Crock Pot Refried Beans

Crock Pot Refried Beans

Lately, I’ve been falling back in love with my crock pot.  I tend to use it in cycles – I go for months without thinking about it and then all of the sudden it becomes a near-permanent fixture on my counter top.  I decided to lug it out recently to get better at using the many pounds of dried beans I have, one of my New Year’s cooking goals.  The wonderful thing I’ve discovered is that there’s no need to pre-soak the beans!

I’ve been cooking different kinds of beans overnight in the crock pot, then leaving them in the garage until I get home from work (it’s been cold enough for that lately!).  When I get home, I use them in soups, salads, or to make veggie burgers.  This recipe came about in a slightly different way…snow days!!  Stuck inside for days, I was craving chips and dip.  I wanted something hearty, warm, easy, healthy, and spicyish.  Refried beans sounded perfect, and would make a dent in the 5 lb. bag of dried pinto beans I’ve got…bulk buying!

Citrusy Kale Salad with Avocado, Chickpeas and Cashews

Citrusy Kale Salad with Avocado, Chickpeas and Cashews

Folks, I need lots of salad these days.  Though I always go into the holiday season with the best intentions of not over-doing the sweets, the drinks, and the fatty carbs, I still consistently manage to wake up in late January wondering why none of my jeans fit.  I usually try to blame it on the dryer – they shrunk! – but I know that’s not the case.  It’s time to face reality and get back on track.  This salad is here to set me straight!

DIY Flavored Coconut Butters – Sweet and Savory

DIY Flavored Coconut Butters - Sweet and Savory
Easy.  Delicious.  Nutritious.  Affordable.   Skip those $10 – $15 jars of expensive coconut butter and DIY it!  I bought a 5-pound bag of organic unsweetened shredded coconut for $13 and made my own jar of coconut butter for about 60 cents!  It’s easy and you can add all kinds of flavorings to suit your condiment needs.  I made a Vanilla Cinnamon version and a Yellow Curry version.  Sweet.  Savory.

Apple Kale Salad with Curry Vinaigrette

Apple Kale Salad with Curry Vinaigrette

Restraint and I are not the closest of friends.  I may have overdone it a bit on Halloween and the day after.  So much candy.  So many drinks.  Such a good time.  And that’s why kale was invented.  It’s our reset button.  Kale is our designated driver, our friend that reminds us to not eat that 10th mini snickers bar.  Kale sets us straight, makes us right.  And this salad does just that in the most delicious way possible!