Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Semi- Homemade Split Pea and Ham Soup

All the ingredients.

We are really into the cold here- June 21st was the first day of winter for us. It sure is cold and having nice warm, comfort food is a must!

I have never really made soups before, but I have made split-pea twice since we have been here. I adapted our recipe from this web site, and I also used some of the tips in the comments section. I also have been inspired for a long time by Sandra Lee’s Semi-homemade recipes (this is the type of cook I am).

Ingredients (really, just add however much you want):
500 g Split peas
Knorr chicken bullion cube
Onion (I put in about half)
Ham (I put in two thick slabs)
Bay leaves (I put in 2.5)
Garlic (I put in 4 cloves)
Bag of vegetables (mostly root vegetables)
Salt and Pepper
Water (at least 1400ml, if not more).

I first sautéed some onion- as much as you want (really, I seared them black on accident, but you won’t see it with all the green!), and added cubes of ham (I can’t find a “ham bone” where I shop).

I cut off the fatty parts of the ham.
I added 400 ml hot water and a cube of Knorr chicken bullion.
Washed peas.

I washed the peas (which I did NOT do last time- hey, I’m still here!) and added them. The bag was 500g.

I added 2.5 bay leaves (2 big and one tiny) and 4 cloves of garlic.
Season with salt and crushed pepper to taste (you may add some later too).

Great beginnings.

I added 800 ml more of water.  It simmered for an hour and then I added a package of fresh “soup mix” made up of such good things as turnips, pumpkin, broccoli, potato, carrot, leek, cauliflower, and celery. I did this to add more vegetables and make it last.

Look at all those vegetables!

Cover and cook for about another hour. I added more water, but not enough because I burnt the bottom a tad. I wasn’t in the kitchen watching it like a hawk. I also did this last time, and I learned that as long as you don’t scrape up the bottom of the pot, you’re fine!
Final result.

 This recipe made at least eight bowls of soup.  It is very good as leftovers- you may want to add some water when re-heating to make it "soupier."


Here are the hops and linkys that I will be participating in this week! Please check them out and explore some great blogs. Like this one.

P.S.- Here is my hubby's blog.

Song of the post: Glamorous by Fergie of the Black Eyed PEAS (yes, I went there!).

Monday, June 27, 2011

Reading books. Do you?

My reading has slowed down, but I’m still trying to do a little bit every day.  I find that I always read fiction with ease, but tend to be slow with anything else, no matter the subject.

When we got here and did not have much to amuse ourselves with, we went to the discount book store and chose the most interesting ones we found. In the end, the books I have read were not necessarily my first choice, but I appreciated them all!

The books I have read in the last two months and three weeks:

I have added brief comments about them, but please bear in mind that I am no book reviewer!
The three books (below) by the same author were chosen because I have not read a series since Sweet Valley High, and I wanted to enjoy some continuity across books. The books are about a private investigator and read like "pulp" fiction.

The book I am currently reading is called TheTipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. I’m about a third of the way through it. I find it interesting how much he relies on research in psychology. The guy living in the granny flat behind us lent it to me, along with several others by Gladwell. The next books I’ll read are Blink and Outliers.

I love the feel and smell of books. I love the potential they hold. I tend to always have too many books, and most I haven’t read. After this move to Africa, I really am tempted to just rely on libraries. I love them. I’m the daughter of a librarian. I have not been to my local one here, I’m expecting to have difficulties and will need my husband with me. You tend to need a copy of your housing lease to sign up for almost anything important, and his name is the only one on it!

My other option is to get an e-reader like the “nook color.” I like it the best because it has wifi and 3G capabilities, unlike some out there.  

What is the last book you read? Did you like it? Do you have an e-reader? I would love to hear any recommendations for books or e-readers! Please post!!

Song of the day: Inspired by the West Wing episode we watched today, the one that followed 9/11/2001.

“For What it's Worth” by Buffalo Springfield

Highs and Lows for the Week of 19/6/11

You see these double-decker busses around; Lion's Head in back.
  • I felt very in love with my husband this week.
  • We found our new place last week and signed the lease this week. I finally have my name on the lease, which is important because you often need your lease to sign up for things, like library cards.
  • I made two projects- Men’s short fingerless gloves and a crochet hat!
  • We used our fire place several times this week.
  • We watched a lot of Fringe on DVD. It keeps sucking me in!
  • My hubby had extra time this week to go with me to the gym several days this week.
I love seeing Lion's head peeking through gigantic buildings.


Toys R Us near the stadium.
  • The lease we signed is for a very small cottage (basically a little guest house). The kitchen is so small. I will post pictures of it soon.
  • It turned very cold and rainy this week (but Sunday was glorious!)
  • The power went out on Wednesday and was off for several hours.
  • Going to the bank three times in one day because the tellers have no customer service skills and kept telling the wrong information.
  • The firewood we bought did not light and my husband spent hours on his hands and knees blowing on the flames to keep them going.
  • We had to give the dogs baths because Reeses somehow had poo on her BACK and Etta laid in the fireplace ashes.

Art stalls near the world cup stadium.

How was your week? 

I'm linking up with Life, Crafts, and Whatever for this week in review. 

P.S.- My hubby's blog is here.
P.P.S.- Blogger hates me right now. So if the spacing on this post looks weird, it's not my fault!

Song of the post: It Never Rains in Southern California by Albert Hammond

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Short Fingerless Gloves.

First 3 rows.
Hey there! As I mentioned in my post here, I had decided to make my husband a pair of my Ribbed Fingerless Gloves. When working with him for the fit, I realized that the glove would not fit over his huge men’s watch. I decided to create a pattern that was shorter than my last one was, to accommodate his watch. He helped pick the yarn color (“olive drab”)  and with the sizing as I progressed.

So here is my pattern for:

Short Fingerless Gloves


Size 7 knitting needles
Gauge: 5 sts/inch (with ribbing), 7 rows/1 inch
Yarn needle to weave in loose ends
Synthetic yarn, low pill, of your choice; 100g, or 185 yds will make several sets.
Finished Size: 5 inches stitches long, 7 inches around

Using the long-tail cast on, cast-on 40 stitches.
Row 1-3: Knit a rib pattern by following K1,P1, ending on a P1.
Odd Row 3-13: Knit a larger rib pattern, K2, P2, ending on a P2.
Even Rows 4-12: P2, K2, ending on a P2.
Row 14: Bind off 6 stitches (for the base of the thumb hole; use a 7th stitch in the cast-off to have 6 completely done). P2, K2 to end of row, ending on a P2.
Row 15: K2, P2 to end of row.
Row 16: P2, K2 to end of row.
Row 17: K2, P2 to end of row; cast on one stitch.
Row 18: K1; P2, K2 to end of row.
Row 19: K2, P2 to end of row; cast on one stitch.
Row 20: K2, P2 to end of row.
Row 21: K2, P2 to end of row; cast on one stitch.
Row 22: P1; K2, P2 to end of row.
Row 23: K2, P2 to end of row; cast on one stitch.
Row 24: P2, K2 to end of row.
Row 25: K2, P2 to end of row; cast on two stitches.
Row 26-29: K2, P2, ending on a P2.
Row 30-32: K1, P1 to end of row.
Bind off in pattern.

Don't worry if it looks like this!
Just stretch it out (block it if you want).

Use the beginning long tail and the ending cast off strings to sew up the small gap near the knuckles and the wrist to thumb. You can choose which side you like best because these gloves are completely reversible and interchangeable between hands!

 These gloves ended up being just under 2 inches from hem to base of thumb, it is a little over 6 inches wide.  Remember that the ribbing stretches wider, pulling the height up, so err on the longer side than the shorter. 

I tried them on too! A little big.

My husband modeling them!

I hope you use this pattern! If you do, send my pictures!! 

Song of the post: Fidelity by Regina Spektor. You can watch the video here.  I’ve liked this song for years now, but I just saw “Love and Other Drugs” and it was the last song in the movie!

I'll be linking up over at Skip to My Lou's Made by You Monday, Boogieboard Cottage’s Masterpiece Monday, Ladybug Blessing’s Handmade Tuesday, Home Stories A to Z’s Tutorials and Tips Tuesday, Not just a Housewife’s Show me What You Got, Debbie Doo’s Linky, Saavy Southern Style’s Wow us Wednesday, Someday Craft's Whatever Goes Wednesday, Fabric Bows and More’s Will See it Wednesday, Diddle Daddle’s Amaze me Monday, Sew Much Ado's We Did it Wednesday!,  Sassy Sites!’s Summer Fun, Tea Rose Home's Link Party, The 36th Avenue, Somewhat Simple's Strut Your Stuff,  Thirty Handmade Days' Pity Party, Young and Crafty’s Friday Free for All, Remodelaholic’s Friday Hop, , Be different, Act Normals’ Show and Tell Saturdays, the Sundae Hop with Baby Talk without the Babble, Tatertots and Jello’s Weekend Wrap-up, I Heart Naptime's Sundae Scoop, and Under the Table and Dreaming's Sunday Showcase.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Got Your Back.

I was talking to someone yesterday and I spontaneously came up with a list that describes my optimal partner- my husband:

  1. He must be smart (in most areas!)
  2. Someone I can be proud of
  3. Someone who I don’t mind representing me in the world
  4. Someone who I know has my back at all times

P has met these four basic needs and that I why I couldn’t stay away from him, even when I told him “let’s just be friends” so long ago. I am as secure in our life as I can be in a world of uncertainty. His qualities are what allow me to relax, because I know he will pick up the slack when I need help.

On our first wedding anniversary.

What is your list?
What are your requirements? Please post comments- I’d love to hear yours!!!!
I hope you’re with someone who fills them all!
And if they’re not being met, why are you with this person?

 My hubby's blog is here

Song of the post: Got Your Back by Matt the Electrician. This song was in a commercial in the USA- we loved it!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Monthaversary Four: Its getting cold!

This last month has really showed us the cold, rainy weather that Cape Town has in Winter. It is early in the Winter, so I really hope that it doesn’t get much worse than this. The majority of the days are dreary, especially in the in the mornings. Sometimes the sun comes out in the early afternoon, then we are covered by clouds again. I have come to realize that our house is not insulated very well and is colder than other people’s homes. Le Sigh. Right now I’m sitting under a blanket wearing jeans, an undershirt, and long-sleeved shirt, a fleece vest and a fleece coat. Our heaters do not heat the room (see my post about electricity here) and we cannot afford to buy a small space heater. 

Etta hates taking pictures, Reese loves the attention.
Etta says "what mom!? I'm sleeping".

 This month has also been about figuring out how we can afford to live here without me working. It really is not going to work out very well for us without a second paycheck. We are basically living paycheck to paycheck, and that does not even include a car payment! We spend almost nothing- and have decided not to eat out at all (unless it is a social gathering- because we need friends!). We are applying for our permanent residency visas, because then I can work legally, however that could take more than half a year to be processed. If I cannot work legally and my husband can’t get a raise or a small part-time job on the side (which would suck for him), we are going to have to make some tough decisions.  Le Sigh.

She is such a ham! Here is Reeses sticking out her tongue again!
In the mean time, we still have to find other housing by August, so I have been searching on Gumtree (SA’s version of craigslist) for housing at least twice a day. I went to a viewing of a flat by myself two weeks ago, but it was pretty dirty and more expensive than we pay now (and unfurnished, no alliances and it was an apartment). Luckily yesterday we found an ad entitled “Dog Heaven” for a cottage (a guest house). I e-mailed the owner and we were able to see it the same day! We drove in the Pinelands neighborhood and fell in love with it! It has big yards, old homes, birds chirping, and streets with huge trees in the median. The cottage is tiny! The kitchen is the smallest kitchen I have EVER seen (If we get it I will have to show you how small it is). It has an upstairs loft and a thatched roof (you can smell and touch the thatching!), is furnished, has appliances, the yard is big (mostly ours) and it has a small pool! I hate getting my hopes up too much, but besides it being small and not as close to the University as we’d like, it is perfect for us and our dogs. Let’s cross our fingers!

She is so cute!
This is why we call her out "litttle bitty girl."

How was your month?  

Song of the day: Hope by Jack Johnson.