Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday is Soup Day!

I have a friend who LOVES to cook. And truly, I envy the meals that they enjoy because it's a bit tricky with my family. When someone says we are having "Lentil Chili" or "something something prima vera" Not only am I JEALOUS, but bummed....because you see, even if I *could* cook that way, and I would love to cook that way....my family would turn up their collective noses and ask where the nearest hot dog is instead.

This past summer I watched and listened to the tales of which garden grown yummies were going into what fabulous meal or side dish.....zucchini this, home grown string bean that...and OH! the blueberries by the gallons off the bushes, and the beautiful tomatoes and Armenian cucumbers (Were they Armenian? I don't remember!)

I feel like a culinary failure on a lot of levels just because it is not worth the effort for me to try to cook in a way that my husband will not eat. I know if I do break out and try recipes, that I will get my feelings hurt when he doesn't like them. I already know ahead of time what he likes and doesn't like and won't bother to try, so why am I setting myself up for more disappointment and hurt feelings?

Because! Sometimes you have to. For my own sanity, I have to break out of the meat and potato routine and just fill my kitchen with delicious smells of something that *I* want to eat.

A few days ago I asked my friend what was cooking for dinner. I should have known not to ask this, because the moment the typing came across the chat screen saying "Spicy black bean soup with ham" I KNEW I was in trouble! My mouth began watering right there. I love soups. Especially crockpot ones. Especially savory spicy ham and bean ones.

I put it out of my mind.

The next morning..thanks to the thoughtful consideration of my darling friend..there it was in my inbox. THE. RECIPE. !!!

Well, yesterday evening (or was it the night before?) Came the text...."Did you get the recipe I sent?" Well.....yes......(guilt guilt guilt....)How to explain that though I want to make it, my family won't appreciate my efforts? :c|

Today was THE day.

The morning dawned cold and windy and gray, much like yesterday and I thought to myself....after taking stock of what I did have in the fridge and what I would need to make this delicious concoction....that all I needed really to buy was a pound of black beans, a ham steak, and low and behold...celery salt! I had EVERYTHING else I needed.

This afternoon I pre-soaked beans! I chopped! I diced! I measured! I stirred! And I was extremely happy when the only canned thing in the soup was a can of diced tomatoes. I'm not fond of recipes that require me to just open 8 cans of various things and dump them together. That is NOT cooking to me! I added seasonings.....and ohhhhh BOY HOWDY! You should smell my kitchen.

It's simmering right now. And if the husband and son don't like it? I've got hot dogs for them, they can cook them themselves. There comes a time in a woman's life where she has to follow her own culinary desires, reward her own palate, hear and feel her tummy rumble and cook what she is longing for!

And if you would like to try it out with me...here's the recipe!

Spicy Black Bean Soup With Ham

* 1 pound black beans, washed
* 10 cups water
* 1 pound diced ham
* 1 onion, chopped
* 2 stalks celery, chopped
* 1 cup shredded carrots
* 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic
* 4 teaspoons garlic powder
* 4 teaspoons dried parsley
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 1 teaspoon celery salt
* 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
* 2 cubes chicken bouillon
* 1 bay leaf
* 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme


1. In an eight quart stock pot, add rinsed black beans, water, ham, onion, celery, carrots, diced tomatoes, minced garlic, garlic powder, parsley, salt, celery salt, Worcestershire sauce, bouillon cubes, bay leaf, pepper, mustard, cayenne pepper, oregano and thyme. Cover and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours. Discard bay leave and serve.

(And I suppose if you don't like it spicy you can just omit the cayenne pepper :c)

****NOTE***** I did the quick soak on the beans by filling a pot with water, adding the beans and bringing them to a rapid boil. Boil for 2 minutes and let sit covered for an hour. Then I rinsed them, and put them in the crock pot with more water, and the other ingredients listed above. I hope it's done by dinner time....it's now 4:05 and it's simmering away. Dinner may be late tonight if the beans aren't soft enough...and from what I hear, this soup is better the next day! (Serve with corn bread!!)

****After Dinner Update****
Jeff and I enjoyed the soup immensely. DH, on the other hand, proceeded to open up a can of chicken noodle soup, heat it in the microwave and had THAT as his dinner instead.

Next time I make this...I think I will leave out the 2 tsp of plain salt. I think it was salty enough with the boullion, the celery salt, and the salt that is already in the ham, and then just salt it to taste when it is about done. Other than that, it was awesome!


  1. Today is a good day for soup! Your friend's recipe sounds wonderful. I just so happen to be making cheesy baked potato soup with crumbled bacon tonight...hubby's favorite.

    YaY for soup!


  2. Anonymous4:41 PM EST

    Bring me some! :-) I'm deprived too!

  3. I'm glad (I think) that I'm not the only one with a picky significant other. The way I see it (in theory, anyway), if you're doing all the cooking, once in a while, you should get to make something you really like, even if no one else does. If they don't like it, they can eat something else. I admit I usually do this when there are leftovers in the fridge for Mr. Picky.

  4. Anonymous4:49 PM EST

    I did the same thing last night! I made split pea soup. My hubby likes it but the kids hate it. They ate cereal, and we were all happy!

  5. Soups are great aren't they? Nothing more comforting that having soup simmering in a pot waiting til you can get to it! I make a Leek and Sausage Soup that my family really likes. If you have ever had the potato/sausage soup from Olive Garden it's similar to that... we put in Kilbosa (sorry I'm sure I spelled that wrong!) sausage. Just like you said... the longer you wait the better it tastes... Minnestroni is one I love after a few days too... it just gets better with time!
    Enjoy your soup... corn bread or hard crusty rolls... nothing like it... plus if you really want to put in something healthier to the meal make a nice green salad to go with it all!
    If you want any recipes... give me a shout!

  6. Good for you to cook what you want! I know how you feel....my husband and three kids don't like "complicated" foods so unless I want to eat it all myself, I gotta pass on it! send some soup this way!

  7. I made soup today, too. Split pea. Had it for lunch. Yum!
    Kathy in FL

  8. Anonymous6:46 PM EST

    That sounds delicious! I might be cooking that when I'm going through my chemo so I have something hearty, healthy, yet easy to eat. Thanks for sharing the recipe mmmmmmmmmm

  9. The soup sounds great, and I have a ham bone and the last of the meat waiting in the freezer.
    One easy way to get to cook what you want is just don't tell them what it is. It's not "pasta primavera" to them... just call it spaghetti. Or, like in my house, there are two choices for dinner...Take it or leave it.

  10. Anonymous6:53 PM EST

    I can relate to your cooking dilemma. Your soup sounds wonderful. i agree every once in a while you've just got to cook what makes you happy.

  11. I'm hungry now, Bonnie! Maybe I'll make some soup too....Thanks for the inspiration.

  12. Anonymous7:01 PM EST

    I *adore* soups of every kind.... yum!

  13. Brilliant - sometimes you just have to take time out for yourself and enjoy!

  14. I think you should make yourself something YOU like once a week. If the guys don't like it, let them order pizza or make hot dogs. And you can have the leftovers for lunch, or put them in the freezer for another meal!

  15. I love black beans and homemade soup so we will be trying this soon. I have been looking for healthy, low fat, crock pot meals so this is perfect.

  16. I made chilli yesterday, it was even better for lunch today! I love making soup/chilli and not having to cook for a few days!! You can get alot of sewing done when you make pots of stuff like that!!!

  17. I can relate - my husband gets into food ruts where he only wants to eat the same thing over and over. NOT ME! Luckily, my father-in-law lives with me and he will eat ANYTHING so there is always at least one other person to appreciate my efforts even when the husband and kids turn up their noses and head for the cereal boxes. The only problem is, I don't really enjoy cooking - I just like eating. But the crock pot is my best friend so I appreciate you sharing this recipe with us. Yum!

  18. I completely understand your dinner 'wars'! My DH is also a very meat and potatoes kind of guy - drives me NUTS! And DD inherited DH's traits! DS is more like me. Sometimes DH and DD just have to wing it while DS and I enjoy a more 'complicated' meal. I'm sure your meal was wonderful and your DH just doesn't know what he's missing!

  19. I'm lucky in a lot of ways but Keith is pretty easy to cook for and he's appreciative of my efforts in the kitchen AND for all the times I choose not to cook, he's always willing to go out to dinner or go pick up something.

    You reminded me that it's time to cook some black bean soup around here too!

  20. Absolutely! You should also get to eat what you like! Be sure to freeze some in lunch size portions, so that you are all ready to pamper yourself with a yummy lunch!

  21. I was going to ask how they liked it. Your DH is very like mine - won't try anything new. He'd quite happily live off pork chops, baked beans and chips for the rest of his life. No imagination!

    There is a blog which I love - A Year of Crockpoting or similar. I'll send you the URL when I can find it. Anyway, her reicpes are so yummy. Give it a go!

    Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  22. Bonnie, you should do what lots of other quilters are doing and try some of Pioneer Woman's recipes on him. If he doesn't like her food, it's probably time for a new husband!

  23. Yummy! I can almost smell that wonderful soup! I'm so glad you liked it. Make what moves you. My family just rolls their eyes when I say what's dinner. I love cooking and trying new things. And there's always peanut butter sammies if you don't like what I cook! Besides, I think they secretly like trying new dishes.

  24. That soup sounds marvelous. A pity your DH didn't want to eat it but I guess that's his loss. I think it must be hard to have a husband like that (i bet he has other qualities?), luckily mine eats almost everything. (my father in law on the other hand has been know to throw his food in the dumpster when he didn't like it.)

    There is a dutch proverb which says:
    een man hoeft niet alles te weten, maar moet wel alles eten meaning a man doesn't have to know everything, but does have to eat everything.

  25. My quilt group takes turns hosting and providing lunch. We met today and I gave them Spiced Carrot Soup (Indian spices, heaven!), White Chocolate, Cranberry and Hazelnut cookies and some perfect pears. All the sewing got put aside so they could copy down the soup recipe. I think women and home-made soup have some kind of special bond but it has to be home-made. The carrot soup is very simple but tastes spectacular. I shall try your recipe soon, thank you. (You are welcome to my recipe if you want!)

  26. Are you sure you are not living and cooking for my house? Man that is exactly what it is like here. Every now and then I make things just for me, but sit and listen to them all complain "you know I don't like that".

  27. Now that is a recipe that my DH would love and I MIGHT turn my nose up to.
    But it actually sounds good to me right now. Our high today is 18 with wind and snow.
    I try to remember to do the night before soak. The quick one works but the soup has to cook longer. And the aroma makes the whole house yummy and cozy.
    I actually have all the ingredients but the ham....hummm....
    Thanks to your friend for the recipe.
    XOXOXO Subee

  28. Subee again. I printed out the recipe and DH says YES to me trying it.
    Thanks soooo much. Will let you know.......

  29. I cooked meat and potatoes, pizza, hot dogs, etc. for my fussy hubby for 19 years. I ended up over 300 lbs and he ended up in the hospital with heart failure. Now it's MY turn. He eats what I make or makes his own. And I've lost 80 lbs.

  30. With the weather forecast, I've made vegetable soup. Now I need to made some cornbread. So if it snows I'm ready to quilt.

  31. We stopped at a Golden Corral buffet for lunch today. There are dozens of wonderful foods from which to choose. I had a hard time narrowing it down to a plate-sized variety. What did my husband have? A chunk of beef, macaroni and cheese and a dessert size bowl of salad. He makes me feel like a two-ton Tessie, even though I'm not, because I so enjoy food. Now that we are empty-nesters, I don't cook like I used to, but when I want something exotic (to me), I just call my son and his fiancee and we go have something yummy. Otherwise it's the same old food. My husband can't eat garlic, doesn't like ethnic foods, doesn't eat much dessert, and thinks cinnamon stinks. He does like brussels sprouts and turnips, so that endears him to me.

  32. That soup looks delicious! My husband and son have always been picky. A lot of the things I made that I liked and they didn't I'd freeze into me sized portions and let them get their own dinner. Now my son makes his own and if my husband doesn't like what I'm having he can make his own too.

  33. There's hope for all of you with fussy hubbies. My father is now 85 and until he was 83 he had always refused anything he called 'foreign'. That meant he had to have easily identifiable heaps on his plate, clearly divided, meat, potatoes, veg. He would complain if the family had takeout Chinese or Indian food that it stank out the house. My mother would make us spaghetti and give him pork chops and potatoes and he said the sight of our 'worms' made him feel sick. In every other respect he was a lovely father and so my mother put up with it. And then, two years ago, she rebelled and said she wasn't cooking an extra meal for him every time she and my brother wanted something interesting. Faced with making his own food, he ate what he was given. The bit that should cheer you up is that my father now prefers their curry night, chinese night and all kinds of pasta to ordinary English food. There's some kind of lesson in there to all of you - why did my mother wait so long? She's kicking herself!

  34. I read the recipe and thought... omigod, that's a lot of salt with ham already! After years of cooking what I wanted, and then (most of the time) a separate meal for my son, he went away to college. The first weekend he was home visiting, I asked what he'd like for dinner. "Anything you'll cook. I always knew you were a good cook, but I never knew HOW good. I promise, Mom, that for the rest of my life, I will eat whatever you put in front of me."

    And for the past 10 years since he made that comment... he has. (Note.. he no longer lives with me, but never turns down an invitation to dinner.)

    Good for you, for finally going for it!

  35. I have the same problem. When I finally found a recipe for meatloaf my daughter liked, the only thing she really liked, she decided to become vegan!

  36. Yum, yum, yum, Bonnie - that soup looks great!!! I made some black bean soup last weekend from the "Women's Bean Project" that my daughter sent me for Christmas. Since it's totally vegetarian, my sister-in-law will eat it since she's Vegan. That can be a challenge, but I'm learning some great new recipes - vege lasagna with green lentils instead of beef - awesome!!! I'm going to copy your recipe for the soup so I know what spices you used - thanks for sharing -

  37. Bonnie
    Thanks for the recipe. It sounded so good I am going to make it today as I wait for the snow storm. It sounds warm and yummy!

  38. My Dh isn't very good about trying new things either so I usually make them while he is away on business or freeze the leftovers for me later! Sometimes he surprises us both - like the time he ate a container of my leftover Italian Wedding Soup and accused me of holding back all the "good stuff" for myself!" So maybe the secret is to tell them they can't have any....

  39. Anonymous8:57 PM EST

    Good on ya, Bonnie! My partner and I have very different tastes in food. I like to try new things, she does not. I do the cooking and tell her (nicely) if she doesn't want to eat it, she is quite welcome to make something else...she eats it and is often pleasantly surprised. Thank you for sharing the soup recipe. I have it filed away for the first cool day this year....a few months away, yet, as it is the middle of summer here in Perth....tis something culinary for me to look forward to!

  40. You goooooooo Girl! Ya know I don't know what it is but once we get married we seem to eat only what the other one likes. Who ever made that a rule? My hubby loves things like sardines which I hate" but I tell him if you want sardines then buy the darn things and I will eat something that I like and you don't. Nine times out of ten when you fix something that you don't think they are going to like they wind up surprizing you". If not" there is no point in denying ourselves what we enjoy. I am a real soup lover too" for years my hubby did not care for salad and now all of a sudden he is quite the rabbit! so things to change.

  41. The soup sounds delicious. There is nothing better on a cold day. Lucky for me, my hubby will eat anything, including Kraft dinner.


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