New Year-New Life!

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These last few months have been a whirlwind for the W.A.S.P. family!  We packed up the truck and moved from our small country home to a tiny Gulf coast condo.  Seafood gumbo and oysters are taking the place of fried catfish and venison.  The McNugget’s have gone to live at their uncle’s house (to be spoiled by the two cutest little girls with lots of bread crumbs).  Instead of a backyard garden, I have a condo on stilts.  In the frantic first days of a new job, living out of boxes, I didn’t think I could continue a blog about the country lifestyle.  How could I share what I was learning now that I was living in sandy suburbia?

The more I settle in, the more I see that this place isn’t so different from the one I left.  Yes there are highrise condos and amusement parks, but there are also lifelong fishermen and simple white churches.  Just over the bridge there are cotton fields and pecan groves.  Country life is more than the house you live in, and to me it means making a home with your own hands.  Traditional recipes, supporting local famers,  hand-making and re-purposing are all country values that don’t have anything to do with geography.

They say that whatever you’re doing on New Year’s day you will be doing the rest of the year.  I hope I’m off to a good start sharing a traditional Southern New Year’s meal of black eyed peas, and collard greens with my boys.  Wishing you all health and happiness in 2013, and I’m looking forward to sharing my new coastal country life with y’all this year!

Black-eyed Peas for a Spicy New Year

1lb dried Black-eyed peas (I use China Doll, from Saraland, AL)
1 sweet onion chopped
4 cloves of garlic chopped
2 peppers (your choice) sliced lengthwise, remove seeds to make it less spicy if desired
3 Tbsp Oil (or lard, or bacon grease)
1 tsp black pepper
Salt to taste

Toss in a hambone or smoked turkey wing to add flavor (I freeze the bone from my Christmas ham just for this purpose)

Soak dried beans with enough water to cover for at least one hour.

In large stockpot sauté onions and garlic in oil over medium heat until onions are transparent.  Add in peppers, bones, and seasoning.  Drain the soaking beans, rinse, and add to pot.  Add enough water to cover and simmer until beans are creamy.  Delicious with cornbread!