Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sauteed Zucchini

I love zucchini and my favorite way to prepare it is by thinly slicing it into coins, battering it and deep frying it. That is not exactly health conscious though and it is MESSY. So I was thinking of what I really like about that recipe and decided to take those elements and make a sauteed version that would be lower in fat and just as yummy. This is what I came up with:

Sauteed Zucchini

3 small Zucchini
2 teaspoons olive oil
onion powder
garlic powder
grated Parmesan cheese, if desired

1. Cut off ends of zucchini and cut in half lengthwise. Then slice into 1/4 inch thick half moon slices.
2. Heat olive oil in small stainless steel fry pan over medium heat until very hot.
3. Add zucchini, salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder.
4. Cook, stirring sparingly until zucchini is softened and lightly browned.
5. If desired, sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.

I served this the other night with my Ham and Cheese Quiche so I did not sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese.

Ham and Cheese Quiche

I love to make quiche. It is my absolute favorite way to use up leftovers. Well, maybe pizza is. Ok if I never ate anything besides quiche and pizza (and ice cream) for the rest of my life I could be happy. But if I did, then I wouldn't have all these yummy leftovers to use up!

As I told you earlier this week I bought 20 packages of cheese over the weekend. I also had some leftover ham and I always have eggs so the first thing that came to mind was ham and cheese quiche.

I remember as recently as a year ago I would buy a frozen pie crust and think that I was getting a good deal because it was only $1.00. Ha! I don't love making my own and I certainly don't love washing my 25 year old non dishwasher safe food processor, or as I like to call it the tank, but I sure do love those savings!

I use the Better Homes and Gardens single pie crust recipe. Since I follow the directions exactly, I'll just link to that recipe.

Here is my own original "filling" recipe:

7 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
6 ounces cheddar cheese, 2 ounces reserved
1 cup diced ham
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp pepper (please do not use fake pepper in the can)
pinch garlic powder
1 prebaked pie crust

1. Prebake the pie crust according to the recipe.
2. Whip eggs & milk together until they are light and frothy.
3. Add all other ingredients except for the 2 ounces of reserved cheddar cheese, stir together until well combined.
4. Pour into prebaked pie crust.
5. Sprinkle remaining 2 ounces cheese over top of quiche.
6. Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 1 hour.
7. Let cool 10 minutes before serving to allow the quiche to fully set.

I am going to start adding serving suggestions to my recipe posts because that is something that always interests me on the blogs that I read. I love reading what others serve with things. It just gives me so many ideas!

Serving suggestions:
basic chopped salad

Monday, January 25, 2010

An example of why I use coupons & shop sales

Hubs and I eat a lot of cheese. I mean A LOT. We love quesidillas for quick dinners or lunches and grilled cheese sandwiches frequently make an appearance on our dinner table with tomato soup. That isn't even counting pizza night or one of our favorite meals... my homemade macaroni & cheese.

I logged onto Southern Savers yesterday and just about fell out of my chair when I realized that I could make money buying Kraft cheese, but only for that one day. I don't exactly like shopping on Sunday and I certainly don't like planning last minute trips but I felt the results would be worth it. Well I just finished doing all the math, and friends let me tell you it was SO worth it. I'll break down my transactions for you below.

I just want to give another shout out to Money Saving Mom and Life As Mom for hosting the eat from the pantry challenge. If I had not participated there is no way that I would have been able to purchase 20 bars/bags of Kraft cheese yesterday.

I made two trips to two different Krogers and did a total of four transactions. The first Kroger was in the afternoon and it was crowded and they were almost out of cheese. The second Kroger is where I go if I have trouble finding things. It is a little out of my way but if the deals are great I think it is worth it. I made that stop on my way home from my parents' house.

I bought 20 bars/bags of cheese but I only got 5 from the store that was running low. I got the other 15 at 10:30 the day the Catalina deal ended and that store still had plenty of cheese left. Sure I would have loved to do everything that afternoon, but I believe in being courteous to other shoppers.

1st transaction:
3 bars cheese
2 bags cheese
1 Tazo chai (not mega)
1 Pillsbury Toaster Struedel
1 Daisy sour cream
1 chex mix
1 snyders
1 punch (not mega)
1 Krusteaz muffins

Total spent: $9.41
Total saved: $25.57
Catalina: $5.00

5 bars cheese
1 goldfish
1 Nature valley nut clusters
1 Quaker chewy granola bar

Total: $.09
Saved: $32.45
Catalina: $5.00

1 Wheat Thins
1 Ritz
4 Rotel
5 bars cheese
Total: $3.15
Saved: $17.70
Catalina: $5.00

5 bars cheese
2 Halls
2 Rotel
1 goldfish
1 Green Giant Steamfresh
hmmm it appears that I messed up & shouldn't have gotten my $5 off but its there so are the halls part of the deal? Anyways, it was an error I wasn't trying to cheat.
Total: $1.57
Saved: 19.85
Kroger card: $5.00 (catalina wouldn't print I'm fine with them doing it this way)

Total spent (pre-tax to determine percentage saved) : $13.25
Total saved: $100.57 (includes $5.00 gift card)
Saved percentage: 88%

If you want information on how I got such great deals please go visit Jenny at Southern Savers. She has all the best match ups for the southern region each week. She puts a ton of time & effort into her website and gives us all the information we could ever need for FREE. I can't say enough great things about Jenny!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Please help Haiti

I just finished a large mug of hot cocoa while watching one of my favorite shows. I'm nice and toasty warm in my home cuddled up with my dogs. My husband is in the next chair over laughing along with me to the show. We're safe. We're provided for. But tonight in a tiny country far away there are many, many people in danger. Without food. Without comfort. Without a home. They need our help. They need our prayers. They need our support.

Tomorrow my husband and I will be making a donation to The Salvation Army to assist in their relief efforts. Won't you please consider making a donation too? There are many great relief agencies out there on the front lines right now doing everything they can to help. Right now, while I sit at home and sip my cocoa.

Tonight and every night for the foreseeable future I'll be keeping the people of Haiti in my prayers. Won't you consider praying with me?

There are many bloggers today who are making donations for every blog entry linked up on their sites. I am especially touched by Money Saving Mom's efforts in organizing these donations and in her & her husband's very generous donation of $10.00 per blog link today. She always tells us that they live like no one else so that they can give like no one else and I think we are seeing today exactly what she is talking about. I'll be linking this post up to:

Mommy Snacks

The Diaper Diaries

Lamp Unto My Feet

Scrapbook of Sorts

Mom's Toolbox

Cha-ching on a Shoestring

Thrifty Northwest Mom

Saving Money Plan

The Happy Housewife

4 Hats and Frugal

Cincinnati Coupons

Baby Goodbuys

Another Mom's View

The King's Court

The Frugal Girl

Mrs. Moneysaver


Puget Sound Prudence

Saving Money in Missouri

Heavenly Homemakers

Pennies and Blessings

Faithful Provisions

She Saved

Saving with Amy

The Prudent Patron

I Heart Publix
(side note: this happens to be one of my favorite blogs)

Frugal Living and Having Fun

A High and Noble Calling

Sharpen Your Scissors

Cincinnati Cents

Coupon Lady Online

Common Sense With Money

The Homespun Heart

Ava's Mom

Bargain Blessings

Coupon Geek

The Gothros

Saving Bits and Pieces

The Suburban Tree Hugger

My Litter of Six

"Deal"ightful Savings

Sixth Cents Savings

Really Are You Serious?

Christian Frugal Mom

Sharpen Your Scissors

The Krazy Coupon Lady

The Stearns' Weekly News

Making Time For Mommy

The Simple Life of the Boreings

The Frugal Find

The Coupon Basics

My Fave Deals

Thrifty on the Dollar

My Blessed Life (Myra is my bloggy homegirl)

Kingdom First Mom

The Thrifty Couple

Frugal Living NW

My Pet Savings

Mama's Laundry Talk

Frugal Follies

The Haney Life

Covenant Homemaking

Coupon Teacher

Mommie Cheapest

Please note: I typed all of these in by hand. If I messed up your blog's name or link please let me know and I will be happy to fix it. Thank you all so much for your generous donations.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Guest post from Katie of Frugal Femina

Guest Post by Katie Hostetter at Frugal Femina


If you follow me on Twitter, you know exactly what the word "mamavation" means, because I have been eating, sleeping, and breathing it since I applied on January 1st. I am fortunate to have some followers left! :-) Basically, it's a 7-week boot camp to help 2 moms get fit in 2010, and it's supported by Smooth Fitness, Earth Footwear, EA SPORTS Active, Gaiam, Bookie Boo, and MomTV. The team gives you a ton of support with a nutritional plan, a fitness program, and much more! You can watch my application video and read all about my lil' journey over at Frugal Femina.

I am so blessed to have made it into the top 5 finalists. Now I need you to vote daily so I can make it into the final 2! I already shared my measurements with thousands of people, so you know I am committed! ;-) But seriously, this is all part of my quest to make 2010 one of the most positive years ever. I'm finishing up my last semester of nursing school, reading through the Bible in 90 days, taking care of Xon and Bradley {aka Hubs and Little Munchkin}, and trying to take care of myself, too! I'm not Superwoman, but I do want to focus on good things this year and surround myself with good friends and family.

So I'm hopin' you'll cheer me on and head on over to Mamavation and vote. You can vote once a day from each IP address through the 21st. And I won't mind a bit if you happen to spread the word amongst your friends. :-) Maybe I can encourage you all along the way! Mamavation is a great network of support, and you can be involved whether you have 200 pounds to lose or 0. We all need to stay healthy and fit!

Special thanks to Andrea at Mommy Snacks for being my Fit Friend and encouraging me throughout this campaign.

Watch Lives Change

Monday, January 11, 2010

Eating from the Pantry check-in

Happy Monday! Here's my update:

Wednesday: Made pizza and citrus spinach salad for dinner.

Thursday: Packed breakfast and lunch for hubs & me. Made burritos, refried beans & corn for dinner.

Friday: Packed breakfast and lunch for hubs. I had nachos with leftover ingredients from the burritos for lunch when I got home from work (I leave work early on Fridays). For dinner we went out to eat as was planned. It is a very long and complicated story involving how a "restaurant" turned into a "bar" and thus no longer has a kitchen to make food in. So couldn't use a gift certificate. We went out to eat at Ruby Tuesday because I had a coupon for $5.00 off (it was one from the buy a gift card get a coupon promotion they were running at Christmas). Then in the paper yesterday there were buy one get one free coupons for Ruby Tuesday. Hubs and I both thought that was funny that such a good coupon would come out two days after we ate there. Anyways, moving on...

Saturday: Packed lunch & breakfast for hubs. I was home so ate breakfast and lunch there. For dinner made Mandarin Orange Chicken from Trader Joes and Steamfresh Rice both from our freezer. I told hubs that we're going to Trader Joe's next week and I'm buying case loads of that Mandarin Chicken. So good! Also, I was really impressed with the Steamfresh rice, especially since it was free thanks to the powers of couponing. Oh and we also had pineapple.

Sunday: BFF came over to hang out and brought lunch for us (hubs was at work). After hubs got home in the middle of the afternoon he was feeling snacky so I made homemade popcorn. Oh golly is that good! For dinner I made Falling Off The Bone Chicken Wings, Brown Rice Pilaf, steamed carrots and pineapple again. What can I say, I love pineapple!

I packed both of us breakfast and lunch today. Hubs is working late so not sure yet what I'll do about dinner but I might go ahead and make the hot dogs and chili anyways. Later in the week I have leftover nights scheduled. I don't have any leftovers so I might roast a chicken or make the balsamic chicken that I haven't made yet.

I know I'm not exactly following my meal plan but I like having flexibility when I need it. For example, hubs loves Hamburger Helper so I make it for him every once in a while and had that planned for dinner last night. When I knew that my BFF was coming over I changed the plans to wings (which really are awesome y'all) 'cause I ain't 'bout to be serving no company no Hamburger Helper. I'm jus' sayin'.

How have y'all been doing with your challenge?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

My shopping trip this week

If this is your first time visiting my blog, welcome! I am eating from the pantry along with Money Saving Mom and Life As Mom (and about 800 others!) so my shopping is limited this month. I just couldn't resist scooping up the deals you see below. I hope that you'll leave me a comment letting me know you stopped by and please come visit me again!

I made a run to Publix on Wednesday this week. I didn't really want to go on Wednesday but they changed the day of their penny item and I just can't resist free stuff. I mean if I am going to buy stuff anyways might as well get something for free to go with it, right?

Here's what I bought:
Publix Tortilla chips- penny item
Cascadian Farms French Fries- we had an avalance from our inside freezer this week and neither of us noticed a bag that fell behind our trashcan. It melted overnight and had to be tossed. There are several meals this week that call for french fries and I got these for $1.00.
Cascadian Farms Tater tots- also $1.00 probably going to make tater tot casserole with cream of mushroom soup and hamburger at some point over the next couple of months. Neither of us has ever had it but I have lots of cream of mushroom soup and hamburer to use.
Wonda gummies X2- free
DiGiorno Flatbread Pizzas X2- was confused about price. Thought they would be $.25/ea and for that price couldn't resist for lunch for hubs on a day when I really don't feel like packing one. Ended up being $1.25, still a good deal
Lenders bagels X2- I prefer making my own but I'm out and at $.50/ea the price was too good not to buy
Stoneyfield Farms yogurt X6- my favorite yogurt. I don't feel bad about buying it at all. At $.13/ea I'm pretty sure it was about the same cost as making my own (which I have done before!)
4 Bartlett pears- $.88/lb
1 Lysol Neutr Air- will be donating to work. I print coupons there and then donate some office things in return. It is a win-win situation!
I spent: $9.47, saved $22.75, of which $14.58 was coupons!

I also asked hubs to go by Aldi yesterday to buy a couple of things
He bought:
2 bags of oranges (I think they are 3 lb each)
1 package mushrooms
He spent around $5.00 (he's at work. I'll update later with exact amount)

So there is my spending for the week. To see how I got such great prices at Publix go to Southern Savers or I Heart Publix.

For Aldi deals go to Deal Seeking Mom.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Eat from the Pantry Challenge - Yummy Homemade Pizza & Citrus Spinach Salad

Disclaimer: My husband typed and partially wrote this post. If you note a presence of sarcasm that isn't usually here, that is why. Thanks for he help hubs!

Last night for dinner we had pepperoni and pineapple pizza and citrus spinach salad. I am really enjoying making some of our favorite meals straight from our pantry.

I tried a new recipe for the pizza dough with mixed results. I can't believe that only about a year ago I was scared of yeast and now I'm an old pro at making homemade pizza.

I used the recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook Celebrating the Promise edition (the pink ribbon one). The recipe calls for you to do things a little bit differently with adding the flour in the mixer, and while I appreciate the shorter rise time, I had a hard time getting everything to come together. I will probably make this again, but I will modify it to make it easier for me. I think that I will add more of the flour at the beginning.

I love throwing together salads with leftover ingredients, and since I had some spinach left over from our New Year's dinner, I knew it would be great to use for a throw-together spinach salad last night.

When Hubs and I were at Trader Joe's [HEART!] for our epic fail on Saturday, we bought the most wonderful orange I have ever eaten (organic, and only 59 cents!). Wish I had bought a caseload. I begged asked Hubs to save me a segment or two for my salad. He grudgingly agreed, but then fed a segment to the dogs! HMPH!

Citrus Spinach Salad
Serves 1

1 cup spinach, whole leaf, stems removed
2 segments navel orange, pith removed
1 T smoked almonds
1/2 tsp pear white balsamic vinegar

1. Place spinach in a small bowl.
2. Cut orange segment into bite sized pieces.
3. Top with smoke almonds and vinegar.

Pizza Dough
From Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook Celebrating the Promise Edition p. 150

2 1/2 - 3 c. all purpose flour
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. warm water (120-130 degrees Fahrenheit)
2 T cooking oil or olive oil

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 1/4 c. of the flour, the yeast, and the salt; add warm water and oil. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6-8 minutes total). Divide dough in half, cover; Let rest for 10 minutes.

This is supposed to make 2 pizzas, but because Hubs likes thick pan crusts, I only use it for 1. I have found the miracle trick for making your yeast rise in the winter: Stainless steel nesting bowls. Put the dough in the smaller nesting bowl and put HOT water in the larger bowl. Nest the smaller bowl in the larger bowl and cover with a towel. Make sure to check before the rise is supposed to be done 'cause those suckers get to workin' when they're nice and toasty warm!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Eat from the Pantry- How've I been doing?

Just a quick little update to let y'all know how I've been doing.

Monday: packed breakfast and lunch for hubs and me. For dinner we had a Hormel Turkey Dinner ( It was ok but we both agreed that mine is better but it sure doesn't take 4 minutes to heat up. :-)

Tuesday: packed breakfast and lunch for hubs and me. For dinner we were supposed to have meatloaf muffins but I was going to switch and have pizza instead since we had mashed potatoes with our turkey the night before. Instead, my in-laws took us out to dinner. Cracker Barrell is never a bad thing!

Wednesday: I skipped breakfast. Didn't pack lunch but hubs is home so he can eat some of the massive quantity of cereal residing in our pantry. I grabbed the January coupon from my Chick-fil-A calendar so I had chicken noodle soup. It was good. I am making that pizza tonight and Crystal's muffins.

I haven't shopped since my trip to Trader Joes. I do want some of those Aldi oranges and some Romaine lettuce though. The new ads in my area start today and I am dying a little on the inside to not be able to get some of these good deals I just keep repeating: "sales are cyclical, sales are cyclical. These deals will come again."

How are you all doing with the challenge?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Eat from the pantry update already thinking about next month and beyond

When I sat down last week to write out my month long plan I struggled to come up with the final 10 meals. But since then, I seem to have ideas all the time. So I'm going to write some of them down here because I can and should still draw from my freezer and pantry after this challenge is over so that I use up what I have instead of always using the new stuff and letting the things buried go to waste.

Here are some meal ideas. I'll update this post as I think of more:

Falling Off the Bone Chicken Wings- these are by far my favorite wings ever. I would rather make these at home than go out to eat for wings. When I think of wings these are the ones I want. Can you tell I really love them? I always serve them with pineapple because the flavors just seem to go together. I have several packs of wings in the depths of my freezer and the other ingredients (except ketchup... I'm almost out!) so this would have made a good recipe for this month too.
Here's the link to the recipe:

Bourbon Chicken- we love this and I have everything I need to make it (ya know except ketchup). I also serve this with pineapple. I guess I just really like pineapple
Here's the link:
By the way you should really check out the other recipes from Amber's Kitchen. That is one of my favorite food blogs!

Sweet & Sour Chicken- again I already have everything I need. I haven't posted this recipe. I'm not even sure where I got it from to give credit so not sure I'll post that.

Hibachi steak and fried rice- this is Michael's specialty. I like Michael specialties because then I get a night off from cooking!

Can you tell we like Asian food or what?!?

update 1/9/10 I thought of more:
Chicken Parmigiana
Sweet & Sour smoked sausage
chicken bacon ranch pizza
hash brown quiche
beef/chicken/pork fried rice
Sesame Ginger ribs (Asian style of course) & (crock pot)
One pan spaghetti
baked ziti
slow simmered garlic pork chops (crock pot)
Scalloped Potatoes w/ ham (would have to buy potatoes but will need a bag by then anyways)
Oven Fried Chicken (my mom's recipe-so good!)
Nana's Hamburger Gravy (not my nana someone else on Allrecipes or somewhere. Like sausage gravy but with hamburger... so yummy on biscuits!)
Italian Sausage and Potatoes
Chicken fingers with honey sauce
Meatloaf Patties
Pulled Pork (crock pot)
Beef Stew (I don't care what I have to buy to make it... I'm CRAVING it)
Chili (perfect for a cold winter night!)
Baked Potato Soup- Still working on finding that perfect soup that tastes rich and fattening for hubs but is light enough for me.

Now just need to think of a few ways to use sweet potatoes that hopefully hubs will eat. I would also like to think of a way to use some of these yummy Muir Glen tomatoes that I have sitting in my pantry. They are my absolute favorite canned tomato ever and since, thanks to the power of couponing, I get them free all the stinking time, I refuse to buy anything else.

Also, I have tons of instant oatmeal (the stuff in the packets) that I would like to find a way to use. Since we only really eat breakfast at home on the weekends and then I like to make something hot & homemade I have a ton that I've gotten for free or close to it and haven't been using. Unfortunately most of the boxes have been opened (since they're different flavors) with one or two packets removed so I can't donate any. I have made oatmeal muffins before so I was thinking of substituting a package of that for the uncooked rolled oats called for in that recipe. I'll do some experimenting and let you know.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Eat from the pantry challenge update- how I've been doing- Epic Fail

I have had some success and one gigantic failure so far in the eat from the pantry challenge.

Jan 1- packed hubs lunch & breakfast for work, I was off so I ate leftovers at home for lunch, made beans & greens for dinner (

Jan 2- had breakfast in the car on the way to NC. Made Jimmy Dean brown & serve sausages that I had in my freezer and chocolate croissants also from my freezer. Met friends in Charlotte, NC for lunch, ate out lunch, got coffee, drove through for dinner on the way home.

Now, my big failure comes in the form of a sweet surprise from my husband. I have always been mildly obsessed with Trader Joe's. To the point that I email them every 6 months or so and beg for them to build a store where I live. Afterall, there are stores in GA & stores in NC. It would seem that SC is the next logical step, no? So we were going to be there and hubs decided that we were going and I was going to get everything I ever wanted. My in-laws go up a couple of times a year and bring back wonderful things so I had an idea of what I wanted (more chocolate croissants, mini croissants, 2 buck chuck, etc). Spent: almost $76.00 Epic Fail

Jan 3- I packed hubs lunch & breakfast because he worked, I was at home and ate leftovers all day. Was going to make chicken for dinner but it's a really long story involving thinking that I would need to hold it back to make for next Sunday to make for best friend and her boyfriend to come to dinner but now don't need to because he's an ex-boyfriend. Plus, hubs was working WAY late and it's no fun to eat a dinner like that alone. Made hubs a grilled cheese sandwich when he got home. Don't feel bad for him. He loves grilled cheese.

Jan 4- packed lunch & breakfast for me & for hubs. Making a turkey Hormel dinner tonight because noticed that I need to go ahead and use it. Using leftover mashed potatoes from New Year's Eve dinner.

Schedule will resume tomorrow and I've gotta make some muffins tonight because I just can't live without Crystal's pumpkin chocolate chip muffins (

Beans & Greens for the New Year- a southern tradition

Please note: There isn't much of a recipe for the way I make my beans & greens so I've put the discription of what I do in purple down at the bottom.

If you've taken a look around this here blog of mine you may have noticed a distinct lack of posts related to the part of the country in which I live. There is a reason for that... I like to try new things! Sometimes though, it is good to give in to tradition and have those familiar foods from one's childhood. New Years Day is just one of those occasions. In my family we always had black eyed peas, collards & rutabaga for New Years Day dinner. Now I don't think the rutabaga was for any other reason than that my daddy just likes them. There are many reasons why you eat beans and greens on New Years Day and many stories for what they stand for. Here are the reasons that I was always told:

The beans represent your coin money and if you want to have some coins jingling around in your pocket for the new year you better eat yourself some beans on New Years Day.

The beans are always cooked with pork (duh what does a southerner not cook with pork?) and that represents several things. First, you want to live high on the hog and second, it is physically impossible, or so I have been told, for a pig to turn its head around and look behind it. Therefore, it is always looking forward just as we should not worry about the hard times of last year but look forward to the good times in the new year.

The greens represent your paper money and I think we all want to be having some of that in our wallet. It is said that the more you eat the more money you'll have.

For more info please see The Southern Plate: for your history lesson (I always learn something new there!) and her reasons for eating your beans on New Years Day.

Instead of black eyed peas I make pinto beans at the request of my husband. I would prefer the black eyed peas but since I want us both to have some change jingling in our pockets I make pinto beans so he'll eat them too.

I like the one hour soak method just because.

Put your beans in the bottom of a large pot, cover with water to one inch above the beans, bring to a boil uncovered, cover, remove from heat and let sit an hour. Drain the icky water off of them.

Now, the water that I actually cook the beans in I like to simmer all day with the ham hock in it. I don't cook my beans all day. Once they've been soaked they only need to cook for about an hour. If I just put the ham hock in with the beans for an hour the beans wouldn't pick up as much of the ham flavor. So I simmer the bone in the water that I'm going to cook the beans in all day, then I take it out, remove the ham and then put the ham and the water in with the beans to simmer about an hour. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with cornbread for sopping up the juices.

Now to a southerner greens usually mean collards (although turnip greens also pass) but well, here's the thing, I don't like them! I do like Spinach though and last time I checked it was green. So I just take a handful, remove the steams and throw them in a little skillet with a drop of two of olive oil, a sprinkle of kosher salt and a grind of pepper. I just wilt them down a bit and they're done in a matter of moments.

So there you go, that's what we ate for the New Year!