We are becoming more and more of a “bean” family. We love the flavor, the protein and nutritional value, they’re hearty, and as Mom, I love how you can stretch a meal with beans.

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I’ll usually do this by adding whatever kind of beans that I have stocked in my pantry!

One of our favorite dishes in our house, and with the kid’s friends, is chili. Doesn’t everyone love chili? (My delicious Chicken Chili recipe will be in my new book!)

Back in the Fall we had a last minute Chili Feed in our new kitchen for the soccer team. We invited the team in even though the kitchen was not finished.

After opening can after can of Bush’s Beans (and tomatoes), and filling two large pots with delicious chili, I really thought I had made enough for the entire team, plus adults.

But guess what? We ran out of chili!

I underestimated the amount for 14 boys and all of the adults. That was not good, as I pulled leftovers out of the fridge for last minute stragglers who showed up.

Luckily my friend Vicky watched my body language as I thought “FHB” (Family Hold Back!), which meant – go light on the chili – there’s not enough!

Moms just know.

Vicky and I looked at each other and before I could even say anything, she said “that’s okay, I’ll share with my daughter.” (Love you, Vicky!)

Back to Bush’s Beans. If I only had more in the pantry, I could have made it work. But later I made up for it as I pulled these 2 cakes hot out of the oven (No Peel Apple cake – again recipe in this book!) I redeemed myself, I guess you’d say.

Recently when I received an invitation from Bush’s Beans to travel to Napa for chili tasting and cooking at The Culinary Institute of America with Connie Guttersen, R.D., Ph.D., author of The Sonoma Diet, how could I say no?

Me? Cook at The Culinary Institute? I am so glad I’ve never claimed to be a chef – all pressure is off!

So I’ll soon be heading to beautiful Napa along with Amy from She Wears Many Hats, Aggie from Aggie’s Kitchen, and Tina from Mommy’s Kitchen. I love these ladies and we are going to have so much fun!

As we’re going to be cooking up some chili, here’s the site for Beans and everything you want to know about them, plus tons of recipes and nutritional information that you may find helpful. I know I did!

Have you ever had a group of people over where you underestimated the portions?

I’d love to hear your story!

(People always want to know, so I’ll tell you that Bush’s Beans is covering the costs for this trip, but they are not paying for sponsorship of this ad or anything I write here. They are just a very generous group of people and I’m excited for this experience! And thank you Amy for sharing your photo with me!)