Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy New Year! And an Update

"And now we welcome the New Year, full of things that have never been."
- Rainier Maria Rilke

Happy New Year everyone! I've missed you! That's my black eyed pea stew in the photo above. It's something I usually make on New Years day, since the legume is supposed to bring good luck. I've included the recipe below.

But first, a bit of an update. I've been crazy busy around here. Managing Christmas, and my shops, House of Lucien and Coco's Kitchen. We also had a big Christmas party here for my husband's sailing friends. I wish I had more photos to share, but I got a photo of the punch! (When it was half gone.)

I was too busy getting everything done, the food prep and such, to take proper photos. That about sums up how I've felt the last few months. Frazzled, in fact too much so to stop and take it all in. It was a lesson for me. It's something I vow to change this year, and heck, right now for goodness sake. To live more in the present, to do everything I can to relax and live in the moment, while getting the things done that I want to. This is life going by! And I want to make the most of it in 2015.

We had a great Christmas. My husband and I love decorating the house. He went crazy this year with the lights on the outside of the house! I wish I had photos of that!

My little snowman scene in the family room

The fireplace, I love my Mickey! 

The pantry door in the kitchen

The tree

My pot rack which of course we had to decorate too!

This is one of the smallest decorations in our home, but it's my favorite. I love the sentiment.

I also made some Christmas cupcakes for a friends party.

These are my Best Moist Chocolate Cupcake Recipe topped with my 7 Minute Frosting that I broiled to make a Hot Cocoa Cupcake! 

These are my Best Moist Chocolate Cupcakes topped with a cream cheese frosting that I added peppermint extract to, and topped with candy canes for a chocolate peppermint cupcake.

These are my Moist Banana Cupcakes topped with Christmas Sprinkles.

I hope you all had a great Christmas as well. And I wish you a fabulous New Year with lots of great adventures in the year ahead!

I'm off for a vacation to visit my family in Orange County California. I'll be back in the middle of January when I will be back in the kitchen baking. I have a few great recipe ideas to kick off the New Year!

Thanks so much for being a reader, I am so grateful for you!!

Now here's that Black Eyed Pea Stew Recipe!

Black Eyed Pea Stew


one bag (16 oz.) dried black eyed peas, or 3 cans
one ham bone with 3 cups diced ham
3 carrots chopped into bite sized pieces
3 ribs of celery chopped into bite sized pieces
1 onion chopped
2, 15 oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained
salt and pepper to taste
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, or 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

if you like some heat, you can add some dried chipotle pepper, or even a tablespoon or so from a small can of chopped chipotle peppers, (the smokiness works well with the smokiness of the ham) if you are using the canned peppers, and aren't familiar with using them, start with a small amount first, (they can get spicy), and adjust to your taste.


Cook the black eyed peas if using dried. I used a crockpot. (I think this is the best way to cook them, because all of the ham flavor gets infused into the black eyed peas.) Add the peas, a tsp of salt, the bay leaves, the ham, the bone and the chopped onion to the crockpot and fill the crockpot almost to the top with water. (I used a 4 quart crockpot.) If using a larger crockpot, I'd start with 8 cups water, add more later if needed.

Cook on high for 4-5 hours or until the peas are soft. If you are using a larger crockpot and have the time, you can add everything else and cook until the carrots and celery are soft. (an additional 3 hours or so.)

I poured it all into an 8 quart pot on the stove and added everything else and cooked for 20 minutes or so, until the vegetables were tender.

If you are using canned black eyed peas, drain the peas and rinse, throw it all in a large pot on the stove, add 4-6 cups water or broth, cook on medium heat for an hour or so, until the vegetables are tender and the flavors have blended. If needed, add water or broth to get the consistency you like.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!