The bean scene

IMG_1757Every week I prepare a slow-cooker’s worth of beans. Navy, pinto and black. I add half a bag of frozen pearl onions, two dashes of cumin and maybe chili powder if I want a more chili bean base. Otherwise, I will sprinkle in just garlic and onion powder. There was a time when cooking beans without ham was unheard of in this house.

Fixing the beans the way I do now is surprisingly flavorful. Through the week, I then add the beans to frozen mixed vegetables and rice. This can then be a rolling meal that you add to/improve during the week with different ingredients. Maybe one day I’ll add tomatoes, another day miso.

What I’ve learned is that if we have beans, then we always have the basis for a meal. It’s no more complicated than that. I’ve yet to get an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker to make beans a 20-minute cooking experience. I soak the beans overnight Saturday in salted water, and then pour them into the slow cooker Sunday morning. They are left to cook all day and by the afternoon are ready for whatever meals I want to put together for the week.

Organizing in this way has saved us a lot of money over buying canned beans. It’s worth getting a slow cooker for this because I think it improves the flavor of the beans. And, if you really become enthralled with the bean scene, maybe invest in a pressure cooker. I keep reading about vegans who travel with their Instant Pot, and I think that’s intriguing to be able to cook any meal in a hotel room. That can certainly free you from being beholden to a fast-food wasteland on the road.

RA update 

The minocycline protocol appears to be working for me. I’m down to 2 mg of prednisone from 5-10 mgs months earlier. The only drawback has been some discoloration along my gumline, but that’s common with tetracycline-class drugs; and I will gladly give up pain as a trade-off.  I go for walks every day and the prednisone tapering has been interesting. My body typically doesn’t react to a taper until 48 hours after the reduction, and then I experience a minor flare. I seem to adjust in another 48 hours to the new normal, and the pain goes away. The minocycline, as far as I can tell, keeps the mini-flares from exploding into major ones. It’s a very different experience, and the pain has been every isolated to just my knees — no other joints hurt at all.

The best news is I’ve felt good enough to decorate for the holidays.



4 thoughts on “The bean scene

  1. Thanks, Debbie! I’ve always been too lazy to do beans from scratch, but for some reason it never occurred to me to just rinse them and then use a slow cooker. Do you have a certain proportion of beans to water that you use, or do you just add water as needed throughout the day? I know beans take up a lot of water as they cook. Going to try this very soon!


  2. Hey Sarah! I just add enough water to cover the beans about an inch or two over the top and I don’t have to add more water. I cook on my slow cooker’s high setting for about 6 hours, but they rarely need to be cooked that long — typically 4 hours on high is enough. It is super-easy and the slow cooker pays for itself after a few rounds of this!


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