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Whelp, the holidays are drawing to a close, and as the new year approaches many of you may be thinking about New Year’s resolutions. I’ve tried to make and keep some resolutions over the years…only to break them a  couple weeks into January — not the way I want to start off the New Year!

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So, instead of making resolutions this year, I have been reflecting on this past year and what I hope and wish for the next season of life. I did some awesome things in 2014: I finished my graduate program, got my first “big girl job,” got a dog, celebrated friends’ weddings, road tripped, and spent a copious amount of time with friends and family.

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I did it! You can call me Master now.

Next year, I’m hoping for the chance to travel more, pay off a credit card, and become more financially stable. Also, I want to hold myself accountable to blog more often. With my new job, things got a little crazy and I had little time to cook, take pictures of it and blog about it. I feel like this next year is going to offer many new beginnings and I’m excited about it!

McMenamins BEEEERRRRS

McMenamins Portland. Cheers!

A couple of my friends grew up in the South and a tradition for New Year’s down there is to prepare black-eyed peas either on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. Black-eyed peas are considered lucky if eaten at the beginning of the year for many reasons. Click on this link to find out more about the history of the black-eyed pea in the South.  http://gosoutheast.about.com/od/restaurantslocalcuisine/a/blackeyedpeas.htm  

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In honor of my Southern friends and my wishes for you and yours in the New Year, I’m cooking up a pot of Hoppin’ John! Black-eyed peas, rice, bacon, onions, and bell peppers, along with a few other ingredients, make up this delicious, homey stew/goulash thing. My version of Hoppin’ John features Andouille sausage from a local Seattle company, CasCIOPPO Brothers Meats which is located in Ballard. They are renowned for their delicious, authentic Italian sausages and meats and it turns out that they make a pretty decent Andouille as well!

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For a complete Southern meal, serve up this Hoppin’ John with collards and corn bread. The collards represent paper money and the corn bread represents gold. May you have luck and prosperity in 2015!

Hoppin’ John

1 lb CasCIOPPO Brothers Andouille Sausage
1 cup dried black-eyed peas
1/2 11oz can tomato puree
1 medium onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
2 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp paprika
2 tsp ancho chile powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp hot sauce of your choice. I used Sriracha!
Salt and pepper
Serve with: Rice, corn bread, and/or collard greens

1. Soak black-eyed peas in water for a couple hours. This will speed up the cooking process later!

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2. In a heavy skillet, heat up a little olive oil for the Andouille. Add the sausage to the warmed oil and brown on all sides.

3. Add onion and bell pepper to skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened.

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4. Add celery and garlic to the skillet. Sauté until garlic is fragrant, then add the peas, bay leaves, thyme, paprika, chile powder, hot sauce, and red pepper flakes. Add enough water to the skillet to cover everything and bring to a simmer. The peas will soak up most of the water while they cook.

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5. Simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until peas are done. While cooking, if water gets too low, feel free to add more water to the skillet.

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6. When the peas are done and there is still some water in the bottom of the pan, add the tomato puree and simmer until heated through.

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Serve over rice or alongside corn bread and collard greens for a delicious meal.

Good luck in 2015!

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