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Archive for December, 2010

We had a wonderful ham on Christmas Day and I scored the ham bone that had lots of ham deliciousness still on the bone. So I decided to make Crock Pot Split Pea Soup from a recipe that my friend Lenore sent to me. OMFrickenG, is this the BEST split pea soup ever!! I know a lot of people who turn their nose up on Split Pea soup, maybe because it’s green and not the best looking soup. Are they ever missing something wonderful if they don’t try this soup, it smells wonderful, and the taste is beyond delicious!! Thanks Lenore for sharing this wonderful soup recipe!!!

Crock Pot Split Pea Soup

16 ounces dried split peas
2 cups diced fully cooked ham
1 cup diced or shredded carrots
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced (I probably used at least 4 cloves because I love garlic)
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
5 cups boiling water
1 cup hot milk

Layer the first nine ingredients, in the order listed (do not stir), in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or low for 8-10 hours or until vegetables are tender. Stir in hot milk. Discard the bay leaves before serving.

I made a homemade loaf of honey wheat bread to go with this soup…yum, comfort food!!!

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When you are a part of a large family like I am, Christmas means homemade family gifts. I am one of six children and including our children and our grandchildren we total up to 41 people who gather for holidays. Thank goodness my Mom has an huge old farm house that more than holds all of us.

Anyways, each year we make gifts for each other. This year instead of the normal crocheted dish cloths, or peppermint bark, I wanted to try something unique. Last Christmas time I found a recipe for Homemade Vanilla Extract at The Italian Dish a wonderful blog with great recipes!! I saved the link and this past spring I started getting the ingredients, bottles, labels and everything that I needed to make this extract. It’s been steeping for about 6 months now and OMG does it smell delicious!!!

I got the bourbon vanilla beans from The Organic Vanilla Bean Company. I bought the 4 oz. clear Boston Round Bottles from Specialty Bottle. I also bought the Shrink Bands for a more professional look. Next came the labels. I couldn’t help myself, I stole Elaine’s idea and ordered labels from My Own Labels. They lend additional professionalism to the bottle. And finally, I used Abolut Vodka.

I so hope that everyone enjoys the extract. I made 24 bottles. I need 11 bottles for family, and the rest will go to my co-workers and friends.

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season!!!

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