birthday party yesterday and watch him shine at his Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby. It turned out to be a nice day.  I was glad we made the last minute decision to make it a day trip instead of a weekend trip. The boys needed the rest and so did I. It was nice having that unplanned day today to just relax and catch up things I was too sick to do last week.  As of this moment, I’m waiting for some cookie dough to chill in the fridge.  I’m making this:

Okay so that image is a little on the large side but you get the idea. S’mores cookies? Yes, please. If you’re thinking I’m strange for talking about diet & exercise in one paragraph and then S’mores cookies in the next, I guess you’re right. But I’m not giving up everything that I love. One word. Moderation. I wouldn’t last on any diet where I felt deprived. Moderation.

In other unrelated randomness, I am getting really super annoyed with Facebook. Too many links and quotes and pictures of the ocean that people didn’t take and drama and self-righteous people and on and on and on. Maybe people are annoyed with me for pretty much only posting links to my blog posts and pictures of my kids. I don’t care. They can delete me. I feel bad sometimes posting links to my blog but I don’t quite have a readership that warrants a fan page. I did recently surpass 50,000 page views however. That only took 2.5 years. 🙂

What else can we chat about? I am excited about plans and no plans. Lots of plans for May and but not much else planned this summer. Before we know it, it will be Disney time (October!). We did go ahead and purchase plane tickets. I toyed with the idea of driving, but eh. After an 8 hour trip home from Dollywood a couple weeks ago, I changed my mind. Theo started complaining 100 miles from home that his back hurt. He wasn’t injured so I can only imagine it was his position in his carseat. I hate sitting for that long too. Flying nonstop 2 hours will be a dream compared to a 16+ hour drive.

My dough’s chilled!


PINspiring recipes

I’ll admit that I didn’t “get” Pinterest at first.  I went to the website a few times.  Didn’t get it.

I started working at my new job almost 6 months ago and remember having a conversation with a (now) friend there, who asked me “did you see that on Pinterest?”  Believe it or not, this question dumbfounded me.  I kindly said no, but was thinking to myself “uh…no? Why would I have? Is the whole world on Pinterest?”

Fast forward a few months and here I am. A Pinterest junkie.  If I don’t know what’s for dinner?  Pinterest.  Need a lo-cal recipe for dieting friends who are stopping by for lunch?  Pinterest.  Decorating ideas for the boys’ bedroom?  Pinterest.  It’s clearly the place to go for IDEAS.  Duh.  How could I have been so blind?

So I thought I’d share with you some of the Pinterest recipes I’ve tried recently.


Looks amazing, right?  Well, I thought so too.  On Pinterest, I saw the chicken teriyaki and the quick note beneath the photo gave instructions to fix the chicken in the crock pot. It wasn’t until I threw everything in that I realized this looked, and was going to look, nothing like the photo. I went back to Pinterest and followed the link to the actual page with the recipe (which I’ve attached) and found that they had marinated chicken and then cooked it in the skillet with totally different ingredients.  Cool. Thanks.  So I went to the store and bought 2 different types of teriyaki sauce, mixed them, and sweetened it up with a bit of honey.  However.  The rice was amazing and the finished product was really good. I’m not ever sure if the boys will eat stuff like this but man, did they gobble it up!  Only regret now is that we didn’t have leftovers.

The Pizzadilla.  It was pretty good, but what I really like about this is the opportunity to play with it and change it around.  Any ingredients would make this taste different. I have a quesadilla maker so that made this super simple for me.

Crockpot chicken taco chili. Wow. This was amazing!  200 calories per cup and packed with so much flavor.  I couldn’t see eating this with a spoon so we had it on tortillas (with cheese and sour cream) and/or on salad.  This will become a staple in this house!
Skinny Brownie Batter Dip. I haven’t personally made this but I’ve had (lots of) it. My PIN pal at work made it for Superbowl Sunday and brought some in the next day.  We must just remind ourselves that eating this will not, in fact, make us skinny. It’s so decadent and you really feel like you’re cheating that diet! 
Hubby’s Favorite Casserole.  I realize that this photo does nothing to make this meal sound appetizing, but it seriously was so good, especially warmed up the next day.  I think when I found this, I was searching for a recipe comprised of ingredients I already had.  YUM. 
Crockpot Cheesy Chicken and Rice.  This is in the crock pot right now.  Oh.  Did I fail to mention that the crock pot is just about my favorite thing ever?  Hopefully it’s good.  It didn’t sound amazing just based on the ingredients but the person that writes about it makes it sound like this is the only thing I will ever want to eat again for all of my life, so we’ll see.  
Things I want to try soon: 
So, be honest.  Am I the last person east of the Mississippi to get on board (ha, see what I did there?) with Pinterest?  Sigh, I’ve missed so much.  I’d write more, but there’s pinning to be done…see you over there!