Sunday, February 19, 2012

Small hikes and pea soup, two ways

Miss N kept telling me, "No Baby in the lake."
Since L is away this weekend its been just Miss N and me.  Yesterday I set her loose at my parents house but today we were on our own.  I've been joansing for a hike for a while so I decided to take Miss N to one of my favorite old hiking haunts, the Ramapo Valley County Reserve.

Using a combo of our Ergo, the huge number of dogs in the park to pet and chase and bouts of "Baby running" as incentive, Miss N did pretty well for her first time out at Ramapo.  We actually made it half way up the hill to the reservoir until we had to change a diaper...Miss N is on the edge of potty training and these days is often offended at going Number 2.  Number 2 means all activity must stop until I change her diaper...she's slightly more tolerant of Number 1.  Moral of this tangent is I need to get my head around training her. 
An entire nature reserve to play in and Miss N is found a stick and some gravel that occupied most of her time.

Miss N scarfed a "Protein Plate" from Starbucks - which is reminded me that next time I could pack exactly the same for us for 1/4 of the money.  I thought she was good for lunch but when we pulled back up in front of the house she started chanting "pea soup."

It's gratifying that Miss N actually likes something I cook to ask for it, sometimes I feel at such a loss at what to feed her for lunch.  There are a few things that are great about this soup.  It's insanely easy, can be tweaked as you please and can be cooked in a slow cooker or on the stovetop.

Without further ado I give you: Pea Soup Two Ways, adapted from Jane Brody

1 1b dried green split peas
6 c water
4 c broth of choice - (I usually use chicken)
1/4 lb of ham, diced
3/4 c diced celery
1 lg onion chopped (I often use frozen diced for expediency)
1 1/2 c diced carrots
salt & pepper to taste

Stovetop directions:
Put peas & water in a pot bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes, cover and let stand for 1 hour.  Add broth, ham celery & onion.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat & simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  Add carrots & cook for another 15-30 minutes or until carrots soften and pea break down.  If soup gets too thick, thin with broth.  Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Slow cooker directions:
Depending on how much time you have this can be done on the high (6 hours) or low setting of your slow cooker.  Brown ham in small frying pan and drain off excess fat - I've never done it, but you could probably lightly cook the onion at the same time too for more flavor.  Put ham and remaining ingredients, except salt & pepper, in 6-qt slow cooker and set to high.  If you like your soup thick, about a half hour before serving take the lid off and let bubble away, giving it a stir now and then.  Add salt & pepper to taste.  

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