Homemade Refried Beans


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Homemade Refried Beans

You’ll never want to buy a can of beans again after tasting these and seeing how easy and cheap they are to make.

Beans, beans, the musical fruit… the more you eat the more you toot… the more you toot the better you are… so eat some beans and toot some more.

On a more serious note (no pun intended) beans are one of my favorite comfort foods. They are easy on the budget, taste delicious, and are very good for you. This time of year they are particularly delicious because of all the fresh produce that’s available.

Ingredients:  2 cups dry pinto beans (rinsed), 2 tomatoes, 1 onion, 1 green chile or jalapeño, fresh garlic clove, salt, 2 splashes of olive oil.


Place rinsed beans in a heavy pot and cover with 1 1/2 inches of water. Add salt and 1 splash of olive oil. IMG_3400

Bring to a boil.IMG_3401 Remove from heat, Put lid on pot. Rest for 30 minutes.IMG_3402 Remove lid and strain beans. Rinse beans thoroughly (this is what removes the toot)IMG_3403Put beans in slow cooker, add vegetables coarsely chopped, 2 tsp salt and another splash of olive oil.
IMG_3405Cook on high and set timer for 8 hours. Be prepared for heavenly aromas.IMG_3406 After 8 hours your beans should look like thisIMG_3409To make sure your beans are done, take a couple out and smash them. If they are sill hard return them to the cookerIMG_3410 Ladle the excess liquid from the beans. Save the liquid.IMG_3411 Using an immersion blender, puree the beans, adding liquid back as needed to form your desired consistency. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a blender or food processor.IMG_3412 IMG_3413 Salt to taste.IMG_3414Voila!IMG_3415Your beans are now ready to eat. Garnish them with salsa, cheese, chopped onions, chopped peppers, cilantro…the sky’s the limit. Or ladle them onto a tortilla, add some cheese and salsa and roll them up into a burrito.

If you want to be adventurous try a little bowl of hot beans with cottage cheese in them. They look like vomit but taste delicious! It’s a perfect low fat high protein dinner. A fresh apple eaten along with the beans is a delicacy. I know it sounds crazy but it’s really good.

I hope you enjoy this simple staple recipe. Stay tuned for my fresh salsa recipe in the near future.



Rustic Artisan Bread; Food for Your Soul


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Many summers ago a dear friend taught me the art of baking Italian bread. Stir the little yeasties gently in one direction so as to not upset them. Give them a little sugar to help them grow… After several risings, and shaping into long beautiful loaves, the bread would finally be done. We’d carefully saw slices from the delicate warm loaves and eat them, sometimes with butter and some times with chunks of cheddar cheese. That summer we made omelettes using fresh vegetables from the garden, and though my memory is fuzzy, I think we ate off of hand made plates. Little did I know way back then, the seeds of the slow food movement were being planted in my soul.

I think one of the most meditative things we can do is to slow down and prepare the food we put in our bodies. The miracle of life is in everything we eat: it nourishes us, comforts us, and sustains us. When we become mindless about essentials, we lose ourselves in the mad dash of a face paced existence.IMG_2382

ALICE WATERS, Chef: “When you eat fast food, you not only eat the food that is unhealthy for you, but you digest the values that comes with that food. And they’re really about fast, cheap and easy…Probably the greatest lesson I have learned from the Edible Schoolyard project is that, when children grow food and they cook it, they all want to eat it.Alice Waters teaches slow food values in a fast food world.”
July 23, 2015 at 6:20 PM EDT PBS News Hour.

I haven’t lost my love for baking bread and recently I have learned how to bake artisan loaves. My gift to you is this tutorial. Slow down and bake a loaf for yourself.

For one loaf you will need: 

Cast Iron enameled bakeware such as Le Creuset, 2 cups water, 2 Tablespoons of yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 1/2  teaspoon of salt, 5-6 cups flour, 2 Tablespoons of butter (optional)

My recipe: this is doubled for two loaves. The recipe I'm giving you is for one loaf

My recipe: this is doubled for two loaves. The recipe I’m giving you is for one loaf

Start by putting your ungreased bakeware into a 450 degree oven. This preheats the bakeware which is the secret to baking crusty artisan bread. Leave the bakeware in the oven until you are ready to put the bread dough in it. 


This recipe is made in a Bosch or Kitchen Aid mixer. You can make it by hand also.

Pour 2 Cups warm water into mixing bowl. Add yeast, sugar, salt, and melted butter (optional).

Wait until the yeast is activated…

Yeast is activated when it begins to get bubbly

Yeast is activated when it begins to get bubbly

Turn mixer on and begin adding flour 1 cup at a time. You will know when you have added enough flour as soon as the dough cleans the side of the mixing bowl.

IMG_3285The second the dough cleans the side of the bowl, set the time for 5 minutes and let the mixer continue to knead. After 5 minutes turn the mixer off and put a clean towel over the bowl allowing the dough to rise for 20 minutes or until doubled.


After the dough is doubled in size turn it out onto a floured counter or bread board and gently knead into a ball.

Carefully take you hot bakeware out of the oven and remove the lid.

Carefully take you hot bakeware out of the oven and remove the lid.

Place the ball of dough into the bakeware. You can cut deep slits in the crust for extra beauty if you’d like.

IMG_3290Put the lids on the bakeware and return to oven. Bake for 30 minutes.

Take the bakeware out of the oven and remove lid.


Return bakeware to oven for another 15 minutes.

IMG_3294Remove bread from oven and bakeware. Cool on wire racks.

Bon appétit!



Embrace Your Uglies: They’re Sheep in Wolves’ Clothing

Barbara Scoville, LCSW

I see you Mara...Sit down and have a cup of tea with me I see you Mara…Sit down and have a cup of tea with me

…Oh Crap!!! I thought. The hair on my arms stood up, and I immediately knew that shutting the door was a big mistake. Everything inside me was screaming danger, danger…

It was in the spring of the year 2000. I was doing an internship at the University of Utah’s bone marrow transplant unit, and on this particular day I was screening prospective transplant candidates, by giving them psychological assessments.

Bone marrow transplantation is a difficult and lengthy procedure which has the potential of causing a person to regress emotionally under the strain. It’s important to know in advance potential problems that could arise.

I had just said goodbye to a lovely 15 year-old girl with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, when I walked into the waiting room to get my next patient.  “Mr. So in So, I’m ready for you,”…

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Lessons from a Hummingbird


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You can't see it, but there is a hummingbird in this tree. I promise.

You can’t see it, but there is a hummingbird in this tree. I promise.

A friend of mine had two hummingbirds fly into her house the other day. She said they had to wear themselves out before she could scoop them up and set them free. There’s a message in that isn’t there. Imagine how much more energy we could have, how much more creative we could be, how much more love we could offer…

Sending love from the beautiful Southwest 🙂


Mr. Bingley

7 Tips for Managing Stress

Barbara Scoville, LCSW


How do you spell stress?








Barbara’s definition of stress:

The physical reaction one has when he/she feels like there is more to do, learn, or simply be, than is physically or mentally possible. It is the reaction one experiences when having thoughts like, “I can’t handle this,” or “I can do this, but it will deplete my energy and resources,” accompanied by feelings of helplessness and or fear and resentment.

To paraphrase one of the dictionary definitions I read: Stress is pressure applied to something. Ha! I’m visualizing a cartoon elephant sitting on a balloon, stretching it as far as it will go until it eventually pops. How many times have you felt like that?

High Stress has become more common than the common cold and even though we hate it, we accept it as a necessary evil in our daily lives. I…

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Eyes to See: The Gift of Being Present


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I declared today a “vacation day” and drove to one of my sacred spaces in the mountains. A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to see a bald eagle perched atop a tree. It was a beautiful sight to behold; especially when it lifted off and flew away with fluffy white legs blowing in the wind.


Today I longed to see the majestic bird again. I kept my eyes up, searching the treetops as I drove. It wasn’t meant to be.

How many other birds and wildlife did I miss searching for what I thought to be the prize?

How often in life do we search for what we believe to be the answer, when there are miracles right before our eyes…eyes that do not see because they are looking for something different.

Therein lies the gift of mindfulness; to be present for what life is offering up. Tara Brach asks us to clear a path in the forest of our mind. What might we find if we sit and wait for what appears?

Look what I found when I came home.


Sending love,



Get Me Off of This Merry-Go-Round; An Introduction to Mindfulness

Step Off the Merry-Go-Round

Barbara Scoville, LCSW


How many times have you heard the idiom, “ Get me off of this merry-go-round!”?

It’s an expression that conjures up a familiar, commonly shared image of someone “mindlessly” attempting to run faster than their legs can carry them; often but not always, directed by someone other than the person who is doing the real running. Around and around we go, doing, doing, doing; believing we don’t have a choice and resenting the demands placed on our time that keep us from doing what we think we would “rather” be doing.

One mother complains, “I don’t even have time to go to the bathroom.”  A college student says, “It’s like being in prison; my time is not my own; if I’m not studying, I’m working, and if I’m not working, I’m studying.” A grandfather says, “I want to write my family history, but my kids count on me to babysit…

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Destination: REAL

Throughout your life, seek to be “Real”

Barbara Scoville, LCSW

Get Real!

Are you for real?

Be Real.


“Where is she going with this?” you might ask. Well, last week I heard two comments that caught my attention and gave me pause to think. One was, “I just want to be real,” and the second was, “I don’t know if he is being real with me.”

“Interesting,” I thought. “These are words I hear so often that their meaning is taken for granted; but “What exactly do they mean?” In my mind’s eye I saw two images.

The first was of a person unzipping the suit he was wearing and letting it fall to the ground. After the suit fell to the ground a new suit unzipped, and it too fell to the ground. This went on and on until the person was left standing in simple clothes, radiating authenticity, wearing his “real” self.

The second image was of…

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