Sunday, September 8, 2019

EASY TO MAKE SLOW COOKER FRENCH ONION SOUP


French onion soup ready to be served.
Shredded Gruyère cheese added to the bowl.
Of all the soups I have made over the years, I haven't made a French onion soup. The crop of winter onions recently harvested from the garden provided the momentum for me to think about making this soup. I decided to make this just as French onion soup without the bread and baked cheese on top. I wanted to add some shredded Gruyère to a bowl of soup and keep it simple.

In caramelizing the onions in the slow cooker you can either cook them on low heat for eight to ten hours overnight or cook them during the day. I opted to start cooking them at 7:15 am and cooked them for nine and a half hours. The slow cooking process causes the onions to sweat and there is liquid created so no worries about burning the bottom of the pan.

Since the onions I was using ranged in size to create three pounds of onions, I had about 15 onions to peel and chop. Doing it by hand would result in lots of teary eyes and take a bit of time. I elected to work smarter and used the slicer attachment for the food processor. Using the food processor and slicing the onions thin was one of the smarter things I have done at 7 am.

Once the onions are caramelized you have a few options depending on when you want to consume the soup. After the rest of the ingredients are added, you can cook it on low in the slow cooker for another five plus hours, cook it on high in the slow cooker for another two plus hours or use an electric pressure cooker to speed up the whole process. I chose the electric pressure cooker and cooked it on medium to high pressure for 20 minutes. The machine I use has a number of features including slow cooker and pressure cooker. The soup, served as part of supper, was wonderful. It had a great flavour and the sweetness of the onions and addition of balsamic vinegar was a good combination. It is soup that one can serve to company or have for lunches throughout the week.

Some of the garden onions left after I peeled and chopped 15 of them.

Onions added to the slow cooker
I added another 30 minutes to the original nine hours of cooking time.
Onions are looking good after eight hours of slow cooking.
INGREDIENTS:

3 pounds of yellow onions, peeled and chopped into thin slices

2 tbsp olive or other good quality oil
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp kosher salt
pepper to taste

8 to 9 cups of beef broth
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Gruyère cheese, shredded

INGREDIENTS:

1. Place the onions into the slow cooker. Add the oil, butter, salt and pepper. Combine well. Set for eight to ten hours on low heat depending on the time you have. Every few hours open the lid to stir.


2. Add the beef broth and balsamic vinegar and cook on low heat for another five hours. You have other options if you want to speed up the process including high heat on the slow cooker or using an electric pressure cooker. Details are provided above the photos.

3. Serve with grated Gruyère cheese added to each bowl. Serves 6 to 8 people.


Monday, September 2, 2019

PALEO PLUM CRISP


Plum crisp just out of the oven and cooling.
Having bought a large tub of regular size red burgundy plums at Costco (about 12 to 14 in the tub) I realized that they were going to get soft quickly. Most were stored in the fridge and after eating the four juicy plums left in the fruit basket on the counter, I was thinking that the ones stored in the fridge would likely be soft. After eating about a quarter of a plum from the fridge, my assumptions were correct. The options to consume the eight and 3/4 remaining plums were to either bake with them, stew them or freeze them (a good fall back option). I decided to bake them and make a crisp. The oven was already on as I was roasting a chicken. I baked the crisp in two dishes, a small white ramekin and a glass dish. I used chopped walnuts in the topping. I also did not peel the plums. After cutting the plums up, there was so much juice I had to drain off some of the juice.

The crisp recipe I used was my standard one used to make cherry, rhubarb or apple crisp. A crisp is a crisp and the topping can be used with any kind of fruit. I like to enjoy crisp not only as a dessert but also for breakfast. I add the crisp like a topping to a small bowl of plain greek yogurt instead of adding granola. 

Plums mixed with ingredients in the bowl.
Fruit placed in a small ramekin, topping added and then baked.
The second dish was made in a larger baking dish. Fruit placed in a glass baking dish, followed by the crisp. Crisp was then baked.

INGREDIENTS:

Fruit:

8 medium to large size plums, pitted and sliced into chunks
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp sugar or stevia
2 tbsp arrowroot powder or minute tapioca

Topping:
1/2 cup slivered almonds or chopped pecans or chopped walnuts
3/4 cup almond flour
2 tbsp coconut flour
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup coconut oil (at room temperature) or butter

DIRECTIONS:

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, add the fruit, lemon juice, sugar and arrowroot powder and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix together all of the topping except the coconut oil or butter. Add the oil or butter and mix using a fork or pastry blender so that it forms into crumbs or clumps. Using honey will make it more like clumps.

Grease with oil or butter a medium size baking pan. Add the fruit mixture, spread it evenly across the pan and add the topping to cover the fruit. Bake for at least 30 minutes or until it is bubbling and the topping has browned. Serves 6 to 8 depending on appetites.  

Friday, August 9, 2019

SHANE'S STORY


Shane, a 14 year old yellow Labrador Retriever, travelled over the rainbow bridge this past week. He was born in July 2005, on a farm about a 45 minute drive north of Regina. Shane is survived by his two human parents and two cat siblings. The cats tolerated Shane, with the male cat talking to him on a daily basis and from time to time the female would give him a gentle swat to remind him of her superiority. 

He was five months old, it was the day after Boxing Day, when he found his forever home. His other siblings except for one had already found their homes. His other sibling, Murphy, ended up being adopted the following day. By chance, they shared the same veterinarian so we were able to get in touch and have occasional visits when they were still young. Shane came to live with an aging female border collie and two cats. The border collie tolerated him, would like to herd him and there was a power struggle at times about who was the leader. 

The original two cats passed away and two new cats came to live with Shane. No one missed a step.  


Shane grew into a 70 plus pound linebacker, not tall, but rough and sturdy. He prided himself on his toughness, determination and stubbornness. He loved routine and expected us to fall in line with the routines of walking, eating, playing, going for coffee, snack time, bathroom breaks and wake up times. 

Getting a good education is important and Shane attended a number of courses over the years and received certificates which are proudly filed in a folder. He repeated a grade and went through basic obedience 101 twice before advancing to obedience 102. His last schooling was spent with an agility league and he certainly didn’t win any awards doing that. His true destiny might have been directed to tracking or being a food inspection dog at customs. 

Going for walks was a must and there were certain paths and routes that were more desirable for him. The rabbits in the neighbourhood didn’t tempt him but the squirrels and gophers were an irritant. They were a taunt to him and he was never shy about showing his ability to go after them. Shane was a very friendly dog and was popular on the walking paths. Everyone got to know him. One woman who adored Shane and couldn't have dogs at home because of family allergies would always carry dog cookies with her in anticipation  of seeing Shane. One time she forgot cookies and we had to walk to her home so that she could give Shane some cookies. It got to the point when Shane's eyes were bad that he   figured any woman in the distance who may resemble this particular individual should be carrying cookies on her.

Shane loved a number of things:
  1. The smells of the locally protected environmental lands.  Going for a walk on this land was of immense pleasure to him and it was a triple pleasure if he could find something to roll in that had a particular stinky smell. There were several occasions where a bucket of warm soapy water was required to wash him off when we got home. In winter time you were able to walk on the frozen creek and he enjoyed those walks. Coyotes didn’t bother him and he kept his cool if we ever saw one in the distance. One instance did create a situation for us. It was very early spring and Shane went out onto the ice on a narrow and shallow creek bed and broke through the ice. It wasn’t deep and I worried about how he would get to shore. In my wisdom I crawled out onto the creek and went through. I was dressed in a winter parka and boots. We both quickly got to shore and walked back home dripping wet. I had my friend with me who was walking our old border collie. No harm was done but we both learned a lesson in this one. No off leash for Shane at this time of year and no crawling out on the ice for me.
  2. How many things can a dog carry in their mouth. Being a retriever requires one to carry something in their mouths. The favourites were tennis balls, kongs, donut rings, or rope tugs. Getting a few donut rings in ones mouth along with a tennis ball was an important accomplishment. Shane usually carried a ball in his mouth while out for a walk and this would result in a throw and retrieve session until he tired out. You can’t fault him for being strategic in carrying a ball with the hope of playing ball as part of the outing.
  3. Having a daily cool off in the fish pond. There is a fair size man-made fish pond in the backyard that had Koi in the early years of the pond. No matter how the pond was barricaded from Shane from a five foot high snow fence or using a shock collar, Shane was determined to get in that pond. Every year we would set up a personal kiddie pool for Shane but standing or lying in the fish pond was heaven for him. It didn’t matter if there were fish in the pond. In Shane’s early years, he would pull up containers of pond plants and haul them out of the pond. The pond also served as his personal water bowl.  
  4. Shoes, socks, hats and gloves. The humans got well trained from the start to put away in closets or drawers, all forms of temptation. There were some casualties and he had a preference for female footwear.  To do this day, no shoe is left unattended.
  5. Food. Shane could smell the whiff of peanut butter from an open jar even if he was not in the same room. The crack of a banana being peeled would catch his ears. Almost every day Shane would share a banana in the morning after he had his own breakfast. I think we bought bananas more for Shane than us. His top six foods were carrots, bananas, cheese, ice cream, the core from a head of lettuce, toast and any animal protein. Shane was fond of picking cucumbers off of the vines and digging for carrots in the garden. He was also a counter surfer and early on we learned to not leave food unattended on the counters. He even helped himself to some appetizers for a dinner party one time. He had no shame.
  6. Car rides. Shane dictated the kind of car one needed. To be a constant companion while in the car required his own personal space with enough room to stretch out. Plus there was the shedding of hair. Who wants to sit beside a dog who is shedding or on a seat previously occupied by a shedding lab? The back of the SUV was no longer used as a trunk but as Shane’s space. 
Shane did add to the local economy. Several instances stand out. In his early years he got impatient while waiting in the car and chewed through two seat belts in the back seat. Driving without usable seatbelts is not allowed so $750 later the problem was fixed. The second story involves a roll of toilet paper. One day he decided to grab the toilet paper roll from the bathroom. The problem was that the toilet paper roll was on the rod which was anchored and ran parallel to the wall. He tugged at the toilet paper roll, managed to get the roll in his mouth and took off down the hallway. I did a double take seeing the roll in his mouth and thought he was not smart enough to gently remove the roll off of the rod. He pulled the rod off the wall while grabbing the roll which left a hole in the bathroom wall. A remodelling job was required. The hole had to be mudded and filled, then sanded down and the bathroom repainted. This was all for a toilet paper roll. The third story is about his curiosity for underground sprinkler lines. He found a piece of line exposed in the backyard. He found some of the lines and punctured them which consequently disabled the underground sprinkler system. Who needs watered backyard grass. 

Shane’s health was impacted over the years by several surgeries. When he was seven years old, he was diagnosed with glaucoma. He had one eye removed at seven years and the second eye at 10 years old. Not having eyesight didn’t stop him except for one thing. Throwing and retrieving a ball was difficult with no eyes. He also had surgery for a large lipomas (fat lump) on his chest. Labs are known for their fat lumps. 


All dogs are special to their owners and Shane was special to us. His enthusiasm, exuberance and tail wagging love of life was always a positive enforcement to anyone who got to know him. He was fiercely loyal and made sure that he was the centre of all of the action. If there was not enough action going on, he created some. He accepted all hugs, kisses, pets and hearing what about how he was such a good boy. When you get a dog or a cat, you know that you are making a contract with yourself. For all of the joy they bring to you, you know that there will be heartache at the end. At Shane’s end, we thanked him for all of the joy, love and fun he gave to us and made our lives much richer and bearable. Thank you Shane.

Monday, July 29, 2019

NUT BASED GRAIN FREE GRANOLA

I make my own granola more than buying a packaged product. It is easy to make and having a variety of nuts on hand, along with unsweetened coconut flakes really lends itself to making your own granola. Some people like granola that is in clusters, is crunchy, maybe sweet or contains both nuts, dried fruit and/or chocolate chips. I have made a variety of cluster and crunchy granola and to make it sticky so that it creates clumps or clusters, requires the addition of maple syrup, honey or molasses. 

Lately I have been mostly making granola lower in carbs and without oatmeal or other grain. I came across this recipe from Marni Wasserman on Instagram and modified it a bit to suit ingredients on hand and my own taste. I didn't add any raisins or dried fruit in order to keep the amount of carbs lower in the portion that I used. I used stevia to sweeten it. I have Swerve and other alcohol sugars in the cupboard but my stomach prefers stevia. It is great tasting granola and I will enjoy it with plain greek yogurt or with almond milk. Because it doesn't use a sticky sugar, it is not a clumping or cluster kind of granola. You can add raisins or other dried fruit to the mixture. I would add the dried fruit during the last five minutes of baking so that it doesn't get too dried out or burnt. If you want to add some chocolate chips, do so once the granola cools down after baking.


INGREDIENTS:

1.5 cups raw almonds, chopped
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup hemp hearts
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tsp cinnamon 
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp monk fruit sweetener, Swerve or stevia 
1/2 cup melted coconut oil

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. I used convention heat. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

To a large mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients except the melted oil. Thoroughly mix the dry ingredients and then add the oil. Combine well and spread the granola out over the parchment paper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Check the granola after 20 minutes in case it looks done. About half way through the baking, remove the pan from the oven and gently turn the granola over using a spatula. Let it cool before storing in a jar or other storage container. Makes about 6 to 7 cups depending on how generous you are in measuring out the ingredients.  


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

BROCCOLI BITES

Dipping sauce spread on the broccoli bites
During the summer there is an abundance of fresh vegetables and sometimes I have lots of vegetables to eat from the garden and also from buying at markets. It can be more vegetables than ability to consume them in a timely manner. Such was the case with a bag of broccoli that I purchased from the local market. The florets stored in the fridge were starting to age. Making these broccoli bites uses two cups of florets and we ate more broccoli in these bites than what we would have consumed if I had just steamed or sautéed them as a side dish. I served these bites along with a green salad for supper.

The broccoli bites are from a recipe by Steven Gundry. I have his Plant Paradox cookbook and it has lots of ideas for using vegetables. He calls this recipe broccoli puffs as it reminds him of tater tots. I didn't shape the bites to look like perfect puffs as I didn't want to shape them with my fingers and used instead a cookie dough scoop to assist me getting the mixture out of the bowl. Once released from the cookie dough scoop onto the baking sheet, I used a spatula to help shape the mixture into small logs. This recipe makes a generous 20 bites. 

Both the DH and I enjoyed the broccoli bites and I served them with a dipping sauce made from mixing a small amount of avocado mayonnaise with sweet red chili sauce. You could also serve them with salsa, guacamole or hot sauce.

My non-perfect shaped bites

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups of broccoli florets, steamed
1 egg
1/2 onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup cassava flour (the recipe called for 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup almond flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp liquid honey
1 -2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1/4 cup grated parmigiana cheese or nutritional yeast

Points to Note:
I used a generous 2 cups of steamed broccoli as I wanted to use all of the florets. I used 1/4 cup cassava flour instead of 1/2 cup and I don't think it made a difference.

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with either parchment paper or a teflon baking sheet.

2. In a food processor, fitted with an S blade, pulse all of the ingredients until well blended but still has some texture to it. You need to not over mix the ingredients because you don't want it to turn to mush. It needs to retain some bulk. If you use a blender or high powered food processor, be careful to not over blend it.

I used a manual food processor instead of a high powered machine. I have a food processor/chopper from Pampered Chef that is easy to use and has less parts to wash up. It reminds me of a lawn mower as you need to pull on the cord to make the chopper whirl around.

3. Scoop out about one tablespoon of the mixture and shape with your fingers to form a small log. I used a cookie dough scooper to get the mixture out of the bowl. Once I released the scooper onto the cookie sheet, I used a spatula to help form the log. Evenly space out the bites on the baking sheet. 

4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about 20 bites. Serve from the oven while hot.

Adapted from The Plant Paradox Cookbook by Steven Gundry

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

VEGETABLE RICE SALAD


In planning for a larger group of friends coming for supper, I like to make some dishes ahead of time, or at least do some of the prepping ahead of the actual day. Since it is summer an option is to make a number of salads with whatever kind of protein you may be serving. I decided to make a rice salad as one of the side dishes. I cooked the rice in a rice cooker a day before the supper, stored it in the fridge once it cooled and then put it together a few hours ahead of supper. I used white basmati rice as I didn't want to use a sticky rice and I like the flavour of basmati.

I made a big batch of rice for the base and you could easily halve this recipe. I didn't load it with vegetables as I was making several other kinds of salads. It has a nice flavour without being overpowering.

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups of cooled, cooked white or brown rice
2 carrots, peeled and finely grated
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

Dressing
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
small knob of fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp maple syrup or another sugar
salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

You can make the rice a day or two before you need the salad. Place the rice in a large serving bowl. Mix the dressing in a small container. Add the dressing to the rice and mix well. Add the rest of the vegetables to the rice and mix well. Store in the fridge until ready to serve. Leftovers will keep for several days. Serves 8.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

RAISIN SOURDOUGH BREAD

Sampling already started before the picture was snapped!
With having sourdough starter in the fridge being fed and expanding in volume every week, I look for making different breads, then trying to make them and seeing if the bread rises and tastes as good as they look in the photos. 

After doing some research I decided to make this cinnamon raisin sourdough bread. Lisa's blog 'Farmhouse on Boone' posted this recipe in December 2018.  

I didn't make too many changes to the posted recipe. Since I had a bag of flour that is bread flour, I used that instead of my standard unbleached white flour. You need to knead the bread for about 15 minutes and I used a Kitchen Aid mixmaster with the dough hook. I wouldn't have wanted to knead the dough by hand but it is doable. After kneading, the dough was very pliable and I divided it in half and placed it into two oiled ceramic bowls to rise overnight. I like to cover the bowls with plastic wrap and then cover with kitchen towels for an overnight rise on the kitchen counters. 

In the morning, after the overnight rise, you need to drain the raisins that have been soaking overnight and prep your counter for rolling out the dough. I did flour the counter beforehand and the dough was very pliable and easy to roll out with the rolling pin. I found it easier to use the cinnamon jar and just sprinkle the cinnamon directly on the rolled out dough instead of trying to sprinkle it from a measuring spoon. I also thought of using one cup of raisins and one cup of chopped walnuts instead of two cups of raisins but decided to use just raisins.  

The bread was ready to bake after rising three hours in the tin loaf pans. It is a wonderful recipe and thoroughly enjoyed by myself and the DH. The bread is not too sweet. What I would improve upon for next time is to roll up the dough tighter after you add the raisins and cinnamon. I can also envision using some different dried fruit, nuts or seeds to this recipe.

Rolled out dough with raisins added.

Cinnamon sprinkled on the dough.

Dough is rolled from the short end.

Starting the second rising.

Ready to go into the oven.
Cooling on the baking rack.









Wednesday, June 12, 2019

UPDATE RED LENTIL ZUCCHINI SOUP

An updated version of the soup.

I first posted this recipe back in October 2014. I made it today as I had three small zucchini's in the fridge and needed to either use them or freeze them. The soup is based on the same premise as the ingredients provided in the description below with a few small changes. With some of the diet changes that either myself or the DH are following including less wheat based products, less skin on vegetables (eg, cucumbers, zucchini) and less vegetables from the nightshade family, I used:
  • 3/4 cup of dried millet instead of couscous
  • 3 small zucchini with the skin peeled off
  • no added potatoes
  • 8 cups of chicken broth instead of 6 cups
  • dried Italian seasoning instead of dried basil
The soup was delicious. I also cooked it for 15 minutes in the electric pressure cooker and used the automatic steam release.

October 2014 Post
With all of the zucchini in the garden, I decided to make a soup that included zucchini. The zucchini and carrots that are added to the soup have to be grated. Using a food processor, I grated more than what was needed and froze about two cups of carrots and zucchini which I can use for a future soup. Instead of adding couscous, I decided to add about six baby potatoes and I grated these along with the other vegetables. Since red lentils are so small, they dissolve in the soup and help make the soup thick. I made this soup in the electric pressure cooker and set it for 16 minutes at medium pressure. The DH liked the soup so much he had two bowls.



INGREDIENTS:

1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 tsp oil
4 carrots, grated
2 medium size zucchini, grated
1 cup red lentils
6 cups broth or water
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/3 cup couscous
salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Heat the oil on medium high in a large soup pot. Add the onions and celery, reduce heat to medium and sauté for 5 minutes or until golden. If the vegetables are sticking to the pan, add a little bit of water.


Add all of the ingredients to the pot except the couscous, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 50 minutes and stir the pot every so often.  Add the couscous and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. If the soup is too thick for your taste buds, add a little bit of water. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 8.

Modified from MealLean i Yumm by Norene Gilletz

Sunday, May 5, 2019

LEMON POPPY SEED COOKIES



I had a craving for a lemon poppy seed cookie for over a week until I decided that it was time to make some. These cookies are nostalgic for me and bring back childhood memories. 

This recipe is not paleo or gluten free and includes flour, sugar and canola oil. I didn't think it was a kind of cookie to use coconut oil, virgin olive oil or avocado oil which was what I had in the house. I ended up buying a small bottle of canola oil to make these cookies. 

I had this recipe handwritten on an index card in a small recipe box along with other older recipe cards. A treasure of recipes written on index cards before the time of sharing recipes via email or links to blog sites.

The cookies were thoroughly enjoyed, my craving was fulfilled and I froze a number of them. 


A dough whisk I like to use to mix batter. This is a smaller one; there is also a larger size.
Small scoops of dough gently flattened before baking.
Cooling on the cookie sheet before transferring  them to a cooling rack.

Sampling has started.


INGREDIENTS:

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup oil (vegetable oil)
3 eggs
juice and zest from one lemon 

4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup poppy seeds


DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl mix the sugar and oil. I like to mix the oil and sugar using a strong whisk and to make sure that the sugar is well blended into the oil. Add the eggs, lemon juice and zest. Mix together using the whisk or a strong mixing spoon. Mix it until well blended and it looks creamy.

Using another medium bowl, mix together the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder and salt.  

Fold the flour into the wet mixture and mix well.

Using a small cookie scooper, place each scoop on the parchment paper and gently press down using a small spatula. You don't want to completely flatten the cookie. It needs to have some thickness and not be paper thin.  Leave about an inch between each cookie. They don't spread but rise a little bit.

Bake for 13 - 15 minutes until they are lightly browned. You may need to bake them a bit longer depending on the heat of your oven. You don't want them to be overly browned so that they are still soft in the middle. A small dough scoop will make about 68 cookies.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

HAM AND BEAN SOUP



This month there were great sales at the grocery stores on turkey and ham. Since there were two frozen turkeys in the home freezer already, there was no need to do anymore stocking up. I do have a few frozen bags of chopped ham ready to be made into soups but that didn't stop me from buying a three pound boneless cooked ham. It was a good quality cut and after two meals I knew that it would need to be made into soup and also chopped into cubes and frozen for future meals.  

I like the combination of ham, great northern beans and vegetables in a soup. I keep the ingredients simple. Great northern beans are white in colour and bigger than navy beans. If you prefer navy beans or only have those in your pantry they can be substituted. Navy beans are commonly used to make baked beans. Using dry beans in a recipe such as soup requires some advance planning as I like to soak the dry beans before adding them to the soup. It decreases the cooking time and for some people, helps with the gastro effects that beans can cause. If you only have canned beans they can be substituted. You would need to reduce the cooking time.

I used an electric pressure cooker to make this soup. You can make this soup on the stove using a large soup pot. If making on the stove, I would estimate that you would need to simmer the soup once it boils, for about two and half hours. 

The soup was enjoyed by all and now there is a large container in the fridge for meals this coming week.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups dry great northern beans
1 medium size onion, peeled and chopped
3 gloves of garlic, minced
3 large carrots, chopped 
3 stalks of celery, chopped
3/4 to 1 pound cooked ham, cut into small cubes
8 cups of water (can add some chicken bouillon cubes for flavouring)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp herbes de Provence (optional)
salt and pepper to taste  

DIRECTIONS:

Soak the beans overnight in a large container. I like to add lots of water to the container. Before I add the beans to the soup, I rinse them off in a colander. 

Since this soup cooks longer because of the dry beans, I tend to chop the carrots and celery into larger pieces than what I would regularly do for other soups.    

Add the soaked beans and all of the ingredients to the electric pressure cooker. Cook for 28 to 30 minutes on medium high pressure with the steam set for natural release. Serves 8 to 10 people.