Friday, March 27, 2009

A Homemade Life, March 27

For A Homemade Life today, I thought I would share my recipe for homemade baked beans. We have taken to serving beans and hot dogs every Saturday night for the past couple of months. This is an economical old New England custom. If you are feeling really economical, skip the hot dogs and serve the beans instead with homemade brown bread. In either case, cole slaw makes a nice accompaniment. Applesauce would be good too.


1 pound dry navy beans or small white beans
1 onion, peeled and quartered or chunked
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tblsp. salt
1 tsp. prepared mustard (any kind)
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup molasses

The night before you want to serve the baked beans, empty the dry beans into a container about double their bulk. Cover the beans with cold water and let stand overnight.

Next morning, heat the oven to 350º. Then drain the beans and place them in a 2- or 3-quart bean pot. (A casserole dish of the same capacity works as well, if you don't have a bean pot.) Add the onion, the sugar, salt, mustard and pepper to the bean pot. Now add cold water to cover the beans and stir it all up. Cover the bean pot and bake for 1 hour at 350º.

Turn the oven temperature down to 300º. Stir the molasses into the bean mixture. Cover the pot again and return it to the oven. Bake the beans until they are thoroughly tender, about 6 more hours. Check the beans every hour and add water as needed to keep them covered. It is important that they not dry out on top.

Serve hot. Makes 8 servings.

This recipe is a combination of one from Cook & Tell, a favorite cookbook of mine, and the recipe my grandmother used for baked beans.

If anyone would like to try making brown bread, here is the recipe I use.

(Traditional brown bread is steamed in cans, so the slices come out round and moist. This is a quicker way and quite delicious.) My kids always enjoyed this.


Beat 1 egg in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup molasses, 3/4 cup plain yogurt, 1/4 cup water (you can substitute 1 cup buttermilk for the yogurt and water if you prefer), and 1/4 cup canola oil. In another bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup cornmeal, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. baking powder, and 1 tsp. salt. Add to the egg mixture. Stir in 1/2 cup raisins (my kids preferred chopped dates) and stir all together quickly but thoroughly. Pour into a greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and bake at 350º for 45 minutes or until the loaf tests done. Remove from pan to a wire rack immediately. Yield: 1 loaf.

Another homemade thing I made this week was this dish towel.

I have been wanting for quite some time now to try my hand at making a flour sack dish towel with a band of fabric trim. From my experience making all of the trimmed pillowcases back at Christmas time, I thought I could figure out a technique for trimming a dish towel. It worked quite well. I was in the mood to make something with a springtime look, even though the snow continues to remain very deep up here. I made this dish towel to give to an aunt as a birthday gift, and sent one of my crocheted dishcloths along with it.

That is about all of my homemade goodies for this week. To see more homemade ideas shared by others, go to Life on a Back Road. You will find lots of inspiration there!


  1. I didn't know anybody made baked beans from scratch anymore!! They look delicious! So does the brown bread, maybe I'll try your recipes!


    1. Another unanswered comment! I don't know how I let all of these get by me. Hope you enjoyed the baked beans and brown bread if you tried them.


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