Baking on a Saturday – No Sugar Added Apple Butter Banana Bread

One thing that annoys me with many food/recipe blogs is that there is usually at least a 5,000 word story to scroll through before you get to the actual recipe you were looking for in the first place.  That being said, the idea for this recipe kind of does have a story behind it but I’ll keep it quick.

Through a series of events, we came into possession of about a hundred apples and only used about thirty-five of them.  Never the one to throw extra food away, I decided to try my hand at home made apple butter.  The apple butter actually turned out really really good.  However, after about two weeks, we still had a good bit left and I was sick of seeing it in our fridge.  It was also a Saturday when I was home alone with the kids.  I love passing on my passion for cooking and baking to my kids, so we went into the lab together and created apple butter banana bread.

If you’ve read my recipe blogs before, you know that I am a huge fan of not loading foods, especially ones with fruits (i.e. sugar) already in them.  It’s not necessarily that I’m an insanely healthy eater.  I’m not.  I just don’t like that some recipes have as much sugar as flour.  In essence, I would rather my banana bread taste more like bananas than sugar.  So you’ll notice that this recipe has absolutely no extra sugar added.  When I made the original apple butter, I added about a quarter cup of brown sugar but this recipe only uses a small amount of the total apple butter.  So all in all, there is probably about a tablespoon of brown sugar from the apple butter actually in the bread.

So, after complaining about blogs that take forever to get to the actual recipe, I used three hundred to introduce this one.  I apologize. Here’s the recipe.

Ingredients

2 ripe bananas

1 cup apple butter

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs (if you want a vegan recipe, substitute 1/4 cup applesauce)

2 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

Step One

Preheat the oven to 350*

Step Two

Mash the bananas in a medium bowl.  I find that it is easiest to just use a fork for this.  Then add the apple butter, vegetable oil, vanilla, and eggs/applesauce.  Mix it all together until it is relatively smooth.  Set the wet mix aside. 20190112_085846.jpg

Step Three

In a separate bowl, add the dry ingredients; the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Mix them together until they are well blended.20190112_085357.jpg

Step Four

Add the wet mix into the dry mix.  Mix it together until the entire mixture is relatively smooth.  Use a rubber spatula to make sure that all the dry mix is off the edges of the bowl or when you go to pour the batter, you’ll all of a sudden have a spot of dry flour in your bread that never got mixed in.20190112_124550.jpg

Step Five

Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and pour/spoon the batter into the pan.  Bake for 50 minutes or until you can insert a fork into the middle of the loaf and it comes out clean.  Try your best to eat it while it is still warm out the oven.  If not, this bread should hold pretty well for a couple of days.  It pairs really well with coffee but what doesn’t? Am I right?  Also, don’t judge me that the kids are all still in their pajamas, it’s a Saturday ok.

 

Well, as always, thanks for taking time to read the blog.  I hope you enjoyed it and that you try this recipe and love it too.  Our family liked it a lot even though it’s not super sweet.  If you want to follow the blog to receive email updates whenever I post something new, please click on the link in the lower right hand corner of your screen.  Thanks again.

 

Kidlit Book Review – Folkland Fables: Scottish Fairy Creatures by Jenni Gudgeon

“Hidden deep in the heart of Folkland Wood there lies a doorway into Faerie. It
only opens when the moon grins mischievously in the sky, and even then, it’s not
open long.”

“Fairy-sighted humans view two worlds at once…”

Welcome back to the blog everyone and thank you for reading.  I took somewhat of a hiatus from writing over the holiday season but have a lot of book reviews pending and one author interview on tap as well.

This week, I had the pleasure of reading  Folkland Fables: Scottish Fairy Creatures, the book from which the opening quotes to this post comes.  I must say, that it is by far the most interesting of all the books that I’ve reviewed up until now.

Overview

The book is written by Scottish author Jenni Gudgeons as a sort of traveler’s guide to the fairy creatures that live in the woods by her house in Scotland.  So, it’s different in that there is not really any sort of plot to follow.  Just descriptions, backgrounds, and behavioral patterns of the creatures.  However, not having a plot does not mean that it is not engaging.  I found it to be very much so and truly enjoyed it.  It is longer than most of the books that I review and much more suited for upper elementary level students and the illustrations belie that.  I will describe them more in detail later as they are definitely noteworthy.

Excellent Points

  • Illustrations for sure.  I fell in love with them.  They are done on two page spreads.  The bases for the illustrations are actual pictures of the woods and things in them such as trees, flowers, moss, etc.  However, superimposed over the photographs, are fanciful illustrations of the creatures described.  They are done in classical fairy tale style in which realistic portrayal is thrown to the wind and creature merges with vegetation and vegetation merges with geography.  It’s really hard to describe.  Think Where the Wild Things Are mixed with original portrayals of the Billy Goats Gruff only more fanciful and whimsical.  The colors of the creatures are all done in black, white, yellow/gold and orange, which gives it even more a rare aura.  Again.  It’s hard to describe without actually seeing them.
  • The descriptive language in the book is very good as well.  Gudgeon uses many very precise adjectives to create word pictures to accompany her illustrations.  The backgrounds and behaviors of the creatures are all very precise and developed as well.  It’s almost Tolkien-esque.
  • The book is very unique in its portrayal of several common creatures such as unicorns.  While in most books and stories, unicorns are revered and sacred, Gudgeon describes them as more vain, arrogant, petty, and annoying.
  • The book includes several creatures not common in fairy stories such as a washerwoman, wood brownies, will-o’-the-wisps, and more.  As a traveler’s guide, Folkland Fables not only describes them but also gives advice on how to best interact with them.  It’s really very neat.

Teaching and Discussion Points

  • Folkland Fables would be a great book to read and compare with similar stories involving fairy creatures such as unicorns, trolls, pucks, etc.  Use Venn diagrams to show similarities and differences in both appearance and behavior.
  • Although some of the creatures are portrayed with negative characteristics, Gudgeon doesn’t vilify them.  She simply describes them honestly and tells how to interact with them in the best way.  Discuss how this is how we can approach some people too.  Everyone brings something different to a classroom environment and everyone has a different set of life experiences that causes them to be who they are.  This is important to realize and take into account as humans and as fairy creatures.

Teaching Ideas

  • It’s almost a good thing that there is no plot from a teaching perspective as this leaves room for students to create their own stories based on the creatures’ characteristics.  Creative writing is such an important skill for development.  This is a great opportunity for it.
  • Another great creative opportunity is for students to create their own fairy creatures.  Don’t put any caveats or limitations on it.  Allow them to be as wild and fanciful as the students can dream.  This is a great time when their creativity does not need to be reined in at all.  Now play a game to test the students’ descriptive writing.  Have the students exchange papers and illustrate their partner’s creature based on the description.  Assess how well each person was able to do it and have them add more description as necessary.
  • Summarizing is also an essential skill.  Have the students break into groups of four or five and compile a bullet-point style traveler’s guide to the forest with each creature being an entry.  Have each entry include a physical description category, a behavioral characteristics category, and a traveler’s advice category.  Have them research similar guides for other areas like the Sahara, rainforest, or arctic tundra.

 

 

All in all, Folkland Fables was a very interesting read.  I don’t think that I would recommend it for younger children.  However, if you are looking for an engaging and fanciful read with fantastic illustrations, this is a good place to find it.  You can find Folkland Fables on Amazon at this link.  It costs 25.99 for a hardback and 13.99 for paperback.  The Kindle version is only 6.99.

As always, thank you for reading.  Special thanks to Jenni Gudgeon for allowing me to review her book.  I really hope that there are more to come with actual stories involving the creatures of Folkland Woods.  To follow the blog and receive and email update when I post something new, please click on the link in the lower right hand corner of the screen.  Happy New Year everyone.

 

Creamy Leftover Mashed Potato Soup

So December 26th rolls around and you find yourself with 8 pounds of leftover mashed potatoes and half a ham.  What do you do?  Make soup!  I tried this recipe today and it turned out really good.  First, here’s what you will need for it.  It’s a pretty simple and straight forward recipe.  It’s not nearly as healthy as what I usually like to make up in a recipe but hey, it’s the holidays right?

Ingredients

6 cups leftover mashed potatoes

6 cups whole milk

1/2 cup sour cream

4 tbsp butter

1/2 cup chopped green onions

3 cups chopped leftover ham

2 tsp garlic salt

2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp black pepper

Step One

In a large crock pot, combine all the ingredients and set on high.  Gently stir it together.  If you have more than 6 cups of leftover mashed potatoes, just add an equal extra amount of milk.  You should always have equal amounts of milk and potato.  Then adjust the flavoring ingredients according to taste.

Step Two

After about an hour, come stir the soup again as the butter and sour cream should be melted by now.  Change the crock pot setting to low and stir the soup occasionally until ready to serve.

Step Three

Garnish the soup with your favorite cheese (sharp cheddar would probably be best) and serve hot with bread.

 

Like I said, this recipe is pretty easy and straight forward and a good way to use those Christmas or Thanksgiving leftovers.  Feel free to try it and leave a comment in the comment section on how you liked it or changed it.  As always, if you enjoy the blog and want to receive an email notification when I post something new, please click on the “follow” link in the lower right hand corner of your screen.  Thank you for reading and happy holidays.

Banana-Lime Blueberry Muffins

I like food.  Like a lot.  I probably even love food.  More so, I love food that has a lot of flavor.  I like cooking for people and making them feel happy through the food I cook.  However, I also hate that most of the baking recipes I find are loaded with sugars, oils, and butter.  For example, we had a few older bananas today so I just looked up banana muffin recipes.  Most of the recipes had almost as much sugar as flour in them and at least 1/2 cup of some kind of oil.  I just feel that is so unnecessary in baking.  There are so many other ways to add flavor in recipes, specifically baking, without loading it full of sugar.

Low sugar recipes are really a necessity if you have children…especially children like mine who are already very high energy.  So, instead of using a recipe on the internet, I just experimented with some new flavors to come up with these muffins.  They use much less sugar (still some sugar) and no vegetable oil.  Instead, I used applesauce, lime juice, vanilla extract, and cinnamon, to add moisture and flavor.  Enjoy.

Ingredients

2 ripe to overipe bananas

1/2 cup applesauce

1/3 cup sugar

3 tbsp lime juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 cup blueberries

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 2/3 cup flour

Step One

If you’re using frozen blueberries, take them out and get them thawing.  If you’re using fresh blueberries, just pre-heat the oven to 375*.

Step Two

Mash the two bananas using a fork in a large mixing bowl.  Add the applesauce, sugar, lime juice, eggs, and vanilla and stir with the fork until the mixture is generally smooth.  Set the wet mixture aside.

Step Three

In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Slowly stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture until it is one smooth batter.

Step Four

Add the blueberries.  At this point, try to stir as little as possible while still getting a good mix so that the blueberries stay intact.

Step Five

Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and spoon the batter into the cups until they are about 3/4 full.  Bake at 375 for 18-22 min or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean.

Step Six20181210_170514.jpg

Enjoy!!!!

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe.  It’s pretty easy and straight forward and the muffins turned out really good.  My whole family loved them.  The average consumption rate was about 45 seconds per muffin.  As always, thank you so much for reading.  I really appreciate your support.  If you want email notifications whenever I post a new recipe, book review, or crafting idea, please click on the link in the lower right hand corner of the page to follow the blog.

 

 

Kid Lit Book Review – The Little Labradoodle: Puppy Pickup Day

I know it has been a while since my last post and I apologize.  It has been a very eventful but rewarding holiday season so far but one that left very little time for writing.  I am excited to share with you all a review of another children’s book and one that is top notch.  The Little Labradoodle: Puppy Pickup Day is a delightful story and it was a pleasure to read and review.

Overview

The book follows the story of Brady, the smallest labradoodle puppy in the litter, on the day that families are coming to get the puppies to take them home.  The puppies are all washed and primped and ready for pickup.  As the puppies wait for their families to arrive, they play games.  For Brady, he is too small to be able to compete with his brothers and sisters.  So he wanders off to find other ways to entertain himself.  He is a curious and somewhat mischievous little fellow and soon gets himself lost as the other doodles are picked up.  However, with some help from his friends, he is able to make it back to the house just as his family arrives.  At this point, he is beset with fear and anxiety as he worries that his family will not be able to love him since he is so small and clumsy and is now covered in dirt.  However, his fears are soon put to rest as his new family accepts him exactly how he is and gladly takes him home with them.

Outstanding Points

  • The illustrations are some of the best available.  Len Smith, the illustrator, has a resume that is simply filled with high profile work in children’s literature and entertainment.  The Little Labradoodle follows suite and does not disappoint.  Both the characters and landscapes are bright, colorful, and engaging.
  • I like rhyming books.  As a former teacher, I like that you can use them to teach word families, rhyming and vowel patterns, and phonemic awareness in general.  They rhyming in this book is good and would make teaching from it very easy.
  • The book is complete with an activity and coloring book for children and also an adult coloring book as well.  The activities are fun and engaging as are the coloring pages.
  • The plot of the book is easy to follow and unified in its style and rhythm.
  • The book has a good message.  At the end, it is not physical characteristics or capabilities that matter to the people who love you.  They love you for who you are.  That’s what matters.

Teaching Points

This book lends itself very well to several teaching points.

  • As the labradoodle puppies are picked up, the book counts down.  This would be a good way to teach subtraction and counting back while incorporating a cross curricular engaging story in math.
  • There are several characters that Brady meets along the way.  Putting them in order would be a good way to teaching sequencing using the key words like “first,” “next,” “then,” and “last” or “finally.” The teacher could even use student coloring pages from the activity book to create a large version of a sequencing chart on the wall so that the students are invested in the visual aide.
  • The labradoodle puppy doesn’t have a name until the very end when his family gets him and give him a name.  Look at the illustration of the puppy then.  Compare that to the picture of him just before.  How does the puppy feel about getting a name?  Why is it important that his family gave him a name?
  • Make a prediction.  What do you think will happen when the family gets home.  List three things they might do.  (Remember, Brady is still dirty from his adventure).

Discussion Points

  • Feeling significant/ self-worth – The labradoodle is just one of eight puppies and is the smallest and clumsiest one.  Talk about how those things don’t matter.  Discuss how the puppy still had many people in his life who loved and cared for him.  Have students list people in their lives; friends, family, teachers, etc. who love and care for them no matter what.  Use this time to help develop students’ self-worth and self-esteem.
  • Perserverance – The labradoodle had a long journey to get back to his house and meet his family.  Talk about how he had a goal of getting back and how he kept that goal in mind.
  • Cooperation/helping – The labradoodle had friends help him on the way.  List all the friends who help him in his goal of getting back to the house.  Talk about goals that a class as a whole might have and how they will have to work together to achieve those goals.

Conclusion

Overall, I found The Little Labradoodle: Puppy Pickup Day to be a very easy and enjoyable read.  As I said, the illustrations are about the best you can get, the plot is unified and engaging, and the message is positive and relevant for young people.  I highly recommend this book and the activity book and coloring pages with it.  I hope that the author meant it when she said to stay tuned for more adventures with Brady coming soon.

Where to get it

The easiest way to get the book is directly from the website, thelittlelabradoodle.com.  If you buy the book there, you get not only the book itself, but a downloadable pdf of the book, and audiobook version, and the coloring and activity book.  They have a couple of different bundles to purchase that come with a plush little labradoodle toy that would be great for a Christmas or birthday present for a child.  If you already have an Amazon account though, you can find the book there as well. Again, the author is April M. Cox.

 

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading this and I hope you enjoy the book.  As always, please subscribe to the blog by clicking on the link in the right hand corner to receive an email anytime I post something new.  Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend.

The 5 Jedi I Would Take on My Team

Sometimes, I nerd out and ask myself hypothetical questions.  Then I make lists and answer them.  So, As I’m going through the Star Wars saga for like the 11th time in my life, I asked myself, “If you had to assemble a team of any five Jedi to take with you on a mission, which five would you take?”  It took me way longer than I thought it would to answer and the visions of the distraught faces of the Jedi that I left off still haunt my dreams.  However, here are the five Jedi I would take along with my reasoning.  I won’t go super into my nerdness for those of you who aren’t as into Star Wars as I am.

#1 Yoda

Yoda Soundboard

I know. I know.  This one seems almost too easy.  Yoda is one of the most powerful, if not the absolute most powerful Jedi in history.  His skill with a lightsaber is unrivaled as is his knowledge of the Force.  He is extremely wise and quick to see when he is wrong and change course.  He is also very old and has more perspective of the galaxy than anyone else.  Another reason I would take Yoda is that he is always looking for opportunities to teach and train those around him.  This is seen all throughout the Star Wars saga.  Last, Yoda is very small and can fit into very small places if the need should arrive.

#2 Mace Windu

This one was a somewhat difficult decision for me as Mace Windu is not exactly an extremely likeable character throughout Star Wars.  He is brusque and comes off as somewhat arrogant.  Many times he seems closed minded and set in his ways.  However, being so set in his ways brings with it a firm sort of consistency that I think would be invaluable on any given mission.  The one thing that made me choose Mace Windu however, is that he is simply a fighter.  The guy is seemingly always kicking someone’s butt.  He would have even killed Darth Sidious (Something that even Yoda failed to accomplish) had Anakin not interfered leading to Windu’s death.  Also, if you read the novel Shatterpoint, you will discover that Mace Windu has some very unique abilities with the Force.  His chemistry and friendship with Yoda make him an excellent choice for the second spot on my team.

# 3 Kit Fisto

Kit Fisto, even more so than Mace Windu, is somewhat of an oddball to make a list of top five Jedi to take on a mission.  However, I believe he would be an excellent addition for a number of reasons.  First, he is a Nautolan, which means that he can survive and actually excel in water as well as on land.  During the Battle of Mon Cala, he was integral in protecting Prince Lee-Char as well as winning the battle itself.  He is a fierce fighter who survives a duel with General Grievous and always seems to make the right decision.  He also has a good mix of humor and wisdom.  There are many times that he gives sage advice but just as many times that he laughs wholeheartedly.  Did I mention that he can stay underwater without any breathing apparatus?  I think Kit Fisto would make a fantastic third member of the team.

#4 Ahsoka Tano

Ahsoka Tano

I’ll admit that this one is a stretch.  Ahsako never officially moves past the rank of Padawan during the Clone Wars before she leaves the Jedi Order and strikes out on her own.  However, Ahsoka has several traits that I believe would make her a perfect member of the team.  First, from the time she first became a Padawan, she has always been faced with some kind of adversity.  All throughout her Jedi career, she is constantly in the mix of one conflict or another.  She, strangely enough, is at the center of some of the most consequential events in the Star Wars Universe.  Her experiences, give her invaluable wisdom and know-how that would be an addition to any mission and any team.  She also has a penchant for quick thinking and creative problem solving.  She consistently thinks of outside-the-box solutions to many problems.  She is wily and crafty with her enemies, and warm and selfless with her allies and friends.  She is courageous and spunky and knows when to obey orders, and when to think for herself.  Also, she duel wields lightsabers which is pretty BA.

#5 Obi Wan Kenobi

Obi-Wan Kenobi

Obi Wan is a Jedi who is hard to predict.  At times he is wise and level headed, giving wise advice and teaching those around him the deeper ways of the Force.  Other times he is foolish and brash, acting on instinct and whim.  However, I think that this is something that serves him, and would serve the hypothetical team, well.  I find him to be one of the most all-around likeable characters in the Star Wars Universe.  He is witty and charming, both with allies (Duchess Satine) and enemies (Asajj Ventress).  He is a more than capable fighter pilot and is powerful in the Force and with a lightsaber.  He beat Anakin in a duel, beat Darth Maul in a duel, and was the one to kill General Grievous.  Although he is unconventional and awkward at times, Obi Wan would be the perfect fifth member of the team.

Now, here’s a quick list of Jedi who were on the bubble but didn’t quite make the cut

#1 Luke Skywalker

Why I almost put him on the team.

Luke Skywalker is one of the most pure characters in the Star Wars story (at least until Rey comes around that is).  He is extremely powerful in the Force and quickly gains skill in lightsaber combat.  He blows up the Death Star and defeats Darth Vader while pulling off some other cool hero stuff along the way.

Why I didn’t put him on the team

I found that I was putting him on the team mostly because I felt I had to out of respect for the original trilogy.  In truth, he only blows up the Death Star because Han Solo saves him.  If not for that, he would have ended up like the rest of Red Squadron.  He defeats Vader sure, but to be honest, Vader makes a living in the original trilogy by choking out non-Force-sensitive dudes and cutting down people who have no lightsaber.  I dunno, I just felt that there wasn’t enough to put him on the team.

#2 Anakin Skywalker

I know that it seems blasphemous to have a team of Jedi assembled without a single Skywalker amongst them, but Anakin misses the cut too.

Why I almost put him on the team

Anakin is obviously extremely strong in the Force.  His mother even claims that he didn’t have a father and was actually conceived by the Force itself.  (If you get into the novels, it’s kind of suggested that this was a response to Darth Plagueis and Darth Sidious messing around with resurrecting the dead).  Anakin is very skilled with a lightsaber, a quick and critical thinker, the “best star fighter pilot in the galaxy,” and a natural leader.

Why I left him off the team

Despite all those accolades, Anakin spends much of the prequels and Clone Wars getting beat.  He seems to be really good at chopping up battle droids and choking people, but never really beats a strong opponent until he kills Count Dooku.  I mean am I wrong in saying that half of his lightsaber duels end with him being reconstructed?  I feel bad leaving him off because I really like him, especially in the Clone Wars, but just feel like others were better for the team.

#3 Qui Gon Jinn

Qui-Gon Jinn

I really really like Qui Gon Jinn.  I know it’s not a huge snub to leave him off the list as he only plays a major role in one of the prequels and is killed in it.  I just wanted to talk about him so that he gets kind of an “honorable mention” award type deal.

Why I almost put him on the team

Qui Gon is strong and wise.  He is a large and powerful Jedi and is willing to take risks and trust his instincts.  As Obi Wan says, he would have been on the Jedi Council had it not been for his stubbornness.

Why I left him off the team.

He obviously wasn’t that strong as Darth Maul kills him in Episode One.

 

Well, I hope I didn’t bore you too much with my nerdiness.  As always, thanks for reading.  If you enjoyed the blog and want to receive emails whenever there’s a new post, please click on the “follow” link in the lower right hand corner of your screen.

All images courtesy of Starwars.com

 

Apple Cider Chili in a Crock Pot (Vegan Option Included)

I don’t know why I’ve been so into experimenting with new and different chili recipes this fall but I have. This weekend, I decided to try to blend two fall classics, chili and apple cider. I actually really liked it.  The two flavors blended really well into a sweet and spicy mix.  I didn’t top it with cheese or anything this time, but in the future I might.  Cheddar cheese actually goes really well with apples.  So, if you enjoy recipes and flavors that are a little bit different than what you’re used to, read on.

Ingredients

1 lb ground turkey (For the vegan option, substitute I can of red kidney beans

2 bell peppers

1 onion

3 cups apple cider

3 cups water

3 cups unsweetened applesauce

1 can  dark red kidney beans

1 can pinto beans

1 can light red kidney beans

2 cans of diced tomatoes with green chiles

1 tbsp chili powder

2 tbsp cumin

3 tbsp brown sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp salt

Step One

The first thing you’ll want to do is get the water, cider, applesauce, peppers, and onion into the crock pot to start warming and getting soft.  Start by mixing the first three ingredients (water, cider, applesauce) and then dicing the peppers and onion and getting them in. 20181112_092543.jpg

(He’s four now, so I feel it’s a good time to teach kitchen knife skills)

Step Two

The next thing to do is get all the spices into the mix.  Add the chili powder, cumin, brown sugar, cinnamon, onion powder, and salt to the mix.  If you like your chili a little more spicy, feel free to add more chili powder than is in the recipe.  I would, but most people that eat my chili prefer foods not as spicy as I do.

Step Three

Brown the turkey in a skillet and add it to the mix. (Obviously if you’re doing the vegan version, skip this step)

Step Four

Add the beans and tomatoes to the chili and mix it all together.  Leave it sitting on high for at least 4 hours.  This will make sure that the onions and peppers get soft enough and that their natural flavors get into the chili.

 

Well, that’s all there really is to it.  It’s a pretty simple recipe.  Not too many ingredients except for a lot of spices.  If you wanted to simplify it, you could simply use one type of beans (probably the dark red kidney beans).  I just add different ones for variety.  Thanks for reading.  As always, if you enjoyed this recipe and want more, please follow the blog by clicking on the link in the lower right hand corner of your screen.