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.

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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.)