RECIPE | Homemade Refried Beans... in the Instant Pot

A couple weeks ago I shared in this post and on episode 25 of our podcast, that I was testing out batch of homemade refried beans (vegan & gluten free) in our new favorite kitchen addition, the Instant Pot. I was *almost* successful that night, but wanted another run through before sharing with you. 

The first time around, they tasted great, they were a bit dense because I underestimated how much they would thicken up. The second run though was much better and I'm happy to report that we have a nice stash of these delicious homemade refried beans in our freezer. The recipe is for the Instant Pot (an electric pressure cooker), but you could adjust for the stove top or slow cooker - the great thing with the Instant Pot is cooking time is dramatically reduced and in an hour, we went from dried to delicious refried beans. 




  • 2 pounds dried pinto beans - sorted and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons + 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 large onion - chopped
  • 6-8 cloves garlic (more or less to taste)
  • 1 jalapeno - seeded and diced
  • 1 bunch cilantro - stems and leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (more or less to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 9 cups of water
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt to taste



  1. Rinse and sort beans and set aside. 
  2. Set Instant Pot on the saute setting. When hot, add 3 tablespoons of coconut oil, add onions and sautee for 5-10 minutes until softened.
  3. Add garlic, jalapeno and roughly chopped cilantro stems. Saute another 3-5 minutes until aromatic. Mix in cayenne, chili powder, cumin, beans and water. 
  4. Cover and set Instant Pot on Bean/Chili Setting for 35 minutes - unplug when time is up. After 10 minutes, release remaining pressure. Check beans to make sure they're tender at this point - if they're not, close it back up and set for another 5-10 minutes. 
  5. Heat a large pan over medium/high heat and add remaining 1/4 cup coconut oil. 
  6. Strain beans (reserving liquid - you'll need this later), add to hot pan with oil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring as needed to keep from sticking to the pan. 
  7. Begin alternating adding liquid (more to begin with) and mashing beans (I use an immersion blender, but a potato masher will work, too) until you reach the desired consistency - we like ours to have just a bit of texture, so we don't blend completely smooth. 
  8. Add salt to taste and mix in lime juice (you can microwave a the lime for 30 seconds and get a lot more juice with little effort). 

Garnish as you like (queso fresco and cilantro is a favorite at our house) and enjoy! 


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In the Kitchen | I'm Inspiralized

Last spring I got a new kitchen toy, the Inspiralizer - I love it! If you're wondering what the heck this is... it's basically a vertical mandolin with a crank that turns veggies into noodles and it's AWESOME. Why do I love it? Well, as you know, I cook a lot and this little gadget makes my life so much easier - especially on late nights. 

I posted this picture a little over a week ago and I got a lot of questions. Want the details?

Swoodles with Vodka Sauce and Shrimp

Swoodles with Vodka Sauce and Shrimp

So, (as I like to say) here's the deal... This supper was after a late night when I got home after our Open Knitting on Wednesday night at Firefly Fibers. At knitting, some of us are hungry and, as a foodie, the conversation usually goes to food at some point when I get to sit and knit. As the night goes on, the conversation goes to how delicious Culver's would be and then I realize how tired I am and it's hard to resist. But, when I do resist, my belly is much happier and this meal took me a total of 15-20 minutes to put together. Seriously, that's how long it would take me to get fast food. 

Here's the recipe... first, I always have fresh parsley, sweet potatoes, frozen shrimp, and jarred sauce on hand - really, we all should. For this meal I selected the super-fancy Vodka Sauce from Aldi (it's really delicious), got 8 shrimp from the freezer to quick-thaw and got to peeling and spiralizing the sweet potato while the pan was heating up. Sautee the swoodles (we'll get to that term in a second) with a bit of coconut oil for about 8 minutes, sautee the shrimp in another pan and heat the sauce in the microwave (remember, we're late-nighting it). When the swoodles are done (again, we'll get to that in a moment), plate the swoodles and top with sauce, shrimp and a healthy amount of parsley. E. A. S. Y. 

So... tonight we recorded our 4th episode of the Alisa the Yarnista podcast *gulp* and due to a technical difficulty (thanks Windows) we had an intermission and I got these lovelies ready for our French Dip sandwiches. 

The peppers and onions (with no tears) are sliced super fast with the Inspiralizer. But wait... there's more... tee hee... so, Mr. Yarnista and I are trying to decide - really, we're not arguing, although both of us want to win - on the correct term for the sweet potato noodles and we are letting you choose. It's all in fun and we've got a little voting going on over on our Episode 4 post and we hope you'll give us your input - click over here to tell us what you think (but do it before this coming Friday)... 

So, there ya go. I love veggies (no surprise) and I love the Inspiralizer so much that I'm now an affiliate for this super-fantabulous product - it's such a great way to get some amazing food into your belly. So, if you want to get one, pop on over via this link or the awesome photo to the right - Rollo and Logan will thank you. 



In the Kitchen | Apple Pecan Cobbler

Winter has arrived and the boys enjoyed playing in the fresh snow this morning.

Rollo Logan Jan 010415

We've all adjusted nicely with our new addition and Rollo seems to have settled into life as part of our family - he's a bit bullheaded at times, but that's nothing out of the ordinary for a husky and it usually makes us giggle when we're trying to reprimand him.

IMG_20150104_113923We survived the holidays and I finished my knitted projects just in time. I would love to share the photos I took of the 6 hats I knit, but sadly they were all lost due to a faulty SD card, with one super cute exception:

Apple Pie Rollo

Things have been a whirlwind since the holidays - prepping for the Firefly Fibers Winter KAL & 2015 Sweater Club, we've also added a Sock of the Month at the shop and this month's yarn from Renee of Spun Right Round is pretty fabulous (and queued up for tonight's knitting).

PicsArt_1420407094070And... some of the ladies at the shop collaborated on a KAL - A Year of Washcloths. It's sure to be great fun with a new washcloth design each month selected by one of the shop knitters - anyone can join the fun over on our Ravelry thread here. Mr. Yarnista even got his own Raverly account because he was challenged by one of the shop knitters - he's BigMikeMike and you should add him to your Ravelry friends.

I've been under the weather for the last few days, but today I started feeling better (thanks to 12 hours of sleep last night) and this morning I was able to spend some time in the kitchen. Back in November, the lovely and talented Julie Asselin posted a recipe for her Apple Pecan Cobbler. As luck would have it, our last CSA delivery included some gorgeous apples, but things got busy and I didn't get to make it. Thankfully the apples held out long enough and this morning we had Apple Pecan Cobbler for breakfast...


Of course, everything is better with fresh whipped cream...

APCI did leave the skins on the apples and adapted for a gluten-free version with GF oats and substituting GF flour, otherwise I followed Julie's recipe exactly and it was SO delicious!

Speaking of delicious... remember this?

Pho AY

Last winter I made Vietnamese Pho broth from scratch and made a huge batch to freeze leftovers. Tonight, we're enjoying the fruits of that day's labor for supper and I can't wait!


PS - If you're waiting for my new Knitalong, stay tuned... I'll be posting in the VERY near future!