Tag Archives: Crockpot

Rainy Day Split Pea Soup (and a Swanson Review)

Today was a gloomy, chilly (for summer, at least), rainy, tea-drinking, book reading, soup making kind of day.  It started off with a run (I’m up to 1.7 miles now!) and a workout, and leveled off with a nap, the reading of an entire book (A Handful of Dust) and a little craftiness you’ll see either tomorrow or the next day.  Meanwhile, split pea soup happened.

Have you met my mom?

Isn’t she pretty?  She’s also the master, the reigning queen, the commander-in-chief, and emperor over all things soup.  She has that mystical mom-ability to create something out of nothing–from “there’s no food in the entire house!” to all the children squabbling over the leftover bowls.  Especially when it comes to pea soup.

This recipe was made in the spirit of my mom’s soup making–I just used whatever I had that I thought would work.  The CSA box from this week went along perfectly with the soup theme, supplying leeks, onions, and potatoes.  Combined with thyme from the garden, dried peas in the cupboard, and a ham bone from the freezer–magic happened.  Mom magic.

Rainy Day Split Pea Soup Printable Recipe Card

  • 2 small onions (or 1 medium)
  • 2 baby leeks (or 1 regular-sized leek)
  • 4 medium red potatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • few sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 ham bone (from a previously made ham)
  • 1 C yellow dried split peas
  • 1 C green dried split peas
  • 3 C chicken broth
  • 4 C water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

I made this in the Crock Pot, because I didn’t want to have to babysit dried split peas all day.  This was an excellent plan, an excellent plan indeed.

Start by dicing all the veggies and adding them to a lightly oiled Crock Pot, set on high (for 4 or 6 hours).  When you use leeks, make sure to clean them extra well–they are known to be gritty in between the leaves.  If they’re extra bad, you can submerge them in a bowl of water and let the dirt fall to the bottom.

Add the spices, then the ham bone.  Sorry about the grisly image–kind of difficult to make it look attractive.  Top off with split peas, broth, and lastly with water.  I used four cups to make sure everything was covered with water, and it ended up making the soup the perfect consistency.  You can start with less and add more if you need it later, of course.

Allow the soup to cook until the peas fall apart.  Remove the ham bone and bay leaves, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.

I’ve made pea soup several times before, but this is by far the best one.  You just can’t replace that deep and amazing flavor from the ham bone by using bacon–you just can’t.  Often I will add chunks of ham to the soup as well, but I didn’t have any and I must say I didn’t really miss them at all.

Fritz, who is often not a fan of split pea soup, approved heartily. 

On another exciting note, I received a box full of goodies from Swanson Health Products today!  They sent me a $25 coupon to use on anything from their website to review–and hey, I’m a poor college student and I love treating myself to some free food–especially if it’s not my standard fare.

So here’s what I picked:

  1. Pure Raw Buckwheat Honey from Y. S. Organic Bee Farm,
  2. Mayan Cocoa Spice Tea from Yogi Tea,
  3. Almond Flour from NOW Foods,
  4. Organic Whole-Wheat Pastry Flour from Bob’s Red Mill,
  5. Organic Popcorn from Arrowhead Mill, and
  6. Organic Kamut Spirals from Eden Foods

Quite a bit of stuff, which including shipping totaled $25.48.  Not bad, if I do say so myself (especially since you can search for coupon codes to help get the shipping costs down).

Now, I have to say that Swanson sells a lot of vitamins and supplements, and I don’t personally believe in taking those unless it’s medically necessary.  I have iron pills that I take when I know I’m probably anemic, and Fritz takes a multi-vitamin most days, but I generally think you should strive to get all of your nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from your diet as much as possible.  Most of those “miracle pills” and “superfood supplements” just aren’t my thing.

But back to the box.  First we tried the raw buckwheat honey, which was amazing. I’ve never had raw honey before (which, by the way, is antibacterial on superficial burns and such), but this jar tastes so smooth and rich.  Fritz wanted some on toast right away, and I obviously had to do a little quality control test first.

Then I headed straight for the cocoa spice tea.  What with all the rain and blankets and book reading, it was a perfect day to try a new tea–and it was really good.  I didn’t taste that much cocoa, but the cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves was perfect–and made me crave fall sooo badly.  I brewed it a little on the weak side, so I’ll try it a bit stronger tomorrow and see if I get a little more cocoa this time.

And the smell?

Heavenly.

The tea gave me a nice little message to leave you with:

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Beef & Barley (and everything else) Soup

Fritz’s parents arrive today!

His dad has a conference in the city next week, so they both decided to come early for a Father’s Day weekend visit.  Fritz and I are so excited to see them, it’s ridiculous.

I wanted to make a big pot of soup that I could keep in the fridge for those moments when someone is hungry but everyone else isn’t, or for a quick lunch, or those post-plane moments when you need sustenance in five minutes or death by starvation is imminent.

You know those moments.

Since we had a busy day yesterday, I want to reintroduce you to one of my good friends:  the Crock Pot.

Beef and Barley (and everything else) Soup

No ingredient list here, because every time I make this soup, it’s different.  Depends on what I have in the fridge and the cupboards.

Spray the Crock Pot with canola oil to get things going and start off with a meat and those important savory soup ingredients–for this soup, I used an onion and the tops with 1/2 lb of ground beef.  You could use anything–chicken, leftover steak, whatever.

I then added a giant pile of washed and chopped escarole.

Next, toss in the dried ingredients that are so convenient to have in the cupboard for moments like these.  I used 1/2 C barley, 1/2 C black beans, and about 1/4 C of lima beans.  These are very rough estimations.

Top with some salt ‘n’ peppa, a few sprigs of fresh thyme from the herb garden, and of course, a few bay leaves.  I also added two chicken bouillon cubes (that’s equivalent to two cups of broth once I add the water).

Finish off the whole thing with a can of diced tomatoes and several cans of water (I think I used the tomato can five times, which would be 14 ounces x five–a lot.  There’s a lot of dried things in there that will absorb a large quantity of water).

Set the Crock Pot on low for six hours, and go back to your to-do list for the day.  Once everything is accomplished, your soup will be ready to go.

Gorgeous, ain’t it?

I find it quite easy to see the beauty in beef and barley, especially when it involves my mom’s Hadley soup crock.  Love that thing.

The best part about this soup is that it is so versatile.  Last time I made this, I had no escarole, but I used turnips, added lentils, carrots, and garlic, and it came out beautifully.  Use up whatever you have that’s in danger of going to waste, and you are all set.

Have a beautiful day today!

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Indian Lamb with Apricots (Crockpot)

Since my last recipe involved a  crockpot, don’t be too sad that I’m breaking it out again for this recipe.  I had some lamb stew meat in the freezer that I took out and I decided that the recipe I wanted to use would be better in the crockpot because I was using a cheaper cut of meat and therefore needed the extra couple…ahem…six hours of tenderizing.

Turns out that this was a fantastic idea for the reason that I threw everything into the crockpot in the morning, ran a million errands, and came back to have dinner all ready to go!  Even better because I made a last-minute plan for my lovely friend Lola to come over for dinner, and I definitely would not have had time to make something more impressive.  Not to mention I had some leftover cardamom rice, which went perfectly with this stew.

I just love when everything works out so well, don’t you?

Don’t be intimidated by the huge quantities of spices in this recipe–it’s not hot, just flavorful.  I also used a trick I learned over Christmas and added a bit of chutney to my plate that added an amazing tang and sweetness that I loved.

Indian Lamb with Apricots (adapted from Global Feast Cookbook)

  • 12 dried apricots, soaked in water until soft and sliced
  • 2 T curry powder
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 t minced garlic
  • 2 t chili powder
  • 1/2 t turmeric
  • 2 t ground coriander
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 1 lb diced lamb stew meat
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 t sugar

Oil the crockpot lightly with olive oil, then add…all the ingredients (this is why I love the crockpot).  The order I used was: onion, garlic, spices, lamb, tomatoes and paste, apricots, lemon, and sugar.  Combine everything, and set on low for six to eight hours.

The cookbook suggests you serve over rice and, if you have it (I didn’t),  poppadums, an Indian bread like crackers.

Serious Y-U-M.

While Lola was here, we also watched the documentary Babies, which made me want to adopt the fattest-cheeked Mongolian baby I can find.  So stinkin’ adorable.

Speaking of things that are adorable, I will leave you with an image that I completely forgotten that I had, but made me actually laugh out loud when I rediscovered it.  It’s my parent’s giant Irish Wolfhound, Hadley, sitting on the couch with my mom and Jordi.  Yes, sitting.  On the couch.  Like a human:

Have a lovely evening!

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Crockpot Madness: Sausage and Cabbage

I’ll be totally honest.  I made this a while ago.  Possibly even a month ago.  I just totally forgot to blog about it!

I’m glad I stumbled upon the pictures today, though, because this recipe was two of my favorite things:

  1. Delicious; and
  2. Really, really, really, really easy.

So here’s to that!  I’m on vacation this week anyway, so between reading, watching LOST season six (!), and going to the gym, I thought it’d be a good time to go through all of my old pictures and see if there’s anything I need to catch up on in there (and apparently there was).  So enjoy this, and for all of you who aren’t on vacation–I’m sorry, but here’s an easy dinner for you.

Crockpot Sausage and Cabbage (adapted from this recipe)

  • 4 medium red potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, roughly sliced
  • 1 T butter, melted
  • 5-8 links sausage (I used sweet Italian)
  • 1/2 C apple juice (I like the cloudy kind, myself)
  • 2 t cider vinegar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1/2 t dried thyme

Now here’s the best part: throw it all in the crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  So easy!  I did it in this order:  butter, potatoes, pepper, cabbage, onion, salt and thyme, sausage, apple juice, and vinegar–but I really don’t think it matters.  Your crockpot will be really full at first, but the cabbage cooks down quickly.

How easy was that?

 The taste was a little reminiscent to me of the famed Hungarian stuffed cabbage, but obviously without the tang of sauerkraut or tomato juice–but I think you could easily toss both or perhaps just the tomato juice into the recipe for this if you are craving an easy way to get your cabbage fix.

If I’m not the only person in the world who needs to get their cabbage fix, that is.

Fritz was a huge fan of this, because the man loves anything that gets cooked in a big pot and yields large servings of “manfood”.  However, I am quickly discovering that aside from mustard there isn’t much food that he is not a big fan of.  Seems to me like he really is the perfect husband for a food blogger.

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Crock Pot It: Spanish Rice and Sausage

Today was just one of those good days.  I slept in ’til 8:00, had one class, then babysat for the night.  Since the weather outside has turned chilly again, I bundled up the little munchkin and we took a two-mile ocean-side walk.  Seriously. The family lives near the shore, and there’s a street that runs parallel to it.  The road is swallowed by trees and it was windy, so there were piles of orange and red leaves drifting around to Charlie’s endless satisfaction.  And this beautiful day was allowed to happen so easily because of our second car.

I love that thing.

So anyway, last night I decided to break out an old friend of Fritz’s: 

We never ate slow-cooker meals when I was a kid (mom only recently discovered that particular joy), so I don’t often think to use it.  But Fritz loves it when I do, because he knows it will result in a rice-and-meat-saucy-one-bowl kind of meal, which is his ultimate favorite…mostly likely due to its portability and convenience for the next day’s lunch.  Not to mention it’s really easy to use and there’s only one pot to clean after.  Bingo!

Spanish Rice and Sausage (adapted from this recipe)

  •  1 lb sausage (we used sweet italian)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 C water
  • 1 C brown rice
  • 1/2 C wild rice
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 t red pepper flakes
  • 2 t ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 t chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

This is the best part: spray the pot with canola oil or olive oil, add all the ingredients, and cook on low for four to five hours. 

 

Serve immediately.
 

Yum!  And because I’m just that nice, I’ll give you something else yummy to look at:

Tomorrow we are going to a PT-school Halloween party extravaganza, and I think that I might attempt to make scary cake pops to bring while we figure out our costumes.  I also found a recipe for some healthy ginger bars that I want to bake sometime this weekend.  Have a great night!

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