A Big Ol' Pot of Beans


My friend Cindy is a woman who inspires me in a multitude of ways. For starters, she has raised three biological children to adulthood (two are married), 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 and with big doses of humor. They love these kids fiercely and their whole family is a joy to be around.

You may think it's funny that I pick other mom's brains, but I do. 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

I soak my beans overnight and use the slow cooker or cook on stove.  You
want to soak and rinse the water or you will be singing the song.  The more
you eat the more you ....... LOL  ~Cindy

Stove Directions

Place soaked beans in fresh water and bring to a boil for
3 minutes. Let sit for 1 hour, and rinse water. Add onions, garlic, peppers,
and bring to a boil; reduce heat to a medium.  Add the remaining ingredients
for the last 30 minutes. Sometimes we mash and sometimes we leave whole.
This takes us about 3-4 hours.


1 onion, peeled and halved
3 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
5 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin, optional
9 cups water

In addition, I add a dab of butter and another dab of tomato sauce or paste.
I'm sorry I don't measure. I've never used the exact amounts above- only the
ingredients. I'm a dumper and dabber.  

Slow Cooker Directions

1. Place the onion, rinsed beans, jalapeno, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin
into a slow cooker. Pour in the water and stir to combine. Cook on High for
8 hours, adding more water as needed. Note: if more than 1 cup of water has
evaporated during cooking, then the temperature is too high.

2. 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.