Throwback: Navy Bean Soup with Ham

My Daughter and I- Navy Bean Soup with Ham

I made this delicious soup the other day with the leftover ham bone and ham from Christmas. I was so excited to make it and then we had a sudden change in weather so we were enjoying bean soup after a chilly winter 89* day degrees! Crazy!

What I really liked about this soup was how creamy it tasted – but there wasn’t anything creamy in it. I’m not sure if it was just the beans or how they were cooked or what, but it was amazing and so easy!

My Daughter and I- Navy Bean Soup with Ham 1

Navy Bean Soup with Ham 

Ingredients and directions:

2 lb of dried white beans, I used navy beans
6-8 cups of water

1-2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 -5 carrots, peeled and diced in large pieces
5 stalks of celery, diced
2 -3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 ham hock, extra fat remove from the outside of the hock
4 cups of chicken stock, low sodium
2- 4 cups of water
Italian seasoning
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:
Overnight Soak: Rinse and sort the beans. Add 6-8 cups of cold water to dried beans. Let stand overnight or at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse the beans. Side Note: If you don’t have time to do an overnight soak, try the quick soak method: Rinse and sort the beans. Add 6-8 cups of water to dried beans. Bring water to a boil, boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat; cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the beans.

I did the quick soak method and I didn’t let the beans stand for an hour – maybe 30 minutes while I got the rest of the ingredients ready.

Heat the olive oil in the pot you soaked the beans in – why make extra dishes? Add onions, carrots, & celery. Cook for 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for a bit. Now it’s time to get everything into the crockpot. Start with the ham hock, I would recommend removing any visible fat. Then pour the soaked and drained beans in. Next add the veggies that you had cooking, pour in the chicken broth, Italian seasoning, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Finally add a bit more water to make sure everything is covered. I completely filled my big crockpot. Cover and cook on high for several hours to get everything bubbling along. I turned it down to low after about 4 hours. It’s better to not open the crockpot a lot while cooking, since all the heat escapes, but I would suggest stirring from time to time and try to remove the ham bits from the bone while stirring. About an hour before serving I removed the entire ham bone from the soup and let it cool a bit and removed any additional meat from the bone. I then removed the excess fat from the top of the soup, there was just a bit that I ladled off. I fished around in the soup for any excess bone bits, large pieces of meat, fat etc. Finally I added some cut up leftover ham to the soup and tasted it to see if it needed any additional seasoning. Let ham pieces heat through. We served our soup with bread and salad.

It sounds a bit labor intensive, but I promise it’s not! The soup would have been hearty and delicious without the extra ham pieces, but I had the leftovers and wanted to make it extra chunky. I’m not sure why I felt the need to sauté the veggies first. I’m sure it would have been delicious if everything was just dumped into the crockpot.

 

Cindy 

Flashback: Crockpot Beef Stew

 

Well, it’s 80* in November again, so it seemed very fitting to repost this delicious beef stew recipe! My Daughter and I- Crockpot Beef Stew

Everyone is talking about comfort food, snow and seriously, Christmas decorations! While it may be like the arctic in 50% of the U.S. – we are having Santa Ana’s in Southern California right now. When it is 75-85 degrees during the day, it’s hard to get excited about making a hot and hearty meal. But I persevered with a fall recipe and I’m so glad I did. Jordan and I visited the farmer’s market on Saturday and got a beautiful bunch of rainbow colored carrots. I remembered that I had some stew meat in the freezer along with some red potatoes and sweet potatoes in the pantry. I looked online for beef stew recipes that I could throw in the crockpot and then I modified it a bit. So in record time, we had a delicious and hearty meal. I loved the addition of the sweet potatoes. It was so colorful and flavorful. I also loved how everything just got dumped in- it truly was a one pot meal. No browning the meat before. Yay! The meat was tender and the beef stew had a rich flavor.

We made a batch of our delicious one hour cast iron focaccia to go with it. Who cares if we ate the stew in our shorts and tank tops – it was delicious!

My Daughter and I- Crockpot Beef Stew 1

The Best Crockpot Beef Stew
Ingredients
2 pounds beef stew meat, (cut into bite-sized pieces), I used a bit less
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp pepper
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 T minced garlic
6 oz can tomato paste
32 oz beef broth
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 cups carrots, diced
5 – 6 small red potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 3 cups)
2 medium sweet potatoes, diced
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning

1 cups frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup water

1. Combine the first 12 ingredients in the crock pot and mix well. Cook on LOW for 10 hours or on HIGH for 6-7 hours.

2. About 30 minutes before serving, mix the flour and the water together in a small dish and pour into the crockpot. Mix until well combined. This will add a nice thickness to the stew. Next add in your frozen peas and corn. Continue cooking covered for 30 minutes.

Recipe found on familyfreshmeals.com and adapted slightly.

Cindy

Our Growing Edge- May Roundup

I have something a little different in store for you today! Genie, the awesome blogger who runs Bunny Eats Design, contacted us a few months ago to see if we’d be interested in hosting May’s edition of Our Growing Edge! I was so honored to be asked- Genie has done a wonderful job of gathering food bloggers from all over the world into an inspiring, encouraging community.

Every month, food bloggers submit a link of one of their recent blog posts- you can make anything you’d like, the only requirement is that the recipe needs to be something new to you- a new ingredient or preparation or experience. It’s awesome to see bloggers getting out of their comfort zones- the results are spectacular!

Interested in joining in on next month’s roundup? It’s a great experience! For more information, visit Our Growing Edge.

Now that you know a little bit about what a roundup is, let’s jump right into this month’s edition!

watermelon-for-pinterestFirst up! Fa’s Kitchen tackled making watermelon juice– something I’ve never heard of, but it sounds delicious!

Grain-Free-Eggplant-Lasagna

 This recipe made my mouth water! What a creative and delicious way to substitute eggplant for pasta.

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This blog post and recipe blew my mind! Not only does Simona write in both English and Italian, she made homemade matcha noodles. So impressive!

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This looks amazing! Spinach Stuffed Flank Steak– yum!

carbonara

My favorite again- pasta! Julie made a delicious looking Carbonara dish, that we’ll have to try.

almondbutterbars

Everyday Life Mom made some delicious Almond Butter Bars that look like the perfect post-workout snack!

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Our host, Genie, ended up with 42 figs in her fridge, and shared some beautiful photos of how she creatively used them up.

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Yum!! The Dream Baker whipped up the most delicious looking Chocolate Banana Cake that I’m dying to try.

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Kerene from The Dream Baker also submitted her recipe for Oven-roasted Char Siu (BBQ Pork)– another delicious, mouth-watering recipe.

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Saffron & Honey submitted these gorgeous photos of her recipe for Ramps Raclette. This wasn’t something I was familiar with, but her post made me want to try it out!

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Feijoa- a completely foreign type of fruit. Nom Nom Panda creatively used up her bountiful harvest in feijoa paste.

img_1918-1024x683Becky made the yummiest looking Beet Salad– looks like a perfect summer recipe!

dough

Chelsea recently highlighted Smorgasburg, in New York City. They stopped by and got donuts from Dough, and oh my goodness- they look amazing.

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Another alternative to pasta in lasagna! Definitely worth trying!

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Last but not least, these absolutely adorable Banana Banana Banana Cake‘s might be one of my favorite links for this month! Isabel from Sweet Loves killed it!

So that’s it! May’s round-up is complete!

our growing edge

 

Sweet Potato Hash

My Daughter and I- Sweet Potato Hash

Jordan found this recipe on one of her favorite blogs, A Beautiful Mess and we decided to try it. We made it for dinner, because we love breakfast for dinner and it was quick and easy and very delicious!

I adjusted the recipe a bit, mostly for quantity, and we all loved it- I’ve made it several times already. The recipe says you don’t need to peel the sweet potatoes and I agree. I’ve tried it both ways and it’s just not worth the time to peel them, they soften up enough while cooking.

My Daughter and I- Sweet Potato Hash 1

Sweet Potato Hash

3-4 sweet potatoes, cut into cubes

1-2 tablespoons minced garlic

6-8 pieces of bacon, cut into pieces

1 onion, chopped

Salt and pepper

Italian seasoning

 

The first thing you’re going to do is quarter up the bacon slices and throw them into the heated pan. Let them sizzle and cook and smell up your place real good. While the bacon is doing its thing, you can chop the sweet potato down to bite size pieces. When the bacon is cooked through (not all the way crispy yet) drain the grease if there is too much. You want to have a few tablespoons left in the pan. If you’d prefer, you can drain the bacon grease and add some other oil. Toss in the sweet potatoes and cover.

At this point, cut up the onion and garlic and add to the pan.I like the potatoes to cook till they brown, which can take about 15-20 minutes. It depends on how many potatoes you used/heat/pan. Add in the seasonings and stir. The recipe calls for fresh rosemary, which would be good too. Let this cook for a couple minutes. While you’re finishing the rest of the meal.

In a separate pan, you can get your eggs going, so everything is ready at once.

 

Recipe modified from A Beautiful Mess

 

Cindy & Jordan

Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese and Bacon

My Daughter and I Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese and Bacon

We love pasta around this house, but having been on an eating challenge for six weeks, we didn’t eat it for awhile. I mostly enjoyed my new way of eating, but this recipe was one that I was anxious to try once I was off my challenge. In fact, we made it the first day back from our challenge! It was delicious and creamy and very flavorful.

My Daughter and I Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese, and Bacon 1

Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese and Bacon

Ingredients
3-4 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ¾” cubes
1 red onion, cut into ½” cubes
3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
1 lb of pasta, we used rigatoni
8 to 10 oz. of goat cheese, crumbled
5 strips of bacon, diced and cooked to crispy
salt & pepper to taste
¾ cup of reserved pasta water

Instructions
Preheat oven to 425.
Spread out butternut squash and red onion on a baking sheet. Season with olive oil, salt, pepper. Toss to coat and spread out on baking sheet so it is in a single layer.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

In the meantime, heat a skillet to medium high heat. Add diced bacon and cook until crispy, stirring occasionally. {about 4-5 minutes}
Remove bacon from the pan and place on a plate lining with paper towel to soak up some of the grease.

Bring a large pot of water to boiling, add pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente {follow directions on the back of the box, usually 8-10 minutes}

Once pasta is done, reserve ¾ cup of the cooking water and set aside. Drain the rest of the water.

Add goat cheese and pasta water to pasta pot and allow the goat cheese to melt completely. Add the pasta and toss to completely coat the pasta and then add in the butternut squash, onions, and bacon and mix gently again. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Adapted slightly from http://www.joyfulhealthyeats.com

 

Cindy