Archive for November, 2011

Rib-Sticker Soup

We all have memories from our childhood of our parents making us eat stuff that was good for us but that we disliked for one reason or another.  Sometimes as adults we learned to eat said food and sometimes not.  As a parent I was no different than my own mom, putting the healthiest food I could in front of my kids.  This included Rib-Sticker soup which was NOT a kid favorite.

Rib-Sticker soup is a hearty soup full of beans, split peas and lentils; it’s high in fiber and protein and low in fat and great paired with crusty bread and a salad.  What could be better than that?  A good number of years ago when I started cooking with less fat, this was a recipe I found in Lowfat Lifestyle by Valerie Parker and Ronda Gates.  My big issue with beans and split peas in general is how mushy they can get;  I don’t enjoy that paste-y texture.  And I was skeptical about this soup but decided to give it a try.

I was pleasantly surprised at how firm the vegetables remained, even after sitting in the refrigerator leftover.  It was good, easy to make and chock full of good nutrition.  The recipe quadrupled well and froze well.  It became a staple for us even though it was eaten under duress by the small fry.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago.  Our daughter is on a restricted diet because of her little one – no dairy, no soy, no chocolate.  Cooking healthy meals is a bit of a challenge.  Somehow, we suggested Rib Sticker Soup and she decided to give it a try.  It was a hit.  It’s good that our taste buds do a complete change every 7 years isn’t  it?  And for those of you who’d like to try it too, here’s the recipe:


Rib-Sticker Soup

1/4 cup dried white navy beans
1/4 cup dried small red beans
1/4 cup dried yellow split peas
1/4 cup dried green split peas
1/4 cup dried lentils
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups chopped celery
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon dried basil
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups tomato sauce
2 cups stewed tomatoes
4 cups beef broth

Soak dried beans, peas and lentils overnight in water to cover.  Add all other ingredients the next day, stir to mix well.  Bring to boiling, then lower heat, cover and simmer 3-4 hours or until vegetables are tender.  If soup is too thick, add additional broth or water.  Serves 8

More Maryland fun

It was an innocent stop.  Really.  We just needed some Velcro to fix one of the cloth diapers Ellen has been using for Nathaniel.  And while we were there I could look for yarn suitable to make doll hair.  We looked at yarn – no suitable choices.  We looked at beads and crochet cotton just because.  I picked up some variegated thread for my crocheted river stones.  We ended up in the notions aisle for the Velcro… which also happened to have a display of Babyville Boutique items.

Now when my children were little, I used cloth diapers for a good amount of the time.  They were flat fold or the newer prefolded kind with plastic pants to keep clothes dry.  I guess some mom’s still use those, but cloth diapers today are amazingly sophisticated.  They are expandable using a series of snaps, they have a pocket for the absorbing part, and of course use Velcro closures to fit the waist (that’s the part we had to fix in the first place).  You can buy these units, but they are pretty pricey.  Even used ones go for a goodly sum.  But now, thanks to Babyville Boutique you can make your own.  They have books and patterns; they carry the PUL fabric (it’s breathable but waterproof); they carry the suede cloth used for the lining; they carry the snaps and the special tool to apply them, special elastic, fancy design labels and embroidered patches.  The PUL fabric comes in fetching prints and lovely solids and is sold as yardage or as pieces in a kit.  This fabric was our downfall.  Ellen fell in love with the cute little aliens fabric that was in a kit pack with a solid and a sweet dino print.

We checked out with our packet of Velcro for the repair and my crochet thread.  After all, making these diapers was going to be a lot of work, not to mention the amount of money one could spend for all the coordinated goodies.  And don’t forget the $20 tool for the snaps. Could she use more diapers?  Probably, but she was doing ok with the number she had.  But Ellen couldn’t forget those aliens. So after a day of deliberation and counting the cost of $$ and labor, we headed back to Joann’s to check it out.

First we read through the book to see how they recommended one used their products.  The fabric kits came with 3 pieces each, so we figured we would make 3 diapers.  We bought the snaps but thought we would try to do without the tool.  We decided we didn’t need the fancy, top-stitch elastic but did buy the wide Velcro for the front.  We decided not to buy the book either, but rather use one of the diapers Ellen had at home as a pattern.  We bought yardage of suede cloth, poly thread and thin elastic for the casings and headed home.

Now the work began: to make a pattern and engineer the construction based on what I had read.  After test driving the snaps, we decided we needed the special tool.  The thing that made this realization less painful was that I would be able to get 6 diapers out of the kit fabrics by piecing the back tabs – a little tedious but so much more satisfying than throwing out all that extra fabric (thanks, mom) and cutting our costs in half.  Ellen was the snap champ thanks to that special tool and I managed to get the first diaper together with several adjustments along the way.  We made absorbers out of an old towel – several layers of terry with snaps to lengthen and shorten as needed, just like the covers.

The plan was to teach Ellen how to make them and we made them in stages.  She did every part of the process except cutting out the patterns.  She ended up finishing the last ones all by herself after we left for home.  She did a good job, don’t you think?

Maryland color

On a recent visit to cute grand baby #2 and his wonderful parents, we encountered color in some expected and some unexpected places. First the expected: Because they are farther south than we are, we got to experience Autumn all over again. And this lovely maple tree did not disappoint.

Now the unexpected: Really, one would expect to find flowers in a grocery store, but this array of tulips at the local Whole Foods took my breath away.

And finally, Have any of you dear readers seen blue fungus? We were doing some yard clean-up, picking up sticks and debris to take to the dump and found this bright blue fungus growing on the underside of a stick. Amazing, isn’t it?

What a treasure to find beauty in unexpected places.

Industrial Blooms

Recently I had the good fortune to acquire these lovely “flowers”. They are lovingly crafted from found objects by an artist I met on line. Check out Paula’s etsy shop here. She has lots of other wonderful things for sale too.


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