Thursday, Lane and his friends arrived safely in Canada and I ran a few errands as projected snow totals climbed higher and higher, stopping at two feet. I thought about all of the great projects I was going to get done around the house while I was home alone for the weekend. Friday morning I dropped the kids off at their mother’s house for her weekend with them, and was unfazed by the small amount of snow already accumulating on the side streets at 9 a.m. I figured I was pretty well prepared for the two feet of snow that was threatened. Snow fell so fast on Friday night that snow plows and emergency vehicles had to be removed from ditches and shoveled out by payloader, before they were finally pulled from the roads in my town due to whiteout conditions. I went outside and couldn’t see my hand in front of me, then the hail and thunder and lightning came. That was when I saw the last weather report before I went to sleep, that we could be looking at up to thirty inches of snow.
When I woke up Saturday morning, the snow had stopped, and I had snow from the top of our porch railing across the lawn to the bottom of our mailbox. Forty inches of snowfall was the total in my town, the highest total anywhere for this storm. Because of the high wind drifts, I had snow over five feet high in some places. I couldn’t do much but put on Lane’s spare snow pants and grab a shovel. I finally made it down our driveway in the dark around 7 p.m. Saturday night. I have never been so happy to see a street in my life. I’m one of the lucky ones who lives on a street that had one lane plowed open on Saturday. Many people in the area have taken to forming snow blowing their streets in teams. The fire trucks leaving the fire station on my street are still leaving with their sirens blaring but moving at a snail’s pace because the road isn’t at its full width. The police have been asking to borrow snowmobiles so they can get to emergencies, and snow removal teams spent the better part of Saturday following emergency teams to calls, plowing the way for fire trucks or ambulances. Another factor hindering snow removal is that it can’t just be pushed, there’s too much of it. It has to be loaded into a truck and removed from the area, to local parks or other open areas. I have snow five feet from our curb, there is too much for the crews to plow the roads clean from curb to curb. We have freezing rain right now, making roof collapse a concern for some. There is more snow forecasted for Thursday and for Saturday, and there just isn’t anywhere for it to go. I am fortunate that my loved ones are all safe right now, and that life is slowly emerging from the snow banks and returning to normal.
All I’ve wanted to eat all weekend long is comfort food. I meal planned knowing that I’d be home for most if not all of the weekend, but after shoveling snow for hours, lifting my arms to make coffee became a chore. So today, I’m going to share a recipe that I’ve been meaning to share for one of my favorite comfort foods that also requires very little hands-on preparation. If you should find yourself needing to be outside shoveling snow for nine hours or more, put the ingredients into the crock pot before you head out and maybe knowing that this pea soup is waiting for you will be good motivation. It’s warming from the inside out, and is very comforting. I made this after I made ham for dinner, using the ham bone to give it a great flavor. If you don’t have a ham bone hanging around, you have some other options. You can check with a local butcher (or even my grocery store sometimes has them), he may have one to sell. You can also not add the ham bone and double the amount of diced ham. I add the whole frozen peas at the end because I like the texture they give to the soup, but if you like a creamier soup it’s fine to skip that step. You can also add the carrots at the beginning with the other ingredients, but I like to add them later in the process if I can because adding them earlier causes them to cook down until they blend into the soup.
Crock Pot Split Pea Soup with Ham
- 1 meaty ham bone
- 2 C. dry split peas
- 1 C. cooked ham, cut into small cubes (double if omitting the ham bone)
- 1 C. finely chopped onion
- 1 C. finely chopped celery with leaves
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 4 C. chicken or vegetable broth (reduced or low sodium is preferable)
- 1 C. water
- 1 C. sliced carrots
- 1 C. frozen peas, thawed
Layer the ingredients except for the carrots and frozen peas in the order they are listed above into a crock pot. Do not stir.
Cook on the low setting for 4-5 hours (or on high for 2-3 hours), then add the carrots and stir.
Continue to cook on the low setting for 4-5 more hours (or on high for 2 more hours), adding the frozen peas about 45 minutes before serving.
Remove the ham bone, scrape any meat remaining on it into the soup, and stir to combine ingredients before serving.
Source: adapted from Soupbelly