Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

Bourbon Baked Beans


My June Cooking Light magazine contained a recipe for Bourbon Baked Beans.  Memorial Day was looming and we were headed to a big picnic the Saturday before.  I decided I would try them for the picnic.  Then I had second thoughts.  Would the many children at the picnic hate the less familiar flavors?  Should I attempt something new and inflict it upon others before trying it myself?  So I took canned beans to the picnic (what? Bush’s does a good job) and made the from scratch beans at home for our own cook out on Monday.

During the cooking process, the Cooking Light recipe and I parted ways.  I decided these beans needed a little more bacon and some brown sugar.  Then I read some other recipes and saw people using coffee.  Later on I decided they needed a little bit of ketchup and mustard and a little more brown sugar.  I also decided they needed a little bit of spice…which I am going to leave out here because it overwhelmed the beans a bit.

A word of warning: if you’ve never had baked beans from scratch, you need to adjust your expectations a little bit.  The beans will not be as soft as the ones from the can no matter how long you soak them or bake them (unless someone knows something I don’t).  They aren’t hard…just firmer.  And a tip – these taste even better the next day so don’t be afraid to bake them and then warm them up the next day to serve.  Also, it is a long process so unless you don’t have plans to go any where don’t start this.

Bourbon Baked Beans (adapted from Cooking Light Recipe click here to see original)

1 lb dried navy beans

6 slices bacon

1 yellow sweet onion, diced

3 1/2 cups water (then more as you cook)

1/2 brewed coffee

1/2 cup maple syrup (the real stuff…the pancake stuff is too sweet), divided

1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons bourbon, divided

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup yellow mustard

1/4 cup ketchup

1 Tablespoon cider vinegar

Soak beans over night in water.

Drain beans and put aside.  Preheat oven to 350*.  (You can do all of this in a dutch oven if you have one. I do not.)  Cook bacon in large, deep skillet.  Remove from pan and crumble.  Reserve 2 Tablespoons of the drippings in the pan.  Brown the onion in the drippings for 5 minutes or until browned.  Add beans, bacon, 1/2 cup coffee, 3 1/2 cups water, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/4 cup bourbon, Dijon mustard, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce to pan.  Bring to a boil.

Transfer to a large baking pan (I used my big lasagna pan), cover with foil, and bake for 2 hours and 30 minutes.   Stir in 1 cup of water, 1/4 cup maple syrup, ketchup, yellow mustard, vinegar, and remaining 2 Tablespoon bourbon.  Cover and bake.  Check every hour.  If it is getting dry, add more water.  I cooked mine for a total of 5 hours.

Linking to Rachel’s Mouthwatering Monday.

posted under food | 5 Comments »

Talk, talk, talk


When Sabrina says they are going to hide, this is what she and Tessa do.  Yep, Mensa has us on speed dial.

Tessa kindly passed her illness on to me hence my silence this week.

I will tell anyone who worries about a developmental delay in her child that every child is different and they all eventually catch up (except those that don’t…but that is another post).  I’ve told people this professionally.  I’ve told people this personally.  I believe it.  Except when it comes to my children.

I know in a few months, I will be kicking myself in the ass for complaining about this but I am concerned that Tessa isn’t talking.  There were a half dozen bloggers who had babies within 6 weeks of me and they all write about their babies asking for things and saying I love you mama.  Tessa has had the same words for over 6 months now.  Cracker, momma, dadda, Nina.  She also says “Ba” which can mean ball, bye, and when said twice her cup.  She says lolo for lotion and looon for balloon as well as noool for noodle.  Her only recent word is peas which means please.  She does a few signs and screams for everything else.

The screaming is about to send me over the edge.  She screams when she is happy.  She screams when she is mad.  She screams when she is frustrated or wants something or is bored or is playing with Sabrina.  It is obnoxious and by the end of the day I often have a headache forming.

We try to work with her on words.  She tries and makes lots of sounds…some of them appropriate and some of them not.  Sabrina even tries to get her to say new words.  Sometimes she’ll say them a couple of times but then she seems to forget how.  Honestly, Sabrina rarely shuts up long enough to really let Tessa try to talk so Tessa just screams over her incessant chatter.

Mostly, I put this out there because I need to say it out loud.  It worries me.  But also I wonder when do I become concerned?  She will be 2 in less than 2 months.  At this age (I know, stop comparing), I worried Sabrina was behind but she was putting 2 word sentences together.

Steve reminds me that Tessa has done everything at her own pace and in her own way.  She started walking and was running the next day.  She started eating solids way late but she just decided to get on board with it one day.  He says that one day I will ask her if she wants more milk and she’ll reply with a full sentence “Why yes mother, that would be delightful.  Thank you.”

posted under parenting | 22 Comments »
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