Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Busting Butt Baked BEANS

Flexibility and suppleness in your muscles comes from stretching them regularly. Likewise, a mom who learns to stretch her resources can smile when times are tight. Over the years I have learned quite a few elastic tricks which help to make my life easier and ease the load on my purse.

I will be sharing my stretchy lifestyle with you as I blog my way along.

The easiest place to stretch resources is at mealtimes. My food budget is usually a bit more than half of that of my friends' budgets. At a pinch and a strenuous stretch I have been known to halve that again. More about that in future blogs. For today I would like to tell you about tonight's dinner and BOUNCING BEANS.

Dried beans are dirt cheap, loaded with goodness and can be delicious if you treat them right. So, when you are pushing that trolley down the aisle of your favourite supermarket, pick out a large bag of dried beans. Look the other way as you pass the brightly coloured, convenient cans of beans. Convenience costs. Elastic Moms have a better plan. One can of beans supplies half a hearty meal for my family of four. For the same price, a bag of dried beans STRETCHES to at least four meals.

Ok, so last night I soaked the all the beans in lots of cold water. This morning I boiled them silly in water with no salt or anything added until they were soft enough to squish. Salt or acid added too early makes them hard. While they were merrily bubbling in the pot I got on with mothering my children and other Elastic Mom busyness. Then just fifteen minutes before racing out the front door, I scooped them out the pot. Some went into containers for freezing. One portion went into the fridge for tomorrow's Mother Hubbard Paté.

Then I turned my crock pot onto the highest setting for
 I tossed the last lot of beans into a pot of sizzling onions along with ....
- half a can of tomatoes (leftover from pizza on Sunday, but fresh would do fine, or a whole can)
- a generous spoonful of sugar (traditionally treacle)
- a half-fist sized piece of smoked pork cut into cubes (the rest used in quiche and pasta last week)
- a dollop of tomato sauce (ketchup)
- a rinsing out of a bottle of liquid smoke... smoky water (Worcester sauce would do here too)
- some sprigs of oregano from outside the front door
- a stock cube (I happened to have beef on hand, any will do)
- and salt and pepper of course

When this was nice and hot, I sloshed it from the stove-top into my hot crock pot and raced out the door five minutes late. Rather a tad late than come home later to a cold stove.

This evening I returned from an erratic errand afternoon to the sumptuous scent of dinner. I popped some potatoes in a pot. Under the guise of teaching him how to make mash, I encouraged my son to strong arm the pot of potatoes. He picked some lettuce leaves from our veggie patch. And that was that. Dinner served.

But there's more, I had leftovers in my crock pot. SO, in the heart of the BOUNCING BEANS, I added more chopped onion, lots more stock, some crumbled sage, and have left the crock pot on 'low' for the night. Tomorrow I will whizz it up into a tasty BEAN SOUP for lunch.

Wait until you hear what will happen to the rest of the beans.


  1. Wow, am amazed you find the time for another blog! Well done xx

  2. Thanks Wends, this one has been in my mind for the last 2 years.

  3. It amazes me how people have so quickly "forgotten" how to cook, clean or even just live a life that doesn't cost at least 5 times more than it should in so many areas... how weird is that anyway?

    We had no money when we were kids... so maybe we just learned to make do with a lot less and it never left me. But, everybody in our neighbourhood was the same... maybe just the times changed so drastically money wise... maybe they all got too much too easily. Anyway...much later.. when I finally had jobs and made plenty of money..I was always careful and maybe a bit frugal, just "in case".

    I learned how to make soups with next to nothing when I was first on my own...because we still had nothing for money....we were lucky to have a cheap roof over our heads...and I mean cheap... $35 a month was my first ratty apartment.. and we just had to make do or go hungry... there was no such thing as "welfare cheques" in those days... and we were too proud to ask for help. As a matter of fact...one week I actually stole a few things to eat because it was getting desperate....but, once I got my first paycheque... at a job that I kept for over 7 years.... everything turned around.
    But.... I kept buying the cheapest groceries.... no prepared stuff.... and always ate at home..forget restaurants. That takes the biggest chunk out most people's paycheque and they just don't even think about it.... again..how weird is that?...why can't they figure it out? Plus most of them are overweight and could afford to swear off eating for weeks anyway. And...diapers...don't even get me started on disposable versus just saving hundreds per month never mind what a year's supply is worth... and the cost to the earth of so much disastrous waste? ...acckkkk!!!! our Moms used to wash diapers daily, by hand, and all the Moms in the neighbourhood had an average of 3 or 4 kids... and we all did just fine...
    People want it all... and buy it all... with no thought to the future..or to the greed....and then wonder why they are in BIG trouble in times of economic uncertainty..... where on earth has common sense gone? It seems to have been totally bred out of people in two generations.... it's nice to know there are still a few of us out there who still enjoy some of the wonderful simple things life has to offer and appreciate it as well...

  4. whoops..... got carried away...wrote a novella....hahahha...sorry.....