Friday, August 9, 2013

Beans, beans, the musical fruit ...

I grew up on cornbread and beans. How happy I was when I came in from play to discover a pot of beans bubbling on the stove! I still love them. Fortunately, I can still eat them—with some modifications to the cornbread, of course.  Throw some ham and beans in your slow cooker when you leave home in the morning, and you’ll have a wonderful meal waiting for you when you return. Here is my “recipe”:

Slow Cooker Ham and Beans

1 1-2 lb. package of pinto, navy or great northern beans (depending on how many you wish to make. I usually go with about 1½ pounds.)
1 large slice of ham, chopped, or (better yet) a package of ham scraps, the pieces and ends of a sliced ham
1 onion, chopped (optional)
Salt, to taste

1. Sort through the beans, picking out the dirt and "ugly" beans. Wash the beans thoroughly.
2. Cover the beans with water and allow them to soak overnight.
3. In the morning, rinse the beans again and put them in your slow cooker. Add onion, if desired. 
4. Cover them with fresh water--about an inch or so over the beans.
5. Place the ham on top.
6. Cook on low for 8-9 hours.
7. Add salt, if necessary. (Be sure to taste before you add salt, because the ham might make it salty enough.)

Beans are a great source of fiber, which many people on gluten-free diets are lacking. If you’re in a hurry, canned beans are equally healthy, and most brands are gluten-free. Looking in my pantry, I find mostly Bush’s Best and Simply Organic (Kroger’s).  Most store brands are gluten-free, but be sure to check the labels. Pork and beans are a problem, because the most popular brands, Campbell’s and Van Camp’s, contain gluten. It’s probably a good idea to avoid baked beans at cookouts.

While there are some excellent gluten-free cornbread mixes available, I prefer to use my mom’s recipe to make cornbread from scratch. (My favorite mixes are Gluten Free Pantry and Bob’s Red Mill.) Here’s my recipe with gluten-free modifications:

Corn Bread

Mix together:

¾ C. gluten-free cornmeal (Bob’s Red Mill is easy to find.)
1 C. gluten-free all purpose flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill, Domata, or 1-2-3.)
1/3 C. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt


1 C. milk
1 egg, well beaten
2 T. melted shortening (I prefer coconut oil)

Spoon into a shallow, greased 8-in. pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.

If I have leftover cornbread, I crumble it up in a bowl and add milk (just like cereal) and eat it for breakfast.

If you want a grain-free, gluten free version of “cornbread” (and other yummy-looking grain-free recipes) check out this link. My friend Kendra Toler Young sent it to me and I tried it immediately. It even passed the “Doug” test!

Go to  This lovely website, titled Meaningful Eats, has lots of great recipes and advice for gluten-free living.

I’ll be making this "cornbread" again!