Monday, July 1, 2013

Aunt Eddie's Beans (and a surprise dessert!)

Jan here, and I'm pleased to welcome Christina Rich as our guest blogger today!

If you happened to make it out to our virtual writer's retreat at the Green Mountain Dude Ranch in Idaho a couple weeks ago, you'll remember when Christina helped Sally May out in the kitchen and cooked up a batch of Aunt Eddie's famous beans.

She's agreed to share the recipe with us, exclusively (for now), here at the cafe. So give a big welcome to Christina!

Hiya! I’m so excited to be a guest at Yankee Belle Café. You don’t know how often I’ve read over the posts and drooled over the pictures, wishing I had a drop of foodie blood in my veins. After talking beans with some of the gals here, I’ve discovered I just might have a drop after all, and what better time of the year than the 4th of July to discover my inner foodie.

I love the 4th. Okay, I can do without the up –close-in-your-face fireworks, but I do love watching others shoot them off.

And I love watching my nieces and nephews get excited by the fireworks.

And of course, I love watching my younger brothers act like kids.

But one of my favorite things about the 4th is getting together with friends and family and eating. Almost every year my parents open up their driveway to whoever would like to come; family, extended family, friends and neighbors. Everyone brings something good to the table, but one of my favorites is Aunt Eddie’s Beans. Aunt Eddie (pronounced like weed) is really an aunt, which is something I just discovered a few weeks ago. Turns out she’s one of my cousins’ aunts but I’m okay with the association as I get to benefit by eating her beans. ;)

Aunt Eddie’s Baked Beans


29 ounce can of pork and beans
16 ounce can butter beans (drained)
16 ounce can red kidney beans (drained)
½ pound bacon
1 pound hamburger
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup catsup
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vinegar
Chopped onion to taste
*To make gluten free, use all gluten free ingredients.

Cut the bacon onto small pieces and brown in skillet. Drain off the grease. Brown the hamburger and drain off the grease. Combine all of the ingredients stirring well.

Pour into a 9"x13" pan and bake covered at 350° for 30 minutes. Then uncover and bake for another 30 minutes.

There is no fancy dancy cookware here, only tin for a much easier clean up.

Another favorite item, one that was made out on the trail back in the old days is Stir Crazy Cake. Now this recipe isn’t gluten-free, but I think it can be made gluten free. The next time we make it we’re going to try and use a gluten free flour so I can have some. This recipe comes from Chuckwagon Coooking from Marlboro Country: Range Recipes and Chuckwagon History.

Stir Crazy Cake
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup cooking oil
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups cold coffee
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Put flour, 1 ½ cups sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into an ungreased 13"x9"x2" metal baking dish (I have used glass before as well and it works). Stir dry ingredients together with a fork.

Form 3 wells in flour mixture. Pour oil in one well, vinegar in one well, and vanilla in one well, pour cold coffee over all of the ingredients and stir with a fork until well mixed.  Do NOT beat. 

Combine remaining sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the batter.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes.

My favorite recipes wouldn't be complete without my dad manning the grill and the smoker, fresh cut watermelon, my sister-in-law’s fabulous cupcake creations, and everyone gathered around to watch the night light up in celebration of America’s independence.

A little historical fact: The Kansas territory didn't open up for settlement until May 30, 1854, and it became a state January 29, 1861. However, the very first 4th of July celebrated in Kansas was in 1804. Yes, nearly fifty years before being opened up to settlement. It seems good ol’ Lewis and Clark crossed the Missouri River and set up camp near a creek and an abandoned Kansa Indian campground. The aptly named the creek Independence Creek and celebrated the occasion by firing a cannon from a bow piece and handing out an extra ration of whiskey.

When Christina Rich was younger, she tried to dig herself to China, loved Three Billy Goats Gruff, and had an obsession with maps. She gave up her dig to China but still jumps at the chance to travel even if it’s just down the road. She loves watching modern takes of fairytales and mythologies on the big screen and still has a huge obsession with maps. The older the better.

Born and raised in Kansas, where she currently lives with her husband and children, Christina loves to read stories with happily ever afters, research,  take photos, knit scarves, dig into her ancestry, fish, visit the ocean, write stories with happily ever afters and talk about her family and Jesus.

A semi-finalist in the Genesis, she just recently signed a contract with Love Inspired Historical for a Biblical romance. You can find more about her at and


  1. sounds good! my mom used to make really sweet baked beans - hard to find any that sweet - Bush's finally came close with their grillin' beans - actually did meet the sweetness but not the overall flavor...only had ground beef in baked beans once and they were good

    1. I made this to take to our church potluck yesterday - I loved the flavors! Sweet, but not too sweet, and the bacon added a savory goodness....mmmm....

    2. Susanna, I remember having sweet baked beans once. I'm thinking there was a lot of brown sugar in them but I can't remember. I don't do 'real' sweet well any more so I like the way I can control the sweetness with the type of beans I use. Of course, I'm sort of limited because there aren't too many beans out there that are gluten free.

    3. Jan, I'm glad you were able to try this. It's such a good dish. I took my pan out to my mother-in-law's for her 4th of July birthday celebration which we celebrated on Saturday. Ms. Mary Lou, my mil's mil, really liked them too and she's a real cook. ;) Made me feel good.

    4. I've alway added brown sugar, onion, ketchup and mustard to my baked beans. And bacon if I had any on hand. And I was probably a little too heavy on the brown sugar. LOL

  2. Great recipes, Christina! I love to try new things. Thank you for sharing!


    1. Thank you, Piper. I hope you get the chance to try them. It's different and good.

  3. Christina, thanks so much for sharing these great recipes! I love doctored up baked beans like these. YUM!

    I also think I'll love that cake. Can't wait to try it!

  4. You are welcome, Missy. I love beans, so does my youngest daughter and these are really good. I can't wait to try this cake gluten free. I haven't had it for a very long time, probably twenty-five years or so.

  5. Christina, thanks for sharing these recipes. I didn't make it to the retreat so it's fun to read about the fun you all had.

    The cake fascinates me. I love how you make the wells and put different liquids in each one.

    Thanks for the history lessons. 4th of July is one my favorite holidays.

    PS - love the picture of you.

    1. Isn't that a great picture of Christina? She had a bunch of pics taken at Lake Shawnee, just a mile from where I used to live - is this one of those, Christina?

    2. Mary, thank you. I strongly dislike having my picture taken but these were kind of fun to do.

      Jan, yes this is one of the ones taken at Lake Shawnee. In a few weeks I think I want to have one take on top of Burnett's Mound.

  6. I thought I posted here but I guess not. Love the post and can't wait to hear if gluten-free flour works for the cake.

    1. Pssst...did you notice the cake has coffee in it?

      Now for me, that's a bad thing, but for coffee drinkers? Do you guys love coffee in cake?

    2. Julie, I can't wait either. :)

      Jan, I am not a coffee drinker, but this cake is really good. Oh, but I think that might be because my mom triples the cinnamon and sugar mixture on top. ;)

  7. Hurrah!!!!! Thank you, thank you, thankyou.