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When I Was Young in the Mountains dinner menu

An old country dinner menu inspired by the book When I was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant.

When I Was Young in the Mountain

This month’s theme for Family Dinner Book Club is Gratitude, and our lead book is When I was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant. Here you’ll find a menu that can be prepared with the help of your children. Head over to Growing Book by Book for a full reading list of books about Gratitude. Then visit Sunny Day Family for family activity ideas. We invite you to share a picture from your dinner with us anytime during the month on our Family Dinner Book Club Facebook or Instagram page!

Slow Cooker Country Pinto Beans

My maternal grandparents are from Oklahoma. It isn’t exactly mountainous, but this book reminded me so much of them. Their values, their work ethic, and the old country meals my grandma used to make. The dinner menu below is taken directly from the pages of this book. It’s the perfect simple meal to call our memories back to a simpler time, and remember the sweet moments we’ve had with our own grandparents.

When I was Young in the Mountains
Family Dinner Book Club
Slow Cooker Country Pinto Beans (recipe below)
-serve with grated cheese and diced onions
Skillet Cornbread
Fried Okra
Hot Cocoa

Click on each image below for the recipe!

Fried Okra

Skillet Cornbread

Slow Cooker Country Pinto Beans thumbnail
Yield: 10-12 servings

Slow Cooker Country Pinto Beans

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 5 minutes

Pinto Beans slowly simmered with a smoky ham hock until perfectly tender


  • 1/2 pound smoked ham hock
  • 1 pound dry pinto beans
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


  1. Place the ham hock in a large bowl, cover with water, and soak overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Add the pre-soaked ham hock, beans, onion, and chili powder to the slow cooker.
  3. Pour the ham hock soaking liquid over the beans and add more water until the beans and ham hock are covered.
  4. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, until the beans are very tender.
  5. Add the salt, pepper, and garlic powder to the beans. Stir well and serve.

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