Joe's northern bean soup

2 cup dry beans (Great Northern white beans)
6 cups water
1-2 Tb. cooking oil
1 large onion, diced
1 carrot, sliced
2-4 cubes beef or chicken bouillon
5-6 cloves garlic
½ - 1 pound fried bacon/ham* (we use beef bacon)
2 stalks of celery, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 2 small potatoes, diced

Sort and wash beans under cold water. Soak overnight in water (or use canned beans?). Drain off excess water before using. In the bottom of your pot/crock-pot layer oil, onion, garlic & simmer until slightly browned. Add soaked beans & water and simmer for 1½ - 2 hours, until tender. While simmering – add remaining ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until thoroughly cooked. Enjoy with cornbread!! *This soup is also yummy without any meat.

glory to Joe D.
a favorite winter/cold weather/snuggle soup

granola bars

These are some of the best granola bars I have ever tasted - the recipe was created & tweaked by friends in my city, with items we can find in China. They are so delicious!

2/3 cup honey
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup brown sugar (maybe a little less)
dash of nutmeg & cinnamon
2 ½ cups oats
1/3 cup peanuts
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (or 1 cup total of other preferred nuts)
1 cup raisins (or any dried fruit)
1 cup banana chips

Combine honey, peanut butter & brown sugar in a microwavable bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes and stir well. Set aside. Toast the nuts (crushed or chopped) in a skillet, stirring constantly, till you can smell the nutty goodness (about 5 min). In a large bowl - combine oats & nuts well. Microwave your sugary-peanut-honey again for 30 seconds, and stir well. Combine hot sweet syrup with the nuts+oats until coated evenly. Add the raisins & banana chips and stir again. Line a 9x9 baking dish with tin foil (enough to cover the bottom, and and wrap back over the dish). Spray the foil with oil - so you can remove the bars easier. Pat the granola-bar mixture into the baking dish - pressing down into the pan well. Fold the foil back over to prevent burning. Bake @ 350F for 15 minutes. Allow the bars to cool for about 1-2 hours, and then remove from the dish. Cut into bars with a large knife. Store in an airtight container or else you will eat them right away. :)