Friday, January 8, 2016

Wrapping Up The New Year

I forgot to throw the bucket of water out the door so that may be why I'm back to finish the discussion of New Year's traditions. 

We had a little crisis here in my neighborhood on New Year's Eve that had me off kilter for a couple of days but this week I did pull off a family tech night dinner* that went well.  I had kept the ham bone from Christmas in the freezer so I pulled it out and boiled it most of the morning.  Sometime after lunch, I took it out of the broth and pulled off all the meat.  There was quite a bit since I had tired of eating ham long before it was clean.  I let the pot cool until the fat gathered on top and I skimmed that off.  I had picked up a package of 15 bean soup mix which I planned to use without the flavor packet.  My broth was fantastic without help.  Having forgotten to soak the beans overnight, I followed the directions on the package for a Quick Soak Method.  Wash the beans and place them in 6 - 8 cups of water, bring to a rapid boil for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour.  Drain and rinse. 

Then it was time for the marriage.  I brought the broth to a low boil and added the ham and beans and let it simmer for about two hours.  Sometime toward the end of the cooking time I added a few twists from the Himalayan pink salt grinder and some freshly ground pepper.  Both were placed on the table for those who wanted more.  I served the soup in pottery bowls.  There were chopped tomatoes and chopped purple onions on the table for a garnish. 

The 'piece de resistance' was that I made cornbread for the first time in probably twenty years.  It isn't that I haven't had cornbread.  A local restaurant made good homemade cornbread and if I needed it I picked it up there.  They closed recently after fifty plus years.  So I must master the skill again. 

I started reading a book before Christmas which I abandoned after a few chapters but a description of a female character hit home with me.  She was considered, by her friends, as the consummate hostess of takeout.  I haven't entertained much in recent years but when I do I know where the best cakes and pies are, where to get a fabulous quiche, great southern barbecue, pot roast for twelve...it's a good list.  Toss together a salad and open a bottle of wine.

*Family tech night is something we will do once a month.  My daughter is a degreed nerd.  She spends her working days in front of a computer maintaining the inventory of a manufacturing plant in Asheville.  Her father chooses not to try and master the skills necessary to manage his own electronic devices and is in constant need of her help.  To ease tension between them with his demands and her lack of free time, we will get together specifically once a month for tech night.  Regular readers will remember that this is my ex-husband for almost twenty years. 

So, was there anything worth reading here?  Maybe the shortcut on the bean soak. 

How is it going with the your resolutions?  I read over mine last night and four out of seven were good. 

                                                         HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

                                                                    ~Sami

Thursday, December 31, 2015

RAMBLING RIGHT ON INTO 2016!

As I mentioned before, I have been working on my blog list.  Once I was able to post again after two years of frustration, I began a browse through the blogs I have followed.  I am sorry to see so many that are no longer active.  I wonder if any succumbed to frustration as I almost did.  For two years, I searched for answers about my problems loading photos and found nothing that worked other than switching browsers which I didn't like.  Then one day I tried and it worked properly and I have been happy to be back among the blogging since.

Along the list, I found a living room renovation begun and the promise of "after" photos but it had been two years.  That makes me sad.  What happened?  I hope it was so good that the blogger was just too busy to share more with us.   I remember coming home once and finding a note on my door.  "I was here and you were gone.  Now you are here and I am gone."  Perhaps I could have left that comment on the blog but I wasn't pleased when I found it on my door so I didn't.

A few had just grown in directions I didn't care to go. I found some I didn't remember and wondered why I had subscribed.  I know why.  I don't have that problem anymore.   I let go of some where the ads were just too invasive.  I'm still working on it but will likely spare you further updates. 

So, upward and onward.  It is New Year's Eve and I am wondering if I have or know of any traditions that seem important to me today.  I do a life review and make resolutions on my birthday and probably have never kept a resolution made just for the sake of the new year.

Since I saved the ham bone from Christmas I could make some rich black eyed pea soup.  I'm not inclined to cook.  The peas are a mountain and southern tradition that I followed faithfully for many years.  I might consider it still since I read a list of lucky foods for the new year. 

Number One on the list is pork.  There are reasons why.  Pigs are rotund which symbolizes prosperity.  They are considered more progressive in their behavior since they root forward unlike turkeys who scratch backward.  Ahem.  Uh...well, let's see what else is on the list of lucky foods.

Not surprising, greens are on the list.  The symbolism there is obvious.  Green-backs.  We all hope for more.  We do, don't we? 

The list suggests black eyed peas in the form of Hoppin' John.  A New Orleans chef cooks the peas, greens and ham together and serves with cornbread.  The peas are coins.  The greens are paper money.  The cornbread is gold.  I keep thinking this whole thing wasn't too lucky for the pig.

Another that I picked up along the way is to start the new year with a clean house.  That makes sense.  And just one more, at midnight throw a bucket of water out the front door.   The symbolism is obvious there, I suppose.
 
I may start a new tradition of my own.  At the witching hour I may be watching the Google icon to see what pops out of the egg and if the timepiece moves to....

 
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!





Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Advent


I've been out in the madding crowd more than I'd like these last couple of days and I could hardly wait to get back into my peaceful little home this afternoon.  Traffic sinners nearly cost me life and limb on more than one occasion.  All traffic laws seem to have been abandoned for the holidays. 

Safely inside for the next couple of days, my thoughts turned to the real meaning of the season for me.  Advent.  The promise of new life in the form of a baby born in a manger.  We await his coming and the significance of rebirth for ourselves.  It is a time of examining ourselves with the new year on the horizon and a chance to start over afresh. 

In my church we light the candles of the Advent wreath to mark the weeks approaching Christ's birth.  Each candle has a significant meaning. 

 
Traditionally, the Advent wreath is made of evergreen which symbolizes growth and everlasting life. The circular shape of the wreath stands for infinity - the circle of love that has no end.  Three purple candles and one pink candle document each of weeks of Advent. The first purple candle stands for hope, the second symbolizes peace, the pink candle embodies joy and the third purple candle represents love.  As a new candle is lit each Sunday, we are reminded of the growing eminence of Christ's presence among us.  The white candle is the Christ candle and it is lit on Christmas Day.
 
However you celebrate, I wish you a very merry season of hope, joy, peace and love.  
 
~Sami