Friday, December 28, 2012


I fully intended to post this before Christmas, but failed to do so. I hope you all had a blessed Christmas. Ours was different this year. My oldest son didn't make it home due to ice and snow. He offered to brave the storm, but it is not worth the risk. So, hopefully we will see him next weekend. There a lot of pros and cons to having grown children. The worst thing for me is that I don't get to spend enough time with him. We have always been very close and so this is very hard on me.

When I was growing up, my Dad's family would all gather at my grandparents' house on Christmas Eve. Grandma always made ham, potato salad and baked beans. This is one of my favorite meals. At Thanksgiving, the only thing I would eat was sweet potatoes and a roll until I was in my twenties. I didn't like turkey or dressing or mashed potatoes or cranberry sauce or pecan pie or pumpkin pie, etc. Yes, I was a picky eater. But, I always looked forward to Christmas Eve dinner. My dad always liked ham, potato salad and baked beans as well. So, after Grandma passed away, we carried on the tradition. The last Christmas Eve that my Dad was with us, he ate 3 helpings of my baked beans. He said they got better every year and now they were perfect. I cherish that memory. He died 2 weeks later. So now every time I make baked beans, I think of my Dad and my Grandma and wish they were sitting there eating them with me. 

I always used pork and beans to make baked beans. However, pork and beans have high fructose corn syrup in them! I know, CRAZY! Isn't it! So, I've been trying to come up with a recipe for baked beans that is healthier and lower in sugar. 

Of course, everyone knows that beans are good for you. They are high in fiber and protein and also have significant amounts of folate, iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc and Vitamin B6. 

I've been doing research on coconut sugar and using it in place of brown sugar in recipes with great results. I live in a small town of 25,000 and the only place in my town that carries it is our small health food store. However, all of the larger health food stores carry it and you can buy it online at Amazon or Vitacost. 

Coconut sugar is much better for you than refined sugar for many reasons. Here are a few: 

*   It does not spike your blood sugar and is safe for diabetics; 
*   It is unrefined so it retains all of its natural minerals and vitamins; 
*   Contains Vitamin C, Iron, Magnesium and Zinc.

Coconut sugar is a great substitute for white sugar or brown sugar. Because it is unrefined, it has a grainy texture. If you want it "finer" just pulse it in a food processor a few times. 
So, here is a recipe for healthier baked beans. No HFCS, low glycemic, high in fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. And since we've upped the nutrition factor in so many ways, a little bit of bacon isn't going to hurt you, but it sure does make these beans YUMMY. FYI - bacon doesn't scare me near as much as HFCS, aspartame, and all those other chemicals that are labeled as "food". 


1 large onion, diced
5-7 strips of bacon, chopped
2 - 16 ounce cans pinto beans, navy beans or 1 of each 
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
1/4 cup ketchup (NO HFCS)
1 tsp Lea & Perrin's Worcestershire sauce (NO HFCS)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar, but coconut is healthier)

Saute bacon and onion in a skillet until onion is tender and bacon is crisp. 

Drain the liquid from one can of beans, but use the liquid in the other can. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together including bacon and onion. 

Place in square casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. 

NOTE: Before putting in the casserole dish, taste to see if any of the ingredients need to be adjusted. If you like them sweeter add a little more sugar or honey. If you like them spicier, add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper or a shot of hot sauce. The great thing about cooking is that you can adjust ingredients to your liking. In my opinion, recipes are only suggestions and ideas. I very rarely go by a recipe as it is written. 

I pray that 2013 brings you many blessings including love, good health and prosperity. 


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