Oh hai, 2014. You know, in some ways you crept up on me, and in others it seems like you've taken ages to get here (and I STILL have 115 days until we're married...). Looking back, 2013 was an excellent year. In April I got a promotion. In May, I bought my first car. In June, we added another couple of members to the family with the adoption of our sweet Luna-bug, and also because my best friend had a baby (Hi, Victoria!). July was pretty low-key, and then in August B and I got engaged, and it's been a whirlwind ever since. It's going to be crazy hard to top 2013, but I have sneaking suspicion that a wedding/honeymoon/marriage will be able to do it!
I am so excited for all the wonderful changes coming up for B and me, as well as others in my family. However, it's nice to look back on old traditions, too.
One of my favorite traditions is the typical (Southern) New Year's Day meal: ham, black-eyed peas, and collard greens. Superstition goes that you will have wealth and prosperity in the new year if you eat these things on New Year's Day. Plus, I REALLY love cooking and eating collard greens - it just makes my little southern soul happy. This one is a no-brainer. My beloved collard greens recipe can be found here.
I will now, however, introduce you to my favorite, easiest, most delicious black-eyed pea recipe. A lot of people claim to not like black-eyed peas, but I'm fairly certain it's just because they have never had them prepared properly. And let me be straight with you - eating ANY veggie out of a can is not considered "prepared properly." Those of us who have grown up with good-cooking grandmas know how good black-eyed peas can be. But for us modern 21st-century gals who, you know, have to have a job and everything, there's an easy way to treat yourself to delicious home-cooking: put them in the Crock Pot.
Buy a 16-ounce bag of black-eyed peas. Rinse them and put them in the Crock Pot. Dump in four cups of chicken broth. Add some ham or bacon (whatever you've got around the house is fine - we had leftover ham from Christmas so we used that). Add a tablespoon of Cajun seasoning, and a little salt and pepper. Cook on low for 6 hours or so (don't let them go too much longer than that...they get a little mushy). That's it!
To all my lovely readers, I sincerely hope 2014 brings you health, happiness, and all kinds of adventures. However, in the event that it does not, rest assured that I'll be here to at least help bring you good food. Cheers!
Easy black-eyed peas
1 16-ounce bag of dried black-eyed peas
4 cups chicken broth
Ham or bacon for flavor (or you can leave it out)
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
Rinse beans and put into Crock Pot.
Add chicken broth, ham/bacon, Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper.
Cook on low for no more than 6 hours.
This recipe makes a lot, but these peas freeze really well. Just portion them out and stick in the freezer for a quick weeknight side dish. Happy New Year, and happy eating!