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Slow cooked black beans that are as soft as canned beans!

How to make soft black beans in the slow cooker on Taste and Tell

I know what you are thinking – black beans? In the slow cooker? How hard could that be?

Well, truth of the matter is that I have been getting so frustrated. Every time I try to make anything with dry beans, I can never get them to get soft. Soaking, no soaking. Cooking on the stove top, in the slow cooker, by themselves, in a soup. No matter what I would do, my beans would still be semi-hard. Cook them for 3 hours, 8 hours, 10 hours, 12 hours. No such luck.

I was seriously almost ready to give up. I’m not against using canned beans – I have a pantry full of them – but dry beans are just so darn cheap, and I always feel a sense of satisfaction when I am making something completely from scratch.
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A salad of romaine, ham and tomatoes is combined with walnut pesto covered pasta.

Pesto Pasta and Ham Salad on Taste and Tell

This post has been sponsored by Diamond Nuts.

I’m not going to lie – I look forward to Easter dinner almost as much as I look forward to Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner. There is something about the ham and the potatoes and the rolls and the salad that gets me every time.

And if your family is anything like my family, you keep sneaking back into the kitchen to grab little bites of food before dinner is even on the table. I sometimes think that I’m so full before the meal even starts that I won’t be able to eat anything, but of course, I always manage to fill my plate and eat every. single. bite.
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Spicy Southwestern Deviled Eggs on Taste and Tell

Photos Updated April 2014

Originally posted July 18, 2008 – If you are like my family, when today is over you will have loads of hard-boiled eggs leftover from your Easter festivities. We love hard boiled eggs, but I always love having lots of ways to use them up!! This version of a deviled egg is one of my favorites, and it was definitely due for a photo update. Even if you don’t have leftover eggs, this recipe would be worth boiling some new ones up over!!

As of yesterday, I hadn’t made this week’s cookbook of the month recipe. I had intended to all week – but my husband has been sick, and so cooking for one while pregnant was not happening. I had picked out a recipe to make last night, but after a hair appointment that lasted longer than expected, my husband told me to just come home and not worry about stopping at the grocery store to pick up the ingredients. He said we would just find something at home. Come to find out, he wasn’t even hungry. I had decided to skip out on a week – I haven’t done that since I started my cookbook of the month project in October of last year, and I knew you all would forgive me – being pregnant and tired and all. But as I sat there, with the cookbook within my eye’s view, guilt started to get to me. I may not be cooking a whole lot these days, but I do want to keep up with the cookbook of the month recipes! So I searched through the book to find a quick recipe that I had all of the ingredients for.
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Coconut Cream Pie on Taste and Tell

I don’t know if I’m just totally off my game lately or if I’ve become more of a perfectionist, but I have been having to remake what seems like all of my recipes lately. I have some that need changes that I’m still working on. Some, like this pie, I just couldn’t wait to get right, so I set to testing until it was right.

The life of a food blogger is a funny one.

Where else would you find multiple pies in the spare refrigerator, along with leftover cheesecake, dinner from last night, plus 4 quarts of cream and 3 dozen eggs? All I can say is thank goodness for that extra refrigerator!!
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Gas Grill Giveaway

If you saw on Tuesday, Carrian from Sweet Basil is celebrating turning the big 3-0 this week with a week full of giveaways. I’m participating with her again today in another awesome giveaway. (Make sure you check out her site all this week – she’s got giveaways galore going on!!)

I think of all the things she is giving away this week, today’s giveaway is one that I want the most for myself. An awesome Master Forge Outdoor Grill, complete with 5 burners and a rotisserie burner from Lowe’s. The weather is finally warming up, and I’ve got grilling on the mind! This grill would make for the perfect summer of outdoor entertaining!!

See the rafflecopter below to enter to win. And make sure you head over to Carrian’s blog or Facebook page to wish her a happy birthday!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Creamy and cheesy, these Scalloped Sweet Potatoes are an easy addition to any holiday table.

Scalloped Sweet Potatoes on Taste and Tell

So – I honestly wasn’t even planning on really blogging any Easter recipes this year. Sometimes I feel like, as a blogger, all I am doing is jumping from one holiday to the next. And I’ve been wanting to just cook whatever I feel like cooking. Without having to follow a theme or have any restrictions.

Well, as it turns out, I must have just wanted to make Easter recipes, because before I knew it, I had several recipes tested and made. Everything from brunch to the Easter ham to bread and dessert (and another dessert coming on Friday!). So I had to round it out with a side dish so that I’ll have your whole meal lined up for you!!
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