This weekend I took temporary custody.

Of a belly button.

I kid you not.

But when you meet someone (and worse, when you’re related to someone!) who wants to take their cute tiny 16 year old belly button and POKE.TWO.HOLES.IN.IT.

You have to take matters (and umbilici) into your own hands.  It’s a legal obligation.  And a sisterly right.


I mean…I tried to say all the usual rational discouraging things.


“Do you really think you’re going to want this when you’re 80?”

“No boy is ever going to like you with a ring stapled through your stomach!” (ha. right.)

“Because I said so, THAT’S why.”

“Absolutely not.”

To no avail.

Ugh. Sisters.


So then I finally just had to take the damn thing away from her.

Lessons had to be learned.

Belly button rights had to be revoked…

…she can have it back when I deem her old enough to care for it responsibly.  I’m thinking…45? 62?  You know…right about when I let her get married and move in with a boy.

That seems reasonable.


No offense to any belly button piercing proprietors out there.  But I bet you had a better reason then, “Duh, Jo.  Because it’s cool” when your older sister/mother/aunt/best friend sat you down and interrogated demanded an explanation oh so calmly inquired into your rationale.

And if not…just don’t write about it in the comments.  And especially don’t say that getting it was the best decision of your life.  Sisterly eyes are everywhere…and she doesn’t need any more encouragement than I’m sure her best friends are already giving her.

Besides. After much Easter Sunday arguing (just, you know…getting in the holiday spirit!) we compromised on a second piercing in her ears.  And I’d much prefer not to revisit that screaming match with her now yelling, “BUT YOUR BLOG READERS SAID I COULD!”  If at all possible.



Sparring with teenagers is exhausting.  Let’s eat some beans.  (Iron = ENERGY!!)

Giant chipotle white bean casserole of heaven, to be precise.

I don’t know how that woman does it, but Heidi Swanson manages to take the most simple of ingredients and turn them into something you want to dive headfirst into and never come up for air.  Here, she mixes giant white beans with a chipotle-infused tomato sauce, a leafy green (more iron!) and tops it all off with queso fresco and cilantro pesto.  Trust me…if you have children of any shape or form in your life (and even if you don’t!) you need this in your life.

First of all, because after one bite you won’t care at all about anything that’s going on in the real world, and instead will focus all your concerns on how you can make it so that you never stop eating this.  Ever and anon.  And second of all, because after eating this…you’ll have so much energy that you’ll be ready for round two of the belly button war of 2012.  And we all know that there’s probably going to be a rounds two through thirty-five.  Teenagers can be relentless.  Especially when you’re holding their belly buttons hostage.


 I’m tapering again.  Taper week is actually my least favorite part of half/full marathon training because, even though you’re doing less workout-wise, your legs inevitably hurt more.  I’m not sure whether it’s your muscles rebuilding themselves for what muscle memory tells them is coming or whether you’re just more sensitive to it then normal.  Either way, all you want to do is run to remind yourself that your legs, though they feel majorly crappy, do, in fact, still work.  But you can’t.  You have to trust in the process.  And in yourself.  Walk. Crawl. Have faith.

Believe that when that gun goes off on Sunday and you have to run around Central Park’s rolling hills, not once, but twice…that everything will be okay.  Race mode will take over.  And  you’ll just…go.  Running, walking, crawling.

Whatever it takes.


Giant Chipotle White Beans
Serves 4, adapted from 101 Cookbooks


  • 1 lb large dried white beans (I used giant lima beans!), soaked overnight or up to 24 hours
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 big pinches of red pepper flakes
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1 1/2 tbsp adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers
  • 1 medium clove garlic
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp water
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, de-stemmed and torn into strips
  • 4 oz queso fresco, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup whole grain bread crumbs


  1. To prepare the beans, drain and rinse them after they’ve soaked overnight.  Put them in a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, cover and turn down to a simmer.  Cook until just-tender, which, depending on your beans, can take anywhere from 40 minutes to 2 hours.  Drain and set aside.
  2. In the meantime, make the tomato sauce.  Combine 1 tbsp olive oil, the red pepper flakes, salt, and garlic in a cold medium saucepan.  Stir and heat over medium high heat.  Saute 45 seconds or until everything is fragrant, and pour in the tomatoes.  Stir in the fresh oregano and bring to a simmer.  Once simmering, remove from the heat and add the adobo sauce.  Taste for salt and spice level.  Set aside.
  3. Make cilantro pesto by combining 1 clove garlic, cilantro, 1 tbsp olive oil, and water in a food processor.  Pulse until smooth. Season to taste with salt and set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 425.  In a 9×13-inch baking pan or a dutch oven, toss the beans with the tomato sauce and swiss chard.  Top with the cheese, breadcrumbs, and cilantro pesto.  Bake for about 25 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown.  Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes.  Serve.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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83 Responses to Giant Chipotle White Beans {}

  1. Pam says:

    Ugh NO to belly button piercing. AND yes to these gorgeous beans!

  2. Ada says:

    Yup, I got my belly button pierced for my 16th birthday (actually, a few days shy of it). I definitely did it because I thought it looked cool. It still does, except for the part where I am no longer the same weight as when I was 16 (hint: I didn’t lose weight either…). That said, what’s the harm? If she changes her mind, she can just take out the ring and let it close on its own.

    Ok, more on topic, I looooove beans and greens, and this looks especially delicious after a long night in the library.

  3. Belly button rings are a TERRIBLE idea.

    How was that?

  4. I’m not big on piercings either…
    Thank goodness Melody didn’t go through that phase.
    Love the beany goodness! That will give you good energy for sure. ?

  5. london bakes says:

    Ugh, my brother came back from a trip to Thailand with a pierced eyebrow. It was definitely not cool. I love white beans and I love all the flavours in this dish, yum!

  6. bellini says:

    When my daughter stalled at least 3 times to get her ears pierced I thought nothing of saying yes to a belly button piercing…she went through with it on the first time. Mind you afterwards she couldn’t stop shaking. Sigh…As for healthy, delicious giant beans I’m there.

  7. I love beans… and I still have some Christmas Limas that would go well with this.. YUM! 🙂

  8. Simply Life says:

    oh you are too funny! your sister is lucky to have you watching out for her and telling her wise words 🙂

  9. Kim says:

    I’m with you…no way on the belly button piercing. I think it sends a bad message and attracts all the wrong guys. Hopefully it’s just a phase and she’ll forget about it.

    You know I’m loving this recipe. I think I’ll have to go on the hunt for giant white beans (which I’ve never seen in my markets).

  10. Belly button sounds ‘interesting’ but it could be in far ‘worse’ places, so relatively speaking its not as bad as it could be. Not sure whose side I am taking. I certainly don’t intend to put holes in my belly, neither encourage anyone. But I would eat the bean dish, and encourage others!

  11. Amy says:

    Can you believe that at one time I had 5 earrings in my left ear (5!) running from the lobe, all the way to the cartilage. That was in my fun-lovin’ record label, club hoppin’ days. Surprised I didn’t get a nose or belly ring. BUT, then I grew older…wiser… um, no. Actually what happened is Haley was born and once she figured out her fingers have a purpose, my earrings were constantly tugged at. Bye-bye earrings. But the holes are still there 🙁

  12. Sam says:

    This is one of my go-to recipes. Love it (and love what you’ve done with it).

    My youngest sister is about to turn 21 in two weeks (eek! Let’s not talk about how old that makes me…) I completely understand the “you did what?” reaction. Think of it this way, at least some guy named Bulldog isn’t giving her a tattoo in her best friend’s basement when she’s 16 (not that one of my sisters ever did this…)

  13. I told myself I would get a belly button ring when I have tight abs, I dont see it happening! lol Your dish looks wonderful, great flavors!

  14. Kelsey says:


    Don’t let her pierce it! I have so many friends who got it done and then regretted it once they got older!

    Taper time!!!

  15. I wanted a belly button piercing when I was younger and my mom wouldn’t let me…THANK GOODNESS! I would hate having a hole in my belly button now! I just wear cute earrings. These beans sound freaking awesome. I think they would go perfect with some garlic toast for this weekend!

  16. can we take like 20 minutes to talk about how gorgeous the colors are in these shots? yeah. super gorg.

    xo alison

  17. Sarah says:

    i wanted to get my belly button pierced, but i was too afraid of the pain… my friend and i were going to go in college but we chickened out. 🙂 these beans sound so great!

  18. Chipotle and beans in the same sentence is always a good thing.

  19. Not a piercing fan at all. Watch out because at 18 they may mention the nose. We ended that one quickly here. Very quickly. Those beans looks delicious, count me in for anything chipotle!

  20. That Girl says:

    I just think about how stretched out a bellybutton gets during pregnancy – that’s enough to dissuade me from piercings. Although maybe talking about pregnancy to a teenager isn’t the best idea.

  21. Kalyn says:

    No piercings or tattoos please! I know I’m hopelessly old fashioned on this topic, but so be it.

    Sounds like a fantastic recipe!!

  22. My mom was SO against me getting my belly button pierced and I was very upset about this… then, on vacation, we passed by a tattoo parlor and I said casually that I’d think a nose ring would be cute. She said “well let’s see how much they cost!” Soon the papers were signed and I had a stud in my nose. I was 15, I still have it today. It IS cute.

    Turns out, as a nurse, my mom sees lots of infected piercings. The bellybutton tops the list for most commonly infected AND the grossest–which is why she was so against me getting one. I still toy with the idea of getting mine done, but the horror stories she told me keep me at bay, and the fact that I am six years past being a teenager at this point. She did, however, come with me to get both of my tattoos 🙂 I guess my mom is KINDA cool…

  23. Margarita says:

    No belly button peircings for me either! The thought of it snagging in my shirts just freaks me out and I don’t find that sexy. This recipe though is sexy!

  24. Jenna says:

    Being preggo, the idea of belly button piercing seems totally incomprehensible. Probably because I want NO FURTHER DISCOMFORT in that area than what I’m already experiencing. So maybe your sister should get pregnant, and then she really won’t want a piercing . . .? Okay, bad idea.
    Terrible idea.
    Anyway, the smoky beans look awesome.

  25. Corina says:

    I couldn’t bear the thought of a belly button ring but the beans look delicious!

  26. All they ever do is get infected!! Good for you. And this looks gooooood. Evernoted.

  27. vianney says:

    No Belly button rings, no little sis, no. keep that belly button hostage as along as it take for her to forget even wanting to pierce it… Omg my girl is 12 is this what I have to look forward to? I better add this recipe to my weekly menu so I have the energy to tackle the belly button question, lol!!

  28. You are a good sister for looking out for the little one… but she’ll have to make these decisions on her own and live with the consequences (if there are any) 🙂 But you are sweet for trying to talk her out of it.

  29. Ranjani says:

    Oh I totally bookmarked this recipe on 101cookbooks and then never made it! It really does sound amazing and I’m glad you got it back in my mind

  30. I have a bag of giant white beans from Rancho Gordo that I have been trying to find ways to use. This is goods like a good solid recipe to deploy them. So good.

    I actually wanted a belly button ring at one point in my life. I’m not sure what I was smoking, but I’m glad that I never followed through with that fantasy.

  31. Pam says:

    You are such a great big sister (even if she thinks you are totally lame)! I will be sending my daughter to see you when she turns 16 and wants to do the same thing…kthanks!

    I’ve never had these beans before – the whole dish looks healthy, flavorful, and tasty.

  32. Kelly says:

    beautiful photos! Wow, I’m impressed!

  33. Jenn Kendall says:

    this looks beautiful and sounds delicious! and you are such an awesome big sis!

  34. Lynn says:

    I wish I had that for dinner tonight – oh yeah, I could have it!

  35. Nicole, RD says:

    I never know what to do with swiss chard…but this looks amazing! I am so drawn to those deep, spicy flavors of adobo. So, so good!!

  36. I love Heidi’s recipes–you and her both have a crazy ability to make me crave healthy foods (not that I don’t love healthy foods, but I don’t usually “crave” them if you know what I meant–cravings are usually reserved for salty, fatty, and/or sugary things). thsi one sounds amazing! Sounds like you might need to make it many times over the course of the next couple years as you try to keep the ring far, far, away from your sister’s belly button.

  37. Patsy says:

    I’m with you… no belly button piercing!

    I’ve already printed off the recipe and can’t wait to try it… may have to do a different pesto though as I am one of those weird people who can’t stand cilantro… do you think a basil pesto would work?

  38. Danielle says:

    Im with you – my little sis got a tattoo without clearing it with me first and I hate it. But I do love the sound of this tomato sauce and I am thinking I should make batches of it.

  39. I guess the only child in my life right now is me BUT I know I still want – no, need) these chipotle white beans!! I love the flavor combo.

  40. Shannon says:

    Ha, i always wanted my tongue pierced, but never got the galls to do it. and i’m glad about that 🙂 i’ll take some beans, though… yum! GOOD LUCK on sunday 🙂

  41. Eileen says:

    I also love all Heidi’s various beans! Spicy chipotle sounds like a perfect combination.

    It took me until age 20 to even get pierced ears (what? They punch holes in your head!) so you know I am anti-navel piercing. Plus there’s the risk of getting it caught on your zipper…AUGH.

  42. Erica says:

    Very funny, but I agree with you!!! The dish looks delicious…I love her recipes!

  43. YUM! Beyond Yum infact, its just amazing

  44. LOL. Okay, my younger sister wanted her ear pierced when she was 11 and so I brought her to a shop to get her very first ear holes pierced. I didn’t see anything wrong with having ONE ear hole on each side of the ear!! And no, I’m not referring to the top of the ear or other weird areas, I’m talking about traditional ear holes on the lobes! I have only 1 ear hole on each side too, and so does nearly the rest of the world! However, my dad strongly disagreed for whatever reason and got mad upon seeing it. 🙁 And since I was her accomplice it didn’t reflect too well on me. lol. Well, good thing she didn’t ask for a bellybutton ring or other piercings later on though! 😀 oh and yes, great recipe!!! Looks like an energy booster!

  45. Lol Im not one to judge as I have a belly ring but Im not sure I would let my sister so young. I was of age when I got mine.

  46. Ah, the sisterly duties never end… good sister. Tattoos all the way ;P . These beans sound fantabulous!!

  47. Katie says:

    I think if I had one bite of this, I wouldn’t be thinking about anything else either. Particularly not getting my belly button pierced. Ouch! Good job talking your sister out of that.

  48. Dana says:

    We are in complete agreement. Heidi is a marvel. I don’t get how she can consistently come up with compelling and amazing food. I’m a good cook but she is in a whole other league. Anyway, just tell your sister that someday (not any time soon!) she will want to have a baby and she will need to take it out anyway, so probably just a better idea to not get one. And remember, if she insists, there will hardly be a scar. Better than a tattoo.

  49. Reeni says:

    Just the thought of it makes me belly button hurt! And that’s not good because I want to eat this! Love the spicy flavors! And those giant beans – I have to find them for my Dad the lima bean lover.

  50. Cara says:

    yes, life is exhausting. Teenagers or not. Pass me a bowl!

  51. Those are some giant beans! This meal looks oh so healthy!

  52. elly says:

    Beans, cheese, chipotle, and chard. Yum, I’m going to love this one. Can’t wait to make it.

  53. I love giant beans like that! They’re so meaty.

    Also, I totally got my belly button pierced when I was..oh…16. And I totally regret it now. Don’t let her do it!!

  54. You’re such a good sister. I actually wanted to get my belly button pierced when I was in high school but I didn’t get it done because (1) my mother would eat me alive and (2) I have a very small threshold for pain. That being said, I am so glad I never got one 🙂

    Anyway, I can’t believe I’ve never had large white beans. I don’t think I’ve even seen them around. I’ll have to hunt these down – I’m sure whole foods would have them. That place is my go-to place when I’ve exhausted all other options.

  55. Hotly Spiced says:

    Ah yes, been there done that! My daughter has two holes through her belly button ‘because everyone does mum, except for you because you’re so old’. Right then! But I am worn down from all her ‘phases’ and can only be grateful the metal is not through her nose or eyebrow or lip or chin! xx

  56. Yum to these beans.

    And now, I’m having a stroke thinking about this conversation with my now 3 year old daughter a little over 10 years from now…

  57. I want those Swiss chard! Not that I?don’t love beans, but the greens just stand out!

  58. Ben says:

    I wonder if you can pierce those giant beans. They would look so cool! 😀

  59. Kristen says:

    You are such a good, wise, caring older sister….;-)

    Love the beans. Love the queso melted all over on top even more..ah cheese.

  60. daphne says:

    haha, teenage years- she will look back and will be glad for that belly button advice!
    I am a fan of beans- they fill you up and so nutritious!!! And they are indeed GIANT!

  61. What a delicious dish! This looks fantastic and very flavorful. Thanks for sharing!

  62. Dining Alone says:

    I had my tongue pierced for a long time, then one day just decided I am done with this. Now piercings sort of gross me out 🙂

  63. Same success rate when you argue with your baby-girl. Must be the girls-genes lol

  64. Katerina says:

    I don’t like piercing in any body part other than ears! The beans look exquisite!And it is quite rear to see giant beans cooked in the States. We eat them a lot in Greece but they are kind of neglected on the other side of the Atlantic! I am glad you made this recipe!

  65. Please protect that precious belly button! Hopefully you can hold her off long enough that it won’t seem quite so cool anymore. Piercing’s may look cool for a while…but then you have a hole. No need to add an unnecessary orefice.

  66. Carolyn Jung says:

    You did right. I think people pierce way too many things that just don’t need to be pierced, if you know what I mean. LOL

  67. Hannah says:

    I don’t know much about teenagers anymore, but I do know a whole lot about beans! Love, love those giant white ones, but I never make them since I never know what to do with them. Adding a bit of spice is a great start, and you can never go wrong with greens. Sounds like the makings of another delicious and healthy meal.

  68. beti says:

    It seems pretty reasonable for me too, you did the right thing I bet that she won’t like to see her belly button with a scar when she’s old 🙂

  69. I will try and not comment – but at 42 I have no regrets – about life and loves and all things 🙂 Now, on to the beans, sadly last night mine needed more inspiration and love than they got – and I wish I had read this post before dinner 🙂

  70. Shannon says:

    This recipe looks awesome!

  71. MyFudo™ says:

    A really flavorful dish…Can hardly wait to try. =)

  72. I`ve tried this recipe and i`m really impressed, it has a very good taste. My both child tried it and they like it a lot. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  73. Karen says:

    Gosh, this looks so good. I’d have to throw a hunk of meat in there for my gardener, but I’m making this for sure.

  74. Beautiful Joanne. The close ups of the swiss chard are stunning. I am so happy they’re coming into season.

  75. Johanna GGG says:

    oh belly buttons are funny things – they look even funnier with rings but luckily I am just at a stage where they are uncomplicated with sylvia – if only it was as easy to get her to eat a stew! esp one like this

  76. Chris says:

    Chipotle rocks my socks, I’d definitely like these beans.

    How does one steal someone’s belly button? And in the mean time, where does your sister keep her lint?

  77. sally says:

    I need to find myself some giant white beans. Good luck with your sister and with tapering!

  78. Lora says:

    Heidi Rock. This is dish looks fantastic and I got my belly button pierced when I was 30 and never regretted it. Probably because I waited so long.

  79. Shaelyn says:

    I got my belly button pierced the first week I was away at college – I puked on the guy doing the piercing and then passed out and woke up on the parlor’s couch a few minutes later to a panicked owner shoving orange juice and peanut butter crackers at me. If that doesn’t discourage her – I also removed the piercing about 3 years ago but the hole has NOT closed up at all and is still totally visible and definitely not cute.

    Tell her to stick to pretty kale and yummy goat cheese.

  80. Anonymous says:

    My little sister pierced her bellybutton as a teenager. Fifteen years later, the piercing has migrated and stretched over her pregnant belly. Not as bad as a the ‘VEGAN’ tattoo, but still…

  81. hy, What you wrote was very nice, and really helped me, thanks for sharing

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