a peek inside the fishbowl

06 Jan, 2011

A potential pea soup disaster and a bit about sugar and flour-free snacks

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Recipes and Food

I’m waiting for my split-pea soup to boil, and when it does I’m going to boil it and boil it and boil it.

I made it last night, or should I say, I started making it 36 hours ago. I bought a bag of dried yellow split peas and when I went to make the soup I realized they needed to be soaked. For a long time. Doh. According to the directions they need to soak in water anywhere between 12 to 24 hours. I soaked them for 20 hours, then made the recipe (which was a slow-cooker soup recipe that required 6 hours on low.) I cooked it for 8 hours, served it for dinner, and those blasted peas were STILL hard and crunchy. WTH?

So I’m boiling a small pot of it again, hoping they’ll fall apart and take on the consistency of a proper French-Canadian Split Pea Soup, you know, like a kind of like a mush, but a yummy kind of mush? (Here’s the recipe BTW).

You know what’s the best part of this soup, BACON. It calls for a ham bone, but I didn’t have one, so I subbed bacon. Oh, I love bacon.

In a previous post I mentioned crustless veggie mini quiches that were providing me with a hot and healthy breakfast that’s faster than fast food.

This morning I scrambled an egg in a bowl, microwaved it for just over a minute (remember this post?) and then sprinkled some grated cheddar cheese on top. It was so good. Sarah had one too.

I had a lovely little afternoon snack yesterday. Here it is:


It’s plain yogurt (regular fat*) with a handful of blueberries and some almonds for crunch.

* Low fat products often substitute something for the missing fats, like sugar. Or in the case of yogurt, corn starch and gelatin. So read the labels!

I think I’ve discovered the trick to eating well; eat whole foods you love to eat.

It’s so important I’ll say it again: eat whole foods you love to eat.

The thing about ditching sugar and flour from my diet means that I’m not eating any processed foods. (Yay!) The funny thing is that the foods that I am eating now seem to taste better. Isn’t that strange? I’m not sure how to explain it. Maybe it’s because I’m savouring them more, or because they’re unadulterated. Like bread, for example (not that I’m eating it right now) but you know it’s a good slice of bread when you can eat it without anything on it… because then and only then can you *really* taste the bread. That’s what I’m feeling like today. Everything tastes amazing.

Other things I’ve been noshing on lately include nuts, and celery with cream cheese. Mark and I shared a giant bowl of popcorn last night. And I’m going to make a batch of black bean hummus today to eat this afternoon.

Off to check my soup! Wish me luck. If this doesn’t work I have a lot of peas to chew.

UPDATE: I simmered them for an extra TWO HOURS and they’re still crunchy! Turns out, you can buy bad peas. Either they’re old or were improperly stored. Bah.

15 Responses to "A potential pea soup disaster and a bit about sugar and flour-free snacks"

1 | Amy @ Muddy Boots

January 6th, 2011 at 1:32 pm


Andrea, have you ever tried baking with coconut flour? It’s not a grain, but actual coconut. I’ve made muffins and a white cake with decent results. The trick is that you need LOTS of eggs. Like six eggs per 1/2 cup of flour or something that sounds equally crazy.

“Nourishing Days” and “The Nourishing Gourmet” are both blogs with great whole foods recipes. Really great.

Also, have you ever heard of the book “Nourishing Traditions”? I highly, highly recommend it. It talks a lot about how traditional cultures ate (and continue to eat) and how their health and wellness compares to us… in our “modern” society. Maybe check it out at the library?

2 | betsy

January 6th, 2011 at 3:04 pm


For some reason I think salt prohibits legumes from getting soft, did you add salt? I’m thinking that prob shouldn’t matter with pea soup as ham bones have lots of salt. I could be totally wrong here, I should have googled first.

3 | Johnny Waite

January 6th, 2011 at 3:20 pm


I have to say that your snack looks delicious—but then again, I am a sucker for anything that has to do with blueberries.

And now you have me craving a good breakfast sandwich on an English muffin. Egg, cheese, sausage, and a touch of butter=perfection.

It must be lunch time!

4 | Siobhan

January 6th, 2011 at 3:23 pm


Farm Boy sells double-smoked bacon. I suspect that would make the soup taste even better… if the peas ever cooperate.

5 | bushidoka

January 6th, 2011 at 3:28 pm


How do you mean “crunchy”? Do you mean granular perhaps? I’ve had bad peas that could be described as that, but not crunchy. If it really is crunchy then I’d say your problem is having it set on low because I always do mine on high for 4 hours.

I have a massive bag of organic split peas that I have stored in a bucket in the basement for almost 2 years now, and the peas are still great and make perfect soup. And as I mentioned on twitter, you don’t need to soak them at all. I make it in the slow cooker, but on high for 4 hours. That will leave the peas still a bit in tact but if you cook just an hour or 2 more it gives you the mush you want. But always on high.

http://ottawafoodies.com/forum/371 See this thread for more details. I am “zymurgist” on that site.

And yes, bacon is a true delight for that! See my bacon porn video I did just the other day in fact, where I save the smokey rind of my home made bacon for pea soup. I have since vacuum sealed it and put it in my freezer, awaiting my next batch!


6 | Siobhan

January 6th, 2011 at 3:51 pm


Homemade bacon? I can make bacon at home? Why was I not informed?

7 | KJT

January 6th, 2011 at 4:14 pm


Strange, I’ve never had to soak split peas…. ?

Related to your healthy eating theme, I used quinoa for the first time this week. So easy! I need to go back to the whole grain eating I did in my twenties and early thirties, when I rarely bought processed foods. Thanks for the inspiration!

8 | julie

January 6th, 2011 at 4:44 pm


I’ve had the same darned thing happen to me in the last few weeks. sigh. I was making it to give as gifts for busy friends for the holidays. I froze the soup, then upon thawing it was fine. Yay.
As an aside, whenever I am soaking beans, I soak extras and freeze whatever I don’t need before cooking them. The freezing breaks some of the bonds and makes the cooking time next time MUCH faster.

9 | Fiona

January 6th, 2011 at 5:11 pm


Too bad about your soup, very frustrating to have that happen. Salt and acidity (like tomatoes or vinegar) will really inhibit cooking of beans/legumes but maybe the beans were just really old.

10 | bushidoka

January 6th, 2011 at 9:11 pm


“mealy” is a better way to describe what I was talking about above I think … how bad beans get

11 | Alicia

January 6th, 2011 at 10:03 pm


LOL. Today I had a pea soup on my dinner meal plan but since I was lazy last night and didn’t prepare some of the ingredients, we skipped out and I made something quicker for dinner. I’m sure if I tried to make it all tonight, that same thing would have happened to me.

12 | Hellcat13

January 6th, 2011 at 11:02 pm


This soup rocked my world so hard tonight I almost wept tears of happiness. Easy, quick, and hearty, with an amazingly complex flavour for such simple ingredients. It might soften the blow of bad peas! (plus, I’m fairly certain it follows your sugar rules.)


I’ve drastically reduced my sugar intake this past week – post-Christmas I really wanted to get back to cleaner eating. I’m not being as strict as you are, but I’m definitely staying away from it as much as possible. OY, the headache! I’m looking forward to the second week where the “feeling fabulous” part kicks in :)

13 | melissa

January 12th, 2011 at 3:02 pm


Hey! We ate our friend Chris’ homemade bacon over the holidays – sooo delicious.

I’m with you on un-wanted additives in yogurt. My current obsession is Liberty Greek Style 0% plain yogurt. It has nothing in but milk and bacteria. And it’s thicker than full fat sour cream. I eat it with honey and that Ezekial 4:9 cereal they sell in Organic sections (I call it the God cereal). Makes for a very satisfying breakfast.

14 | Katie

February 8th, 2011 at 9:55 pm


Hmm I have never soaked split peas and I find it usually takes 1-2 hours for them to break down to pleasant mush – 3 at the outside. I buy whatever is around at the bulk place, or organic ones at the grocery store… I know generally for beans failure to get appropriately mushy can be caused by them being old but 8 hours seems like they would have to be decades old! Some people recommend not adding salt before cooking as it can keep the beans hard but I have not experimented there… My only other guess is that maybe they were treated in some way – I have never seen the package recommend soaking so maybe something was done to make them keep longer. Sorry about your soup!

15 | Will they eat it: Pease porridge, er, pea soup >> a peek inside the fishbowl

September 23rd, 2011 at 8:37 am


[…] the grocery store when I had a sudden hankering for split pea soup, but I’ve been leery since the last time I tried to make it. So I gave myself a pep talk, made a mid-aisle U-turn, and checked all the packages of dried […]

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (24) and Sarah (22). During the day I work as a writer at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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