Black-Eyed Peas

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Last night, the kids decided that our new New Years Eve tradition should be to make and eat sushi.  So we did.  I rolled a bunch of sushi, made some homemade eel sauce, and we passed the platter around until it was all gone.

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I’m certainly not a sushi-making expert, so I will not be likely to post a sushi recipe or tutorial.  But we like it!  If you’re interested, I use Alton Brown’s sushi rice recipe and it works every single time.  Google it.  I also learned most of what I know by watching YouTube videos on sushi making.  I learned a lot through trial and error, too.  Make sure you have one of those little bamboo sushi mats and that you cover it with plastic wrap.  Also be sure to have a bowl of water nearby to dip your hands in before making each roll.  Otherwise the sushi will stick to your hands and you’ll have a big mess.  I haven’t been brave enough to use raw fish.  We use imitation crab, cooked shrimp, cucumbers, avocados, and cream cheese.  You’ll want to make your sushi rolls and refrigerate them for a couple of hours before slicing them.

It was a great night.  Sushi, fireworks, movies.

Family.  That’s where most traditions begin.

In the South, we have a lot of traditions.  Most of us think that the whole world shares the same traditions, so we are often shocked to learn that something we always do is practically unheard of in other regions.

On New Years Day, it is traditional in the South to eat cabbage and black-eyed peas seasoned with some sort of pork.  There are lots of old wives’ tales about why we do this, but most say that this is to ensure prosperity in the coming year.  The cabbage (some people eat greens) symbolizes money or wealth.  The black-eyed peas – which are usually dried – symbolize new beginnings.  We use pork because pigs only root forward – so this symbolizes looking forward rather than dwelling on the past.

It’s also really good!

I actually started the black-eyed peas the night before.  After midnight, we had said our “Happy New Year!”s and were about to head to bed.  I had already filled the crock pot, so all I had to do was turn it on.  The peas cooked all night long and were actually ready when I got up, so I just switched the crock pot over the “warm.”

Our New Years Day was cold and rainy, so these warm, yummy foods were an especially welcome meal.

Black-Eyed Peas

  • 1 pound of black-eyed peas
  • 1 14.5-ounce can of petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup of diced smoked ham
  • 8 cups of water
  • salt and pepper

Place all ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.

Well Duh #1:  You can use any kind of smoked meat for this.  Most people traditionally use a ham hock.  I used thick-sliced smoked ham that I cut into small pieces.

Well Duh #2:  You won’t taste the tomatoes.  I promise.  But you will miss them if you don’t add them.  They add a richness of flavor to this dish.

Well Duh #3:  I seasoned mine with 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt, and a teaspoon of salt.

Well Duh #4:  I sometimes serve these over rice.

I served these with a spiral ham, cornbread, and Exploding Cabbage Rolls.  I ate mine with a little Green Tomato Relish that I made last summer.

Traditions are awesome.  We spent the day watching football.  Well, the boys watched football.  Elizabeth spent the day at a friend’s house and I sat on the couch and played Candy Crush.  A lot.  Like I played on my phone until I had no more lives.  Then I played on my iPad until I had no more lives.  Then I came and played on my computer until I had no more lives.  And then I started all over again.  In between, I washed a lot of dishes and clothes.  We also somehow managed to take down, pack up, and put away all of our Christmas decorations in 38 minutes flat.

Another old wives’ tale says that whatever you spend most of New Years Day doing is what you’ll spend most of the rest of the year doing.  I hope that’s not true.  Otherwise I’ll be washing dishes and clothes a LOT!

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