Tis the Season for Soup

It was a very hot summer and time now for some hot soup. I always look forward to some cooler weather and now that it is finally here, I am on the look out for soup recipes that warm the soul as well as your belly. I am happy to share a soup recipe that is a family favorite and one that brings warm memories from my childhood growing up in Hawaii.

But, before I share the recipe, I wondered, if you knew:

  • Campbell’s Soup Company is celebrating their 83rd anniversary this year
  • It is believed that the first ever soup was made of hippopotamus in 6000 B.C.
  • Former president Abraham Lincoln loved soup, and on his inauguration, celebrated with a mock turtle soup
  • Though linked to several origins, the word soup is believed to be derived from the Latin word suppa, meaning bread dipped in broth.
  • Americans consume more that 10 billion bowls of soup a year.

Wow, hopefully one of the 10 billion bowls include this yummy recipe for Lima Bean and Ham Hock Soup. Here is the recipe.

Mom’s Lima Bean Soup

You will need:

1 pkg of dried Lima Beans ( I used the Baby Lima Beans)

I pkg. of Smoked Ham Hocks ( My pkg. had 3 medium hocks)

1 can of Tomato Sauce

3-4 medium Potatoes ( Russets are preferred but I only had Red Potatoes and it worked fine)

1 head of Green Cabbage ( I used a Napa Cabbage and did not put in til the end)

I did add a ham steak for a more meaty substance. Back in the day when mom made it,  all of the fat and gristle was added to the soup. I wanted to make it a  little less fatty.

The night before you make the soup, put your Dried Lima Beans in a bowl covered with water. You will let the beans soak until you are ready to place them in the soup.

Place the Ham Hocks in a pot and cover with water. Boil the hocks for about 3 hours or until it starts to break away from the bone. Remove from the pot after boiling for the amount of time, and you can cut or shred whatever meat you can salvage from the hocks. If not, there will be enough ham flavor in the stock and you can add cubes of ham to the stock for a more meaty soup.

At this time, add the tomato sauce, cut up potatoes and your drained Lima Beans. If you are using chopped green cabbage, you can place them in the pot as well. If you use the Napa or Chinese Cabbage, leave them out until the very end of the cooking process. Add more water to cover all of the ingredients and cook until the potatoes are soft, usually about an hour. I put my chopped Napa Cabbage in the pot at this point and turned the stove off. The cabbage will be perfectly cooked from the heat of the soup and ready for eating. You may add more salt and pepper at this time as well, if needed or desired.

ENJOY!

I look forward to sharing more family recipes with all of you. My husband is excited because it means I am actually going to be cooking up all of these foods. I am an avid seeker of recipes, especially this time of year. But, there is nothing better sometimes, than those old recipe cards tucked away in cookbooks we seldom peruse. We have been conditioned to search all things online, and though nothing wrong with that, your old cookbooks, and handed down recipes can be valuable treasure. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

Hummingbird Power

These little creatures have always fascinated me. They are tiny, but strong and relentless. They are the tiniest birds in the world, but, can overcome more adversities in their short lives, than I ever could. I have learned so much from these little guys and thought I would share some fun facts about them.

There are over 325 species of hummingbirds in the world. Here in the United States we have more than two dozen spread across the country. There are just a few species here in the Pacific Northwest. The ones that frequent my feeder here in Oregon, are called, Annas. I was expecting them to migrate south for the winter, however, these little guys choose to hang around all year round. I guess I’ve made them quite comfortable. Here is a pic of one of them about to feast on sugar-water that I made for him.

Hummingbirds have teeny tiny feet and they do not like to walk. They spend most of their lives perched on a tree branch, or hovering by a flower or feeder. I make my own nectar for them and so far, I have been successful at attracting them. I was informed that often the store-bought nectar will have a red dye that can harm them, so I make a simple solution of 1 cup of sugar dissolved in 4 cups of hot water. I wish refined sugar was as good for me as it is for them. Alas, not the case.

They have excellent memories and can remember where their food source is. A hummingbirds’ metabolism is 100 times that of an elephant. Well, hello……they do lap up a lot of sugar. Their weight is between 2 and 20 grams. The weight of a penny is 2.5 grams, to give you an idea. But, what is interesting is the fact that 30% of their weigh consists of flight muscles. I need to take up flying.

The hummingbird’s wings will beat 70 times per second and up to 200 times when diving. They can fly 25-30 miles an hour and when migrating south can travel 500-3000 miles. Contrary to what some believe, they do not hitch a ride on the backs of any other bird to travel these long distances. They can do it all on their own power. Amazing! I mean, if a big old goose gave me the okay to hop on it’s back to Mexico, I would do it. But, that’s why I’m not a hummingbird.

Out of the many known facts of these awesome creatures, the one that fascinates me the most is how they sleep at night. They go into a state of hibernation called Torpor. Their little hearts drop from 200 beats to just 50. They do this to conserve their energy. I guess this is similar to what a bear does in winter, only it is not fair to compare a tiny 2 grams of hummingbird to a 500 lb. bear. When in this state of hibernation, they will often look like they are dead. (I often had to check to see if my teenager was still breathing  when he seemed to be in a state of hibernation)Sorry, bad example.

There are many, many facts surrounding these birds. They bring a smile to my face every single day. I hear them wake from their stupor, chirping and immediately start feeding, flying, hovering and perching, beginning their daily cycle. Now, that, I must say, is where we are similar.( I too rise in a stupor, except I hover near the refrigerator looking for food and….well, pretty much do that several times through-out the day).  I asked my daughter in Hawaii to give the birds that frequent my feeder a name. She came up with, Manu O Ka Oli Oli…..which is Hawaiian for Bird of Joy. They do bring me joy and they also remind me of a promise in scripture:

Matthew 6:25-27 – That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life, whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store foods in barns, for your Heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

As I observe the tiny yet powerful hummingbird, being cared for and watched over by a loving God,  I cling to the promise that God also cares and watches over me and you. Have a blessed day everyone. Please leave your comments below.

 

Reset, Reboot and Refresh

I love waking on Monday mornings knowing it is a brand new week. I have another opportunity to be better at being me. I know Monday is really just another day,  and not everyone starts out their week on this day. However, generally speaking, it has been deemed the beginning of the “work week” for most people. So, I’m going with that for the purpose of my conversation today. Because it is a new week, I can decide to make it a better more productive week than the week before. And if need be, it is a good day to “reset”.

When my computer is behaving strangely, (and EVERYTHING is strange when you do not understand technical stuff) I am always instructed to reboot and/or re-start it. For the most part, this actually does solve the issue. We are advised to always reset any device before giving it to anyone else, whether you are selling it or returning it. Actually, you can hit that reset button any time you like,  if you desire.  I suggest, however, that  you make sure you have some sort of back-up for things you want to keep, like photos. I am speaking from experience. Yikes. But anyway, the whole concept is about starting over again and making your device be like new.

So here is where I am going with this. Being the human species that we are, we do not have the magical reset button our computer driven devices have. For the most part, I sure wish we did. Having a button to push, would be so much easier than making a conscious effort to change things that need changing.  But, in a real sense, we do have a built-in reset button of sorts. For some, the location may be in their minds, and for others it may be in their hearts. Either way, that “button” is simply an act of making a decision and then acting on it. While I personally like the Monday Reboot, there are no rules to how often we choose to do it.

I have a tendency to over think things. Whether I am trying to solve a problem or just come up with an idea to write about in this blog. The older I become, (and I feel I get older by the second when I am over thinking) the more I desire to say things and do things that will bring more meaning to my life and others. I am constantly rebooting, resetting and refreshing the way I think. Here are some tips I use for doing this:

  1. Recognize that my perception of the past and anything that I may have done wrong in life, or just the week before, does not mean I am a bad person.
  2. I shake off the shackles of fear and insecurity and make a decision to move forward, not remain still and definitely not return to the past. (past hurts, past mistakes etc.,)And remember everything that is not today, is already the past.
  3. Realizing that resetting my thinking means I need to change the way I think.
  4. I try to see more through faith than I do with my eyes…..to believe the power of God is bigger than my circumstances.
  5. And finally, I just breathe. There is nothing more effective  than taking a deep breath, exhaling and feeling that it is going to be okay.

So whether you need to reset, reboot or refresh yourself today, just know that you can do so without a button to click. You just have to decide that today is a new beginning……It is Monday. Have a great week!