Saturday, October 25, 2014

Double Split Pea Soup with Diced Ham

Once a week I try a soup recipe and make sure that it makes enough soup for me to have for lunches for the whole week and dinner for Friday night.  Now I just need to start making either some crusty bread or biscuits to go with it.  That will have to be a project for another time.

The first week that I did this I had a hankering for split pea soup.  Don't ask me where it came from because I have never really liked split pea soup.  I remember when I was going to college my grandfather would make a crockpot full about once a month and God help you if you touched it.  So I never got to taste his so my experience has always been with canned split pea soup and it always had a consistency of watery baby food and a fake ham flavor to it.  Now don't get me wrong I do like pureed soup but I just couldn't get into mushy watery pea soup.  So, like I said I had a hankering for some pea soup and figured that I had just purchased the Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero so I went looking for a recipe.  I figured a vegan cookbook would be a really good place to start for pea soup and guess what it was.  Now I did use their recipe but made a few changes of my own to make it fit my tastes.  Ok, the two changes I made was I added diced ham and minced garlic to it.  But if you want it to remain vegan just omit the ham.  Just a little bit of advice is it is best to make this soup the day before and then let it marinate overnight in the fridge before reheating and serving.  I tasted the soup when it was done and it was ok, but the next day when I reheated it for lunch I swear the whole flavor and even scent of the soup had changed.  It was the best pea soup I had ever had!  Definitely a recipe that I will be making over and over again!

The Veganomicon was something that I stumbled onto when I was at the library one day browsing the cookbook section.  Yes I browse the cookbook, knitting, quilting, sewing, and now gardening sections.  I came across The Veganomicon and I remember reading about it in one of the magazines I subscribe to and decided to check it out.  Now I've checked out other vegan cookbooks and felt kind of cheated when a lot of the recipes turn around and take recipes that had meat in them and just tell you to substitute the meat with some meat substitute or another.  Personally to me it feels like they took the easy way out instead of experimenting to try and find a way to make the original recipe vegan while making it taste amazing.  That's what I love about this book.  There are so many AMAZING recipes in this book and I think of the 5 or so soups that I've made I only added meat to one of them and it was the pea soup.

They have a recipe for Brown Rice and Roasted Garlic Tomato Soup that has made me swear off any store bought tomato soup and in the past cream of tomato soup was my all time favorite! Last week we tried the French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme and this week it's Baked Potato and Greens Soup.  So far we haven't had a bad one yet.  I have a brother who doesn't like spinach but he tasted the soup I made last night and he said it was pretty good.  Another thing I've noticed is that when I enter the recipes into the recipe calculator for Spark People the calorie counts are really good and I'm amazed with the nutrient counts on them.  Just so you don't think that all they have are really phenomenal soup recipes they also have a great section on how to grill, roast, and steam different types of vegetables.  I was always afraid of recipes that called for a roasted red bell peppers so I would either skip them or I would get the ones that come in a jar.  I now know after having roasted 2 red bell peppers for this recipe that I cheated myself and those I served the recipes with the jarred peppers or by skipping what could have been really good recipes.  To date we've roasted asparagus, red bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, and potatoes.  Last night I steamed some fresh spinach, which tasted so much better than frozen, so I think this book has paid for itself many times over!  It was a Christmas present that I gave to myself that was well worth it!

Double Split-Pea Soup with Diced Ham
adapted from the Veganomicon

3 tbsp Olive Oil
1 large onion, chopped finely
2 carrots, peeled and cut into small dice
2 stalks celery, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
2 1/2 quarts water
1 pound dried split green peas
1-inch cube fresh ginger, peeled
1 bay leaf
2 tsps dried thyme
1 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (16-oz) bag frozen green peas
2  roasted red peppers, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, diced  (see below)
1 package Oscar Mayer Carving Board Ham, diced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

1.  Preheat a large stockpot over medium heat.  Saute the onions 5 to 7 minutes, until softened.  Add the carrots and celery, and saute for another 5 minutes until the veggies are soft and slightly golden.

2.  Add the water, split peas, ginger, bay leaf, thyme, tarragon, garlic, coriander, and cumin.  Cover, raise the heat to high to bring to a rolling boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and allow the soup to simmer, covered for 45 to 50 minutes until the split peas turn soft and mushy.  While the split peas are cooking in a frying pan over medium heat warm up the diced ham for a couple minutes. Like my Nana used to say you just want to take the chill out of it.

3.  Stir in the frozen green peas, diced roasted red pepper, and diced ham.  Cover, and raise the heat to bring to a boil again, then lower the heat and simmer for another 20 minutes, or until green peas are tender.

4.  Remove the ginger and bay leaf.  Once cool refrigerate overnight and reheat before serving.  Enjoy!

How to Roast a Red Bell Pepper
Olive Oil
2 red bell peppers
1 baking sheet

1.  Preheat oven to 425*.
2.  While the oven is preheating cover the baking sheet with foil and spray it with olive oil.
3.  Cut the red bell peppers in half lengthwise (from stem to bottom of red pepper) and remove the stem and seeds.
4.  Put the peppers cut side down and spray the peppers with olive oil.
5.  Roast in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes  or until skin is dark brown in spots.  

Chicken & Broccoli Chowder Pot Pie

Trying to get back to blogging after a very hard and trying spring and summer. I'll go into a little more in another post. Enjoy this recipe that I adapted from a recipe for Chicken-Broccoli-Cheddar chowder that was in the September/October 2014 issue of Eating Well Magazine. We first made the recipe as a chowder using coconut milk instead of milk and left out the cheese. It tasted so good that I decided end that it would taste really good as a filling for a pot pie. So I kept the recipe the same from the chowder but added carrots and topped it with phyllo dough. All I can say is that it was some amazing comfort food!  Enjoy😘

3 tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp ground pepper
4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 1/4 cups unsweetened (canned) coconut milk
2 cups Yukon Gold Potatoes, diced
3 cups broccoli, chopped
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
phyllo dough, thawed
1 tbsp Earth Balance, melted or cooking spray
1.  Over medium heat add oil to stockpot. Preheat oven to 350*F. 

2. Add onions, celery and carrots and cook stirring frequently until softened and beginning to brown for approximately 3 to 6 minutes. 

3. Sprinkle the flour, ground mustard, salt, and pepper and cook stirring frequently for 1 minute. 

4.  Stir in coconut milk and chicken stock and bring to a gentle boil stirring frequently. 

5. Next add the potatoes and broccoli and bring just to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 12-15 minutes. 

6.  Add the chicken and cook, stirring frequently until chicken is fully cooked for 2 to 6 minutes. I stir and find the largest piece of chicken and test it with an instant read thermometer. 

7.  Spray casserole dish with cooking spray and pour mixture into the casserole dish. spread sheets of phyllo dough over the mixture & brush each layer with either the Earth Balance or spray with cooking spray. Place casserole dish in oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until phyllo is golden. 

8. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Serve and enjoy!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Dewberry Winter Hat

I apologize this post was supposed to be up the beginning of December but it was a crazy month!  I swear everyone in my house chose a week to get sick, Christmas shopping, present making, etc...  This weekend I'm hoping to have the very very easy pattern for the below item up.

Ribbed Neck Warmer/Cowl

And some really really AMAZING Double Split Pea Soup that I made over the weekend!
So So yummy especially the second day after it
marinates in the fridge overnight!!
This has been one weird fall compared to what we have had the past couple of years.  We've recently had days where you could go running around in a t-shirt and shorts and be comfortable and others where it's so cold and windy you just want to move somewhere tropical.  For Thanksgiving we went to Buffalo to spend a couple days with my in-laws and I really wish I would have finished this hat before we went.

We were only there for a few days but it was a great trip.  A very cold trip but a great trip nonetheless.  I really feel bad that the last time that MJ had been to Buffalo she was around 18 months old.  She's five now so its been a while since Rambo's brother and sister and family had seen her.  And this time it was a little sad.  we lost Rambo's father the end of June to cancer.  Since this was MJ's first trip since Poppy passed we weren't too sure how she was going to do.  We were concerned that she would try to go looking for Poppy and would get upset but thankfully she didn't.  When we went to Mema's house the first thing she told her after we sat down was that she really missed Poppy and that he was in heaven with Jesus.  And that if we want to we can pray for him.  I think it surprised all of us because no one was expecting her to be so calm and comforting to everyone else.  We expected some confusion and tears but instead we got a child who was reassuring* everyone that everything would be okay.  She made me so proud that day!

Unfortunately while we were up there we had another little sad event.  On Thanksgiving night we came back to Mema's house after dinner at Rambo's sisters house and Rambo found that Poppy's cat had passed away while were out.  She was a very old cat and had been very attached to Poppy when he was alive.  Wherever he was she wouldn't be too far behind.  We feel that she passed of a broken hear exactly 5 months to the day that we lost Poppy.  

It was a little sad celebrating Thanksgiving without Poppy but we all know that he was with us maybe not physically but he was as MJ would tell you there in our hearts.  How did I get such a smart little girl?  

I had planned on having this hat finished before we went to Buffalo but it didn't quite work out in my favor.  I had a class in session and between worrying about Rambo, he was on the road with training for his new job, work and doing everything else I have to do just didn't have the time to sit down and work on my hat and when I did I just couldn't get it right.  I don't know how many times I had tore it down before I got the brim to look the way I wanted it to.  I even took it with me to Buffalo but wasn't able to get it to work until the drive home.  Once I changed the pattern around a little I found that it came together really easily and would make a great first hat for a beginner knitter.  It's a little wider than some of the patterns that I have seen but I don't like my hats to feel tight and this hat is extremely comfortable and warm!  I think this hat could be made for a guy you would probably just want to change the colors and probably do less ribbing and more stockinette.

Dewberry Winter Hat

Color A: 1 skein Bulky Wool of the Andes in Cadet  
16" US10 circular needles
US10 double pointed needles
stitch marker
darning needle

CO: cast-on
st(s): stitch(es)
Rnd: round 
k: knit
p: purl
k2tog: knit the next 2 sts together
dpn: double pointed needles

16 sts and 24 rows= 4 inches in stockinette stitch

Make-up free selfie!  I don't think it came out that bad!

CO72 sts in  color A and making sure not to twist the stitches join the round and place a stitch marker to signify the beginning of the round.

Rnd 1-12: *k3, p3, rep from * to end of rnd

Next change the yarn to color B and knit 20 rnds in stockinette st.

Crown (Decreases)
Rnd 1: k all sts
Rnd 2:* k10, k2tog; rep from * to end of rnd
Rnd 3: k all sts
Rnd 4: *k9, k2tog; rep from * to end of rnd
Rnd 5: k all sts
Rnd 6: *k8, k2tog; rep from * to end of rnd
Rnd 7: k all sts
Rnd 8: *k7, k2tog; rep from * to end of rnd
Rnd 9: *k6, k2tog; rep from * to end of rnd
Rnd 10: *k5, k2tog; rep from * to end of rnd
Rnd 11: *k4, k2tog; rep from * to end of rnd
Rnd 12: *k3, k2tog; rep frpm * to end of rnd
Rnd 13: *k2, k2tog; rep from * to end of rnd
Rnd 14: *k1, k2tog; rep from * to end of rnd
Rnd 15: *k2tog; rep from * to end of rnd

My little helper modeling my hat for me!  She is such a clown!
You should now have 6 sts left on your needles.  Cut a 6" tail and using the tail thread it through a darning needle and pull it through the live sts and tie off.  Weave in ends and block.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Soft Ribbed Neckwarmer

This is a great and easy first project for someone learning how to knit in the round for the first time. I came up with this project last year and then totally forgot about this post. Unfortunately the above picture is the only one I have of this project but I can promise you this is a wonderful neck warmer. I wish I could find the pics  took of MJ trying it on for me. She thought it was so pretty and made her look soooo special. 

Hope you have fun with this project and that wearing it makes you feel special too!

1 skein Red Heart Soft in Grape
16" US 10 circular needles
stitch marker
darning needle

CO- Cast-on
BO- Bind-off
Rnd- round
k- knit
p- purl
st(s)- stitch(es)

CO116 sts and making sure not to twist the sts join the round and place a stitch marker to signify the beginning of the round.

Rnd 1-32: *k2, p2; rep from * to end of rnd

BO all sts in pattern, weave in ends and block.