Saturday, March 5, 2011

End of Week 2 in the Money Pit, Lessons Learned

Progress is being made at Chez Phillips; last night when went to check on the master bathroom, I saw the glass tile up in the water closet---whooo hoo!  I still love it, which is a good thing.
Since we started 2 weeks ago, Dr. C and I have moved to the downstairs guest room, which has a bath off of it.
Lesson one is to always sleep in your guest room---you never know what you will find!  The bed squeaks!! It's a lovely, comfortable king size, but the bed frame squeaks, and for those late night trips to get cookies and milk, your partner discovers that you are gone on your sortie by the squeaking bed!  So, this morning, we tore the bed apart and lubed all the springs with WD-40 (love that stuff) and we are back in business! 
Lesson two is that no matter how grown up you are you still want your own sink---the guest bath only has one sink, and although we are making this work, I want my own space!
Lesson three is that workers in your house should be treated well; as I stated earlier, I have coffee and cake for the boys every morning, and I guess it is the little things that count---they are appreciative, although they think it's a bit crazy to be able to get homemade goodies rather than prepackaged snacks.  (Hear that Otis Spunkmeyer??)
Lesson four is that no matter how disruptive this is, you still have to make dinner, and the slow cooker rocks!  On Thursday I decided to make split pea soup, and the slow cooker will make any bean or pea soup better, with a long slow simmer.  I hope you enjoy it.

I started off with a ham slice (I like the "Cook's" brand, it was about 1.35 lb. but you could use polish sausage or even good quality leftover hot dogs, cut up)

Mire poix; onion, carrot and celery.

Cut up the ham, or sausage into bite sized pieces and saute (no oil needed)

Let the ham render a bit of fat, then add the onion, carrot and celery, and some dried thyme.

Add chicken broth, cover and cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 6 to 8 hours.
Season with salt and pepper if needed.  (usually don't need too much salt because the ham/sausage and broth will supply that)  I love this with cornbread, or a dark rye.

Under Construction Split Pea Soup 
Serves 6 to 8

One ham slice (about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds) excess fat removed and cut into bite sized pieces
One large sweet yellow onion, such as Vidalia, coarsely chopped
3 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
3 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 cups green split peas, rinsed, drained and picked over for stones (see note)
8 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper
  1. In a large skillet, saute the ham to render a bit of fat.  
  2. Add the onion, carrot, celery and thyme, sauteing until the onion is softened, about 3 minutes.  
  3. Add the split peas, and stir to coat.  Transfer the contents of the skillet to the insert of a 5 to 7-quart slow cooker.  
  4. Add the broth, cover and cook on high for 4 hours, or on low for 6 to 8 hours, until the peas are split, and creamy.  
  5. Check the soup half way through the cooking time and add more water if there isn't enough liquid in the pan.  (this happens with older slow cookers that cook at a higher temperature)  
  6. Taste for seasoning and add salt or pepper if needed.  Refrigerate any leftovers for up to3 days, or freeze the soup for up to 2 months. 
  7. Note about split peas:  they don't need to be soaked over night like many other beans.  If you would like to make this soup with small white beans, pink beans, or red beans, soak those overnight in water to cover, drain and rinse and proceed with the soup as directed.  

 As I write this, they are finishing the shower---you can see the bench in the corner, and the niche will be on the left wall.  There will be a band of glass tile around the top to set this off--looks like we will be done on Wednesday and then cabinets will be installed.  I hope that you enjoy your weekend, Dr. C and I will be going to the SDSU-Colorado State game tonight---can't wait to experience the crowd at the arena.

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