Baking Day & Patio Garden

I stayed busy in the kitchen today, baking Irish Soda Bread, corn muffins, and baked beans.  I use a baked bean recipe that I copied down from a library book awhile ago, and adapted.  (An Amish one, I think.)  I usually halve the recipe, which is usually sufficient to feed us for a main meal, plus leftovers (or feed a guest).  It’s one of my frugal “company” meals, as well as a fun hot meal for us when I have the hours to wait for it to bake in the oven.

I never use as much bacon as it calls for.  I just get some good, nitrite-free, uncured bacon, and then cook up a couple slices (for the halved recipe).  It is flavorful enough just with that small amount.  I’ve also mixed in a variety of different beans, and it has worked out fine.

Home Baked Beans– serves 8-10
1 lb. great northern beans
1 small onion, minced
2 Tbsp molasses (or more)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup catsup (I use Muir Glen)
1/2 lb bacon (or less)
Rinse & sort beans.  Cover with 3 inches of water, and allow to soak overnight.  In the morning, bring to a boil.  Cook for 1/2 hour or until tender.  More water should be added if beans become dry.  Pour into a 2 qt. casserole dish (including any liquid), and add remaining ingredients.  Bacon should be fried, and diced before adding.  Pour in bacon drippings, also, for flavor. Bake at 325* for 1 1/2- 2 hours, keeping covered with liquid.  
A few days ago, I transplanted organic plant starts into larger pots for our “patio garden.”  I have lettuce (3 pots), kale (2 pots), and chives (1 pot).  I am still waiting for my tulips to bloom, but they seem to be growing nicely.  The weather has been just right for our little plant babies to flourish; a nice balance of sunshine and rain.  It is such a joy to look out our window, and see the blessing of these little plants!  
I put an assortment of books on hold at the library awhile ago, and they have started arriving in stacks!  I am in the process of reading through some of them.  I just finished the 15 Minute Meal Planner by Emilie Barnes and Sue Gregg, and will be taking down a few of their recipes.  I love their Christian approach to nutrition.

I am currently reading through Nourishing Traditions, which I have really enjoyed as well.  These two books have recently inspired me to take a new look at our family’s meals, and make further adjustments in our goal for healthy eating.  I have already been transitioning away from white flour and sugar, in addition to taking a strict stance against preservatives, chemicals, etc.  

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