It has now been several weeks since I started full-time teaching and I am loving every second of it! I now wake-up full of energy and enthusiasm – it feels wonderful to be following a dream that started nearly ten years ago. I love how being in the classroom gives me the opportunity to learn from amazingly curious, young minds each day. They have given me new perspectives and a new lens in which to see my everyday life. It’s amazing how mundane tasks and daily routines can suddenly be put into a whole new light.
Since my last post I also had a birthday, which brings me up to a grand total of 25. I don’t know what it is about that number, but it seems to hold a lot more boldness and respect than the previous 24. I feel I now can’t be shrugged off as a “young” twenty-something, since I am half-way through my twenties. Now I am sure many of you are thinking, “Oh just you wait, you younging…” but I’m sticking with this for now.
Twenty-five. A quarter of a century. A square number with the root of five (my favorite number). The smallest square that is also the sum of two squares 32 + 42. In baseball, the number is typically reserved for the best slugger on the team. The minimum age of candidates for election to the United States House of Representatives. The number of points needed to win a set in volleyball. The total number of playable characters in Mario Cart Wii and Super Smash Brothers Melee (two of my favorite games). Yup, twenty-five sounds like it’ll be a sensational year.
Now what does that all have to do with baked beans? Well, really nothing. However, out of internship teaching and birthday celebrating this recipe was invented. Due to our dwindling budget, we’ve been trying to cook more budget friendly meals and focus on healthy, inexpensive alternatives. That’s where these beans come in. Beans are cheaper than a hot dog at Costco (well maybe not quite) but they are much better for you! It’s important to soak them for 8-24 hours prior to cooking them. The longer the better. Soaking them helps make them more digestible by neutralizing the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors, while breaking down hard to digest complex sugars.
Once they have soaked, it’s only a matter of throwing the ingredients into a pot and giving it lots of time to cook, allowing the flavors to blend together. I highly suggest making this on the weekend, when you have time to hang out around the house as the rich aroma of baked beans spreads throughout the house. Otherwise, this recipe could be easily adapted for a crockpot, if you don’t have the opportunity to just hang out waiting for beans to cook! However, baking the beans in the oven does give the batch a more smokey, earthy flavor. Enjoy!
- 6 cups of pinto beans, soaked for 8-24 hours
- 8 slices of bacon
- 1/2 a onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/3 head of cabbage
- 4 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp paprika
- 4 cups of chicken stock
- 1 cup water
- 1 can of tomato sauce
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- Soak the beans in a large container for 8-24 hours. Make sure to cover the beans with plenty of water.
- Chop up the bacon and cook in large dutch oven.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Once the bacon is cooked, add the onion, garlic and cabbage. Saute until fragrant and soft.
- Add the beans, chili powder, paprika, chicken stock, tomato sauce, molasses, sugar, vinegar and mustard. Mix well and bring to boil.
- Put lid on dutch oven and move pan into the preheated oven. Bake for 5 hours, checking every hour to ensure the the sauce doesn’t dry out. Add additional water if needed.
- After 5 hours, turn oven off and prop open the door to let pot slowly cool down. Take a deep breath of the amazing aroma coming out of the oven and eat up!
* adapted from Jamie Deen – Homemade Baked Beans