As Many Of You Know . . .
I am very, very pregnant. Pretty soon hummingbirds are going to get their center of gravity confused and start orbiting my midsection, I just know it.
The thing about being this pregnant is that I am constantly confronted by limitations that are foreign to me. Let me give you an example of who I was before becoming a mom.
Daniel: I had a weird dream last night.
Me: Yeah? What was it about?
Daniel: You were wearing a shirt that said “One Man Army” across the front.
Me: Really? That’s cool.
Daniel: Someone in the dream thought so, too. But I just laughed and said “I’ve lost to that army.”
What I’m trying to say is that good or bad, I used to be a force to be reckoned with. At least I thought so. But you know what? Motherhood requires more stamina, determination and strategy than anything I encountered in the corporate world. It is in my role as a mom that I find I have truly discovered my limitations: time and energy. Sheesh . . . I’ve handled pr blowouts and written magazine articles with more ease than it takes me to put together my weekly meal plan.
A Lot Of That Is My Fault, Though
Sometimes I get caught up in the passion of cooking, which is very real to me, and forget that delicious food does not have to be complicated. So for the past several weeks I have been experimenting with quick and frugal recipes, because as much as I love cooking I do not want to be there all day. I have a life to live, a husband to love, and children to nurture and adore. And I need to stretch my budget to afford some new baby stuff.
Basically, our family needs frugal, fuss-free, freezable meals that are also nourishing. Since I’m just rambling now I’ll wrap this up. This 8 Layer Dip, which was inspired by Organic & Thrifty’s 5 Layer Dip, is AWESOME. It’s not exactly fuss-free but since you can easily make double batches of the meat and refried beans and freeze some it’s easy to get your time back. It is frugal because the black beans provide weight to the meal while being light on your checkbook. And did I mention it is almost certain to be a family favorite?
So, without further ado . . .
- 3 cups black beans (rinsed)
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper (seeded and chopped)
- 2 1/2 tsp unrefined sea salt
- 1 3/4 tsp black pepper
- 3 tsp cumin (ground) (for beans)
- 3 tsp chili powder
- 9 cups water
- 4 tbsp whey, lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar
- 1 lb ground beef (preferably grass-fed)
- 1 cup raw cheddar cheese (shredded)
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 cups tomatoes (diced)
- 3/4 yellow or white onion (chopped)
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 2 avocados (mashed, seasoned with salt, pepper, & juice from 2 lemons)
- 2 tsp cumin (for dip)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil, ghee, lard or tallow
Preparing The Beans
- Place beans in the crockpot or a bowl, add 8 cups of warm water and the whey, apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Soak overnight (8-12 hours).
- Pour beans into a colander, rinse with filtered water, then place them back into the crock pot.
- Place 1 onion, 1/2 jalapeno pepper, 1 1/2 tsp sea salt, 1 3/4 tsp pepper, 3 tsp cumin and 3 tsp chili powder in a crockpot. Cover with water. They should be nice and plump already from soaking and so will not expand much, but make sure they are well-covered. Set on high for 8 hours.
- Once the beans are tender, strain them and reserve the liquid. Use a potato masher or mallet to mash the beans. If they are too dry, add some of the reserve liquid.
- Add more salt if needed.
Layering The Dip
- Warm coconut oil, ghee, tallow or lard in a pan over low/medium heat
- Season ground beef with salt pepper and 2 tsp cumin and place it in the pan. Sautee until cooked through. Place it in your serving dish. I used an 8X8 baking dish and it worked well.
- Add refried beans on top of the ground beef. Then add cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, onions and cilantro. Top with avocado mixture and you’re done!
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