One week ago today we celebrated our 4th annual Cico de Wiley. Every year since we’ve been married, we get together with the Keslers & the Carlens (my brother and his wife) and celebrate our favorite holiday! We usually do some sort of burrito/taco bar along with all of the fixins.

This years Menu

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Blood Orange Mikearita


Main Course:

Taco Bar with Garlic Lime Steak & Chicken

Homemade Tortillas

Pico de Gallo

Roasted Corn and Vegetable Salsa (recipe coming)

Guacamole (recipe coming)

Cheese / Lettuce / Sour Cream / Olives

Homemade Refried Beans

Mexican Rice


Tres Leches

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I have ALWAYS wanted to make homemade refried beans, and decided this year would be THE year.  If only I had know how easy they were, I’d have made them a LONG time ago!

One word: Crockpot.

The crockpot is one of the greatest inventions ever. Seriously. Turn it on in the morning, and come home to a one pot wonder meal! Awesome. I decided that if the crockpot could cook a roast, it could certainly re-hydrate and cook dry beans! With a little bit of google searchage (it’s a word.), I discovered that many others used this little trick as well!

Homemade refried beans with rock your socks off… you won’t BELIEVE how much tastier they are than the canned variety. Let me break it down for you:

Homemade refried beans = SO delicious

Canned Beans = meh!


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Homemade Refried Beans


1 standard sized bag of dry pinto beans (14 or 16 oz), rinsed
9 + 1 cups water
1 small onion (or 1/2 of a large onion), diced
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp pepper

2 tsp salt

Add In's:
1 TBS bacon drippings
1 can green chilies, not drained
additional salt (1 tsp)
1 1/2 cups cheese


Add all bean ingredients EXCEPT SALT to a slow cooker (and reserving 1 cup water). Set timer for 8 hours and cook on low. Add additional water as needed. During last hour of cooking, add the salt.

Once cooked, drain but be sure to reserve 2-3 cups of the cooking liquid. In a skillet, heat 1 TBS bacon drippings over medium high heat. Add beans and mash with a potato masher (adding liquid in 1/2 cup increments until you reach desired consistency - totally based on preference).

Mix in green chilies and additional salt if desired. Keep warm on low heat until ready to serve. Just before serving mix in 1 cup of the cheddar cheese, pour into serving dish, and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese for garnish.