January in National Soup (who knew) and there is nothing better than tummy-warming soup to take away the winter chill. Good friend and neighbor, Maribeth, introduced me to Sarah’s Spicy Split Pea Soup and I was wowed. The next day I went to my local King Soopers to buy it and made a batch that I’ve shared and frozen for future use. It’s also great knowing that my purchase contributes to the great work of this non-profit organization. My soup was packaged by Jessica (great work, Jessica, and I hope things are going well for you!). And here’s a shout out to SARAH for this great recipe.
Women’s Bean Project is Women’s Bean Project is a nationally recognized social enterprise that has created transitional employment in gourmet food and jewelry manufacturing for chronically unemployed and impoverished women for 25 years.
If you cannot find these great soup mixes in your area, you can purchase on their website. I’m anxious to try their other soups soon. To my Vegan and Gluten-Free friends, these soups would be a great addition to your pantry.
1 package Spicy Split Pea Soup Mix
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (I used ham stock and increased to 8 cups)
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil (I used olive oil)
1 medium diced onion
4 or 5 diced carrots
2 stalks celery diced (added per Maribeth’s suggestion
salt and pepper to taste
spice packet (included)
1 cup milk (optional and I did not add)
optional: cubed ham
Remove spice packet. Wash and drain peas.
Assemble peas, broth and water in a 4 quart pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer gently for 1 hour uncovered, or until peas are almost tender. Add more water as needed so that peas stay well covered.
While peas are simmering, saute carrots, celery, and onion in butter or oil until tender and add spice packet.
Stir veggie mixture into peas; add milk if desired, and simmer additional 20 minutes until peas are fully cooked.
OPTIONAL: While the recipe does not include blending the soup mixture, I used a hand blender to bring the soup to a smooth consistency. I then added the ham and simmered another 15 minutes until the ham was heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Each year, for the past four years, a group of gal pals have gathered to celebrate ourselves. This wonderful group of women saw our kids grow from adolescents to adults and we have a lot to celebrate! While we don’t see each other as often, we do gather together for a Mother’s Coffee/Tea as well as in smaller groups for Book Club, Card Making, and Christmas. These women are such a blessing for me as well as for their children.
That being said, we all LOVE to come together over food. Each year our friend, Barb, captured pics of our delicious array of food as well as pics of our group.
Last year was the first time our daughter, Sarah, joined us as a Mom celebrating the birth of Evan. It’s such a wonderful gift to now have our daughters (and in the future daughter-in-laws) join us in the celebration.
We will be celebrating a week before Mother’s Day this year so let the party begin.
Sour cherry desserts are a big favorite. While trying to avoid gluten, I was craving a cherry something, crisp…pie…cobbler. I decided to try a Cherry Crisp with almond (instead of wheat) flour using applesauce instead of butter. The result is a gluten and dairy free dessert. The girls likened the Cherry Crisp to a really good cherry granola bar.
If you prefer to skip the whole gluten and dairy free scene, substitute all-purpose flour for almond flour and margarine instead of applesauce.
2 cups cherry pie filling (gluten-free)
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray 8×8 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Spread the cherry filling in the bottom of the baking dish.
Combine the oats, almond flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and applesauce together.
How many ways are there to use Gooseberries? Not as many as one would think, at least not many that are documented. I’ve never tried a smoothie with gooseberries until I found this recipe. I substituted almond milk for cow’s milk. Very refreshing!
BLUEBERRY GOOSEBERRY YOGURT SMOOTHIE
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup fresh or frozen gooseberries
1/2 of banana, frozen
1/2 cup lowfat vanilla yogurt (I prefer Greek yogurt)
1/2 cup almond milk
Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!
My go-to quick-lunch or dinner in the summer is tuna salad. It’s simple, full of protein and wonderful paired with a fresh tomato or avocado. The tuna salad is made the way my Mother made it. The tomato and avocado serving vessel wasn’t used on the farm…just straight up on Wonder Bread!
To serve in a tomato: Wash the tomato and slice off the top stem of the tomato. Slice the tomato in the middle, but not entirely through the tomato. Slice 2 more times to where, when opened, the tomato is shaped like a sunburst.
Several years ago, I became excited when served tuna salad in a half of an avocado. I peel the ripe avocado, removing the pit, putting a scoop of tuna salad inside the avocado to serve. Double yum!
For every can of tuna, drain, and flake the tuna in a medium-sized bowl.
Add two boiled eggs, chopped for every can of tuna.
Add chopped dill pickle (or dill pickle relish) to taste.
Add 2-3 chopped green onions.
Stir in a enough mayonnaise to bind the tuna salad together. (I’ve used plain Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise).
It seems my world truly revolves around food, as it does for my daughters! Our oldest daughter, Megan, was married last year; we asked bridal shower guests to share a favorite recipe to insert in a cookbook. This year daughter, Sarah, is also engaged and we did the same for her shower. I photocopied hand-written recipes of Grandmothers, Great-Grandmothers, and other family members no longer with us. We also asked each guest to write a note the bride inside the cookbook.
As favors, we gave each guest a copy of three of Megan’s favorite dip/spread recipes which we also served at her shower.
The dips shared were Cheesy Apple Spread (today’s post), Hot Wing Dip, and Peach Salsa. They are all family favorites. The Cheesy Apple Spread recipe has been in my recipe box for at least 30 years. Younger daughter, Sarah, loves this dip as well and prepared the dip for the shower. Cheesy Apple Spread is truly an oldie but still a goodie!
CHEESY APPLE SPREAD
8 ounces low-fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped apple
Blend together the cream cheese and mayonnaise. Add shredded cheese and chopped apple. Chill until ready to serve with Ritz or other favorite crackers.