Bean and Cheese Quesadillas, Anyone? Anyone?

My summer office is closed up. I made it through the first full week of kids back in school coupled with their activities. And this past weekend, I was beat. So very, very tired.

Before the weekend even started I let my daughter know, “I will only ‘drop you off and pick you up’ one weekend night so choose wisely.”

She willingly scrounged up rides to the other places she wanted to go, but without a full understanding of why I couldn’t just take her.

And I remember when I didn’t fully understand.

When it was dark and I stood out on the sidewalk and sighed. When I exhaled loudly and dropped my backpack on the ground. When I threw up my hands and walked around in a circle. When I paced and was aghast that my mother was late to pick me up from volleyball practice.

Or when I’d pick at the dinner kindly made for me and think, I don’t feel like this, even though I’d been asked numerous times earlier what I felt like for dinner.

Or whenever my mom would write a check in the grocery store line or either of my parents would stop for gas “on the way home” and I’d feel my skin prickle with heat and my heart race with impatience.

I find it mortifying that I even had those thoughts. To admit that I was so impatient and unable to see past my own needs, but I suppose all children act this way at one time or another.

At least, that is what I remind myself when I get a similar reaction from my children as to why I cannot pick them up one more evening in a row at 11pm from across town, or why I cannot drop everything and take them to the mall/lacrosse field/Lego store that instant, or why we are having bean and cheese quesadillas for the second night in a row, or why I have to quickly stop at the grocery store “on the way home.”

I notice their sighs, their rolled eyes, their impatience, but curiously it doesn’t rile me up. They have no way of knowing how much work it takes to be a parent. They won’t know until they have children of their own. I shrug it off and simply say to them, “I’m only one person.”

And so, here at the start of the school year, I remind myself that I am a mother, yes, a wife, yes, but I’m also a woman with goals and ambitions that lie outside of my family roles. I try to guard my time. Become almost selfish about it as I strive to find the right balance between all of the directions I’m pulled. And yet, I’m still only one person. Not always finding balance…but trying.

To my children, I usually follow-up the “I’m only one person” with “Help me out here people. There’s 3 of you and 1 of me. I’m just tryin’ my best.”

And really isn’t that what we should expect from ourselves? Not perfection, but to just try our best?



Bean and Cheese Quesadillas
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 5 quick quesadillas
If you find yourself, one evening, thinking "I don't know what to make for dinner. I wonder what is Carrie making?" chances are, I'll be making bean and cheese quesadillas. They tend to be my fallback meal when I'm out of time or can't think of anything else to make. What I love about them is that they're quick to make and I feel like my kids are getting a healthy dinner. I make them with the beans and cheese inside and them pile up the rest of the fixings on top. And truth be told, I tend to use fresh salsa, pre-made from my grocery store, as well as pre-shredded cheese from a bag. "We're just doin' our best here people!"
  • 10 flour or corn tortillas
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Shredded cheese - cheddar, Monterey Jack, etc.
  • Olive oil
  • Salsa
  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced
  • Sour cream
  1. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet (my favorite is a cast iron skillet) over medium heat.
  2. Sprinkle some beans and cheese evenly over one quesadilla and top it with another.
  3. Brush the top tortilla with olive oil and carefully brush your skillet with olive oil.
  4. Lay your quesadilla in the pan and cook until nicely browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Then, flip and cook another 2 minutes, or so.
  5. Take care that the quesadilla does not brown too quickly. You may need to turn your heat down. Take the quesadilla out of the pan when the cheese is melted and both sides are nicely browned.
  6. Cut into triangles.
  7. Top each triangle with a couple slices of avocado, a scoop of salsa, and a dollop of sour cream.




  1. I pretty much always worked full time when my kids were school aged, and honestly, I don’t have any idea how I did that and got everything else done, including going to all of their events, shuttling them around, shopping, cooking, etc. Women fought for a lot of rights that perhaps young women today take for granted, and I think that sometimes makes women believe we can be “superlady” (as my daughter was fond of saying at age 3). I like to say that women – and men – CAN have and do everything and anything, just not all at once. There will always be times when children take the majority of your time and you might have to pass up a great job opportunity, when work beckons and you have to leave your family for a bit, or when your personal needs require you to put them before both work and your family. Learning how to go with that flow during life is the most important thing!

    • Oh, Michelle, I always love your insight. Thank you for stopping by and passing along those nuggets. And I so agree with you and always remind myself that we can do everything, just not all at once. It’s the choosing which thing to do now that always trips me up. 😉

  2. Carrie, this is our weekly go-to meal and we’re having it tonight! With school, sports, and piano – our schedule is full. I use my slow-cooker LOTS during this time of year and am soaking pinto beans right now that I’ll cook for dinner tonight.
    As far as the driving thing, I try and do as little of that as possible. My kids walk to/from soccer and school and I’m thankful every time I don’t have to get in the car!
    Great pictures, friend!

    • Sara, I need your slow cooker bean recipe. Is it on that lovely blog of yours? I checked once and couldn’t find it. If you do have it, please post the link in the comments as I’m sure others would love to have it as well.
      As for driving around, I’m counting the days til the eldest gets her license!!

  3. Laurie Walker says:

    I love your honesty, Carrie. And my “go to” meal just got a very chic makeover. Thank you!

  4. Love quesadillas! We make ours with black beans, chevre, shredded cheese, a bit of cumin, a jalapeno, and some cilantro. It’s very yummy and takes minutes to mix together and slap on to the tortillas. I always love your meals and the stories that accompany them. We made your shallot/cherry tomato compote with salmon last night and it was delish.

    • Anna, love the idea of putting chevre in there. I hadn’t thought of that and will definitely give it a whirl next time. So glad you enjoyed the salmon. It’s one of our favs especially right now when tomatoes are so good. Thank you for stopping by!

  5. Yes, I remember, that is when I was home and how super mom always picked up the slack when I was gone. But, best of all, when you learned to drive and had your license, you helped mom so much, not necessary always to your liking – but you did – when you drove your younger sister and brother to some of their activities. Lu ya.

    • Like I told you a few days ago, Papa Bear, can’t wait til the eldest gets her license! Now, if I could just get her to take her driver’s permit test so she can start practicing.

  6. Wendy Kotila says:

    Love this one, Carrie. No one can do it all and time and space for yourself is so important!

  7. I have to say, beans are not a favorite food of mine. Frankly, I avoid them at all costs. However, I know how healthy they are. And I’m really working on being more health conscious. So, I’m going to have to try these and see what all the fuss is about 🙂

  8. I really loved reading this. I am in a balance struggle big time now that both kids are in school full time, I thought it would free time up for me but I have gotten busier, and they are still so little! I hold myself back on a lot, and theirs lots of guilt happening both ways, super lady I am surely not!

    I could survive on bean & cheese quesadillas. In fact, I think I just decided we are having them to watch football tonight! (My kids’ will be sans beans unfortunately, still working in it 🙂 )

    • **There’s** 🙂

      • Oh, Aggie, I agree…finding balance can sometimes seem elusive. And isn’t it just the darndest thing…we think we’ll have more free time as our kids grow older and become less dependent on us, but just the opposite seems to happen?? I wish I had the answer for this. xo