Split Pea Soup

My childhood memories of food are strong. Each season had a special dish my mom would make only¬†at that time of year. If you really love something and it only comes around once a year, I guess it makes a big impression on you. ūüôā

This soup is a signature from my mother’s kitchen every Fall. It¬†gets a punch of flavor from smoked ham hocks. They are a¬†must! ¬†Don’t skip ’em, not even bacon is a suitable¬†substitute.

It does take a while to simmer on the stove, but it is so worth it. ¬†I remember walking by it several times over the course of what felt like an entire afternoon, checking to see what progress the peas has made.¬†Time seems to crawl when you are young; it¬†definitely¬†doesn’t take a whole afternoon to make this hearty, stick-to-your-ribs soup!

Now in my kitchen, the turkey towels make an appearance between October and Thanksgiving. ¬†I love them very much. It’s my way of welcoming Fall, alongside a bowl of this lovely soup.

Homemade Split Pea Soup

  • 1 lb green split peas
  • 2 large meaty ham hocks (1 1/2 lb)
  • 1 1/2 cups diced onion
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced¬†carrots

Place the ham hocks in a large saucepan and cover with 2 quarts of water. Simmer very low for 1 hour, skimming fat off the water occasionally.  Remove the ham hocks and pull the meat from the bones, set aside. Keep the water, and add more to it if it cooked down to less than 2 quarts.

Rinse the peas and add to the water, along with the onions, carrots, celery and herbs. Bring to a low boil, then decrease heat and cook on low, slowly, for 1 to 2 hours- or until the peas, carrots and celery have all dissolved into the soup (minimal chunks left behind). Cook with the lid off because you want some of the water to evaporate, which helps the soup get really thick.  Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Stir the meat in 15 minutes before serving.

Serve with crackers, yum!

Enjoy!

– Erin

Jam Cookies

Growing up, my family spent many a summer weekend (or week!) at our cottage in northern Michigan.

This was a completely magical way to spend your childhood summers. Not only was my immediate family at the cottage, but so were all my aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents.

My cousins and I would spend ¬†hours playing in the lake, running around the woods searching for crackleberries and trying to find ‘hidden’ meadows, toasting dough boys over the fire and playing Ghost in the Graveyard once the sun set.

I feel like every memory I have of my summers up there is tinged golden around the edges. The memories are accompanied by the musty scent of the cottage’s old furniture, the constant shimmer of sunlight and an overwhelming warmth-h like the sun on your skin and a hug from a loved one all at the same time.

It was tradition for everyone to bring a dessert with them to the cottage, so these jam cookies were a staple of our summer.

Chocolate sheet cake, monkey bread and sour cream coffee cake all made regular appearances too. But when you’re a kid tearing around like a mad man for hours on end, these sandwich cookies made the perfect on the go snack.

We would sneak into the kitchen and steal them out of the¬†Tupperware¬†that sat strategically on top of the microwave in a seemingly pitiful attempt to keep the goods out of our reach. ¬†We felt like we were being really sneaky, but I’m sure the adults knew what was happening!

I hope you set aside 20 minutes to bake these cookies. They are light, slightly buttery and have a great chewy-yet-soft texture. The homemade strawberry jam sandwiched in the center brings a fresh sweetness to the cookies that just tastes like summer. ¬† Make some memories ūüôā

Grandma Bright’s Jam Cookies

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • strawberry jam*

Preheat oven to 350¬į.¬†Cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating on low, and then add in the vanilla and water and mix to combine. Combine the flour and baking soda together; slowly mix into the batter until incorporated.

Drop the cookie batter, by rounded tablespoon full, onto the cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the cookies are lightly golden brown on the edges.

Allow the cookies to¬†completely¬†cool on a wire rack. Spread about 1 tablespoon jam onto half of the cookies and then top with the other half to form cookie sandwiches, yum! ūüôā

*Note: I’ve only made these with strawberry jam, but my Mom has done them with raspberry and blueberry too. I think these will be good with any fruit jam.

Enjoy!

– Erin

Daily Question: Do you have a favorite ‘Grandma’ recipe? Let me know what it is, leave a comment below!