I am a Project Envolve ambassador and receive product and/or compensation for these posts. All opinions and ideas are 100% my own. #ProjectEnvolve #GetEnvolve
When my mom stopped by this afternoon, my daughter was in her high chair eating her current favorite food: baked beans. Despite their being one of our go-to summer side dishes and a sure bet every time with the kids, I don’t make them often – mainly because baking a bean pot in the oven for hours does bad things to the temperature in my house on a hot day, as well as my electric bill.
Cranking the oven = more AC = higher energy bill!
But this time was different. It was 82 degrees out today, but we all kept our cool in the kitchen. How? I used the slow cooker! And I made the beans overnight! You’d better believe my mom was hitting me up for that recipe when I told her.
Let me back up a bit… Last year, I did a series of posts for Project Envolve™, a network of bloggers (sponsored by PPL Electric Utilities) who have been tapped to promote the benefits of living an energy-efficient lifestyle and share no-cost and low-cost ways to live an energy-efficient lifestyle. Now, Project Envolve is back and better than ever with new bloggers, new ideas, and new ways to help you save energy…and money!
This month’s Project Envolve mission challenged us to cook more efficiently, especially during hot weather. Small appliances paired with changes in your cooking habits can have a big effect on your overall energy usage, and two appliances that can make energy-efficient cooking easy are your microwave and slow cooker.
These days, we use our microwave primarily for crafts and reheating coffee (often.) But the slow cooker? It’s my BFF in the fall and winter, so why not the spring and summer, too? Tacos, quesadillas, barbecue, and so much more can all be made in the slow cooker (and fruit-filled desserts are on my radar next!)
You may not feel like chowing down on a hearty winter stew at the picnic table, but classic baked beans that are totally easy and chock full of bacon flavor? You betcha! I found my new favorite Boston Baked Beans recipe in the Healthy Slow Cooker Revolution Cookbook, and made a few small changes to fit our tastes.
I couldn’t help but Instagram an in-process photo, because bacon.
- 1 onion, chopped fine
- 3 slices bacon
- 8 cups of water, plus extra as needed
- 1 pound dried navy beans, picked over and rinsed
- 5 tablespoons molasses
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown mustard
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- Sautee bacon strips and onion in a small pan, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened (about 5-8 minutes.) Transfer to slow cooker.
- Stir in water, beans, 2 tablespoons molasses, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook until beans are tender, 9–11 hours on low or 6–8 hours on high.
- Discard bacon, if desired. Drain beans, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Return beans to slow cooker and stir in reserved liquid, sugar, mustard, vinegar, and remaining 3 tablespoons molasses. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- (Beans can be held on warm setting for up to 2 hours. They may thicken, and can be loosened with extra hot water or any leftover cooking liquid.)
More Ways to Keep Cool in the Kitchen
Visit the Taste the Energy Savings blog feature on The Wire (powered by PPL Electric Utilities) for more inspiration, then hop over to the PPL Recipes: Taste the Energy Savings Pinterest board for more energy-efficient recipes for every season.
A Fun Way to Win!
One lucky PPL customer will win a Cool Kitchen prize package to help them save energy while eating great food all season long! Winner will receive:
• Totally Bamboo 5-piece Utensil Set • 250 Best Meals in a Mug Cookbook • Project Envolve Coffee Mug
Enter using the easy Rafflecopter form below, then visit the other Project Envolve Ambassadors who are also staying cool in the kitchen this month!