Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bean soup and a couple great links

Oh, how I wanted to take pictures for a post and review some books and even place a couple recipes on the recipe blog (which is really an online cookbook you know...).

But I took advantage of a nice day sandwiched between yucky weather to run errands today.  We had to stop by Culligan to pick up two forty pound bags of water softener salt and make a trip to my pharmacy... all on "the other side of town".

While we were out, I treated Hubby to good coffee and a pecan roll at Panera, thanks to a much appreciated gift card.  I had a strawberry and cream scone and we split one of their baked egg souffles.  (Being rather frugal people, we fill up our "to go" coffee cups on the way out with decaf coffee for an afternoon at home treat.)

I thanked God for the Christmas gift card from my friend, the food, and that insulin now comes in a pen form that makes it easier to enjoy a rather large scone while running errands.  ;)

Thanks to a lesson learned in An Everlasting Meal, I have bean soup simmering on the stove.  It has ham "stock"* and drippings (I had frozen from our last ham dinner) and added to the beans once they were almost tender.  Oh, my... delicious!

I have to admit, I used to throw this part away.  I always saved the ham bone and would usually freeze it to be used in bean soup later but I learned from the book to look at the value of every part of our food.

Well, I knew the drippings and "stock"* was what some cooks used to make red eye gravy but I never used it for that purpose.  This time I froze it in a container for later use (with the ham and bone used right away for bean soup).  Never again will I throw away that source of flavor!

There is always something new to learn and experience when it comes to cooking and baking.

You have to appreciate my "processed food" thinking when yesterday I wanted to make chili but I didn't have any canned chili beans... pintos, kidney beans, or red beans.

Here's how the book has affected me, too.   I remembered I have quite a few packages of dried pinto beans in the garage (like... duh) and all I had to do was throw them in the small stock pot, cover with water, put the cover on... and leave it out overnight.

I drained them this morning, added more water, and let them simmer about an hour before covering them and turning off the heat so they could "steam" further while I was away from home.

That way it only took about another hour before they were nice and tender enough to remove the beans I want to use in chili tonight and prepare the remaining beans as soup.

Now, I'm a frugal cook but that book has taken my thinking to a whole new level.  One does not need to be a homesteader to use more of the pig-cow-chicken, etc.  ;)

I will prepare chili for tonight's dinner.  The bean soup is ready for tomorrow night.  With plenty of leftovers.

Now for the links:

I came across a wonderful new-to-me cooking blog called Downton Abbey Cooks.  The blog is lovely and fun to read.

For a link that takes you to her Guide to Afternoon Tea post, click  here.   I plan to spend the next snowy afternoon going through the archives.

One of my favorite writers is Randy Alcorn.  He has a blog post today about his devotional habits and the books he is reading.  He always has great suggestions... here


* To have a good amount of ham "stock", bake the ham covered through all or most of its' cooking time.  I put about a cup of water in the bottom of the baking pan before covering it with aluminum foil and check it after an hour or so to see if it needs a little more water.

I have found if I don't cover the ham, drippings and stock tend to burn on the bottom of the pan instead of forming a "stock".

Picture:  John-Bull-Cooking-Housewives;


Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Isn't it interesting how we can change our thinking from how we grew up or first learned to cook? I cook mostly from scratch while my mom still cooks mostly from packaging.

Off to make some chocolate chip cookies! Or perhaps shortbread cookies, Or both. Thankfully the kids polish off most of it and I can indulge in the baking but not all the eating!!!!

Thanks too for the links!


Elizabeth said...

Sounds wonderful and thanks for the recommendations, I will check them out!

Brenda Leyland @ Its A Beautiful Life said...

Hi Brenda,

I enjoyed your posting very much... and thanks for the links to the Downton Abbey Cooks (which has all manner of other interesting links).

And now I think I 'need' that cookbook you mention. Sounds soothing not only for the tummy but for the soul!

Your cooking ventures are mouth-watering to read about today.

Anonymous said...

thank you for your blog! very inspiring :-). i remember reading that you can get credit if we purchase a book you've recommended, is it just a matter of clicking on the title? or does it have to be listed in your recommended links on the side?
God's Blessings! Lynne

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the stock hints and all the others. I didn't know this! I will check out the links later but I am sure looking forward to doing it. Roast is done in the crock pot and smelling wonderful. Naturally we will have beef veggie soup tomorrow. Who needs sprays to fill the home air with wonderful smells..Just cook!! :) :) Sarah

Anonymous said...

The more from scratch I can make, the happier I am. I've been thinking about the bags of dried beans just takes a little more forethought to prepare them, but that's fine by me.
Off to check out those links....

Anonymous said...

This is so funny! I made a crock pot full of chili beans to freeze today and they are delicious!! So easy and I had to run out of canned beans before I tried this recipe I have had for over a year. I will not buy the canned again! I am having a "pantry/freezer week" using what I have - I love the challenge :o) Dee

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

I love "an Everlasting Meal"! I read her whenever I'm hungry and especially craving roasted veggies (my autumn and winter favorite)! We don't eat a lot of ham these days however I just broke down a few weeks ago and invested in the spiral ham from Costco (a fair price at $1.49 per lb.) and did as you did with the does make such a difference in flavoring beans and soups! After one ham based meal I put on an old episode of Downton Abbey and divided the remainder into freezer packets to use for ham and cheese sandwiches for Mike's lunches (the spiral was a much better price than the packaged lunch meats) as well as several smaller packets for flavoring a dish instead of having it as the main entree. I also set aside bits to mix with scrambled eggs and to add to my brunch frittatas along with whatever roasted veggies I may have leftover! I also sometimes make them as a quick and easy dinner when I'm in a hurry and haven't planned anything...served with a salad and or a cup of soup (garlic toast for Mike) its a frugal feast!. :)
Love these posts!

jules said...

Speaking of Panera, did you get a chance to hear this on NPR this morning. Interesting, and for some reason, I thought of you and your love of all things Panera.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to go and set some white beans to soak. It is great to have them ready to use for quick Lenten dinners. (And they are better than the canned ones).

Heather L. said...

Oh what a fun link! Thanks for sharing that. I hadn't seen that Downton Abbey blog before! Looks like she has done all the work for us!!!!!

Also glad to hear that things were decided in your favor regarding insurance -- at least that is what it sounded like in the post.

Where There is no Doctor brings back so many was our second Bible in Africa. :)

Grace K. said...

I love bean soup - as well as Panera runs! So glad you're enjoying both. :)