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Recipe: Southern Black Eyed Peas…

Southern Black Eyed Peas…

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I have read numerous cookbooks and food blogs looking for a suitable recipe for our family’s New Years Day dinner.  There are dozens if not hundreds of recipes available.  I searched until I found a couple that had the ingredients that sounded good to me and created my own recipe.

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Don’t let the number of ingredients listed deter you from trying this recipe…It’s easier than it looks and delicious!

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Ingredients:

1# dry black-eyed peas, washed and picked
1/4 # of bacon, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 stalks of celery, diced
3 cloves of garlic, diced
3 qts of chicken stock (sodium free), heated and set aside
2 pinches of kosher salt
1/2 tsp of black pepper
1 tbsp of Cajun seasoning, Tony Chachere’s salt free
3 Bay Leaves
2 jalapeno, sliced
1 # pork sausage, hot and spicy

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Directions:

In a medium sauce pan heat the chicken stock and reserve for later.

Now, In a dutch oven or similar pot cook the diced bacon until browned but not crisp.  Next add the holy trinity; diced onion, bell pepper and celery to the bacon and cook until wilted.  Add diced garlic and cook for an additional minute.  Add rinsed black-eyed peas to veggie mixture and stir thoroughly for 3-4 minutes.  Begin adding the hot chicken stock to the peas and veggies (reserve 2 cups of liquid, you will probably need it later)..next add the salt, pepper, jalapeno, bay leaves and seasoning. Bring the pot to a roiling boil, reduce the heat and simmer partially covered.  Cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes. In a separate pan, crumble and brown the pork sausage.  Drain the fat and set the sausage aside until needed.

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After the peas have cooking for an hour you may need to add more chicken stock if the mixture has gotten too thick.  Also add the cooked pork sausage stir and  continue cooking for an additional 30 minutes.  Now it’s time to make your cornbread or rice whichever you prefer to serve with your black-eyed peas.

Due to my Southern heritage, I would normally choose rice over anything else …growing up in the south rice is as common on the dinner table as salt and pepper…however, you may want to forgo the rice with this dish so that you can enjoy more of the peas. Yes they are that good…and filling!

Now it’s time to Enjoy!

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Filed under All Things Foodie

Layers and Layers

My obsession with creating a beautifully inviting bed began when I stayed at a little boutique hotel, it was quite by accident that we checked into this particular hotel. You know they say that the difference between something good and something great is the attention to detail. The attention to the linens and bedding choices changed the way I thought about my own bed.

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Not long after that I discovered Nate Berkus‘ blog.  I loved so many of the images he posted of incredibly inviting bedding ensembles fueled my desire for that kind of bed.

I also admire the way the department stores make up the bedding displays…layers and layers of luxurious fabrics and inviting colors and contrasting yet complimentary textures and pillows…oh so many pillows.  I began taking note of all of the elements that made up the beds that I found most inviting…

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However, all those elements that make up a luxuriously inviting bed can be very expensive.  And it’s not just the look that matters, the texture of the fabrics should have the feel of luxury…Bedding can be expensive. and I have made a few regrettable spur of the moment purchases that ended up costing me more than just money…I recommend that you take your time and only buy it if you love it.

This time around I took my time and made my selections carefully…and now I have the bed of my dreams…well almost.  I would like to add one or two more elements   but half the fun is the search and I am enjoying this project so much I am not ready for it to be finished…

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My bedding ensemble is made up of 100% Egyptian cotton sheets; one deep pocket fitted sheet and two flat sheets.  The next layer is a beautiful quilt with my favorite color pallet.  The next layer is a warm and cozy chocolate faux fur king size blanket. The final layer is a beautifully textured duvet in a soft cream and latte color palette. Last but not least are the pillows; there are thirteen pillows on my bed.  It sounds a little over the top but it is a king size bed…there are 3 king size and 4 queen size pillows and 6 decorative pillows piled up…

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The side effect of this little project is now I make my bed, layer by layer…almost everyday!

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Filed under Home Sweet Home

One Beautiful Blog…

There are so many talented individuals sharing their passion for life through photography and writing.  My interests are varied therefore I am all over the place on the blogs I follow;  photography, travel, books, humor, diy, culture and food.  I have been inspired and encouraged by many in the blogging community by simply reading their posts.

There is one blog in particular that gives me a warm cozy feeling every time I visit.  Stopping by JustaSmidgen is like walking into my favorite cafe.  I can smell the coffee brewing and the bread baking.  There is the smell of fresh cake in the air.  I sink into the overstuffed chair at the corner table and all is well with the world.

The visual layout is inviting.  The writing is comfortable.  The photographs are warm. The recipes leave my mouth-watering.  This is one beautiful blog…I would love to curl up at the kitchen counter and watch this blogger in action.  But, calling Barbara a blogger doesn’t quite do her efforts justice…she really is an artist!

Here is a chance for you to experience this beautiful blog.  Barbara has compiled her top 10 recipes of 2012 in one post.  I hope you enjoy the beauty and creativity of Barbara at justasmidgen as much as I do.  Here is a photo from one of the featured recipes…just a sample to whet your appetite.  Enjoy!

man cake just a smidge blog

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Filed under All Things Foodie, Blog Re-Posts

Home is…

Recently I made an unexpected trip home…to see my parents.  The reason for my visit was a somber occasion.  One of my Dad’s sisters passed away after a lengthy battle with lung cancer.

 It’s a funny thing…the place we call Home.  For some people their idea of home or going home is associated with the place where they grew up.  For some it is the actual house they grew up in…a place filled with childhood memories.  For others Home is associated with the city or town where they grew up.  They have detailed memories of days gone by…waiting for them around every corner. 

I do not associate home with either the town where I grew up or the house I grew up in …This is most likely due to the fact that my family moved around a lot…There are three distinct houses from my childhood each in a different city and I have wonderful memories from all of them…however, when I think of home none of these places come to mind.  They are just places where I lived when I was growing up. 

I once remarked to a friend that I was going home for the weekend…and I was surprised by her response…she said you mean you are going to see your parents.  I said yes…I am going home.  She shared with me that she no longer considered her parents house or the place she grew up as her home…Home to her was where she currently lived.  Her comment gave me pause and I began to ponder why is it that I still refer to going to see my parents as going home when they no longer live in the house I grew up in…

Even though I have never lived in my parents current home, when I think of visiting them…I always associate it with going home.  They have lived in their home for almost 20 years… but I have no childhood memories of this place.  No memories of late nights giggling with girlfriends or of prom pictures taken in front of the fireplace.  No memories of family movie nights or well deserved time outs or month-long loss of privileges or boys coming by to pick me for a date.   However, it still feels like going home…

It’s because…You see…I associate home with people…for me Home is a feeling!  It is warm and cozy…it is safe and secure…it is my favorite foods in the fridge…it is easy conversations…it is familiar…it is afternoon naps on the sofa, LSU football games on the TV…it is my Dad asking me to get him a glass of tea…it is my Mom whipping up something delicious in the kitchen, it is one of my sisters telling us a crazy story and the rest of us laughing until our cheeks hurt, it is the sounds of my son playing his video games or my husband laying out the plans for his next project…it is the sounds of my family living life together wherever we are…for me, this is Home!

Sometimes you hear people refer to someones death as a home-coming…The bible tells us that God has prepared a place for us…a heavenly home…a home like none we have ever known…the bible also promises that for those who put their faith in Jesus that they will have eternal life…that they will be reunited with those who have gone before them…When I think of my loved ones who have passed from this life to the next…and have been called Home…I never think of the house they will dwell in…I think of all of the family and friends that have already gone home and the wonderful family reunion that they are experiencing…

Home is…where the heart is and for me my heart is always with my family!

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Filed under Faith, family, Home Sweet Home, Life..such as it is

Suncreek Garden Chronicles…Organized Chaos

Suncreek Garden Chronicles...Organized Chaos

 Suncreek Garden Chronicles…Organized Chaos!  What we have here is the result of a very mild, almost non-existent winter.  The seeds were planted in early January.  By the beginning of February the seedlings were demanding they be given more leg room.  Now it is mid February and the seedlings have grown into sizeable plants.  Now we must wait at least a month before putting the plants in the ground.  Waiting until the middle to late March should insure that the last frost is a distant memory. 

In the meantime, we are slowly pulling up the remainder of the winter garden.  However most of what’s left is doing so well we hate to see them go.  There are a couple of things that have kept Farmer Hubs from putting tiller to soil, it is too wet to do almost anything in the garden which we are not complaining about, just yet.  The other is that Farmer Hubs ripped his bicep and is scheduled for surgery sometime next week.  This will certainly slow down the progress of the garden tilling and planting.

Farmer Hubs is a very thorough fella…he always has a plan. Sometimes he even has a plan for the plan.  However patience is not one of his strong suits.  Sometimes we just have to take a deep breath and listen to the experts.  The doctors have told him it could be a 3 month recovery/rehab process.  The Farmers Almanac is suggesting that by mid-late March we should be free from any chance of a freeze.  By then Farmer Hubs will have many plans laid out and will be chomping at the bit to get out of the gate.

After looking over the entire situation at Suncreek Gardens, Farmer Hubs has a well thought out and organized plan in place.  The fact that the warmer than normal temperatures have the seedlings thriving and growing faster than we anticipated is throwing the whole garden game into a bit of chaos.  But even the best laid plans can be thrown into a state of limbo.   Farmer Hubs will have his surgery… the plants will continue to grow…Farmer Hubs will rehab his arm…the Farmers Son will till the garden…the Farmers wife will take care of the Farmer.

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Filed under gardening and other green things, Nature

Hope Springs Eternal

Hope Springs Eternal!

Hope is a trustful expectation!  Hope is to look forward to something with desire and reasonable confidence!

Suncreek Gardens Chronicles…Hope

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

“Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise. C.S. Lewis on Hoping for Something More.

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Filed under gardening and other green things, Nature

Wordless Wednesday…Strange Veggie…Purple Kohlrabi

Wordless Wednesday…Strange Veggie…Purple Kohlrabi

Wordless Wednesday...Strange Purple Veggie...Kohlrabi

21 Comments

Filed under All Things Foodie, gardening and other green things, Weekly Photo Challenge

Trendy Tuesday: Mood Enhancer…Tangerine Tango

Trendy Tuesday...Tangerine Tango

I have been thinking about an article I recently read about the new spring color trends.   Pantone the worlds renowned authority on color has announced the color trends for Spring 2012.  Tangerine Tango is being called the color of the year, a spirited reddish-orange, that provides the energy boost we need to recharge and move forward in the coming year. 

Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute  was quoted as saying “Consumers look to spring for renewed energy, optimism and the promise of a brighter day.”

Nanette Lapore says, “We love the mix of hot neon colors with soft pastels, reminiscent of nature at its extremes: a powerful sunset, the ocean sparkling at dusk with flashes of lightning in the distance.”

Tangerine Tango makes me think of a fiery daylily that grows in my garden.  It also brings to mind the citrus smell of oranges as well as the creamy coolness of orange sherbet. 

The latest issue of Better Homes and Garden Magazine has Tangerine Tango splashed across the pages…all you need is a little splash of this color to brighten up a room and your mood. 

I have enjoyed this color for a couple of years. I have a Jones of New York jacket, purchased on the clearance rack at a local discount store. I have an oversized Michael Kors Bag that I purchased on sale three Christmas’ ago. I also have a throw pillow on the living room chair that is just to the softer side of this vibrant color.

I didn’t realize I was such a trend setter when I purchased my little splashes of Tangerine Tango…all those years ago. 

Here’s hoping your day is filled with splashes of color that give you the energy boost you need to recharge your battery and help you move forward with optimism in the coming year!

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Filed under Home Sweet Home, It's a Girl Thing

No Bake Cookies…Measure…Stir…Drop

It’s time to get your bake on…or at the least it’s time to make no bake cookies… measure, stir and make drop cookies.  My first cookie exchange of the season is this week and I am not baking.  Now I know the rules of engagement for cookie exchanges…do you?  You are instructed to bring 3-4 dozen of the same cookies.  They must be homemade.  No store-bought prepackaged cookies are allowed.  I have checked around and there is no set rule that says you have to actually bake the cookies.  Therefore…I will be making drop cookies, or at least that’s what I call them.

What’s on the wax paper…Peanut Butter Clusters!  Do you have a favorite “No Bake” cookie or treat?

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Filed under All Things Foodie, Christmas Traditions, postaweek2011

Wordless Wednesday…Tastes like Chicken

Wordless Wednesday…Tastes like Chicken!  Question is…Which one?

Wordless Wednesday…Tastes like Chicken

Where’s Mugsy when you need him?

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Filed under postaweek2011, Weekly Photo Challenge