Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Family, Fun, and Food... Plus a New Recipe! Slowcooker Bean and Bacon Soup!

How was everyone's Thanksgiving? Ours was absolutely fabulous! I ended up with all my chicks back in the nest ;-) It was wonderful!! We had so much fun, cooking, playing, eating... truly awesome! We also celebrated Grandma Goldie's 93rd birthday! Food was plentiful with my brined turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, brussel sprouts with cranberries, pecans and bleu cheese, homemade rolls, green bean casserole, homemade cranberry sauce (Grandma's), sweet potato casserole, salad, cucumber dip, mushroom puffs, carmelized onion puffs, raw veggies... the list went on, lol. There was a LOT of food. And, I got to use ALL my outlets in the island! Hehehe!
There are another 2 smaller crockpots behind the big ones.
How was my eating? Honestly, I really didn't eat that much. Between food prep and visiting, I just sort of forgot to eat. Oops! I did however enjoy my turkey breast and my cucumber dip. Those are the two things I absolutely love. The rest is just "meh". And I drank ;-) Yes, yes I did. hehehe. This made Friday pretty much a recovery day, lol, Saturday was fun, visiting, and decorating the house.

Sleepy Winnie!

A little fun while shopping. 
Sunday, Shiloh and Jared went with Bill and I to pick out our trees (one for in the house, one for the front patio) and get lights and a wide variety of christmas stuff. So much fun! Then they had to head home to California, so the next night the rest of the kids came over and we trimmed the tree, drank eggnog and cider, and ate amazing Bean and Bacon Soup! ;-) I'll share the recipe below.

I swear it's not leaning, lol!

There's also an inflatable Frosty the Snowman, but we don't
have it set up yet. 
Major fail on the frosting. Lol!

Tuesday was back to normal with getting my butt kicked by Kayla ;-) Tried another new recipe - it was great, but really more time than I wanted it to take. Tweaks ahead, lol. More holiday decorating, and a celebratory glass of pinot noir by the fire to finish off the night.

Today was Pilates (my abs are screaming!), then some shopping for the upcoming Colorado trip, and then more holiday decorating. It's a sickness! I'm loving it!!
Dex, waiting for the sleigh to arrive!
The rest of this week I've got my workouts, and my prep for the trip. So much to do! So excited! Wooohooo! There are 10 of us, plus 3 dogs going on this trip! Snow!!! Woot! Seriously, cannot wait! I've been busy gathering fuzzy socks, sweat pants, hoodies, beanies, jackets, boots... you know, all those items that we NEVER need here in AZ? Lol! I have a growing pile of "stuff" that's taking over the bedroom. This weekend it'll relocate to the living room so that I can get it organized. :-)

Ok... and now the recipe you've been waiting for! This took several rounds to get it just right, but finally it's ready! And let me tell you, it's incredible! The house smelled like glory all day while it cooked, and the taste did not disappoint! The only downside was that I forgot to get a photo of it in the bowl - and it disappeared FAST!

The Campbell's Bean and Bacon soup that we grew up with has per 1 cup: 320 calories, 16g protein, 50g carbs, 6g fat, 16g fiber, 8g sugar, and 1720 mg sodium. It also has a scary ingredient list with a ton of nasty additives, including MSG!

My recipe has per 1 cup: 201 calories, 16g protein, 28g carbs, 3g fat, 10g fiber, 4g sugar, and 664 mg sodium. The ingredient list is clean and wholesome.

Yep, nailed it! ;-)

And so, I give you.... The best Bean and Bacon Soup you'll ever have. You're welcome. ;-)

Slow Cooker Bean and Bacon Soup

Perfect for chilly days, this soup is comforting, filling, flavorful, and HEALTHY! Slow Cooker Bean and Bacon Soup
Preparation Time: 30 minutes Total time: 10 hours
By , December 3, 2014
Serves 12

1 lb dry navy beans,
5 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth (I like Imagine brand),
1 15-oz can Fire Roasted Diced or Crushed tomatoes,
1/2 large white onion ,
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced,
2 cloves garlic, minced,
1/2 tsp dried thyme,
1/2 tsp black pepper,
1 package uncured thick cut bacon (I like Applegate Farms),
8 oz ham, diced,
2 ham hocks (ask your butcher if you don't see them in the meat case),

Soak beans in water overnight (place beans in large pot, add water until beans are covered by about 4 inches, cover and let sit - I let mine sit on cool stovetop).
In the morning, drain water, removing any funky beans.
Cook bacon, then chop it into small pieces (use a papertowel to absorb any excess fab)
Place beans in slowcooker, add 5 cups broth, diced ham, halved onion*, diced tomatoes (including juice), diced carrots, thyme, pepper, and cooked & chopped bacon. Stir.
Add 2 ham hocks.
Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours.
Remove onion* and discard.
Remove ham hocks and shred the meat off. Add meat back to slowcooker. Stir.

*Note:  My husband hates the texture of onion, so I leave the onion as a whole half (wow, that sounds weird, lol), and discard it after cooking - we get the great onion flavor, but he doesn't have to deal with the texture. If you enjoy onions, then go ahead and dice it up and just leave it in.

Nutrition facts per serving: 201 calories | 16 grams protein | 28 grams carbs (net 12g carbs) | 3 grams fat | 10 grams fiber | 664mg.

You can reduce the sodium further by eliminating the 8 oz of diced ham, but you'll also reduce the protein - just fyi.

NOTE: When you reheat this, you do NOT need to add more liquid - it will solidify as it chills, but when you heat it up, it re-liquifies. 

You might also be interested in my other Main Dish recipes.

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