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off to prove Thomas Wolfe wrong…or at least eat some peaches

Tomorrow begins my weeks-long R&R with the fam down in the heart of Dixie. There will be plenty of dog walking, mountain hiking, card playing, soul food eating, and clothes shopping (I am completely unable to shop for my own attire alone and thus rely on my mom’s sage clothes advice). All I know is that I plan to stick my face in a peach cobbler, and the rest of the time is up for grabs. Oh, and my little bro’ is graduating high school, y’all! Much to our delight and playfully sarcastic surprise.

While I’m gone, I will be blogging from the road but also inviting a few guests to stop by and chat with you about simple living, parenting, recipes, and their general awesomeness. If you’re interested in guest posting some time, drop me a line at lonehomeranger {at} gmail {dot} com. I may not be able to squeeze you in this round but am always looking for contributors!

In preparation for my trip, I am doing the usual packing, list-writing, hair-pulling routine. Today I am also eating the contents of my fridge that the hubster will either not eat or not see (do you have this situation happening with your beloved? in which there is plenty of food but a shout of “we don’t have anything to eat!” coming from the kitchen?), which resulted in this thrown-together, tasty lunch of bean & bacon soup, homemade bread and butter, and B&B pickles.

Bread and butter squared

Since I’m not offering you much in the way of substance in this post, I thought I’d go ahead and share my bean soup recipe with you. (Note: you can leave out the bacon if you’re vegetarian, but in that case, don’t invite me to your house to eat it. Just kidding. Mostly).image

lots o’ beans, barley, & bacon soup
serves 6ish

1/2 lb. bacon, cut in 1/2 in. bits (ends and pieces are fine)
1 large Vidalia onion, diced
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
1 14 oz. can or jar of diced tomatoes, with juice
4 c. veggie stock
4 c. water
1 bag of bean soup mix without that gross ham powder (I like Trader Joe’s 17 bean and barley variety)
1/2 c. barley (if it is not already in the soup mix)
1-2 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
handful of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
salt and pepper to taste (I love TJ’s smoked sea salt)

Soak beans overnight (or start in the morning to cook that evening) in about 8 cups of water. Then when you’re getting ready to cook, drain them and rinse them; be sure to check for little pebbles or other unwanted items.

I love this recipe because it takes me all of 15 minutes to prepare the ingredients and start the soup simmering. I grab a cutting board and dice up all my veggies while my bacon is browning over medium heat in a Dutch oven. Once bacon is mostly brown, throw in the onion and veggies and saute for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook 1-2 more minutes until it is fragrant. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer covered for about 2 hours. Alternatively, you can put it all in  a crockpot (after browning the bacon) and cook it on high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours.

Don’t forget the beano. Enjoy!

Editor’s note: This post is part of Monday Mania