Posted by: Bonnie Anderson | October 27, 2011

A Cooking Blog My Way

Cooking blogs amaze me.  The pictures are better than the ones I have of my children that are displayed down my hall.  I guess part of the amazement comes from the fact that I don’t really love to cook.  It’s just okay to me.  My husband is a better cook than I am and he enjoys it more than I do, too.  When he cooks he relaxes and unwinds from the day.  His creative juices flow into marvelous dishes.  When I cook relaxation tends to leave.

Are you like me?  Do you enjoy presenting a good meal to your family but wish you didn’t have to do so much to make that presentation?  I’ve been married for 36 years.  We have four kids (grown now), which means that I used to have to cook most of the time.  If you take those 36 years and multiply them by 365 days you get 13,140 dinners to fix.  Even if I somehow got out of it twenty percent of the time, that still means I have fixed 10,512 meals (not including leap years).  So for me I have to face the fact that the thrill is gone.

These are the reasons that I got so excited when my friend Cindi had me over for soup and salad.  Poor Cindi is one of those unfortunate people who has a reputation as a great cook.  I don’t think I could stand that kind of pressure, but who am I kidding, I don’t have to.  I raved about Cindi’s soup and she gave me the recipe.  Cindi has shared this recipe with so many of her friends that now she can no longer use it as a meal to take to people – that’s how popular it has become.  I would call it a legend, a soup legend.  This legend has become my go-to meal for which I always keep ingredients on hand.  Now I’m going to share it with you cooking blog style.

Refried Bean Soup

Start with this - a Canocopia of Plenty

Tip:  Make sure you have a reliable can opener as this is the most important tool that you will use.

Pour a little olive oil into your soup pot and heat it over medium heat.  I prefer not to use the heavy-duty pots because I don’t like to exercise and cook at the same time.

I thought this was a good place to dress up my oil for you.

Chop onion and green peppers.  Raise the heat to medium-high and saute them until tender (2-3 minutes).  (I keep a bag of frozen green peppers on hand in case I’m making this spur of the moment.)

At no time do my fingers leave my hands.

Add 2 cloves of fresh minced garlic.  Stir in 14 oz broth and tomatoes with their juice.  Raise the heat to high.

Open the rest of the cans.  Rinse and drain the black beans and the pinto beans.  Add them to the pot.  Add the refried beans and 1/4 tsp cumin.  Stir well.

Yes, I can do this with one hand tied behind my back

Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until heated through and flavors have blended – 5-10 minutes.  (I often add whatever left-over meat I have on hand – turkey, chicken, ham – but it’s a very hearty soup meatless.)  Season with black pepper if desired.

Almost ready!

 There you go.  Enjoy and do not tell anyone how easy this is.  You have a reputation to keep.

Everyone I have served this loves it - even my 8-year-old granddaughter

Ingredient List:

    • 2 tsps olive oil
    • 1 large onion
    • 1 medium green pepper
    • 2 cloves fresh garlic
    • 14 oz vegetable broth or fat-free chicken broth
    • 1 – 14 oz can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes (I use Ro-Tel tomatoes)
    • 1 – 15 oz can pinto beans (or kidney beans)
    • 1 – 15 oz can black beans
    • 1 – 16 oz can fat-free refried beans
    • 1/4 tsp ground cumin


  1. Even at 7a this soup looks and sounds amazing! I will try it when Tom is feeling better. Thanks, Bonnie!
    P.S. I love the cooking pics – you look like quite the pro!

    • Thank you, Debi. Bob is handy with a camera in the kitchen, too! Hope Tom feels better soon.

  2. Your pictures inspire me! 🙂 I’ve always enjoyed your cooking… except for a few choice memorable ones! 🙂 I think I’ve got your cooking genes though, so thanks to the ease of this soup, I think I’ll have to try it.

    • Thanks, Dena. I know you’re thinking of the tofu chili. Again, I’m sorry for that one. Mia really loved this soup.

  3. Gee even I might be able to make this one….now this makes me feel like that maybe I can do the step by step pictures like I see on all those glossy professional looking blogs…I would like to know how they get their lighting just so (then again the lighting in my house is actually pathetic so I would probably need to be photographing everything outside) and who they have trained to take all their pics

    • Go for it, Katrina. Lighting is a problem, I like your outside idea. You could do a picnic. Thanks for commenting.

  4. Lovely job with the cooking-style-blog. I’m on-board with *your* style!

    And your humor just knocks me to the floor…

    “canocopia” – “at no time do my fingers leave my hands”

    Thanks for my morning smile and great new recipe, Bonnie!

    • You are welcome, Lori, and thanks for commenting.

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