We Plan Wednesday: NYE Party Prep

We Plan Wednesday

In a few hours, our guests will arrive for our family’s annual New Year’s Eve Fiesta.  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this is where we go all out; in many ways, I consider this an extension of Christmas, a late Christmas gift to our guests.

Muffin is especially going to enjoy this party because he has friends coming.  But in the midst of all the party preparation, I was taking a bath a few nights ago when Muffin first screamed.

Now, he had screamed before.  He had squealed in laughter, screamed when Daisy stole some food from him, screamed when he fell.

This was a scream that was shrill…and went on…and on.

He ran to me dripping blood from his foot.  Not really thinking beyond I need to get it cleaned off so that I can see where to bandage, I switched places with him, placing him into the bath tub…where his blood began to paint the bottom of the tub crime scene red.

Eventually, we got the bleeding stopped and bandaged.

And all was well until the next night when he stubbed his toe against the ground, reopening the scary wound on the underside of one toe that stretched to between that toe and another toe.  While I was attempting (and epic-ally failing) at making macarons, Josh swabbed, put pressure on, and rebandaged Muffin’s toe.

In planning the party, the good thing of keeping virtually the same menu is that things tend to have the same set up year after year.  I know that our “bar” area will be home to mains and sides.  The side opposite next to the sink will be home to plates, napkins, cutlery, straws, and the drinks station.  The one change I am making this year is the treat tray will move from the right side of the stove to the left.  The ice cream sundae bar will move from beside the toaster and the fridge to the right of the stove (where the treat trays were last year).

I’m sure everyone remembers this oft placed image from last year’s party.

…or how about this one?

The recipe that I’m proudest of this year comes from Mom on Timeout.  Slow cooker refried beans!  I may never be able to eat canned again.  I did change the method, though, of course.

Slow Cooker Refried Beans

Source:  Mom on Timeout

1 pound pinto beans, rinsed and drained


1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced very finely (While I removed the seeds, I kept a bit of membrane for a kick!)

1 onion, peeled and quartered (The website says a yellow onion, but I had red ones out chopping for the fajita vegetation, so a red one went in.  I also halved each quarter and divided out the “leaves” of the onion.)

3 cloves garlic, minced (I used closer to five because a few of them were small)

2 teaspoons pepper (freshly ground, dontcha know?)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

6 cups water

4 chicken bouillon cubes

The morning before the day you plan to serve, pour rinsed and drained beans into a large bowl.  Cover by a couple of inches with fresh water.  Cover the bowl and allow the beans to absorb the water for 8 hours.

After 8 hours, drain the beans again.  Add the beans and the remaining ingredients to the crock of your slow cooker.  Make sure that the water covers the beans by a bit (1-2 inches).  Set on Low.  When you wake up in the morning (twelve or so hours later), turn the slow cooker off.  The pinto pattern should be off of the beans by now making them into that pinky-brown color that make them so yummy.

Taste a bean for texture.  Resist the urge to eat the entire crock full.  Once the contents of the crock have cooled a bit, separate the solids from the mixture.  (I used a slotted spoon.  Don’t use a sieve…yet!)  Pour the liquids into a large Pyrex measuring cup.

You’ll notice that the liquids separate with a beany sludge on the bottom.  That, my friends, is liquid gold.

Pour the solids into your trusty food processor.  I used the blender bowl of my Ninja.  Pulse until the solids are the consistency of refried beans.  They actually end up pretty thick.  Hold off on adding the liquid.  My Ninja left some whole and mostly whole, just as canned beans do.  Turn the mixture out in a bowl.  Now…strain the mixture using a sieve.  Add the captured “sludge” in the sieve to the bowl of refried beans.   Fold the liquidy sludge in.  Refrigerate extra liquid until almost ready to serve.  Cover the beans and refrigerate those as well.

When ready to serve (party style):  add the contents to the crock of your slow cooker.  Set heat to LOW.  Stir in enough of the reserved liquid to be desired consistency.  Remember “runny beans” are those that are restaurant-style.  Thicker beans are best for burritos.  Serve when hot.  If it will be a while before serving and the mixture gets hot, set the slow cooker setting to WARM.

If you are serving some for a family serving, add reserved liquid to be desired consistency.  Reheat in a bowl in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove.

Muffin, the great bean eater, loves these.

*I haven’t tried freezing them yet, but I have a feeling they will freeze well.  Most slow cooker homemade refried beans are supposed to freeze well…and the recipe makes a ton.  For freezing, I would scoop out 2 cup servings (for family servings) or half-cup servings (for individual sizes).  I would add a bit more liquid when freezing to be of the desired consistency when thawing and reheating.

Muffin Approved

What is your favorite way to serve refried beans?


2 thoughts on “We Plan Wednesday: NYE Party Prep

  1. Pingback: A Catch-Up Post: Mexican Pizzas | Full Happy Muffin and Mama: The Blog

  2. Pingback: Tip Tuesday: Kitchen Essentials #1: The Slow Cooker | Full Happy Muffin and Mama: The Blog

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