Friday, September 24, 2010

Alabama Split Pea Soup

There is no denying it, I have not been very productive this week. Honey has been home on vacation, which is nice, don't get me wrong. But having another around tends to slow things down. He took a couple of days and went to Walla Walla to see some family, and when he is gone, I don't usually cook a meal for myself. I graze upon what is available and use up leftovers. After his return we took one day and went to the beach.

I have done some cooking, I made gingerbread and another batch of roasted tomato (lacto-fermented) salsa. I also rendered a couple of large blocks of bacon "ends and pieces" for cooking fat and ready to use bacon bits.  There was a batch of granola and another of muffins.This lull in cooking was good for me, because it helped to cement in my front lobe, how badly I have been putting meals on the table. Or rather, how badly I have not been putting a meal on the table.

Honey is a (not!) true gourmet. His idea of a 4 course meal is 3 donuts and a quart of chocolate milk, seriously. Au Gratin potatoes, one of his favorites, comes in a box and you add water. Therefore if I don't cook, he does not mind, and sometimes I think he is secretly happy! As for whole wheat, isn't that something you feed to the animals?

But I mind, and need to mind even more. It is easy for me to get complacent and not care as much as I should. And this is an issue, that should be cared about. Having a set plan for meals is a savior for some families, this is not so easy for us. Honey can work up to 3 different shifts in a single week. Having a pre-planned meat loaf dinner with baked potatoes all cooked with no one to eat it, doesn't seem like the best idea for us. We would be in serious leftover mode around here, not to mention a lot of food waste.

Having home cooked, healthy food in the freezer, ready to go is a better option for this household. Personally I am a soup gal, I could eat a soup meal everyday, and not grow tired of it. This won't surprise you, but for Honey, that is not ideal. Substitute eggs however and you have yourself a winner. Where as I  prefer my eggs at dinner time. A good understanding of food preferences and lifestyle parameters is important to keep everyone happy, fed nutritiously and keep food waste to a bare minimum. 

One of the goals that I have kept up with is "a pot of beans a week". I have found by cooking up a pot of beans each week with no particular plan in place, I have a great spur of the moment meal and a second meal in the freezer for those, what are we going to have for dinner? days. Today I am cooking up another split pea soup. I have found it is a good idea to have multiple yet different recipes of each type of soup in the freezer. After all variety is the spice in life!

This soup is brought to you by way of Alabama, through the lovely blog of my friend Rocquie@Sage Trifle. She has been a great source of information and is wonderful to bounce ideas off!

Alabama Split peas soup w/ celery
Adapted from: Sage Trifle

1 pound split peas
2 ham hocks or shank ends
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 bay leaf
2 quarts fresh water
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large dutch oven, simmer 2 - 3 hours. Remove shanks, let cool slightly. Remove meat, dice and return meat to the soup.

Ladle into bowls and pass condiments so each person may dress their soup according to preference,

soy sauce
hot sauce
balsamic vinegar
olive oil.

Yield approximately 3 quarts of soup.

Serve with some crusty bread, a glass of wine and you have a great meal to share or truth be told, enjoy on your own.

Recipe rating:
Oh Yes! Will make again.

As always thanks so much for stopping by,
I love having visitors.

This post will be shared with Foodie Friday @ Designs by Gollam.


Sage Trifle said...

Melynda, you are too sweet! My husband also works varying hours, so planning too far in advance doesn't work out here either. Can you believe that every single morning I decide what I will cook that day? And at what time. I also go to the grocery store almost every day, which is fun and I find great bargains on fresh foods with "sell by" dates imminent.

Martha (MM) said...

And your visitors love having you - I love the personal feel to your blog!
I am a menu planner but a queen of using up leftovers because with teens I have to cook like I'm cooking for an army and then never know who will be there to eat! Of course none of them want reheated leftovers the next night so I have to make a new meal with the leftovers without it being obvious that they are eating leftovers, LOL! It works for me for this time of my life :-)

redmenace said...

Well, you are far more productive than me. It sounds like you've actually done a LOT of cooking. I'm impressed. The soup looks delicious! xo

shannon i olson said...

oh my goodness, my husband must be related to yours. he has an ongoing love affair with Little Debbie and Captain Crunch! He wont even eat fresh green beans from the garden, prefers the overcooked canned ones from the store! Grrr.
He won't touch leftovers without grumbling. I love him...but really! It is hard to come up with menus anyway without Mr. Picky!
I agree with Redmenace, you sound pretty productive for and unproductive week!

Annie Jones said...

I am fortunate to have a husband who eats anything I cook, whether from scratch or from boxes and cans. Luckily, he prefers the scratch cooking, which is important to me. :)

Like you, I prefer eggs any time other than breakfast.

A pot of beans a week...what a great idea! I love all kinds of beans and they are so versatile. I should give this idea a try.