Perfect Crock Pot Pinto Beans

I love beans :)  I didn’t used to care that much about them, but a past boyfriend turned me on to them years ago.  He was also the one who taught me how to cook.  We would make just a little pan of pinto beans, with plenty of butter, salt and pepper and let it boil all day, continuing to add water (it was just a little pan).  While they were cooking  we’d quickly walk to the store and pick up some hard rolls and sour cream.  The beans were always so perfect sandwiched in the roll with a good dose of sour cream.  Carb-loading at it’s best!

Nowadays I do them my own way, and they are still pretty darn perfect.  And a lot easier when you just put it all in the crock pot and leave it!  I don’t really use a recipe, so the seasonings will be to taste for you and your liking.  My amounts are ish-es ;)  We think they are great this way.  The trick is to make sure you put A LOT of flavor into them, otherwise they will be kind of boring.


  • 2 cups dry pinto beans
  • 1 chopped onion (I use yellow)
  • 1 T bacon grease or oil
  • 5-6 garlic cloves minced
  • about 4 cups total liquid – I usually do half and half chicken stock and water
  • 4 T butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 3 T good chili powder*
  • 1 tsp. epazote**
  • salt to taste***

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Saute the onion on medium heat in oil for 7-8 minutes until soft.  Let them get a little brown in the pan.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds or so.  Add this to the beans in the crock pot.  Deglaze the pan with some of the liquid and add that to the pot.  Add all of the other ingredients.  The liquid should cover the beans by about 2 inches.  There are a couple of options for cooking.  You can do it on high the entire time, about 5 hours.  You can also cook on high for 2 hours, and then turn it to low for the remaining time, about 4-5 hours more.  I usually just do it all on high, but if you need them to cook longer for whatever reason you could do the latter.  I like mine a little on the soupy side so I try not to let the water get cooked out too much.   The ones pictured went a little too far!

* I grind my own chili powder from various dried chiles.  If you use store bought try to use some different kinds, like regular chili powder and ancho, or whatever you like.  Something like that :lol:

** Epazote is for flavor but also to combat the gas effect of beans.  Although I’ve heard Alton Brown say that if you have that issue, you just need to eat beans more often and it will go away.

***Do NOT add salt in the beginning, only add it after the beans have cooked!!  Otherwise your beans will take a lot longer to get done.  I don’t know why, it just is.

Corn pudding and Different Lines

Well I have already completed two of my goals for January!  I started the Different Lines pattern on the New Year’s Day.  It would be a bit farther along if I hadn’t cast on with the wrong color at first.  Oops.  But now it is going smoothly and even though mine may be a little smaller since I’m getting 6 stitches per inch instead of 5, I think it will still turn out great.  I’m using Socks That Rock lightweight in colorways Backstabber and Spinel.  I wasn’t sure about the colors together at first, but they are growing on me.


I also made the Roasted Corn Pudding in Acorn Squash recipe.  It was pretty good!  I roasted some squash for soup while roasting the acorn squash, and when it was done I turned off the oven.  So when I put the acorn back in I could not figure out why the pudding wasn’t setting up.  I was about to give up when I noticed I hadn’t turned the oven back on!!  Duh.  Finally, 30 minutes later we had dinner.  My squash wasn’t big enough to put all of the pudding in so I just buttered a dish and cooked the rest on the side.  I liked it with extra, so I think this would be a great recipe for a squash that has a bigger cavity.


I have decided I want to try at least 1 new recipe per week this month.  So far I have already done 2!  This morning I saw a friend’s pin for baked oatmeal and it sounded really good.  It’s something I’ve been wanting to try since K will need a replacement for his instant oatmeal he’s been having at work.  I found this recipe for Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal and decided to try it out.  It worked great!  I had a little too much oatmeal mixture for my pan though, so I put the extra in another smaller dish.  I’m excited about trying other flavors out!

I will probably have another two new recipes made by the end of the week since I’m making whole wheat roti for dinner tonight, and then going to try some asian meatballs tomorrow.

Break on Through

To 145!

What’s new this week.  I:

  • Quit eating things with sugar in them, besides some blueberry muffins that M made all by herself!
  • Started eating more fruits, veggies, and protein.  Some with every meal almost.
  • Started drinking more water.
  • Stopped eating after dinner.  Completely!
  • Got to bed a little early each night.

As of yesterday I was down almost 4 pounds to 145, a low that I have not seen in a couple of years!  I’m pretty stoked about it :D

I can’t say that I’m 100% sure that what I’ve been doing is why I’m down after being stuck all month, but I’m going to keep rolling with it.  In the past couple of days I’ve felt tons better.  Yesterday I had more energy than I’ve had all month.  I think the extra carbs and sugar were weighing me down.  And I think these are changes that are small enough that I can stick with it.  It has been easy, really!  The fruit is so great right now that I’ve been enjoying swapping it out for sweets and haven’t missed the sugar one bit.  Three cheers for fruit!  And good weigh-ins!

Feeling so much better

About things.  I have been IFing (Intermittent Fasting) for the last three days, which is for me just not eating until around 3 or 4:00.  It equals out to two meals, a late lunch and then dinner around 6:00.  I guess I’m doing a 5-6 hour eating window.  I’m still trying to eat pretty well, you can check out what I’m eating on MyFitnessPal.  Yes, I am eating very low calories.  Believe me though, with all that I have been eating in the past couple of weeks I can stand to eat less – a LOT less!  I am really surprised at how I’ve been able to do this so easily.  I get a little hungry here and there, but it goes away pretty quickly so I’m pretty sure I’m not truly hungry.  I am enjoying food so much more.  I love that I don’t have to worry about what to eat!!  I can just eat what I want to.  But I am still trying to get a lot of veggies in.

Today I had a big salad for lunch with olive oil avocado, turkey, and hard boiled eggs.  I followed it with some peach slices and raspberries topped with a little whipped cream and mascarpone.  Dinner was just a tamale and a heaping pile of sauteed/steamed kale.  It was awesome.  And now I am having a couple of glasses of wine.  It has been a long day.  I’m not worried about my nutrition as of now, and I do plan on having 2 higher calorie days this weekend so it will all even out I’m sure.  We will be camping and I’m not really going to stress about what I’m eating, not going to count or anything. I will fast again tomorrow and enjoy some drinks but I won’t be drinking on Saturday or Sunday.  Gotta do 9 miles on Sunday!!  And I want to feel good while I’m doing them :lol:

No Nonsense Blender Juice

I have been experimenting with juice lately.  I even thought about getting an actual juicer.  I started watching some YouTube videos with people using masticating juicers, and it just seemed like there was so much waste!  We have had a centrifugal juicer and got rid of it because of the waste factor, plus it was annoying to clean.  So I bagged that idea and just turned to blender.  I have a Blendtec which is great, but you could do this with any blender.  It just might not get as blended, but that doesn’t matter since you are draining the pulp anyway.

Here is what I do.  I use my Blendtec, a quart measuring cup, and these oversized floursack towels, each cut into 4 smaller squares.  The floursack will get stained.  All I do is rinse it out and set it outside to dry in the sun, which might help the staining.  They get washed with all of the other kitchen towels.

Chop the veggies and fruit on the small side.

Off to the blender, with water added to the 20 ounce line, or more if you like.

Blend one time on the whole juice setting, or until it looks like this ;)

Floursack ready to strain.

Pour the juice in.

Gather it up and strain it out. You’ll have to squeeze and twist and it might get messy. Get as much juice out as you can.

This is how much I got out.

The pulp bag.

Maybe a cup? Not bad!

For this juice I used:

  • 3 carrots
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup jicama
  • 1 beet
It was pretty good!  I like to add greens too, spinach and kale or whatever you have.  The possibilities are endless.  I decided to do this one today since we are not big fans of jicama straight up, and ended up with one from our Bountiful Basket last weekend.  Much easier to take this way :lol:

Workout of the Day

This one had me working hard!  I warmed up for a few minutes and then did this:

  • Jump rope (without a jump rope :lol:) 30 seconds
  • Front lunges
  • Butt kicks 30 seconds
  • Squats all the way down
  • Jump rope 30 seconds
  • Push ups – mostly incline and some ‘real’
  • Butt kicks 30 secons
  • Situps
  • Burpees
  • Leg lifts & russian twists with 15# kettlebell (switched halfway through)
  • Prone jackknife with a stability ball (5 every time)
  • Tricep dips on a bench
  • Bicep curls with 10# for the first half and 12# last half

I started each exercise with 10 reps, next round was 9, next 8…all the way down to 1.  I was a sweaty mess after this!  I figure it works for a cross training workout.

I originally started with burst of high knees and jumping jacks too, but my calf started to hurt so I just switched to the jump rope and butt kicks.  I hope my calf will be okay, icing it now!

I was hoping to go swimming today, but I think it might be too much to squeeze it in.  We are going to a museum and later I’m making pork chile verde – YUM.  Hopefully I can get in a bike ride or swimming, and then it is REST tomorrow!  I welcome it :lol:

P.S. I do my official weekly weigh-ins on Sunday, and today I’m at 150.8.  I was at 152 yesterday so I’m happy about that.  So far this year I am down 13.8 pounds.  Not as much as I guess it could be, but progress is progress.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Weight Watchers Online Day 4

Down almost another pound today!!  I think it might be safe to say that I really have reached my 10 pound goal.  Normally I bounce around but being down even more today, if I bounce a little I still have a lot of wiggle room!  I think it is great that during the time when I am usually bloated, feeling disgusting, and up in weight automatically by 1-2 pounds, I am down instead.  Maybe it shouldn’t be that big a deal but I am measuring my losses and this is making me feel great :D

Day 4 was kind of hard.  I wanted to eat more than I could and I was very tempted to just blow it and go for it, but I did not.  I am kind of proud of myself but at the same time annoyed that I have to restrict myself at all :lol:  But I do have to, somewhat.  Just no getting around it!  I don’t have time to work out for hours each day, nor the stamina.  So if I would like to start losing a little faster I need to pay attention more to what I eat.  So anyway, I used 35 points again, though not all quality food I guess.  I could have eaten more veggies, and I made some treats (more than I had planned) so I did have some but didn’t have too much.  Here’s what I ate:

  • Breakfast was a smoothie with pumpkin, milk, coconut water, dates, chlorella, and protein powder.  It really needed a banana or something, wasn’t all that pleasant.  I also had a slice of toast with peanut butter and some jam.
  • Lunch was a salad with avocado, and tuna mixed with mayo on the side.  I also had a brownie and half a glass of milk.
  • Dinner was a grilled cheese sandwich and some green beans.

In between meals I tried half of a homemade cashew butter cup I made.  They pack a big point/calorie punch but are made with coconut oil and honey and maple syrup so I don’t think I can really feel guilty about it, not that I would!  I think one is like 5 points though, and they aren’t very big.  Oh well.

So, today I’m really on the side of not tracking points, but trying calories instead.  Although doing this WW thing has been eye-opening for me as far as needing to really focus more on the produce.  I thought I was doing good, but I really could do better.  I guess if I’m not totally committed to the WW ideals or guidelines than it doesn’t really make sense to use it?  I guess the only reason I thought of doing it is because in the past, calorie counting has made me kind of crazy.  It is a pain in the ass sometimes.  That was then, though, and I feel like I’m in a different mindset right now.  Maybe I could do calorie counting, or some kind of exchange plan.

Man, I am wishy-washy aren’t I?!

I guess this whole thing has been a wake-up call.  No I don’t have to deprive myself, but yes I do need to focus on more quality nutrition.  Like less sweets and treats.  Less sugar.  More vegetables and fruit.  Definitely sticking to really trying to eat when I need it, not when I am bored or emotional.  Sometimes I think if I don’t have to be deprived, then I should just have what I want.  Every day.  I don’t think that is how really fit and healthy people eat though.  There is nothing wrong with using some discipline to make better choices more of the time.  And folks, I think I am indeed addicted to sugar, so I need the discipline!  Anyway, I think I’m starting to ramble.  I’m still giving it the full week and will decide then – heard that before?!

Weight Watchers Online Day 3

First things first – I hit my 10 pounds lost mark this morning!!  Exciting :D  I am now under 155 again.  I haven’t been that weight for a very very long time.  Could I have done this on my own, without WW?  Probably, but I think that it would have taken a lot longer.  I know it has only been 3 days, but the change in my eating feels pretty drastic, in a good way.  So I think WW helped a lot to get me to this mini-goal.  Anyway, glad to have hit that point, and while I’m sure the scale will do a little bouncing around, I hope that the downward trend just continues overall.

Also, apparently I cannot add :lol:  I have been using 9 extra points each day, instead of 7.  Oops!

I was thinking about having ice cream yesterday but when I found out it was 8 points I reconsidered :lol:  I didn’t really have to have it, so I didn’t.  I went a while between snack/lunch and dinner so got pretty hungry, but we had a nice big early dinner.  I ended up eating 35 points again.  So what did I eat?

  • Pre-run I had half of a pumpkin coconut muffin.  When I came home I had the other half, plus a green smoothie with protein powder, milk, and coconut water.
  • My snack later was a slice of bread with almond butter, strawberry applesauce, and a boiled egg.
  • Dinner was broiled mahi-mahi with ‘pickle sauce’, steamed green beans, leftover carrots, and leftover quinoa.
  • I also snacked on 1 1/2 peanut butter cups.

I’m feeling a little empty over the past few days.  Is it in my head or in my body?  I don’t know.  I kinda feel like I could be eating more, but I’m going over points as it is right now.  Maybe I should be eating some of the activity points.  Well who knows if I will continue with this anyway but we’ll see how the rest of the week goes, along with weigh-ins.

Weight Watchers Online Day 2

Did about the same points-wise today as the first.  It was kind of rough since I’m hormonal right now and grouchy and could snack on treats all day and wouldn’t mind :lol:  But I hung in there, said no to a couple of things, and used what I think are a good amount of points.  So far I have used 7 weekly points each day, which if I did every day then I would just use up the weekly points and not any activity points.  I wouldn’t think that I would want to be using the activity points anyway?  So here’s what I ate today:

  • Pumpkin oatmeal with maple syrup and chia seeds, apple, and a half glass of whole milk
  • Lunch was salad with avocado, a slice of toast with tuna and mayo, some bread and butter pickles, and a grapefruit
  • Snack was a slice of bread with almond butter and half an apple
  • Dinner was steak, mashed potatoes, carrots, and bok choy
  • I also had a homemade peanut butter cup for a treat

It is kind of weird seeing how some stuff has so much points, like oil and the nut butter.  I guess I had totally stopped measuring stuff so I’m really not used to it.  I didn’t think I was using too much so I didn’t care!  I don’t believe in low fat either so that will take some adjusting to if I decide to do this long term.  I’m still on the fence, like I said I want to see how well I do or don’t do for the week and then decide.  It might be just coincidence, or that I’m coming up on my TOM, but I’m feeling hungrier than usual :lol:  Some of it is in my head because I’m tracking food now, but some is hormones too.  It would be nice to see how I feel on a normal week.

I’m still not at 10 pounds lost, but I’m very hopeful that I will get there in the next few days?!

Weight Watchers Online Day 1

Okay, so 1 day of really tightening the reins and tracking is done!  And no, it wasn’t so bad at all.  I did have some anxiety, the kind I get when I think I’m going on another diet.  You might be familiar, you might not (lucky if you aren’t).  But I got over it.  Controlling my intake a little more is just something I have to do if I want to get lighter to get better at running.  There is no shame in that!

I ate over my points since I only was allotted 26, which doesn’t work out to be a whole lot of the kind of food I’ve been eating apparently.  I still managed.  I won’t be doing low-fat anything, ever, so I’ll just have to deal somehow.  The fruit and veg are unlimited so I’ll be eating more of those.  Here is what I had yesterday that put me at 35 points for the day.

  • Breakfast was a pumpkin coconut muffin, half a glass of whole milk, and an orange
  • Snack was an apple, celery, and some homemade almond coconut butter
  • Post workout snack was some protein powder, whole milk, coconut water, and frozen mango made into a smoothie
  • Dinner was a baked yam with butter, kale chips, and a slice of bread with havarti melted under the broiler
  • I snacked on a homemade peanut butter cup after dinner

So I did have to show quite a bit of restraint.  I would have eaten more at every meal I think had I not been counting anything.  Not like tons, but it didn’t seem like enough, which I’m sure was part of the diet anxiety :lol:  I would have eaten more for dessert too!  I’ve been having some ice cream for the past few nights but there wasn’t room for any.  I admit that I have been out of control with desserts, so that definitely needs to be cut out for the most part.  Like I said, it wasn’t that bad.  I didn’t starve, I didn’t go crazy, so this might actually be okay for me to do. I will give it the free week and then see what I want to do.  After one day it seems less annoying than calorie counting and a little bit more fun using the tools online.  This isn’t my first time with Weight Watchers, it would be my third I think.  I don’t feel like I would try and twist numbers around like I have done in the past.  And with no alcohol right now, I don’t think staying under points will be a problem at all.

I don’t know what happened the last few days but I am finally starting to see a ‘whoosh’!  I’m about .2 pounds away from another 5 lost, which will be 10 lost since the start of the year.  Not fabulous but still losing!  I hope to see a good loss with a week of strict tracking and sticking to eating less.  Needless to say, my mood is sky high right now!!  I feel like I’m finally getting unstuck again!  And hopeful that I may actually be able to lose more than 2 pounds in a month :lol: