Tag Archives: vegetarian

Calico Beans From Mom’s Recipe Box

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.


Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup II

soup and salad
It’s soup season!  My first new soup of the fall came from a recipe by Ina Garten of the Food Network.  This summer when our Roma tomatoes were coming in by the dozens I didn’t have time to do anything with them.  My sous-chef dish-washing mom was fighting breast cancer, we had a fair amount of company in and out and in August my sweet little grandsons were visiting for 10 days.

Bag of roma tomatoes
So, as my Chief Gardener would bring in baskets of tomatoes with a slight look of apology, I would smile, say “no problem honey”.  Then I washed them up and whisked them away to the freezer.

fresh tomato basil soup
However, on this particularly day the Chief had just brought in the last of the fall tomatoes.  He was pulling the plants and cleaning up the garden. Our fall was pretty hot but I really, really wanted to make fresh tomato soup with this last basket of tomatoes.  That evening a cool rain blew through and I thought “Ah-ha!  soup tomorrow.” The coolness didn’t last but we had soup anyone.

It wasn’t until I started writing this blog post that I discovered that I used this same recipe from Ina Garten last fall!  I should have searched MY OWN website for a recipe before I went searching hers.  🙂

fresh tomato soup ladled
Last year’s soup looked like this. You can get the recipe here.  We loved this soup as much this fall as we did last fall!

I still have bags of frozen Roma tomatoes in the freezer and will enjoy making this again when the weather gets really, really cold!

Have a blessed weekend and possibly a soup Saturday!

Happy Cooking!

Think upon these things:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV

Spring Is In The Details

Cave spring watercress This is the cave spring that feeds the little creek that runs in front of our home.  The cave is located on our neighbor’s property.  Lucky for us she doesn’t mind us walking down her lane and across her front yard so that we can view this lovely spring.  During the winter everything surrounding the water turns a dullish gray-brown. The leaves pile up and freeze. The flowers along the creek lose their blooms and die.  It is winter after all.

Cave Spring 2014Yet, before the daffodils bloom, before the grass turns green, and before the spring wildflowers pop up everywhere this beautiful little creek glows green with watercress. Wikipedia tells me that watercress is one of the oldest known leaf vegetables consumed by humans.

If I were Martha Stewart I would be making watercress salad. When my Chief Culinary Consultant first saw the watercress in our creek he said “you should make watercress salad.”  Being the ever dutiful wife, I said, “Okay.”  But before I ventured out to gather the leafy green water-laden vegetable I Googled it.  I quickly found that the USDA says it should not be eaten if there is any chance an animal or animals have access to the water.  Well, of course they do! The article I read went on to mention contamination and all that.

Our friend Tom, who has lived in these parts all his life (and is a medical doctor) says that’s crazy. He says “just wash it well and enjoy it!”  Dutiful wife or not I have chosen not to poison  treat my family to watercress salad — until now.

A recent early spring walk up to the cave spring unveiled this stunning leafy watercress sitting right at the cave’s opening in flowing fresh water.  Soon I will venture down the creek embankment and harvest some fresh watercress.

Have you ever eaten watercress salad? How was it?

Martha Stewart salad watercressThis is a picture taken by Jose’ Manuel Picayo Rivera for Martha Stewart. It is a Roasted Sweet Potato Watercress Salad.  Looks good doesn’t it?

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!   Psalm 34:8

Psalm 34:8 is one of my favorite Bible verses and it seems so fitting for this first day of April.  Have a blessed day and Happy Spring!


Cucumber and Onion Salad

marinated cucumbers

As I sit with my computer on my lap, poised ready to write about cucumber and onion salad, I am brain-dead.  Truth is, I am posting this recipe for myself.  Yep, it is true. Selfishly, I am thinking of all the time I spend looking for the recipe note card, sorting through recipe files on my computer and yet trying to remember how much sugar to how much vinegar.  It should be so easy, yet I can’t ever remember.

Dish of Cucumbers

Growing vegetables can be such a funny and unpredictable activity.  Last year our cucumber plants came down with a fungus and had to be destroyed.  No cucumbers for us.  This year — we have 4 plants and they are producing at maximum capacity.  Go figure.

marinated cucs

I will keep cucumber and onion salad in my refrigerator and on our dinner table for the next month.  When the tomatoes are ripe I will toss a few of those in.  Come middle of August I won’t want to touch another cucumber until Christmas.  True story.  Meantime, I highly recommend you get some fresh cucumbers from the garden — yours, your neighbors, the farmers — wherever you can.  Make a cucumber and onion salad.  Enjoy!

Happy Summertime!

P.S.  And when you can’t find the recipe next year, it will be right here! 🙂

Cucumber and Onion Salad
The every summer freshest-favorite salad ... cucumbers, onion, sweet and tangy all at once.
  • 2 to 3 cucumbers
  • 1 medium white onion
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • *Optional: 1 to 2 tomatoes cut in quarters
  1. You will need a 2 quart jar with lid or other 2 quart container.
  2. Cut the ends off the cucumbers and peel along the long edge in 3-4 strips to leave a sort of stripped cucumber.
  3. Slice the cucumber in thin rounds.
  4. Peel and slice the onion in thin slices and separate.
  5. Put the cucumber and onion alternately in your jar/container. *Optional: add tomato quarters
  6. Add the rest of the ingredients and cover your jar/container tightly and gently turn so the ingredients are mixed together.
  7. Refrigerate overnight and serve cold.