Holidays · Recipes

Split Pea Soup

OK, finding dried peas was IMPOSSIBLE this week, which is why this post is so late. Am I crazy, or is making Split Pea Soup with your leftover holiday ham bone not a thing anymore? At Christmas and Easter my relatives usually fight over the thing on their way out the door, and having pea soup for lunch all week is supposed to be a post-holiday treat, not a chore. Poor Mark went to three different stores for me before finding a one-pound bag of regular old Goya dried beans yesterday. Trader Joe’s and Target said they don’t even carry peas at all, so this isn’t a case of stores running out because everyone else wanted to make pea soup, too.

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My mom always made a wicked good pea soup, but her memory of the recipe was approximate, so I decided to use a good old fashioned Betty Crocker recipe for this Split Pea Soup. My mom does not use celery or carrots in hers, but I wanted to try that and see how I liked it. I think it worked, so I’ll probably do that again the next time I make it.

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It came out delectable, if I do say so myself!

SPLIT PEA SOUP

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried split peas, sorted and rinsed
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 ham bone (or 2 pounds shanks)
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch slices

Directions

Heat the peas and the water to boiling in a 4-quart Dutch oven. Boil uncovered for 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour.

Stir in the onion, celery, carrots and pepper. Add the ham bone. Heat to boiling and reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 1 hour 30 minutes, or until peas are tender.

You can either remove the ham bone trim and off the excess fat, and then chop some ham from the bone and place into the soup, or leave the bone in the soup and cut off some pieces with scissors, like I did, then remove and discard.

Heat to boiling again, then reduce heat and cover. Simmer about 30 minutes more or until the soup is your desired consistency.

Skim the fat at this point, or later before serving (that’s what I did). Serve warm with toast or a salad. IMG_9517

Start to finish, this took just over 3 hours, most of it simmer time. I started right after putting Georgia to bed Friday night and finished up right in time for ME to go to bed, at 10:30. I put portions into takeout containers for me to have lunches all week. If you make this in a cast iron Dutch oven, it may take quite a while to cool down completely, so I’d recommend storing in a separate container. It will look much more liquid-y when you first stop cooking and then it’ll solidify overnight, which is how long I like to let it sit before eating.

Betty Crocker’s Tips include:

How to sort and rinse peas. Preparing split peas for cooking is easy, BC says! “Just pick over the dried split peas and discard any grit or discolored peas. Place the split peas in a bowl, and cover them with water. After a minute or two, remove any skins or split peas that float to the top. Finally, rinse the split peas in a colander.”

What to do if you have no ham bone? “If you’re looking for another option for a ham bone, use 2 pounds of smoked pork hocks.”

How to eat this. Like you need the help. “Serve this hearty soup with warm crusty bread and a fresh green salad drizzled with raspberry vinaigrette. Mmm!” Adorable.

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Nutrition Per Serving: 170 Calories, Total Fat 2g, Cholesterol 15 mg, Sodium 30 mg, Carbohydrate 33g, Fiber 13g(!), Protein 17 g.
Baby & Toddler · Holidays

The Easter Bunny Came! {+ our new fave camera}

Hope everyone had a nice holiday weekend! We had a wonderful Easter. Georgia not only wore her bonnet the whole day, to my complete surprise she also hunted for eggs rather enthusiastically! My brother hid plastic eggs (with stickers inside) around our house for her to “find,” and she loved it so much we had to keep running behind her to re-hide them in new places. It was adorable.

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Daddy had to work, so Georgia and Mommy went to church, where we stood on ours chairs to better see the special musicians, and then played with our friends in the nursery downstairs. Then we went home and Georgia took a nice long nap while Mommy made a glazed ham, and pretty soon Grammie, Uncle Brent and Auntie Michelle came over and we all ate a nice big dinner! Daddy made it home just in time for baby’s bedtime.

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The ham came out great — even G ate it, and loved it! — and I’ve got a Split Pea Soup queued up for the ham bone later this week. I’ll be posting my recipe on the blog as soon as I can! In the meantime, it’s back to work, and crossing my fingers for continued warm weather so we can start our garden, plant some flowers, and enjoy our front porch. 

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My brother’s girlfriend brought the coolest camera to capture the fun  yesterday: the FujiFilm Instax, which is like an old-school Polaroid that develops instantly.

Georgia was a little freaked out by the photo popping right out of the top (she’s only ever seen an iPhone camera, remember!) but quickly got the hang of it and loved seeing her pictures right away. I might have to get one of these things.

She was so into the pictures that she barely wanted to look at the Easter Basket Grammie brought her! She did, however, pause long enough to eat an entire Lindt Chocolate bunny. What can I say? She has good taste. Hope you all have a great week, and stay tuned for my Split Pea Soup recipe!

Baby & Toddler · Books · Holidays · kid-friendly · minted · Tips and Tricks

Our Easter Menu + Baby Easter Gift Ideas!

It’s Easter (and Passover) Week, and even though the weather won’t cooperate, we are still going to assume it’s Spring and will celebrate this quintessentially Spring holiday accordingly! Mark, as always, has to work on Easter, so once again I’m preparing a pared-down menu with help from family for a nice, low-key day. Here’s what we are making! Photos of babies in bonnets to follow shortly.

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One year ago. How time flies! My lil’ bunny!

Our Easter Menu

  • Glazed Ham
  • Warm buttered rolls
  • Stuffed Mushrooms
  • Butternut Squash
  • Cold Potato Salad
  • Applesauce
  • Honey Mustard
  • Cheesecake, Coffee & Tea

This year Easter is so early that I really refused to buy any kind of special dress, not knowing whether she’d even be able to wear it (or fit into it, since she just finished a growth spurt from 12-18 month clothes into 18-24 and even 2T). Last year, though, her Nani in Florida had sent her this gorgeous dress that we paired with a darling white Easter bonnet with patent leather crib shoes for church:

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Where does the time even go!!!

I think Georgia is still a little bit young to enjoy an Easter Egg Hunt or Easter-themed toys, but that won’t stop us from trying. I’m cajoling my brother into hiding eggs and I am fairly certain her Grammie will be showing up with some presents for our bunny!

If you need Easter gift inspiration, beyond candy, you’ve come to the right place.

the classic

something different

Hide & Squeak Eggs, $10.80 on amazon

something huggable

skip hop “hug & hide” lamb, $18, Amazon

a nightlight

$10.95, Land of Nod

a lovey

angel baby blankie, $13, amazon

a push toy

$19, amazon

a party in a box

easter egg hunt kit, $18, Land of Nod

treat bags

personalizable! pottery barn, on sale from $9.99 to $30
personalizable, via pottery barn, on sale from $9.99

munchies

a bit of seasonal decor

frameable bunny art from $22 via minted.com (in five colors)

Last but not least, one Easter craft idea for the family and three fun recipes:

Italian Easter Bread

Rice Krispy Treat Eggs

Easter Egg cake

neon dipped eggs by Joy Cho/Oh Joy! via Merrimentevents.com

Have a wonderful week everyone!

Recipes

Bowties with Ham, Peas & Ricotta

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I threw this together to use up the leftovers from our Christmas spiral ham. Any time you have leftover ham, just pick up a box of farfalle (aka bowtie) pasta, a bag of frozen peas and ricotta, and you’ve got a meal.

BOWTIE PASTA WITH HAM, PEAS & RICOTTA

Ingredients

  • Leftover spiral ham slices, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 bag of frozen peas
  • 1 container of ricotta cheese, preferably low fat/part skim
  • Milk, cream or water to taste for loosening the sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: a dash of brown mustard

Directions

Set the pasta on to boil. Halfway through cooking, add in the entire bag of frozen peas.

Drain pasta and peas, reserving a bit of the cooking water. The starches will help make a sauce when you add the ricotta.

In the original pot over the lowest heat setting, add the ham pieces to the pasta and peas; add the entire container of ricotta. Stirring, add the reserved pasta water back in (1-2 cups should do it) plus a splash of any kind of milk, cream or water to loosen the sauce.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve warm.

I also added a squirt of brown mustard to the sauce to add a different flavor, and it really tasted good!

Makes great leftovers, just add a pat of butter and/or some water to re-loosen the sauce before microwaving.

This could be made vegetarian very easily by using Morningstar (or similar) “meats,” which I’ve tried and liked.

Just to be festive, I threw in half a cup of leftover eggnog to make this an extra creamy sauce. We ate it for dinner on New Year’s Day as a snowstorm starting swirling into New England. Cozy and delicious!

And now, my baby at 4.5 months 🙂