When I was a little girl, we used to eat ham and beans for three or more meals a week.  This was because it was cheap, and we were poor.  (Although, I didn't realize it at the time.)  (My dad worked two or three jobs while putting himself through college and supporting our family.)  Anyway, we ate ham and beans until I just couldn't stand the thought of any more ham or beans ever.


But now, it's close to thirty years later, and I am just beginning to look back on my years full of ham and beans with fondness, yea, even...  longing?  Can that be longing, I feel?

On Saturday, I found myself culling the internet for the very best ham and beans recipe I could find, and this is what I chose.  Well, nevermind, I was going to link to it, but then I realized that I had changed it so much from it's original that the poor author would probably not want my version linked with his and forever desecrating it.

Hold on a second.  My tootsies are freezing.  I've got to get a blanket.

Mmm, that's much better.

So, here's how I made my ham and beans.

1. Soaked 1/2 pound of kidney beans overnight in a bunch of water in my cold crock pot.  (I used 1/2 pound instead of a whole pound like all the recipes called for because we always have leftover soup that lasts for days that turn into weeks that turn into months that turn into years, until we finally freeze it.  And then several years later we chop our frozen soup into smaller chunks and feed it to the garbage disposal.  And then we feel guilty over all the food we've wasted when there are starving people right here in our city who could have gotten several meals out of it if only the soup kitchens and food pantries would allow us to bring in our possibly contaminated leftovers instead of demanding only non-perishable items.)

Where was I?  Oh yes, I only used 1/2 pound of beans.  I thought it would be more appropriate considering our soup eating habits.  Ahem.

2. The next morning, I added 1/2 an onion, chopped.  Some basil - no idea how much, uh, maybe a couple teaspoons?, some diced ham slices that I had leftover from another meal (next time I make this, I'll use better ham), approximately one tablespoon of brown sugar, a few shakes of cayenne pepper and some salt and pepper.

3. I turned the crock pot on high and went to church.  (This was an accident.  I meant to turn it on low since we'd be eating the meal for supper.)

4. At lunch time, I returned home from church, noticed the temp on the crock pot and turned it down to low.  Then I tasted the mixture and decided to add another tablespoon of brown sugar and some more cayenne pepper - the rest of the shaker, anyway, which probably added up to 1/4 teaspoon at the most.  Oh yeah, I also added some salt (while Jeremy protested since the taco meat I had made on Friday night was WAY too salty for our taste.  What can I say?  I win some, I lose some.)

This time I won - the soup came out perfectly wonderful, not too salty and not too bland, and the amount of soup worked perfectly for us wanna-be soup-eaters.

I'll definitely make this again.  Maybe next year.
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Mercy just walked up to me out of nowhere and said, "Mama, I don't want an apple."

I just looked at her, not sure where she was going with this, and she just looked back at me.  Finally, she repeated, "Mama, I don't want an apple."

"Okay." I said agreeably, after all, it's not snack time or a meal time.  I wasn't planning on feeding her anything anyway.

"I want...um, hold on, let me think a little," she tapped her finger thoughtfully on her lips three times and gazed up at the ceiling.  "Oh!  Yes!  I've got it!  I want candy."

The whole conversation was so obviously premeditated and staged to look spontaneous that I burst out laughing. 

"Momma!  Stop it."  She said persuasively.  "Stop laughing at me.  I really want candy."

I really want to start blogging again, but the writer's block has me locked in it's dirty little paws and won't let me go.  So, if you'll hold on and let me think a little, I'll push a little harder on the keys of this rusty old keyboard and start posting again. 

Happy new year, everybody!