Budget Buddy Fridays: Baa Baa Black Beans

If you don’t know Kelly from View Along the Way, you are in for quite a treat! Not only is she completely hilarious, but she is extremely gifted in all that is DIY design. Her work has been featured on popular blogs such as Centsational Girl and Remodelaholic among many others, and she has the cutest family to boot. I’m super excited to have her on Budget Blonde today! Some bloggers you just click with right away and wish they lived down the street so you could chill and knock out some walls together – that’s Kelly for me! I know you will enjoy her post today – Here she is:


Because Budget Blonde is all about keepin’ it classy on a budget, I thought I’d contribute a post that epitomizes style, class and sophistication — the Kate Middleton of blog posts, if you will. And nothing says sophistication, royalty and class like:


Beans.


Yep. Good ol’ black beans.


For a long time, dried black beans in a bag were a gigantic mystery to me. How do you cook them? Why are they so hard and inedible? What’s their freakin’ problem? COOL IT, BLACK BEANS, I wanted to yell at them. Just chill the crap out and be cool like canned black beans. Canned black beans are so easy to cook with. They’re already all mushy and friendly and ready to dive right into your recipe at a moment’s notice.


But then I started learning about BPA – check out Cat’s post about BPA here - and how it’s just lurking in your canned food, ready to pounce on your cells like a sneaky little ninja trying to make you infertile and give you cancer. Not cool. Get thee behind me, BPA!


In an effort to limit my family’s exposure to canned food and plastics, I decided it was time to have a little sit-down with bagged black beans and make them work for me. I ended up discovering that this method saves money too:

One large bag of dried black beans = $1.75.
One can of black beans= $.80.
Each bag of dried black beans = about 7 cans worth.
Savings: about $4 per bag of dried beans. Sweet!

So this is the story of how I take dried black beans and soak them into submission, so they’re just as easy to cook with as canned beans – but cheaper and with less evil ninja-chemicals. You can make a MILLION at once and freeze them, so you don’t even have to think about beans for months, unless you just like to think about beans.


Shall we get this party started?


I used two large bags of beans:

Pour all the beans into a colander and rinse them, then go through and pick out all the imperfect beans that don’t belong with their friends. Be ruthless! No tragic little orphan beans for your family!

What are YOU doing here, half bean? Get outta my food!

The rejects. *Cue violin music.*


Dump all the beans that passed inspection into a giant pot and cover them with lots and lots of water.

The water turns black but no worries. You don’t have to drink it.

Leave them there overnight, or for at least a bunch of hours, like 8-ish. Then drain the water and marvel at the majesty!

Seriously. The beans just GREW like one of those magic towels when you put them in the water – or like some kind of mutant ninja turtle. Don’t miss this; it’s a miracle. Pause to marvel.


Dump your beans into your crockpot and cover them with water. I made two bags of beans and could only fit half in my crockpot at a time, so I had to do two batches. That’s cool, I’m not mad.

Appetizing, right? No?

Turn your crockpot on low and leave your beans to cook until they’re soft, at least 6 or 8 hours, until your crockpot looks like a cauldron filled with some kinda bubbling nastiness.
Drain them, rinse them and let them cool.

Then bag that junk up for the freezer. Scoop about 1 3/4 cups of beans at a time into freezer bags, lay them flat and move them to your freezer, where they will live happily and contentedly for months at a time, or until you’re ready to make something delicious.

Quick side note: I really, really don’t trust plastic. Ideally, these would be stored in glass containers in the freezer, but I’m still building up my glass collection, so freezer bags it is. Ziploc brand bags are BPA-free, so that’s what we use.

Each 1 3/4-cup bag is roughly the equivalent of one can of black beans, so you can see that I now have 14 little packets of beans hanging out in my freezer.

Welcome, new friends!

When you’re ready to use ‘em, just thaw them and throw them into your recipe. They’re mushy and friendly now.


So easy. So cheap. So healthy.


By the way, I tried out a brand new black bean recipe to show you today:


black bean brownies!


Crazy, huh? But doesn’t it sound like it might be weird enough to be delicious-yet-healthy?


NO.

Just no.



That stuff was nasty. And nothing is worse than anticipating something creamy and chocolatey – and producing something… bean-y and not sweet and mostly gross.


Try this layered chicken and black bean casserole instead. It is happiness.


Cat, thanks for letting me drop by your fantastic blog to share some black bean love!
______________________________
You are more than welcome, Kelly!


To be BFFs with Kelly you can find her in all these cool places…
Her Blog
Her Twitter
Her Pinterest 
& She is also at the top of my blog roll over there –>


Be sure to leave her some comment love, preferably with a grossly inappropriate bean joke since we’re easily entertained like that. :)

Black Isn’t Wack

I never thought I’d say this but black walls are really, really interesting to me. 


I still don’t know if I’m gutsy enough to paint one of my own, but I so enjoy admiring them. Perhaps you might think I’m crazy – I know my mom will probably think so on this one – but just take a look at these inspiration photos and maybe you’ll agree? I especially love the black wall in the bedroom inspiration photos. It’s kind of sleek and sleepy,  just perfect for closing your eyes and drifting off….

What do you think? I double dare ya…

{P.S. All of these photos and more on this topic can be found in my Creative & Quirky folder on my Pinterest}