Bush’s Beans: The Connection

I am so excited to tell you more about how the wide world of beans will help all of us to have more people into our homes, as I share in this post about a wonderful experience I recently had.

Stay tuned while I explore the grand intersection between food and hospitality!

This past weekend I was in beautiful Napa Valley with three amazing bloggers and the staff from Bush’s Beans, who brought us together to cook in the world-famous Culinary Institute of America at Greystone.

Can you believe it? What an experience!

Our mission was to cook up tasty bean recipes and to participate in delicious chili tasting. I’d say more than our mission was accomplished. Bush’s Beans has been around since 1908, a family-owned business that would have been proud of the results of our 24-hour retreat.

It reminds me of why I entertain in my home and how food brings people together. Because in this 24-hour time frame, we all became like family!

I love how so much in life happens around “the table.”

Tasty food was served and an excellent brainstorming session happened around this table.

Gearing up with chef coats and aprons!

Recipes, tips, tasting and new friendships were created.

I will admit that my eyes were opened to the power of the bean. I always knew that beans were versatile, but after spending a day in the kitchen with Chef Andy Wild and Dr. Connie Gutterson (author of Sonoma Diet Cookbook), creating amazing recipes and using beans in ways I never thought of, I am EXCITED to come home and expand my cooking.

Together Connie and Chef Andy taught us the art of bringing food and science together – through a bean!

Tastier than I otherwise thought, beans are more versatile and easier to prepare, and they can save you a lot of money, especially during these hard economic times.

Benefits of beans in my household:

  • Entertain more – knock the expense of entertaining down
  • More versatile to cook and they take very little time to prepare
  • Buy from a can – less time in the kitchen
  • Adds a deeper level of variety to your cooking – more pizazz than before
  • Nutritional value is better than I realized
  • But back to the table where our group connected and shared the recipes that we created… the spread looked like this.

    And close up …

    Speaking of family… at the end of our day in the Culinary Kitchen (CIA – William’s Center for Flavor Discovery Kitchen), our spouses joined us for chili tasting.

    Even Connie’s kid’s came and helped us do some of the cooking.

    Truly…Beans and family go hand in hand!

    Soon I’ll be sharing the recipe that Amy and I whipped up: Bush’s Chicken and Kidney Beans Spanish Stew!

    It’s so healthy and tasted so yummy, I can’t wait to make it for my family!

    I also plan on sharing with you more about the Culinary Institute and more recipes we cooked this day. So stay tuned!

    (So wonderful to meet new friends, Amy (She Wears Many Hats), Tina (Mommy’s Kitchen) and Aggie (Aggie’s Kitchen). Also a huge thank you to Ken from Bush’s Beans, and the gals who brought us – Katie and Chris! Bush’s Beans covered the costs for my trip, but they do not pay me for my opinions shared about Bush’s Beans here on my blog.)


    1. Sandy, what an incredible experience for you! Hopefully you will be sharing some of your new recipes.

      Also, I couldn’t help but think of some bean jokes as I was reading your post. Just had to add that LOL!
      .-= Kim´s last blog ..Wide Open Spaces =-.

    2. You do the greatest things!!!
      Problem? I don’t like beans. Any suggestions to help a gal get over that?
      .-= Suzann´s last blog ..an Irish Quote for Sunday… =-.

    3. Oooo… Napa Valley, one of my favorite places on Earth!
      What a great experience and I so appreciate you sharing all the fabulous photos.
      I’m looking forward to the Chicken and Kidney Bean Spanish Stew recipe, too. Looks yummy!
      Thanks again for taking us along with you. :-)

    4. We had so much fun! And, like you, my mind is racing with many new ways to use beans.
      .-= Amy from She Wears Many Hats´s last blog ..Breakfast this morning. =-.

    5. That really looks like a beautiful spot and a great kitchen to work in. What a great experience. Looking forward to seeing some recipes! So glad you took the time to bring your over traveled selves to spend some time with us :0)
      .-= ellen b´s last blog ..Another Day of Adventure Complete! =-.

    6. What fun!! This looks like a wonderful weekend. I’ve loved Bush’s Beans for years. . . I’m excited to learn how to do more things with them! Keep talking!!

      By the way, your hometown boy Kyle Singler was awesome in the Duke-UVa game this weekend. We were so proud of him! Now to beat Maryland and Carolina. . . .
      .-= Richella´s last blog ..A welcoming space =-.

    7. What a wonderful opportunity! Looking forward to more about beans. Jackie
      .-= Jackie´s last blog ..Bulk Cooking =-.

    8. I’m still floating from our trip…it was such a pleasure meeting everyone!! The food was fantastic wasn’t it? I just bought my ingredients to make chili verde for dinner tonight! Going to see if the kids will dig in and rate it for me! :) Cross your fingers!
      .-= Aggie´s last blog ..Guest Blogger Post – Chickpea and Feta Salad =-.

    9. Okay, this looks seriously AMAZING!!! How awesome that you got to participate…I wish I could do something like that!!!
      .-= the BLAH BLAH BLAHger´s last blog ..A Beautiful Handmade Clutch =-.

    10. Looks like you all are having a blast! Looking forward to trying more bean recipes.
      .-= Laryssa @ Heaven In The Home´s last blog ..Blissful Memories =-.

    11. Hi Sandy,
      I am still on cloud 9 over the whole trip. Great Food and Great New Friends. I am so excited about beans!!! I am dying to try out a bunch of new recipes. Sandy you are as gracious in person as you are online. It was a pleasure meeting you and your wonderful husband. Please keep in touch. I already miss everyone. :(
      .-= Tina ´s last blog ..Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie & Family Game Night =-.

    12. How exciting! I can see that it was a really awesome trip!
      .-= Astrid´s last blog ..Annika::The Artist =-.

    13. Isn’t Napa Valley just beautiful. I ran a triathlon there once-Loved it.

      So happy that you learned so much and that you had a wonderful time-Loved all the pictures!

      .-= Robin Beck´s last blog ..I’ve Got Ants In My Pants~ =-.

    14. Looks and sounds like so much fun!!! We like beans!

    15. I love this place so full of history I took a class one on brownies the best ever, I live just 2 hours south of St Helena. You must of had such a great time.
      I use beans about once a week love them.

    16. Oh, Napa is a beautiful place! Looks like you had an amazing time-looking forward to your recipes!
      .-= Gina´s last blog ..Love =-.

    17. I love cooking with Bush’s Beans. They have such a rich and flavorful taste. I make the absolute best Ham and Bean soup with their flavored beans and ham that has been double smoked by my favorite butcher at our local Farmers Market. If you are a ham lover you have got to try this ham. It’s amazing!
      What a fun time for you. Can’t wait to hear more.
      ~ ~Ahrisha~ ~
      .-= ~ ~Ahrisha~ ~´s last blog ..It’s All About Food This Winter =-.

    18. Did you get to meet Duke?

      I can’t imagine going all the way to Napa w/ the folks from Bush’s and not meeting Duke – or Duke’s body double.
      .-= darcy´s last blog ..Remodel Project: Big couch. Little door. =-.

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    26. Probably it would be fine, but there are crock pot liners on the mrekat. (I think made by the Reynolds Wrap people) They’re supposed to keep the crock pot clean. I used one once and everything started out just fine, but after a few hours, the bottom of the crock pot broke! I had to throw away the meal just before dinner! NOT COOL!!! I had the kind that you can pull the pot out for washing. It was fairly new and had no cracks before I started. Maybe I just had bad luck, but I don’t recommend them to anyone!I would write to the company that made your crock pot and tell them that you love it and have used it so mcuh that the paint/glaze is wearing off. Who knows-they might just replace it for you to keep a customer happy. At least they would know if it was safe or not.

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