Calico Beans From Mom’s Recipe Box

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calico beans
God is spirit, and those who worship him must
worship in spirit and truth.”     John 4:24 ESV

Whenever we are planning a family dinner someone always says “Mom, will you make your beans?”  The mom referred to is my sous-chef dish-washing mom and her beans are the calico beans she has made and perfected through the years.  It is a fairly common recipe but hers tastes different.  Her calico beans have her touch and they always taste better than when I make them!

Last Sunday was a potluck dinner at church.  Chicken was provided by the church staff and so I thought about mom’s beans.  I turned on my computer, click on my blog and searched Calico Beans.

(Did you know there is a little box on the left-hand side of my blog that says SEARCH THIS BLOG?  Makes it easy to find things.)

Whaaaat?  No Calico Bean recipe? I quickly called mom and asked about her recipe.  “How can I not have blogged this recipe?” I asked her.  She knew it was a rhetorical question and simple shrugged. :)

We discussed how the recipe can be made with or without hamburger meat.  I told her that I use bacon and hamburger meat.  She said she only uses one meat, bacon or hamburger, but not both.  Hmmm ….. could that be the difference in hers and mine?

I made the beans and put them in the crockpot to cook a couple of hours on high and 2 hours on low.  We served them on the potluck table right out of the crockpot, which was nice because they stayed hot.

They tasted okay, but not as good as mom’s.  I should have asked her to make them.  Here is the recipe, add your own love and they will be fantastic!

Happy Cooking!

Calico Beans From Mom's Recipe Box
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Mom's beans are always requested for family dinners and these are sure to please your family too!
Recipe type: Vegetable, Side Dish
Serves: 8-10 servings
  • 4 ounces bacon, diced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 can (21 ounces) pork and beans
  • 1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (16 ounces) butter beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain. Discard drippings.
  2. In the same skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink; drain. Combine the beef mixture, bacon, beans, brown sugar, ketchup, vinegar, mustard and salt. Spoon into a greased 2-qt. baking dish.
  3. Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 45-60 minutes or until the beans are as thick as desired. Beans can also be cooked in a Crockpot on low for 4 to 6 hours, covered.
I double the recipe to fill a 4 to 5 quart crockpot, then I cook on high for 1 to 2 hours and on low for 2 to 4 hours, depending on time available.

This recipe is delicious with or without the meat. Can easily be made into a all-vegetarian recipe.


Going To My Happy Place

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window viewMy Refuge and My Fortress
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1

For as long as I can remember my husband will occasionally remark “I’m going to my happy place.”  I’ve never asked specifically where that is and I believe it has changed over the years.  In our career days I think his happy place was somewhere he didn’t have to talk to people, solve problems, or respond to an emergency.  Sometimes it was a mental place, like vegging in front of the TV and sometimes it was a physical place like a long run.  Today when he says that I know it means he is headed to his “shop.”   He is leaving the estrogen jungle he lives in and is going for some peace and quiet!

wheat grinder LeeIn his happy place he tinkers, naps, exercises, and fixes a variety of kitchen appliances that I have broken.

SONY DSCThe other day I was right here in the middle of this kitchen mess.  I was finishing one meal and getting ready to start cooking for another.   I was home for the day.  No appointments, no where I had to be.  I looked around me and thought, “I am so happy here.”  I started thinking about my happy place.  I concluded that my soul is content and my heart sings in two places in particular.  This messy kitchen is one.

IMG_1705This messy workroom is the other.  While both of these places have “messy” in common, they are not always messy.  But when I am happiest, most content, they are messy.

I realize that I don’t get to the kitchen as often as I use to.  I love cooking, baking, and creating food for my family and friends.  But I also have found a space of peace and comfort when I am in this little workroom.  This is where I read my Bible, study my lesson for Community Bible School, Sunday School, or our Tuesday night small group.  (Which now we are reading and studying Pilgrim’s Progress!)

I call it my “work room” for lack of a better term. It was a guest bedroom until my Chief carpenter filled it with cabinets, hooks, organizational bins and a “work table” for me.  It isn’t an office, it is more than that.  It is a little sanctuary. When I close the door I shut out the world and move into the world my soul longs for.  It is where I spend time talking, listening, and enjoying fellowship with God.  It is my happy place.

Where is your happy place?  Do you go there often?

Happy, happy!



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