How To Cook Beans And Save Money

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Have you often wondered how to cook beans? I’m talking about white, pinto, black, kidney and garbanzo beans. There are so many varieties,  but I’m just going to talk about these today. I eat beans literally every day. I love bean burritos plain without any cheese served on a flour tortilla. I also buy cans of beans, every kind of beans.

I buy vegetarian pinto refried beans by the case as well. I wrote a post a few months ago about how to cook beans in four different ways. I put the link below in case you missed it. The reason I am writing this post today is that I posted something on my Food Storage Moms FaceBook page about “throw an extra can of beans in your grocery cart this week”. It’s called food storage.

Well, I received comments that some people stockpile these beans and have no idea how to cook them. I had to remind myself that Mark and I grew up dirt poor. Although we didn’t know what the word poor really meant until years later. We both grew up on beans. I began to wonder, am I the only one in the neighborhood besides my friend Lyn A. that knows how to cook beans from scratch. This scares me, I mean it really concerns me.

Do you remember me asking you how we all need to live in a like-minded neighborhood, this is one example.

I went to a luncheon in the neighborhood last week, and of course, I just had to ask the question “does anyone at this table know how to cook beans, you know out of a bag, not a can?” I think I caught the group off guard, most said they don’t eat beans. I thought to myself, WHAT??? Am I the only one at the table that can cook and eat beans? It’s okay, I get it. I just don’t understand why they don’t know how to cook beans. I sure hope they know how to cook rice because I picture all of us eating a lot of beans and rice after a major disaster. Yes, we will have one, I promise.

I taught my daughters how to soak dry pinto beans, yes I bought them in 50-pound bags. Please note, we did not cook all 50-pounds at once. We picked through the beans looking for rocks or small chunks of dirt. We used a very large pan, my canning pan. Yep, I missed a chunk of dirt once in the beans and my daughter, Heidi wouldn’t eat our homemade refried beans for years. Yes, years. This is my water bath canning pan I used. When you have six in your family you learn to save money on groceries, right? Ball Water Bath Canner

Now, I buy the beans in cans or small bags. I do have several cases of beans in #10 cans (7-inches tall and 6-1/4-inches in diameter), some are instant beans that cook in 20 minutes with water and I have some regular non-instant pinto and black beans. Please check your #10 cans, I had to send some back to Thrive Life once because they were not “Instant Beans,” they were labeled incorrectly. When I called them a few years ago they quickly replaced them.

The reason I wanted a few cases of instant pinto beans is that they would use less fuel, use less water and cook faster.

Please remember, the older the beans, the longer they will take to cook. A pressure cooker is great to use for those old beans. If they need more cooking, reset the pressure cooker for a few more minutes and cook them longer. This is my favorite pressure cooker: Fagor Pressure Cooker

How To Cook Beans

I’m talking about bags of beans right now and cooking them on the stove. A small batch is one cup beans to 3 cups water.

Open the bags and spread the beans out to check for rocks and small chunks of dirt

Rinse the beans

Soak the beans overnight covered with water at least 3 inches above the beans

I drain the beans the next morning and cover with fresh water with at least 3 inches above the beans, add water as needed

Bring the beans to a boil and then simmer all day or until tender

Add your favorite items and simmer about an hour with your favorite add-ons. I like to add chopped onions, chili peppers, cumin, chopped cloves of garlic, chopped cilantro

Cook Beans That Are Old

If your beans are really old, try pressure cooking them 60-80 minutes on high. It may take more minutes depending on how old they are.

Pinto Beans

Soak and cook the beans as instructed above. These are my favorite, I use a potato masher to make my own refried beans. I use these seasonings: add your favorite items and simmer about an hour with your add-ons, I like to add chopped onions, chili pepper, cumin, chopped cloves of garlic, chopped cilantro.

cook beans

Black Beans

Soak and cook the beans as instructed above. I use these seasonings as shown above: Add your favorite items and simmer about an hour with your favorite add-ons, I like to add chopped onions, chili pepper, cumin, chopped cloves of garlic, chopped cilantro (similar to pinto beans).

cook beans

White Beans

Soak and cook the beans as instructed above. I love white beans because I all I have to do is add some dehydrated carrots, onions, celery and a ham hock. Life is good when you cook with a hot bowl of ham and beans.

cook beans

Kidney Beans

Soak and cook the beans as instructed above. I love to make these and eat them cold on a salad or add ingredients to make a chili with chopped onions, bell peppers, carrots and some celery. I try to add a few green chilies when Mark isn’t looking. Not really, but I add more to mine after the chili is cooked. Add a dollop of sour cream with some grated cheese, life is good.

cook beans

Garbanzo Beans

Soak and cook the beans as instructed above. I use these in chili as well, but I love them cold on salads too. I also make yummy hummus with them. Here is my hummus recipe: How To Make Hummus by Food Storage Moms

cook beans

I hope you take the time to cook beans from a bag, but also buy beans readymade in cans and serve them with rice or as a side dish. We must learn to cook from scratch and teach this generation how much money they will save on their groceries if they learn to use beans in several meals each week. Take out is not an option after a disaster hits, the restaurants will be closed and the stores will be empty, trust me, life will not be as it is today.

Thanks again for being prepared for the unexpected, one can at a time is all it takes.

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34 thoughts on “How To Cook Beans And Save Money

  • October 27, 2017 at 7:45 am
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    I love beans, too!! Once I had a very long commute and I would take a can of kidney beans (rinsed and in a different container) to eat as breakfast on the drive in. I love the texture and they’re a little sweet, at least I think so. My favorite canned brand is S&W that I buy on sale by the case, but folks should read the labels for differences even among the different types of the same brand and find what they like to eat. FYI – I made pork chili with beans yesterday and added a cup of pumpkin puree. Also a nutritious addition that adds a creaminess and slight sweetness that plays well with spices. My sweetie grew an accidental pumpkin patch that he let go because he wanted roasted pumpkin seeds. Not to be wasteful, I have to roast the pumpkins and freeze the puree so I’m on the look out for different ways to use it. I’m going to try dehydrating a batch of puree, then process it into a powder to be added to dishes like the chili, made into soup, or in place of butter to create a nice finish to sauces and gravies. Good addition to emergency meals, too. Off the topic of beans. I’m with you on the need to learn to cook from scratch and with beans. Let’s make it an upscale trend so lots of folks will want to try them!

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    • October 27, 2017 at 9:41 am
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      Oh, Debbie, I love your comments! I need to try the pumpkin puree idea. I love your last statement, “Let’s make it an upscale trend so lots of folks will want to try them!” I love this! Linda

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      • November 4, 2017 at 10:24 am
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        One year a long time ago, about 30 years, My son was the last at home all the others were grown and on their own, but I would invite 2 or 3 people that had no one to have Thanksgiving dinner with and I would cook up a big turkey and all the goodies, but ran out of cash before thinking desert.. so I simmered up some pinto beans, no flavoring and they finally turned to mush. then whipped them up with pumpkin spice and some maple syrup and a couple of eggs, the eggs cooked into the puree and then filled pretty desert dishes with it, at dinner time I put whipped creme on the top and the fellows enjoyed pumpkin pudding The fellows, all older and without anyone but each other knew of others that were alone so we stacked paper trays full of goodies for them to drop off on their way home.. Pinto beans can be made into chocolate pudding or just about anything you wish as the beans themselves have little flavor… Amazing what we can do when broke…
        i believe there are books on making pinto beans into delicious meals…

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        • November 4, 2017 at 1:17 pm
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          Hi, Jeanne, oh my goodness, I need to go to the thrift store and watch for a book to make recipes with just beans. I love your idea of inviting others for Thanksgiving. No one wants to be alone on the holidays. I love the pumpkin pudding, add some whipped cream and it’s a dream come true. Happy Saturday my friend, hugs, Linda

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          • November 4, 2017 at 4:11 pm
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            i just checked and on the internet under pinto deserts there are lots of tasty recipes.even pinto bean chocolate brownies… now I am getting hungry too, and I am sure the milder sweeter beans could be used this way too.
            Best recipes are sometimes out of need just finding it on the shelf instead of paying more at the market..always trying to save a buck and eat what I have here, live weil on little because I squeeze every penny and keep the bills paid too…. Love this site, you are so down to earth with good ideas coming to you .

          • November 4, 2017 at 5:26 pm
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            Hi Jeanne, I am going to experiment with some bean recipes, trust me I can squeeze a nickel out of a penny sometimes! You can too! LOL! Linda

  • October 27, 2017 at 7:56 am
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    Once again I’m going to suggest you try Anasazi Beans. They are delicious! A bit too sweet for chili, unless you like sweet chili, but great in ham and bean soup, or with cornbread. I haven’t tried mashing them into refried beans for use in burritos yet but I can’t imagine they would be anything but great. I have GOT to try them in burritos.

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    • October 27, 2017 at 9:50 am
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      Hi Raymond, I’m on it! I Have got to try those beans!!! Wow, cornbread sounds really good now. My mouth is watering for a good pot of chili! I love your comments, you’re a great friend! Linda P.S. I am looking today for some Anasazi beans!!!

      Reply
  • October 27, 2017 at 8:15 am
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    I grew up on big pots of the little red beans cooked with a ham hock and some chile seasoning, Mom would let them set in a pan of water all night after we went thru them and picked out the tiny stones and dirt.. then she would cook them all the next day until tender… Update… now with my electric pressure cooker, How did we ever live without one.. Well I wash the beans, put one lb in the pot. a ham hock, a teaspoon or more of chile powder and about 4 cups of water, turn that pot on and in a half hour have a delicious pot of beans.. just butter the bread and start enjoying… I could live with just the delicious juice. moped up on bread and butter, my mouth watering as I type..I keep the beans on hand in the pantry as I never know when that craving for beans will hit. Keep a few ham hocks in the freezer for such an occasion..

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    • October 27, 2017 at 9:52 am
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      Jeanne, I need to get a few ham hocks for the freezer! I love my pressure cooker, dinner in no time and it looks like we slaved over the pot all day. LOVE IT! Linda

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  • October 27, 2017 at 9:21 am
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    In your recipies, I think you mean cloves of garlic, chopped and not chopped cloves, the spice.
    Here on the East Coast, I grew up with Boston baked beans, navy beans cooked with salt pork,
    Dried mustard, an onion and molasses.  It was a typical Saturday night supper.  Mum made the 
    Best and sometimes she would make Boston Brown bread to go with the bean so it is a type of bread cooked in a steamer.  You set the bread pan in a few inches of water in a pot like you would
    Use for canning. Yumm

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    • October 27, 2017 at 5:04 pm
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      Oh, Stephanie, you are so nice, thank you for letting me know that it is cloves garlic!!! I remember my mom baking Boston baked beans. I do not have that recipe. Your comment will help me try to duplicate her recipe with navy beans, salt pork, dried mustard, onion, and molasses. Thank you for letting me know my typo and sharing your Boston bean recipe. I love it!!! Linda

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  • October 27, 2017 at 10:30 am
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    Ham hocks are so expensive so I try to grab up hams during the holidays when they are under a $1 a lb and have the meat cut off and save the bones for flavoring, the marrow in the bones is where the flavor is.. along with stockpiling I watch for bargains. a few good ham steaks and the rest cut up into cubes for addition to mac and cheese and split peas soup to name a few.. Oh now ya got me hungry for a pot of mac,cheese and ham..

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    • October 27, 2017 at 1:24 pm
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      Hi, Jeanne, now I’m hungry for mac and cheese and ham! LOL! I forgot about the ham steaks, see how we help each other?? I Love it! Great comment, Linda

      Reply
  • October 27, 2017 at 11:04 am
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    A way to save money and rotate your stock of dry beans is to can a few jars at a time through the year. That way they are equally convenient as store bought canned ones but less expensive. I wouldn’t do 25 lbs. at a time unless you have a really large family. I usually can 5-7 pints at a time and when they are used I can some more. Also for cooking beans, if (after soaking and rinsing them) you cook them in distilled water they tend to cook a little faster.

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    • October 27, 2017 at 1:25 pm
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      Hi, JoEllen, distilled water? That’s an awesome tip! You are right we could can a few cans of beans and when those are gone, we could can a few more. I love this tip! Linda

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  • October 27, 2017 at 11:40 am
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    “Please note, we did not cook all 50-pounds at once.”
    That line made me laugh out loud. A lot.
    I can’t even imagine how big the pot would have to be to cook 50 lbs at a time, or how many people it’d take to eat them all.

    Cooked beans freeze and reheat amazingly well too 😀

    Reply
    • October 27, 2017 at 1:27 pm
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      Hi, K, LOL! I love your comment! I was afraid people might think we cooked that many beans at one time!! I have never frozen beans, I’m going to do that, thank you for that great comment! I love learning new things, Linda

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  • October 27, 2017 at 12:06 pm
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    I have been eating them for years. First of all, the kidney beans come in large and small and either pink or red. The red have a more robust flavor while the pink are just a bit milder. The same for black and white beans. Depends on the brand you buy. White have the lightest flavor. The size makes no difference in taste.
    Despite “experts” claiming that Puerto Ricans traditionally choose to eat black beans they eat a lot or pink or red as well as garbanzo (Put into pasteles) and gondules or chick peas. They use them in making yellow rice. The garbanzo and gandules are different from the other beans. My family has been eating the red and pink cooked from scratch and from cans since I was a kid. But we can buy whatever we want nowadays.

    When I cook beans, I always add a little tomato sauce or ketchup. I don’t add the ham or fat chuncks as they are very salty. You can add bits of potato and/or calabasa (Type of pumpkin) and a bit of sofrito or dice up a bit of green pepper and onion. Carrots are good too. You can also toss in a bit of turkey bacon or the real deal or as I do, I take a little bit of ground beef and mix that in.

    I cook for my dogs and I just mix (red, pink or black) beans into ground turkey or ground beef and I often have left over so I just squirt ketchup, season with Sazon (Adobo is salty) or onion and garlic powder and I chow them down or dump into a flour tortilla. They’re easy to fix. The ONLY kind of beans I have not tried are soybeans. I’d love to make soybean burgers at home. My older brother dislikes beans, but he likes soybean burgers. Be a nice alternative when beef is not available.

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    • October 27, 2017 at 1:29 pm
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      Hi, Frank, I think this is why I keep mentioning beans because the price of meat keeps going up and up. The families that grow their own is awesome. I’m too old to do that these days. I have never tried soybeans either. Thanks for tips on the different colored beans. I love learning new ideas! Linda

      Reply
  • October 27, 2017 at 2:02 pm
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    Hey, Linda!  Just before reading this article, I was on Pinterest.  Saw a recipe and downloaded it.  It’s for pressure cooker Senate Bean soup.  I have had this soup “in real life” when one of my daughters lived in Maryland and took me into DC to see the sights–we ate in the Senate cafeteria.  This soup is amazing!  See if you can do a search on Pinterest for it and try it.  Love your articles–especially this one on beans.  My mom taught me to cook with beans.  Now I am hungry for some bean soup and bread to sop up the juice!!

    Reply
    • October 27, 2017 at 4:50 pm
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      Oh, Joanne, I have got to find that recipe. I’m on it. Did I tell you I ordered the ten pack of “The Biffy Bag” it looks great to use the bathroom in the car or at least outside the car or in the woods. I bought it on Amazon. It’s small package I’m putting in my emergency bags ASAP. That was a great tip, not sure the Japanese use this brand, but it looks awesome. Linda

      Reply
  • October 27, 2017 at 2:36 pm
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    I grew up on bean soup and corn bread.Vegetable soup and corn bread and chili and corn bread. Those were the days!Didn’t know we were poor, just well fed.

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    • October 27, 2017 at 4:51 pm
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      Hi Bebe, yes we were well fed and we knew what we were eating! I love your comment! Now I want to make some cornbread! Linda

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    • October 27, 2017 at 4:53 pm
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      Oh Bebe, I forgot I use to make a big pot of vegetable soup and freeze it in quarts with enough space at the top for expansion. We had vegetable soup all the time. Linda

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  • October 27, 2017 at 3:01 pm
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    I love beans, too. I recall the first time I was totally on my own and I wanted to make navy bean soup with ham. I set the beans to soak that night and went to bed. When I got up the next morning, I had a terrible shock! There were tiny worms in my bean water. I was totally stunned as I didn’t recall anything like that happening when I was cooking with Mom. So, I called Mom and asked her if she had ever had that happen to her. She laughed so hard she was crying! She explained that if the beans are really fresh, they will start to sprout overnight sitting in the water. Well, I did live in an area that grew a lot of beans and that is exactly what I had – fresh dried beans. So, if you see little worm-like things in your bean water, just know that they are not worms but the sprouts from the beans.

    I live alone so all my bean “cooking” comes from a can. But, I do know how to cook beans from scratch!

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    • October 27, 2017 at 4:54 pm
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      Leanne, this is the best story ever! I have never seen the beans sprout in a pot. I have the giggles just thinking about it. This is a tip we all need for sure. Love it! Linda

      Reply
  • October 28, 2017 at 12:50 pm
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    So, can you eat the beans with the sprouts? I’m a city girl land know how to cook beans from scratch, but hate to waste food! ! ! I also add a tablespoon of baking soda to my pinto beans to avoid the “after effects” of enjoying them:)

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    • October 28, 2017 at 1:12 pm
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      Hi Kathi, I would eat the beans if they have sprouted while soaking them, just cook until tender. Great tip on the baking soda! Linda

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  • November 1, 2017 at 10:33 am
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    I cook beans all the time. Sometimes, though, I’ll soak them and then put them directly into my canning jars. I fill about half way, then add water and a tsp of salt. I can them in pint jars right in my instant pot. Someone told me that wasn’t safe, but I only do a few jars for 90 minutes and we eat them pretty fast. Great way to have them ready for chili and you don’t have the tinny taste from the cans.

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    • November 1, 2017 at 1:55 pm
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      Hi, my twin from another mother, Joyce!! I miss you. That’s a great tip, yes they are not meant for pressure canning but if you put them in the frig for a short time. It’s not safe for longterm pressure canning but like you said you eat them quickly. I LOVE beans. Hugs, Linda

      Reply
  • November 4, 2017 at 4:30 pm
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    during WW2, I was young but remember the way things appeared on the table, always pretty, never dull. Mother was great at serving what ever we could get with the ration coupons, a half pound of hamburger or horse meat made into a thick white gravy and simmered til the flavor of the meat was there, over fresh out of the oven bread made a healthy meal, We ate a lot of corn meal mush, breakfast with a bit of milk, lunch was fried mush with corn in it, good with a dab of butter and a little corn syrup and dinner was when she added a bit of cooked meat to it. let it firm up and she sliced it like bread and lightly fried it… Difference between horse meat and beef was the horse meat was tough and stringy even when ground.. but it was meat…The butchers would sell what they could find, We had a little victory garden and reaped a lot of nice fresh veggies from it, and Dad let me have chickens if I made the first cage, then he made a great one all painted up with shingles and folks actually walked all the way up onto the property to see if it was an apartment for rent.. the little green shutters on the white chicken house did look like a little home.. I still love my back yard chickens, just collared 2 banty roosters, what a job, little stinkers will act like I was killing them and they start crowing again.. They will throw a fit when you put a collar on them, one thru himself back on his butt, kicked his feet and was so mad at me… but if they crow the neighbors could complain.. can’t have that

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    • November 4, 2017 at 5:32 pm
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      Jeanne, oh my gosh, I love this story, I can actually picture the chicken coup you built with shingles sitting on the porch. I must say the horse meat does not sound good. I could easily be a vegetarian as long as I can have brownies as a side dish just kidding! Mark is fixing some chicken right now and I said I’m going to eat the last brownie with my salad. LOL! I have never raised chickens, but I know a few people who have starter chickens like just 3 or 4 to try and gather eggs. But they are teaching themselves to be self-reliant. I love it! Have a great Sunday, Linda

      Reply
  • December 18, 2017 at 8:10 am
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    Linda, I was reading one of your bean blogs, and somewhere I read about Ajwain seeds.  I can’t find that article again, but I bought some and was wondering now what they were for and how to use them?  Thank you

    Reply

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