Monday, July 13, 2015

Homemade Baked Beans

My soon to be Mother in Law makes great homemade beans for all of our events so I wanted to make them for her and Sean's Dad when they came over for dinner. We served them with Slow Baked Ribs and Roasted Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts. A lot of the recipes I found were using canned beans which seemed kind of counter intuitive for "homemade". I found this one and it was originally by Alton Brown, who happens to be one of my favourite cooks. Anyone remember Good Eats? Loved that show! These beans ended up being a hit and I will continue to use this same recipe until I'm the one bringing beans to all our parties. These end up having a lot of great flavour and just an underlying bit of heat, nothing crazy. I hope you love these as much as we do! While you need to have a full day for this recipe to cook, the prep time is fairly quick. Since I made ribs and roasted veggies to go with this I was able to do them all in the same oven over different points in the day. The bacon cooks down most of the way and just adds an extra layer of flavour.

Homemade Baked Beans
(Adapted Slightly from Here)


1 pound dried navy or pinto beans
1 pound thick bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 - 2 jalapenos, seeds and ribs in, chopped (Depending on heat preference)
1 Can garlic tomato paste
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
4 Tbsp Blackstrap molasses
2 Cups Beef stock
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp Worcestershire
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp Five Pepper Blend (from Epicure) crushed in a Mortar & Pestle

2 tsp salt


Soak beans overnight (8-12 hours) in a large bowl placed in the fridge, make sure beans are covered with cold water,

The next day (or 8-12 hours later) preheat your oven to 250 ยบ F.

Choose a large oven safe pot, such as a dutch oven (I used a 5.5 qt dutch oven). Place over medium heat on the stove. Once pot is slightly heated add in chopped bacon, onion and jalapenos.

While the onion mixture is cooking (5 minutes), drain the beans over a bowl or measuring cup to save the "bean liquid".

Cook for about 5 minutes until the onions are getting soft and stir in tomato paste to coat everything. Let this cook out for a minute so caramelize and add additional flavour. Then the brown sugar and molasses.

Add beans to pot, Save 2 cups of the bean liquid and top up with the 2 cups of Beef Stock for a total of 4 cups of liquid. Adjust this depending on your remaining bean water.

Increase stove heat to high and allow to beans to come to a boil, add cayenne, peppers and salt and stir to combine. Cover pot with lid and move from stove to oven, Cook in oven for 6-8 hours until the beans are soft.

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry muffins are one of my favourite types of muffins (except maybe a chocolate chip sparkle Muffin, to make an appearance another day). I love the freshness of the blueberry and it really keeps them from being dry. Now muffins aren't the best thing for you out there but this one is a little better. I halved the butter and used Apple Sauce in it's place which alone saves almost 300 calories. You can also use 1/4 cup  of Applesauce in place of one of the eggs, for a total of half a cup. I don't recommend taking out all the fat, you do need some for flavour and texture. I also lightened this up with 1% milk instead of whole milk. The addition of lemon zest just balances out the blueberries a bit, it's not super evident. If you want it to be, add more and a bit of juice. These are a great go to breakfast of morning snack if you're short on time.

Blueberry Muffins
(Adapted from Here)


2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk (I always use 1%)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup unsweetened Apple Sauce
1 tsp vanilla
Lemon Zest to taste (I used about half a lemon's worth)

1 Pound fresh blueberries (more or less, 2 cups)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease or line a 12 cup muffin pan.

Measure out the dry ingredients and Lemon Zest in a large bowl and whisk together.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, milk, apple sauce and vanilla together, continue whisking lightly when pouring in the butter to keep eggs from cooking at all and getting clumpy.

Add wet ingredients to dry bowl and mix together lightly - not all the way. Only mix until almost combined. Fold in blueberries slowly, finishing the mixing.

Scoop batter into the muffin cups, filling pretty close to full, some of mine were over and they still turned out fine.

Bake until risen and lightly browned 25 to 28 minutes or when a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 5 minutes or so and then transfer to a wire rack.