Split Peas And Ham Soup

Yesterday was our weekly cleaning and laundry day for Bill and I. So it was a perfect day for me to make my split pea and ham soup in the slow-cooker. It’s fast and easy, and is the perfect meal to make when I still want something home-made, but I don’t really have the time to spend hours cooking… I just put on Christmas music and got busy…

I chop up a whole sweet onion, spray my slow-cooker with non-stick cooking spray, and put the onion in.

 

Then I pick through and rinse a bag of dried split peas

Trim the fat from a ham steak, and chop it into bite size pieces. Keep the bone as it goes in the soup as well.

Put the ham, the bone, and the split peas into the slow-cooker with the onion. Add three bay leaves, some granulated garlic, coarse black pepper, and salt (I used no-salt seasoning mix) into the slowcooker

Add about one and a half boxes of chicken stock, put the lid on and set the slow-cooker on high until the liquid begins to boil, then turn to low and let it simmer until you are ready to eat (about five to six hours).

I had mine with a salad. Bill had his with buttered saltine crackers. No matter how you serve it, it is delicious, and so much better than anything you will ever get out of a can. If you love split pea and ham soup like we do, this is the only way to go…

So enjoying this beautiful Christmas Season. Hope all of you are finding ways to enjoy whatever it is that makes you happy, and that you are also finding ways to express your love for one another… I show my love by cooking, and feeding my loved ones, which always makes Bill say he is such a lucky man…. I can’t help but think that he also must be thinking to himself “now if I could just get her interested in baking as well…” Ha!

Merry Christmas!

 

 

Advertisements

House Alarm Beef Stew

I guess I can call this stew that from now on..

Now is the time of year when most folks that love to bake, bake… I don’t, but I love to cook.. so I cook. And I am often asked to share my “recipe’s” with others, and I am happy to do so..

Today, I made a roasted vegetable beef stew.  I’ve made this dish many times over the years, including since we have been full-time RVing, in my slow-cooker without any problem.

But, today, I put the stew meat in my slow-cooker, with a packet of beef stew mix, two cups of good red wine and one cup of water, some corse black pepper, some dehydrated onion, some dried thyme, dried oregano, and some granulated garlic. Turned it on low and left it to do its thing while Bill and I attended 8:00 a.m. Mass, went to Walmart to pick up my prescriptions, then to Costco…

However, today, just as Bill and I were leaving the parking lot of Costco, I got a call from the Administrative Assistant at the Visitor Center at McDowell Mountain Park, letting me know that the neighbor next to us reported an alarm was sounding in our rig, and had been going off all morning…

Well, you gotta know,  Bill and I made a beeline back to our home to see what was going on. I was praying all the way that nothing was wrong with our home, and asking the Lord to please keep our home safe, and not let it blow up or anything…

Long story short… we arrived home, Bill entered our rig and checked everything, and sure enough the propane alarm was sounding loudly, but nothing was on. No heater, no stove valves, nothing but the slow-cooker on low simmering our stew meat for dinner…

So, with the all clear within our home, I proceeded to roast in our outside oven (omg they smell wonderful roasting), the purple potatoes, carrots, and onions, that I chopped and seasoned with garlic, black pepper, and olive oil, then I added them to the beef stew meat.

I usually add fresh beets to the roasted vegetable mix, but I couldn’t find any that were worth the price, so I bought two cans of canned beets and added them to the stew.

I served this with warm, buttered, beer bread that I made from scratch… and winner, winner, a delicious “house alarm beef stew” dinner was served.

I hope all of my readers are enjoying this beautiful Christmas Season. I hope you bake, if you love to bake, cook, if you love to cook.. But most of all that you spend time  to reflect on what is important to you, and spend time with the people that you love, and that love you. And, if you get the chance, from the words in the song of Dolly Parton “I hope you dance”.

Merry Christmas!

Stay Tuned.

Leeks, Bacon, Mushroom, Lasagna

Yesterday, after Bill and I completed our daily exercise walk together, he went outside to work on some of his maintenance of our motorhome projects. With a home on wheels, there is always something to adjust here, or tighten up there…, So while he was working on his projects, I tackled one of my own projects for the day.

As many of you know, I don’t enjoy baking, I am more than happy to leave that to Bill and Shantel, but I love to cook. So yesterday, I made a delicious leek, bacon, and mushroom lasagna. OMG, we LOVE this dish. But, be warned, there is nothing about this dish that is calorie friendly( except that I used fat-free half and half  instead of heavy cream). However, “all things in moderation” so we only have this dish a few times a year.

I found this recipe on the internet from the Eat Smarter website. I adapted it just a bit, with spices and mushrooms etc., to suit our tastes.

Ingredients:

Leeks – I used 2

butter – I used about 2 oz

Salt ( I don’t cook with salt, or add salt to my food because I am on a low sodium diet for health reasons. I use other spices to substitute for salt)

3 tablespoons flour

16 oz beef broth (I used reduced sodium)

6 oz whipping cream ( I used fat-free half and half)

About 6 oz of shredded sharp cheese (use more or less to your taste). You can use any kind of cheese you like.

Oven ready (no cook lasagna noodles). I used 8 but you can adjust to the amount you are making. Or you can use the lasagna noodles you boil if you want to take that extra step.

Thick sliced bacon (I used reduced sodium).  Use as much or as little as you like.

I started with cutting two leeks ( a mild member of the onion family) into rings.

Then I placed the separated leek rings in cold water to let them soak so the sand that is in between the leaves can sink to the bottom. This is a very important step because if you don’t do this you will end up with…

all of this sand in you finished dish. Not good!

I added mushrooms that I cleaned and sliced to the recipe because both Bill and I love them, but if you don’t like mushrooms, simply omit them…

I fried bacon in a cast iron skillet, to ensure it got really crisp, then I removed the bacon from the skillet and

sautéed the leeks, minced garlic, and mushrooms in the fat rendered from the bacon.

Then I made the sauce using the same fat left in the skillet from the bacon and adding a pat of butter and 3 tablespoons of flour. Cooked that until the flour and butter looked a little brown. Then I added the beef broth and cream (half and half) and whisked to insure there were no lumps. Simmer until it comes to a light boil so it will thicken.

The next step is to spray a baking pan with non-stick spray and place a small amount of the sauce in the bottom of the baking pan. Then line the pan with oven ready lasagna noodles.

Top the lasagna noodles with the leeks/mushroom mixture, and top that with cheese and crisp bacon pieces (if you don’t eat bacon, or don’t like bacon, you can leave it out or replace with chicken, beef, etc.)

Continue to layer the sauce, lasagna noodles, leeks/mushroom mixture, bacon, and cheese until all the ingredients are used.

Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown (about 40 minutes).

I served this with a Normandy – Style Vegetable Blend, and YUMERS!!! Dinner was served.

This is one of mine and Bill’s favorite dinners. But like I said, it is not calorie, or figure friendly… but oh my, it is well worth the extra exercise to walk/hike it off every once in a while… 🙂 And, it freezes really well.

Stayed Tuned!

 

Christmas 2017

We are all fixed up and ready to celebrate this wonderful season with little touches of Christmas throughout our tiny home. We have a tiny Christmas tree that looks so pretty lit up at night. And Bill loves the little Santa bucket filled with Christmas chocolates. 🙂

Our tiny Santa’s hang above the dashboard between our Santa hats and they keep a close eye on who is naughty or nice… I love the center piece on the dashboard. I put tiny light in it that are battery operated and I can set them to stay on or blink. So pretty at night.

Of course it wouldn’t be Christmas for us without the Virgin Mary sitting on the sofa shelf along with another metal Christmas tree that has tiny ornaments on it, and beside that, is our Poinsettia Centerpiece.

Even my favorite wine, Butter, is decked out with a Christmas scarf and hat…

 

Can’t forget the bathroom with the marching soldiers soap and snowflake kleenex box…

 

And the Santa rug in front of the shower will make sure we all have a goodnight!

 

Bill and I will keep Christ in our Christmas because we know Jesus is the reason for the season. We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas season from our home to yours.

Stay Tuned!

Shantel’s First Thanksgiving

Well, actually, it was not her “first” Thanksgiving, but it was the first Thanksgiving she hosted in her home. And Bill and I were the lucky guests of honor.

Shantel lives alone, in a small, one bedroom apartment. Being blind, she doesn’t want a lot of “stuff” to have to get around, and she likes to keep things simple… She has a sofa and coffee table in her living room area that she purchased when she moved into her apartment.

And she just bought a small table for her dining room area special for hosting her first Thanksgiving. She said she bought the cloth tablecloth and place settings to make her table look “festive” for us… We thought it looked beautiful!

As soon as we arrived, Shantel got to work washing the turkey and getting it ready to go into the oven.

When the turkey was in the oven, she sat down at the table and entertained her Papa and I by telling us all about some of the crazy phone calls she monitors and scores on her job…

When it was time, she asked her Papa to peel the potatoes and pass then over to her to cut up to make the mashed potatoes.

Shantel has excellent knife skills, and had five pounds of potatoes cut up in no time at all. My, my, that girl loves mashed potatoes…

She delegated the making of the green bean casserole to me.

When the potatoes were cooked, she went to work mashing them with her hand mixer.

She asked her Papa to help make the gravy to ensure there were no lumps…

Then she pulled the perfectly cooked turkey from the oven, YUM!

And just like that… winner, winner, her turkey dinner was served…

After dinner, she served up some of her homemade apple pie she made the night before including making her own pie crust…

Everything was DELICIOUS, and we are so very proud, and thankful, to have been the guests of honor in Shantel’s home for the hosting of her very first Thanksgiving dinner.

Great Job Shantel. Thank you for everything. Keep shining your light brightly. We love you and are looking forward to Christmas Eve dinner with you too…

*Note to readers: I haven’t posted any blogs for the past few months because we hit the floor running when we arrived back here at McDowell Mountain Park. Then, shortly after we arrived, I had to have some surgery on my right eye to have a growth removed. I’m still recovering, but doing well, but it has been difficult for me to focus to take pictures, and to work on the computer for any length of time to write the blog posts. That, and the fact that I need to stay out of direct sunlight, and wind, for the next month or so, means we haven’t been doing very many hikes, and the hikes we do take are short and not anything I haven’t shown before on my blogs… I’m sure I will find lots of things to write about over the holidays…so

Stay Tuned!

Exploring Prospect Oregon

Bill and I are spending the summer getting to know Oregon. We’ve seen some amazing and beautiful sights. It’s hard for me to say what I loved the most about our summer Oregon adventure to date. I don’t have words to give justice to the  beautiful Oregon Coast. And we are amazed at how many waterfalls there are in Oregon. Seems like every place we’ve visited had numerous beautiful waterfalls to see, and amazing hiking trails.

This week Bill and I went to see the Mill Creek Waterfall. It’s a little hidden jewel within the woods around the town of Prospect. The air is very smokey from the wildfires that are contained, but still burning themselves out, just outside of Prospect. But that didn’t take away from the experience once you get there.

We hiked up to the waterfall viewing spot, and sat and just enjoyed the beauty of the forest, and the waterfall cascading down from the mountain. So, so, peaceful.

The hiking trails around the waterfall are very pretty as well. Its like walking through an enchanted forest.

When we left the Mill Creek area, we went a short distance down the road to the Rogue River Gorge. The hike we took here started where the water coming into the Gorge looked calm.

But very quickly picked up speed as we made our way down the trail along the Gorge…

Of course the rushing water took on very different looks as the Gorge widened and narrowed, but all of it was amazing and really gave us a sense of the power of nature.

You never know who, or what, you will meet up with when you are hiking through the forest. This little guy/girl was slowly making its way across the forest floor towards the water. Looks like a snail without it’s shell to me.

This tree stump caught our eye and we just had to go over and read the sign in front of it that read “Living Stump: On the flat surface of the lava flow, away from the Gorge wall, the trees live as a group rather than as individuals, the roots of these Douglas-Firs have grown together, providing each other with nutrients and water. Before it was cut, the roots of this tree had grafted onto those of a neighbor. Because of this, the stump continues to live”. I find that AMAZING, and I LOVE that!!!

Wouldn’t it be wonderful, if everyone in the world, would take a lesson from these trees, and help one another (family, neighbors, strangers..), like that? Just imagine what a beautiful world that would be.

Stay Tuned!

Crater Lake

I know I said I didn’t think I would be able to do any blog postings here at Crater Lake RV Park, in Prospect Oregon. But we were finally able to get logged into the free WiFi they offer here, and even though it is really, really, SLOW, it’s free, and presents an “opportunity” for me to practice patience.

I read somewhere that you should never pray for patience, because then God will send you many, many, challenges in your life, to help you learn patience. Unfortunately, for me…, I didn’t read that until I had already prayed for many years for patience. That said, I do have my limits on how much patience I can endure. So I will keep my postings short and sweet due to the fact that I could do a load of laundry while I’m waiting for my pictures to load..

Anyway, we arrived, and are all settled into our lovely campsite for the next six weeks.  Surrounded by lots of big shade trees, and parked right next door to one of several camp hosts here in the privately owned RV Park. I met the owner of this adorable RV Park this morning when I was taking my walk. We chatted it up for a while, and she told me if we ever want to come here and spend the summer hosting for her, she would love to have us. She said her hosts work one day on, and three days off…one on, and three off… Sounds pretty sweet to me, and if we were ever going to come back this way for a summer we would look into taking her up on her offer. Great way to see this beautiful area with free space, free full hook-ups, free propane, and even free Dish TV… Sweet deal!

 

After we finished getting settled in this morning, we couldn’t wait to go and see Crater Lake, which is only 30 miles from our campsite. OMG! It is everything we have been told it would be and MORE! I’ve never seen a lake with that color of blue water. The next two pictures are what I decided to keep out of 22 pictures I took. I will make one of them my background picture for my FB page.

After a quick view of Crater Lake, we stopped by the Visitor Center to find out about boat trips to the island in Crater Lake. You can fish for free in Crater Lake, but it is another 700 ft hike down to the lake, and of course the same distance to get back up after your finished fishing… And, don’t forget you have to carry all your fishing gear down to the lake, and back up again, not to mention that 20 plus pound big fish you are going to catch… And, the only rule is you can’t clean fish at the lake. You have to pack them out and clean them at home… After the 700 ft. up/down hill hike Bill and I just completed at Mirror Lake, we are still pondering if we are up to this next 700 ft. challenge. More on that later

On the way home, we stopped by an adorable little ice cream shop “Cones and More” Bill “took one for the team” again, and tried their ice cream. And, right next door is a little restaurant that has been in that family since 1922. We will go there for breakfast or lunch sometime soon.

In the yard between the ice cream shop and the restaurant, which is owned by the same family, along with the country store and B-B-Q smoker across the street…, is this HUGE chair and end table. Big enough for the Jolly Green Giant to sit in. Of course I had to have Bill take a picture to show this off. He said all you need now is a BIG glass of wine to match the chair and end table…  Well, OK, I guess I’ll take one for the team…  bring it on.. Good thing I didn’t have any wine, because it was harder getting out of that huge chair than it was getting into it. Ha!  🙂

LOVE it here, and can’t wait to explore all this area has to offer.

Stay tuned!

 

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries

Wheeling It

Living the Fulltime RV Dream with 12 Paws, 40 Feet and the Open Road

The Brantley Blog

In the eyes of the law, we reach adulthood the day we turn 18 years old. God help anyone who actually believes that.

ChefDeHome Blog

Be a Proud Home Chef

the next few years

family life..with a unique perspective of motherhood

Gotham Girl Chronicles

a mixture of random musings...life in NYC...travel...photography...cycling

Blooming Burgh Boomer

Living An Active Full Life

%d bloggers like this: