Beefed Up Bake Beans and a conversation about nicknames

The other morning as I was walking through the den going on my daily dirty clothes scavenger hunt, someone said the name “Sally Mae” on tv and I stopped and looked up in surprise just as if they’d said “Christy Jordan”. I chuckled at myself as the memories flooded back of all the times I’ve answered to Sally Mae in my life.

I have no idea who Sally Mae is but during my childhood, I must have looked an awful lot like her. “Come on in here, Sally Mae” Mama would sing out as she opened the door when I ran in from playing to grab a quick cup of Kool Aid. Or she’d call out to me after running my bath at the end of a long day of playing “Get on in here and get in the tub, Sally Mae”. I never questioned it, even though in retrospect I realize my sister answered to it just as willingly as I did.

I got to thinking about that nickname as I read an email from Elaine Wong who mentioned how her Grandpa used to call her “Lanie girl”. There is something about a nickname that shows an acceptance, familiarity, and its sort of a way of saying “You and I are special”. It’s like in Little House On The Prairie (I think everyone should be required to watch the entire run of Little House On The Prairie before they are allowed to be an adult).

Did you notice how Laura, who had been called Laura all of her life, suddenly became “Beth” to Almonzo and Almonzo suddenly became “Manley” to Laura? They wanted a special connection and way of talking to each other that set them apart and so called each other by their middle names instead of first. Surely we all know what Laura’s Pa called her, do you rememeber it? Half Pint. She was his little tagalong, his best helper, and calling her what everyone else did just wouldn’t do.  She was his Half Pint.

I received my most prominent nickname shortly after I was born, the one my dad still calls me to this day (I don’t know if I’ve ever heard him call me Christy) and wrote about the story behind it in my book (page 171). It’s funny because every now and then I’ll be out and someone I don’t know will call me that, I instantly know where they got it from!

I have so many nicknames for my kids it isn’t even funny but they willingly answer to each and every one. My favorite nickname for myself to date though is Ma, Mom, or Mama, whichever one the two of them feel like calling me on any given day. I’ll never forget though, about two years ago, when Katy Rose asked “Mama, when you were born, how come Grandmama named you ‘mama’?”

I’d love to hear about your nicknames in the comments below and especially the stories behind them! While we work on that, let me show you how to make some awfully good baked beans. This is how my mother has always made hers and I can make a meal out of the beans alone! They get rave reviews at any barbecue and would be the perfect addition to your fourth of July menu. They’re also a breeze to throw together, always a plus in my book ~grins~.

You’ll need: ground beef (cooked and drained), 28 ounce can baked beans (any kind you want), 2-15 ounce cans Navy beans, onion, barbecue sauce, mustard, worcestershire sauce, bacon, and salt and pepper.
Instead of the 28 ounce can of baked beans you can use 2-15 ounce cans.

Now I have my ground beef already cooked and in the freezer but if yours isn’t you wanna go ahead and cook that before this step.

Place beans (liquid and all) and ground beef in a large mixing bowl.

This is the largest of a set of vintage Pyrex bowls called “New Dot”. This one was hard to come by but it completed my set. The others are blue, red, and yellow. Just in case you wanted to know that.

A lot of folks have asked me about my salt and pepper shakers. They came from Cracker Barrel and I got them on Clearance 🙂

I could chat all day but I guess you came here for a recipe so I’ll get on with it…

(~whispers~ but the plate below is a Corelle pattern called “Memphis”)

Chop up your onion. Add to the bowl all of your other ingredients except for the bacon. Stir it all together really well.

Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and pour your bean mixture into the dish. Top with 3-4 strips of uncooked bacon. Place this in the oven at 350 for 45-60 minutes.

During that time your husband, who has repeatedly stated that he does not like baked beans, will ask you “Man, what are you cooking? That smells good!”. When you tell him it is baked beans he will say “Oh….really?” and look at you in disbelief. This scenario will repeat itself ever ten minutes or so until the beans are done and then your husband, who has repeatedly stated that he does not like baked beans, will magically appear in the kitchen with a bowl and a spoon.

At least that is how it goes down at my house 🙂

Enjoy!

By Christy Jordan

Beefed Up Baked Beans

• 28 ounce can baked beans, undrained (or 2-15 ounce cans)
• 2-15 ounce cans navy beans, undrained (or bean of your choice)
• 1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained (can substitute cooked shredded pork bbq if you like)
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 1 cup Barbecue sauce
• 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
• 2 Tablespoons Yellow Mustard
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 3 to 4 slices uncooked bacon

Spray 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Stir together all ingredients except for the bacon. Spoon into baking dish. Top with strips of bacon. Place in 350 degree oven for 45-60 minutes.
This is a very forgiving recipe so feel free to use what you have on hand and modify it to suit your family’s tastes.

For more recipes, go to SouthernPlate.com.