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  • Melissa Orquiza

Slow Cooker Red Beans & Rice, Wonder & Nostalgia, Alphaville, The Band, Blackpink, & Dave Brubeck

Updated: Oct 29, 2021

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice. Perfect when you just want to get happy and pass out!

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice Slideshow. Makes enough for a party!

Slow Cooker Red Beans & Rice, Wonder & Nostalgia, Alphaville, The Band, Blackpink, and Dave Brubeck

A couple of days ago, after a long day at work, I decided to incorporate a fall crafts project for my daughter to occupy her time before dinner, while my husband was frantically wrapping up a project upstairs in his office. Felt acorns, pumpkins, apples, pipe cleaners, gold confetti, and THREE tubes of glitter later, my pristine kitchen table and my daughter were both covered in glue, with green, gold, and red glitter. For those of you who don’t remember… glitter ends up everywhere. Your hair, your face, the table, the food, the floor, your clothes, your underwear, up your nose, near your eyes, my laptop…

I laughed, she laughed, and my husband came down, shocked and frozen at the inability to manage the messiness of the situation. We’re both pretty OCD (musicians) but I’ve learned to let it go when it comes to certain aspects of childcare. Unable to control the chaos, he just smiled at the two of us, and sheepishly, RAN back upstairs.

With the start of the fall and the school year, I feel like so many of us are naturally feeling this way. Change is inevitable and with it, the duality of comfort and pain. Deciding whether we stay or lean into a difficult situation, is one of life’s undeniable truths. I am in constant awe of my young daughter. Everything surprises her, shocks her, makes her laugh, cry, and her reactivity to life’s situations is a constant reminder of the boundaries of happiness. As we all navigate this fall’s transitions, without the ebb and flow of certainty and rest, it’s pretty easy to fall into quick decision- making. No matter how sleep deprived or exhausted I feel juggling the exhilaration of work and my peaceful home life, I know that the way I feel and whether to act on those feelings, can ultimately set the tone to my family’s tranquility. I think most women feel this way. Even when I was single, if my longterm boyfriend was having a rough go of it, the last thing either of us needed was constant complaining and negativity… but rather (probably) just a good meal, (some) complaining, rest, and loads of fun and laughter along the way.

I think most mothers shelter their kids this way, too… knowing that their happiness and development are the most important thing in their lives and the feeling of security we can impart can affect their outlook tremendously. Did I just compare men to raising a toddler? Yes, I did. Your welcome!

Here’s to cultivating your sense of wonder everyday.

Definition of Wonder

And, because I like to remain impartial in order to make the best decisions, here’s the flip- side. (It works the same with complaining. If you make the decision to stop complaining and be grateful, sometimes you ultimately can feel a lot happier!) Here’s an interesting podcast with Dr. Laurie Santos about how our minds can ultimately trick us into thinking nostalgia was happier than it really was as a defense mechanism. Hmmm… this comes in handy during those heart to hearts with your friends’ breakups.

When Nostalgia Ain’t So Rosy.

Written in the midst of the Cold War, here’s Alphaville’s “Forever Young.” A German, synth pop, rock group with a predilection towards movie and book title mashups, the idea of living your life to the fullest amongst uncertainty is delivered in the best way possible - through a catchy, yet melancholic melody. Because the 80’s are still amazing.

Alphaville - Forever Young (Official Music Video)

Here’s some background on Alphaville’s, “ Forever Young.”

How can you not feel happy after watching this? Hello! Feel free to repeat…

The Band - Forever Young

Because everyone has an inner middle school teen girl dying to get out. Lol! Blackpink’s, “Forever Young.”


And finally, because nostalgia plays with the idea of time and space, altering and realtering what is good and rosy, (or when it can just be material) here’s Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five.” Instead of reworking standards or just playing everything in 4/4, Brubeck’s 5/4 (revolutionary at the time) hit encompassed polyrhythms endemic to African beats with two completely polar opposite melodies and made it popular…. kinda like “Tool.”

Dave Brubeck - Take Five

The history. Just like life... sometimes, when you get two polar opposite ideas (or people) and figure out a way to make it work, the process and outcome is the definition of MAGIC. (Just don’t overthink it, coming from an overthinker…) Chemistry and magic EXIST. How else can you explain love in all its forms?

The Story of Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five”

Thanks for reading! I hope this make you laugh, think, listen, and hopefully make your laugh more rosy! Have a wonderful week! Happy cooking and listening! Xo, Melissa

Crescent City Red Beans & Rice (Crock-pot)

Recipe by A Good Thing

Here's the original link. It's AMAZING!


1lb dried kidney beans, I prefer the pink ones to the dark red ones 1ham hock (optional) 4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 teaspoon black pepper, fresh ground 1tablespoon chicken stock, powdered 1teaspoon garlic salt 1teaspoon dried chipotle powder, I use one Knorr mini cube (optional) 1teaspoon liquid smoke (optional) 2 -3 bay leaves 1 onion, chopped 1bell pepper, chopped 1tablespoon butter 1 -2 tablespoon salt, according to your taste 1 -2 teaspoon cajun seasoning, Tony Cacheres and Zatarains brand are both very good 1⁄4 cup butter 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, Chipotle flavored is really nice 2 tablespoons cornstarch or 2 tablespoons cornflour 1lb smoked sausage


1. These directions are long because I am covering the method quite thoroughly for new-comers. (-;.

2. SOAK BEANS: On Sunday night (or the night before you want to eat these yummy beans), check beans to be sure there are no stones then place beans in a large bowl and fill almost to the top with water. It's better to have too much water than not enough. The beans will more than double in size overnight. In the morning, I drain beans in a colander and rinse well.

3. A FEW PERSONAL TRICKS: One of the first things I do in the morning is fill my Crockpot with hot tap water just to bring it up to temperature much faster. This saves on cooking time and electricity. I also fill and boil my electric jug (or kettle) - this is the water I will use to cook my beans.

4. PLACE IN CROCKPOT: Beans, ham hock, black pepper, chicken stock powder, chopped garlic, garlic salt, bay leaves, and optional Chipotle powder and liquid smoke. Note: Save adding salt until the end of cook time.

5. COVER WITH HOT WATER: Cover beans with hot water from your jug or kettle just until fully covered. Then add an extra inch of water on top of that. This will give your beans a chance to swell even more during cooking. Cover Crockpot with lid.

6. QUICKLY: Sauté onions and bell-pepper just until they begin to cook. Add these to the beans and stir.

7. COOK: If you are going to be gone all day, cook beans on low setting for 6 to 8 hours. If you will be around to stir, etc., I recommend cooking them on high until they are almost fully cooked (about 4 or 5 hours). Then turn them down to low for the last bit of cooking.

8. ONCE COOKED: When beans are fully cooked, remove bay leaves (if you can find them all) add butter and stir. To thicken beans, add 2 tablespoons corn flour mixed with just enough cold water to dissolve it. Add this to beans and stir for a minute. Beans should thicken a bit in fairly short order. Repeat until you get the desired consistency.

9. ADD: Add salt by half-teaspoon until you reach the level of your liking. It may not take much for you. Also add a bit more fresh ground pepper.

10. NOW: Put your rice on to cook. Slice smoked sausage and cook in a medium-hot cast iron skillet until nicely brown and starting to emit those nice juices. Take skillet off heat but leave sausages where they are. Don't cover.

11. RINSE your rice with hot water. Once drained, place about half a cup of hot fluffy rice in a wide, shallow bowl.

12. COVER rice with a generous amount of red beans. Top with a good amount of hot smoked sausage slices.

13. SPRINKLE with hot sauce and/or more Tony's if you want it spicy like I do.

14. SERVE with hot buttered, grilled slices of French bread, salad or coleslaw, and a big glass of iced tea.

15. ENJOY!

EDIT - December 2016 - I'd like to address the review comments regarding mashing your beans to thicken them. The reason I don't do that is because I don't want to lose any of my beans, though I do that if I make a double batch. These freeze so well (without rice). Also, for re-heating, I put beans in a pot on the stove (medium/low) and add small amounts of water to thin them out a bit. They are much better juicy! The beans are very forgiving but they do need that added moisture when being re-heated. And I'd also like to say I am so humbled by all the comments - a BIG thank you to everyone who has reviewed these humble red beans!

#slowcookerredbeans&rice,# wonder, #nostalgia, @alphaville, @theband, @blackpink, @dave brubeck

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