New Years Black Eyed Peas

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a great holiday season and had fun celebrating last night. 🙂

This morning started off with the traditional cooking of the black eyed peas. For those not familiar, black eyed peas are eaten on New Years Day for good luck. The swelling of the beans represent prosperity. They are typically cooked with a pork product, such as ham hock or bacon, and eaten with greens or cabbage. The greens (or cabbage) represent money, and pork, because pigs root forward when foraging, not backwards. So, not only does this southern dish taste good, it’s full of symbolism.

I cook these every year, but I do believe I outdid myself this year. I made the best black eyed peas I’ve ever made, in the shortest amount of time!! I didn’t have to pre-soak anything, nor did I have to start the pot cooking last night. The whole thing took about 40 minutes (only because I made such a large batch). OMG, they taste like they’ve been cooking all day!! People, if you don’t have an Instant Pot, get one. It will make your lives soooo much easier!!

My recipe today:

  • 3 pounds black eyed peas (we have company coming over)
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 handful sea salt
  • 1 handful (but slightly less than the salt) black pepper
  • Tony Cachere’s Original Creole Seasoning (I just shook that until it felt right)
  • 1/2 handful Tajin seasoning
  • 2 ham hocks
  • Chicken Broth until it’s all covered

Put everything in the Instant Pot, no specific order except add the broth last. Select the Soup setting on your Instant Pot. Make sure your pressure cooking level is set to High. Adjust your timer to 40 minutes. MAKE SURE your top knob is turned to the “sealing” position, and walk away. In 40 minutes, you’ll have the best black eyed peas you’ve ever tasted.

Oh, and heavens! Don’t forget your cornbread with this dish!  It’s a must! Bon appetite! And Happy New Year!!!

Another Year Comes to a Close

Tomorrow is New Years Eve. it seems time passes faster and faster with each year. I can’t believe 2013 is already coming to an end and 2014 is on our doorstep.

There is a website I visit every year to both see my year in review and to create an inspiration for the upcoming year. Wordle is a fun way to create “words of art”, or, Word Clouds, using a blog or website that uses RSS feed or using your own text. I highly recommend having some fun with it this week. 🙂

The Menopause Express 2013 Year in Review

2013 MenopauseExpress Year in Review

I Promised You Pictures…

… and pictures you will get. In fact, this post will mainly consist of pictures, because the emotions from Saturday’s events are beyond any words I can fill on paper or type in any blog. Continue reading “I Promised You Pictures…”

Tomorrow is the Big Day

Last month I wrote a post on Family History and HopeWe leave for my sister’s this afternoon. Tomorrow morning, we’re having breakfast with the person from the VFW who helped coordinate the effort to find the family and get James’ honors back home. Tomorrow afternoon we all go to the VFW. Continue reading “Tomorrow is the Big Day”

Family History and Hope

My Great Aunt Bess had a son who bravely fought in WWII. James Lynn Barnes served in the U.S. Army and lost his life June 6, 1944, at Normandy. He was 33.

I was very young when I heard the stories of James, and I wish I’d paid more attention to my Gran. I know the family considered him a hero, but in truth, all our veterans are heroes. James was well loved, as was my Aunt Bess. I do have fond memories of her. She was everything you can think of when you imagine goodness in a person. My sister and I both loved her very much. Continue reading “Family History and Hope”

On Challenging Old Concepts and Catholic Guilt

I’m not sure if I’ve written about it over here yet, but I have this creative streak that seems to have turned into a business. I make incense and blended oils. I love what I do, and my house smells amazing!

That being said, with my line of blended oils, I’ve been known to do custom blends. These oils are used for aromatherapy or for wearing on the skin, so my requests may vary.

Yesterday I received what has to be the strangest request yet. I received a request for Holy Water.

“You have this ‘Cleansing Sage Mist’; I was wondering, can you make Holy Water?”

I was raised Catholic. I haven’t been to confession in over 30 years and I doubt the church would consider me as being Catholic now (I don’t), but the Catholic guilt never leaves you. The first thing that crossed my mind was, “Isn’t there someone a bit more qualified?” Followed by, “Won’t I go straight to Hell for making that, much less, selling it?”

Photo: "Shock" Kitty Parrish, Deviant Art
Photo: “Shock” Kitty Parrish, Deviant Art

Off to the Google I went and not only did I find a few recipes for Holy Water, I found there are different types of Holy Water. Most religions that use it follow the same basic recipe but they use a different blessing. The Catholic Church has three different types alone, for different occasions. The type we are most familiar with is the one they keep in the stoup, found as one enters the church. This is the basic recipe, made with distilled water and a bit of sea salt.

The blessing I found to be most interesting. Up until the Second Vatican Counsel (referred to as Vatican II), the church used the traditional Roman blessing to consecrate the water. This was a powerful and fascinating read. They actually performed an exorcism over the salt and the water, making it pure and “exorcising the evil” out of it. It was a lengthy ritual, of course.  Vatican II was 1959-1965. During that time they changed the blessing making it much shorter. It’s no longer an “exorcism” over the salt and water, but after reading the new version, IMO, it does seem to do its job.

I’d found the recipe and the blessing. I now had my moral dilemma. Sister Nora would sternly disapprove and would be highly disappointed. She would tell me I should not be so sacrilegious and I should go to confession immediately for even thinking of doing such a thing.

But Catholics don’t have the exclusive on Holy Water, and I’m not Catholic anymore. Besides, my label wouldn’t say, “Catholic Holy Water.” Another thing that crossed my mind; if this customer wanted Holy Water from the Catholic Church, she would have gone to a priest. In my research I confirmed they do still give that out to parishioners.

Anyone can say a prayer…

I went for it.

I went for it

 

Sister Nora, I’m sorry. When I was 7 years old, grasping the concepts of God, forgiveness, and following the right path, I asked you about people who weren’t Christian and said, “What if we’re wrong and one of them are right?” I know you probably gave me the answer you thought best at the time, but I needed something more than, “You shouldn’t be so sacrilegious.” I kept questioning as I got older and got to the point I believe all these different spiritual paths lead to the same Deity. There are just too many similarities in their beliefs to think otherwise.

So can anyone make Holy Water? Sure. Will the Catholic Church recognize it as such? No. But I believe in sanctification and I believe it is something any of us can do.

As for selling it? You know, I don’t feel right selling the water itself. I do have packaging involved so I have to put some kind of a price on it. If that means I’m going to Hell; well, at least I’ll be in good company. All my friends say they’ll be there and Mr. Magick Man says he already has the ice concession.

going to hell

Traditions and the New Year

Wow, 2013! A new day, a new year!

Last night was spent with great friends, and much fun was had. We had a good celebration, and at midnight we threw 2012 out the door. Oh, let me explain this tradition.

Each year a friend of mine makes an effigy of the year that’s going out. I honestly can’t remember when we started this tradition, but I think we’ve been doing it for about 5 years now. For example, When we rang in 2008, we threw an effigy of 2007 out the front door. If the year was particularly bad for some people, they took great joy in running outside and stomping the effigy into tiny bits. Regardless, it’s the symbolism of leaving things behind that I enjoy and going on with “the new”.

This year, M did an amazing job with the effigy. He wanted to keep it. He said, “Rather than throw it out the door, why don’t we just place it by the door so everyone can look at it?”

Our Effigy of 2012
Our Effigy of 2012

Being the creative type, I can understand why he wanted to keep this beautiful work of art. However, we have meaning and symbolism behind this tradition. Throwing the effigy out the door is so much more than just a physical action.

I told him if he wanted to keep it he’d have to go outside and catch it. 😉

Midnight struck. We all had a toast of champagne. People kissed their sweethearts. Then the moment occurred. We all gathered ’round to see 2012 tossed out the door. No one really cared to stomp up and down on this one. Really, I don’t think 2012 was a particularly bad year for this crowd. Or, perhaps bringing a little beauty brightened their spirits if it had been a bad year. M dashed outside in the rain and caught the effigy as it was tossed (and I can’t throw for schluken after I’ve been drinking, so that was amazing!). He placed it safely on the porch, looking lonely and forlorn in the window:

Don't let the door hit ya' on the way out!
Don’t let the door hit ya’ on the way out!

And now, as I post, the smell of black eyed peas wafts from my kitchen. I need to start on the cornbread soon. My, how I love traditions. Happy New Year, everyone!