Ham & Bean Soup

If you’re a regular reader, you know that I constantly steal recipes from my Sister in Law (SiL) and rework them depending on what I have in my cabinets. Yesterday, I did this and completely transformed a Vegan Bean Soup recipe that Beth found on Pinterest.

I will share my version of the recipe. The link above is to the original recipe if you’re more diligent about following recipes than me.

Easy Ham & Bean Soup

  • Generous dash of olive oil
  • 2 sweet onions, chopped20140226_125018
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • ~4 cloves of garlic minced

Saute veggies in a medium sized soup pot until they are a bit soft–for about 10-15 minutes then add: 

  • 3 cans of (whatever you can find) black beans, pintos or mixed beans—Or if you’re cabinets are like mine, one of each. Drain and rinse.
  • 2 cups of your choice broth (I had beef broth on hand)
  • Roughly 1 1/2 or 2 cups of chopped pre-cooked ham
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 tsp powdered curry
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes20140226_125013

Slap a lid on that puppy and set it to low-medium or just above a simmer for about 30 minutes. I forgot to add but I do recommended 1-2 TBSP of lime juice.

This would make a fine meal by itself, but if you really want a happy belly: 

Throw some tortillas in a skillet and put some cheese in the middle. A cheese quesadilla pairs beautifully with this hearty soupy meal.

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Cold: Workouts, Car Troubles, and Dogs

I have been trying to work out daily or every other day. This week has been a trial, however, because my car has been going super gimp mode. Trouble starting mostly and I am getting to the point where jumping is part of my normal routine.

Thankfully we found out the issue. The Cold Cranking Amps or CCA on a battery really matters when your temps get down into freezing or single digits. The CCA was 500 for my bug and my mechanic informed me it simply isn’t enough power to start my diesel in this cold weather. I was so thankful to find out it wasn’t the alternator or something else worse and unimaginable.

My husband and I went on the hunt last night and bought a battery we were told would fit my car. Once we got it home, Kit found it was too tall. The fusebox lid and also the hood would not close.
So the saga continues. I fully plan to pick up my regular workout routine once my car stops being silly.

Because of the cold weather, we have had a house full of dogs most nights. In addition to my beagle we have two big dogs that dominate the couch.
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They are the most thankful dogs in the world. They have behaved beautifully and adored their warm indoor time. The first night was rough because they aren’t used to crates—lots of whining–but since then they have understood and go right to sleep.

The rest of my winter has been insulated bibs, hot tea, blankets, socks and snuggling up.
Come on Spring……

Day 356: Animal Pileup

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They show their love for each other in weird, weird ways. At the end of a day where dogwood winter has set in the animals want to pile up like puppies.

Not only is Isabella hugging her brother’s butt, she is getting squashed by my legs wrapped up in blankets. She stayed like this for over 30 minutes. That is a fairly long time for our spazz of a cat.

Winter Goal Results

As you may recall, I posted about my winter goals last fall/winter.
Then I posted an update to show how well I was doing and also to make myself get that butt in gear.
I did fairly well in most of the categories.

Read 10 books—Results

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (meh)

A Gift for a Rogue by Parks (ok)

Gypsy Rizka by Lloyd Alexander (TGR=Thumping Good Read)

Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich (Jolly for the season)

Partial read: Drinking Water: A History by Salzman (Strong start of lore. Non-fiction fails to keep me after the first bits)

The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester (Awesome! History WELL written)
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Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (Death by Newberry)

Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry (If I read this as a child I would squeal)

Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle (Reread. Awww, fiction :-)

The End of the Party: Three short stories and a poem by Lily White (E-book on Amazon. Pseudonym for author Winston Emerson—dark short stories, REALLY pulls reader in emotionally)

Bean Trees by Margaret Kingsolver (Most shocked by this that a popular novel is not only good, but damn good)

A Wind in the Door by Madeline L’Engle (Reread in progress. Such a lovely writer)

Five Embroidery Project—Results

Headband embroidered with flower/starbursts (Christmas gift).
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Headband embellished with puffy sheep (Christmas gift).

Bookmark with a music quote (SiL studying Music)

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Borderland Farms logo (for the business of the same name)

Kitsch Witch pattern

Five New Recipes—Results

Tapioca pudding (utter failure, I had the wrong type of pearls)

-Sausage and potato breakfast bake (amazing yet greasy–Keeps ya regular)

Golden brownies from scratch/blondies (good if you like that type of thing)

Nutella cookies

-Greek Lemon Chicken

Hasselback potatoes

Ginger Lemon shrimp

Nutella hot chocolate

Slow cooker baked apples

Spinach lasagna roll ups

-Strawberry jam icing (original recipe)

Orange Chicken (blah)

Garlic & balsamic vinegar crusted pork

Pineapple angel food cake

Crock Pot Ribs (twice now)

Boba Tea

Onigiri (twice now)

Belly dancing and Writing—Results
I didn’t make any progress with the belly dancing, but I will get to it. Maybe over the summer.
Although I didn’t finish my short story, I did do some writing over the early spring time. I wrote some listening guides to accompany some old radio show homeschool business.

Day 270: Paying for Parking

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Apparently, I am an epic hillbilly. I have NEVER seen this style of paying for parking. Hence, the photographic evidence. This is my nurse friend, Lola. In addition to living in the “city”, she heals people with her magical nursing powers and breaks people with her equally awesome Roller Derby powers. Lay Em Lola–Look her bitching self up.
This entire parking lot is based on the honor system. In a city. Laughable, I know. You park in a spot with a big spray painted number then roll on over to the huge panel of numbers, find your slot and shove in some money. See Lola, shoving in the dough.

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For those hard to cram dollar bills there is a special tool that you can see attached to the metal wire for pushing the money into the numbered slot. This is fascinating. How would you be able to tell someone hadn’t paid? Insane, but that is city folk for you. There was a bone chilling cold wind blowing so I had to snatch some pictures quickly before we started our walk to the final destination of our December trip. The Newport Aquarium!  I don’t quite know how to explain how exciting this trip was. My husband and I simply love aquariums. Zoos are alright but they are much more weather dependent. I still fondly remember our special trip to Sea World. We love them. I can’t wait to share our pictures and memories from the Newport Aquarium.

Day 269: Bell of Newport

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On our road trip North we grabbed my nurse friend (Lola) and drove to Newport. If it wasn’t so bitter cold we would’ve walked right up to this bell boxed in glass. The wind was whipping harshly and I was so glad our destination was indoors.

We drove a couple of circles around the aquarium not because we thought we were lost but because someone with a van too tall to enter the aquarium parking structure. He also had a trailer and couldn’t back out of the situation. We found cheap parking lot just a breezy block away. More on the parking lot is coming soon.