A Birthday Bash – Slow Cooker Baked Beans

I was recently asked what my favourite food is, which I found to be a difficult question to answer. How do I pick and can I? Unlike my boyfriend who would eat pizza for every meal, I couldn’t narrow my response down to just one food. I love many foods, but after some thinking, I was able to admit that my favourite dishes always feature produce; fresh and nutritious fruits and veggies. I can’t get enough of them. Swimming in my pasta sauces, blended into my smoothies or sitting along side my main course. As my mother taught me, a meal is not complete unless you cover the four food groups, so heavy on the produce please! When it came time to host my Grampa’s 82nd birthday bash this past weekend, I had to make one of his favourite foods — baked beans. I found this recipe for Crock Pot Baked Beans, which slowly simmers the beans all day long. I love the concept behind the slow cooker; toss in the ingredients and give it a stir. As the hours tick away, the house fills with the aroma of the night’s dinner. The recipe requires the dried navy beans to be soaked in a bowl of water overnight. Use a large bowl with a lot of water, as the beans are thirsty suckers and will plump up by morning. Don’t forget to save at least 2 cups of the liquid after soaking as you will need it later in the recipe to keep the beans from turning to sticky mush. Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker, cover and turn on. I cooked my beans on low for 7 hours, stirring occasionally and adding some of the reserved liquid. After a tasting shortly before dinner, I found the beans to be slightly sweet and needing a dash of hot sauce to balance out the flavour. These sweet heat beans were a hit! They were the perfect complement to a meal featuring my Grampa’s favourites. I’m certain they will be requested for his 83rd birthday. Happy Birthday Gramps!

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