Monday, January 21, 2019

OLD Recipe---Ham & Pea Soup and a bit of history.

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OLD Recipe and a bit of Food History


In researching for my novel series---yes, I'm writing a novel series for over 10 years, I spent a great deal of time on the availability and the diet of the early 1800's. While, dried legumes have been in use for thousands of years...how did our early Americans utilize what they had available? Soups were a staple in the homes of the rich and poor. In wealthier homes, soup was viewed as a way of teasing the palate for what was to come in the main courses, but for the humble folk---it was hearty, warming meal.

Upstate New York in 1817 had the advantage of lush farms, seasonal fruits, fresh water fish, and the proverbial pig which grazed anywhere it wanted to, with a string of piglets tagging along behind it. Fences were not designed to keep anything in, but to keep roaming pigs and cows from consuming everyone's backyard garden. Each home had a garden, from the stone lined pathways of intricate walks, to staved small kitchen gardens behind the humblest hovel, and of course a shelter for a pig and her piglets. Scraps were fed to the pigs---and it was the GREEN way to deal with otherwise icky kitchen waste that might attract rodents or worse.


         from: agrariannation.blogspot.com

In the Outlander series, Diana Galbadon uses the huge 'white sow', as a humorous break from what was hard times for the Frasers' saga. The pig was known for her ferocity and fecundity. The Frasers' sow produced mass bundles of little piglets, and so was kept far too long, despite her ornery personality and totally owning the space under the house. I finished book 8 (spoiler alert) and she was still there.

Anyway, in 1800's America these animals were butchered, smoked, rendered for their fat, roasted, fried, made into sausages and every last bit of the animal was used. Hence the marriage of legumes and pork/ham. Dried legumes peas, beans, lentils and rice were healthy and stable additions to the table.

My recipe, is not unlike what would have been served at the Fraser's table or at the Governor's table. I have been making soups for over 50 years now---and this is always been our winter favorite.



Soak the Peas overnite, or hurry in microwave or on the stove.

Ham and Split Pea Soup-OLD style, except I use a 6 quart crockpot instead of a kettle over the fire.

Hambones from a 10# smoked butt ham (on sale $6.90) I used 1/8 of this or say $1.00 worth with the bones.
2/3 cup of gelled juice from the roaster bottom, (after skimming fat off)
1/2 cup of coarsely chopped ham bits skin/ham/fat
2 cups of chopped celery (50 cents)
2 large onions (whatever you have) chopped coarsely (1.00)
1# bag of split peas (soaked overnight or boiled, in 2 quarts of water and let sit. (sale $1.40)
3/4# of carrots sliced or diced. (60 cents)
2 cups of diced potatoes (I leave the skins on for fiber and minerals) (50 cents)
4-6 quarts of water----free (we have well water)
1 teaspoon of dried chopped bay leaves or 4 whole ones(remove after cooking.
2 heaping teaspoon dried marjoram
1 heaping Tablespoon of dried parsley/cilantro
3/4 teaspoon of coarse ground pepper

After rinsing, soak 1# dried peas in 2 quarts of hot water overnight. I cheat and place in microwave for 8 min on high, and then let sit while I prepare the rest of my ingredients.

In frypan, fry the ham bits and fat until lightly browned, add chopped onions and celery. Fry until glistening-add one cup of water to deglaze pan. Pour all this into crock pot with the hambones, and 2 quarts of water. Add the gelled juice from the ham roaster (this is your salt) Turn on high.

Add bayleaf, marjoram, parsley/cilantro (garlic is optional) and pepper. Cover.

Let cook on high for 3-4 hours, or medium for 6-8, until meat has fallen off the bones remove bones and large pieces of meat. Chop meat and add with diced fresh carrots and potatoes. Cook an additional 1-2 hours until carrots and potatoes are soft.

(If you are working you can add the potatoes and carrots in the beginning, they will just be blended into the soup.)

Optional: I always add an acid at the end, either lemon juice 3-4 Tblsp. or 2 tablespoons of a white wine vinegar. This kicks up the flavor without adding additional salt. Do this to taste.

Remove half the soup or I use my NEW inversion blender or cream in your blender/chopper to cream half of the soup. We like our soup a bit chunky---so blending half gives it a nice texture.

Enjoy hot with a small dollop of butter or sour cream and some crusty rye bread.


10# Butt Ham after roasting. Bones are already in the crockpot. We have already had one meal from this delicious ham. (I never buy a spiral ham, we find they are dry after baking). Ham is one of the most versatile of meats, great for breakfasts, lunch and dinner.



Frying the ham bits with a tiny bit of fat. 



chopping celery



Onions ready to chop.



Browning the veggies until translucent.



Simple seasonings, Marjoram from our garden, Bay Leaves, Cilantro/or Parsley, pepper.


Add gelled juices from the roaster minus the fat-this provides the salt.



Combine it all-add soaked peas and water.



Simmer in crockpot 3-4 hours on high, or 6-8 on medium, covered.


 Remove the bones and cool, strip meat, chop and add back in to pot.


Chop carrots and potatoes and add.


This filled the crockpot back up!


Simmer an additional 1-2hours--until veggies are done. Add lemon juice or wine vinegar at this stage.
Cream half the soup with blender of your choice.


We enjoy this with thick crusty rye bread, for a winter supper.

Ham and Pea soup is extremely economical. From the 10# ham, we have meat for 6 meals for 2, and soup for 5 meals for two. (22 servings) Total cost roughly--11.00 or roughly 50 cents per meal. Healthy, hearty, economical, and delicious. This freezes so well. 

Feel FREE to copy my recipe, which is mine---from my head.

What's your favorite winter meal? 

All the opinions and photographs in this blog are my own, unless otherwise designated. I have not been paid or reimbursed in anyway for my opinions, posts or any products shown or anywhere I shop.


Thanks ALWAYS for visiting!

I will try and respond to every comment and answer every question.
Sandi Magle























Tuesday, January 15, 2019

My Month of Good Intentions!

I have always used January, as my month of Good Intentions!


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A sort of dreamy, sleepy, nesting time...


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A time to incubate....thoughts, dreams, intentions!


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But life and this season...rolls on, whether I want it to, or not.


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From our non-white Christmas... 

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to the cold JANUARY SNOW we finally had last week.

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To Sunshine and a freezing thaw---hopefully someday.


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I try to use this stalemate of all seasons....to reorganize---plan---


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Sort, Label, and Dispose of...

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...but, I'm afraid I accumulated more VINTAGE treasures
than I let go in 2018. 
I'm in my 70's now and all these family things---and the newly acquired finds, need to be gone through, sorted, sold, or saved.

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I can't blame it ALL on my great grandparent's on any side.

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I have OODLES of family ephemera I need to go through. I have photos, records to sort and decide how to preserve. Above is a photo of the family fish market in 1946. Look at those trolly tracks---my goodness, I remember the State Street trolley from my childhood.

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From Denmark, this is a photo of a possible family home-----all my ancestors knew whose it was---so why bother writing on it...
when, where, or whom? 

I have joined several 'history' sites of our hometowns and our ancestors' home countries. That's a few months of a 'Good Intentions' project right there. 

My Danish family church (Furreby Kirke) has been active since the year 1200 on the same spot---and if you can read them, the church records go back to at least to the 1400's. I have genealogy searches going back to the early 1700's, and yet my 20th century grandmother's 'sisters' may not be her sisters at all? 

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My husband's family have been in Wisconsin since 1853 coming from an area outside of Prague. Before that---it dries up---because of the 'iron curtain' that still keeps records closed in many Eastern European countries.

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Then there are ALL our own 'things'....!
I do blame Mom (don't we all), yes----she acquired a lot of stuff and never let go of anything, but that horde included three generations of family items she chose to ignore and keep.
 We love this desk, but it is crammed in a corner and unusable---and we are planning on a new sectional sofa this year---
OY! Where will the desk go?


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The antique brass plate is very old (noses are polished off). It has found a spot in the hall, but, the vase is from Grandmother's coffee set of silver-plated over brass (which is showing through from all the generations of polishing-not me, lol.). The brass candlesticks are from the mid 1940's and were my mom's favorites.

Honestly, I don't want to part with them, even though they are not 'IN' right now. "Everything goes around, comes around"---as my mom always said. (She was buried in her Revlon-Real Red lipstick color she chose in 1943 and wore every day). Of course she was right---Red lipstick was back in style in 2006, 
even Revlon Real Red.

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I have contributed bunches of stuff to the family piles of treasures.
I  found this bathroom shelf and redid it my first year of blogging. 
I never wear jewelry, so this is the last time I looked at it.
 Now, the shelf is in a pile in the basement!


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I don't know what happened to this great box of buttons?


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Here's a fabulous old print I found a few years ago----needs to be reinforced and have new non-glare glass. Where is it? hiding in the extra bedroom on the floor facing a bookcase. 
I know it will cost some bucks to redo it, so I keep putting it off. 

I have sixteen bins of fabrics I promised to go through for donations for a friend's quilting group three years ago. 
Where does the time, specifically my time go?
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Sometimes I think I'm buried, by the season or is it the season of  OLD AGE?

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When focused, I'm great at making plans----(the DIY Barbie house)
And, even following through.

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My husband and I made this for our grand in 2015.
Result, I got re-hooked on playing with dolls. 
 I have moved my doll related posts to my doll blog: https://barbieoldnewgreenredo.blogspot.com

I digress, but the issue at hand, is HOW should I move forward.

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It is only 8 weeks or so to the Chicago Garden show-----where I can smell dirt---and revitalize, start plants, and hope for Spring.

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But, for now, I'm pulling up my big girl panties and making 
a few PLAN(S). 

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to TRANSFORM 

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RAISE MY CHIN and 
MOVE FORWARD!
With Good, no GREAT INTENTIONS

1: Finish one of the four books I am writing.
2: Cut those fabric bins in half through donations or sell.
3: List at least 100 items by March 1, 2019 in the Etsy shop. 
4: Blog here at least once a week, and continue to support blogging.
5: Live Creatively, Thoughtfully and with JOY.

Don't hold me to it...!
HUGS, How are your new year's plans going?





Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Merry all Around!

Sometimes the least laid plans become the Best! We had a wonderful family Thanksgiving here, but plans for no major company during the Christmas season...kinda a put a damper on our holiday decorating. AND the insane Chicago weather screwed with any plans outside---much like the rest of the country---you just don't know from one day to the next.

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We had to put the tree up....especially with all the work we both did on the antique tree stand. Two years ago---we gave up our space grabbing huge Christmas tree, when i got the stand. I found a thrift store tree for $15.00 I think it was. Downside, it can only hold half of our ornaments. Upside---It only holds half of our ornaments----lol. Six totes instead of 14 or so Yay! on our backs. 

After 50 years of marriage and inheriting so many ornaments---we really do need to 'down-size'. 

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The tree stand is home to some old toys---and stuffed animals. The only new ornament this yearis the wooden deer clock. Lots of toys are included on the tree----Santa magic, I guess!. 

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The tree takes about 1/3 the space of the old one---actually better for our small house. 

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Lots of wildlife, fish, snowmen and color---we fill the tree from the trunk out! The porcelain loon, is one of 12 birds from Marshall Fields, the last year they were open. Such memories riding the escalator---it's just not the same now as a Macy's, sigh. 

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These antique looking horses were from the 1990's. The cute pig at 12o-clock was by an artisan who worked with vintage and her creativity who has retired.

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The six boxes we brought out---held a lot of red and white. 

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Again, lots of red and white.

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Having done art shows for almost 40 years, I have many ornaments hand-created---this little raccoon is a favorite by an artist in Illinois.

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Next to the tree is my mom's maple rocker with a big throw on it...perfect for Santa to rest...some toys, a favorited snowflake pillow, a hand made gift from my friend Dot. 

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Trees are magical---and we have it on when we are home. 

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A stoking and hat---on the yarn winder---we are a bit silly here.

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The antique Yarn winder stages a few Christmas things. I put bags around my big plants----and a nutcracker stands watch in front of our spinning wheel.


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Dusk began falling when we finished....the magic of the lights took over the room.

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On the TV wall..we have a string of lights---and a few Christmas items out. I try to work around our regular items. 

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The Grand's Owl...has taken up residence...some potpourri with pinecones collected on a Fall walk fills and old saucer from the early 1900's. 

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A hand-pieced angel adorns a candlestick. The statue was a gift from my husband, many years ago. 

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The lights snake over the Victorian China cabinet. I shoved some snow into the ivy arrangement that is always there. Our Royal Copenhagen Polar Bears share space with Father Christmas-


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Snowmen landed here along with a vintage linen, old tin box, and a mechanized, singing puppy sock which the Grandgirl loves. The adorable vintage looking printable came from https://lorabloomquist.com
The puppy sings "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!" and flaps his ears.


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His ears wave in time with the music and lights up.

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Another artisan set of snowmen---and a little box red station wagon. 
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A battery candle made to look like a snowman. A felted snowman from a craft show.

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On the buffet, Dancing singing Mickey and Minnie---Happy 90th Birthday, Mickey!.
I kept this very simple this year---lights under the snow and spotlights make it very magical at night. 

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My vintage plate cookie tray holds molds and candy molds, until we have company and fill it with cookies.

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An Old Currier and Ives tin...is the center focal---with snow balls and sisal trees.

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I'll try and do a video with these two---they are so darn cute!

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We bought the carousel and ferris wheel in place of putting out the entire village---a two day---torture session. Next year the Grandgirl will sleep over and help Gramma put up the village, a much better idea.

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so.... HAVE yourself a Merry Little Christmas---
we will have a laid back one here, for sure!


All the opinions and photographs in this blog are my own, unless otherwise designated. I have not been paid or reimbursed in anyway for my opinions, posts or any products shown or anywhere I shop.


Thanks ALWAYS for visiting!

I will try and respond to every comment and answer every question.
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Sandi Magle