Sarah and Autism

Many who know Sarah now don’t know all that she went through as a child to get where she is today. I have been talking a lot about where she is now and the events that have transpired over the last year.  Since I wrote my post yesterday I have confirmed some suspicions I have had for years and wanted to share it with you. I thought it also might help to have some detailed background as it might be helpful to someone who comes across this blog.

Sarah was born full-term on 9/10/87 weighing 5 pounds 10 ounces. That was average for me, though small for many. During my pregnancy there was an issue with ultrasounds, every ultrasound said she was due Oct 15, but I saw my doctor at 2 weeks gestation, so we knew that was wrong, just not why. That mystery is still unanswered.

Sarah did fine for the first three months. She rolled over on time, smiled on time and seemed normal. She had her shots at 2 and 4 months like babies are supposed to. At 6 months she didn’t sit. She was like a floppy doll with no upper body strength. Then a friend moved in next door with a baby 2 days older than Sarah. The differences were so obvious. I will never forget the day I took Sarah in for her 6 month check-up. The doctor told me her head wasn’t growing properly and that she was micro-cephalic (that is a big word meaning she had a small head).  We had to wait 2 months to see a pediatric neurologist who then told us that Sarah would never walk, talk or do anything and that we should just do ourselves a favor and institutionalize her. During this time she also had her first seizure. A month after this we realized she was probably deaf.

There were no answers coming from any doctor. They didn’t give us a diagnosis or prognosis other than what the neurologist said. Right before her first birthday we moved to Dallas. At Texas Scottish Rites Hospital we saw the first doctor that gave us any hope. I will never forget that day either. He looked me in the eyes and said, “I can’t give you any medical reason to back this up, but I believe Sarah will do things. Let her try what she wants and don’t give up on her. I see something in her eyes that tells me she’s there.” That’s all this mamma needed. At that time we were trying to get her a special chair called a freedom seat because she couldn’t sit.  Even though Sarah couldn’t crawl, she could get around really well though. She rolled everywhere and she was quick. At 18 months she sat for the first time and we canceled the freedom seat. After that came scooting. She never crawled because she had a right side semi-paresis. Once she could get around she would pull herself up into a chair by grabbing the rungs in the back and pulling herself into it. She was very strong in her good arm. Things continued like that for a couple of years.

During this time of her life Sarah also had a lot of choking/gagging issues. Usually the hardest foods to eat were things like mashed potatoes. At two we had the diagnosis that she was profoundly deaf. In other words a jet could be behind her and she wouldn’t hear it. A very small percentage of people with hearing loss are that deaf.

As she grew she had several things that were different that she did that I didn’t have any explanation for. Because she wasn’t walking she was in diapers still. Every day, after lunch, she would dirty her diaper and then proceed to smear it’s contents all over her bed, her wall and anything else you she could smear it on. Sorry if this is TMI, it’s just how things were. You might say to yourself, wait her out. We tried, didn’t work. I tried duct taping her diaper on. I tried everything I could think of, all to no avail. This finally stopped when she was potty trained and never has someone been so happy for potty training!

She is the only child I had who would climb out of her bed. Long before she could walk, she would work her way out of the baby bed. After a while we gave up and put a mattress on the floor for her. Then the battle of staying in bed began. Oh, what a battle that was. When she was 3, before she could walk, I would put her to bed, put two gates in front of her door, and then a small dresser in the hall in front of that. She would lie on her back and push with her legs until she has moved the gate and the dresser enough that she could escape, and then off she would scoot. I don’t know how many times a night we did this.

She loved going to church, but wasn’t really social when she was there. At home, church, playground, everywhere she pretty much stayed to herself. You could interact with her for a short while but not for very long. She loved having her toys/dolls but she was not really one to cuddle with them or play with them a lot. She was very OCD about them though and wanted them in their certain spots.

Sarah finally began walking at 4. Then she took off! We jokingly nicknamed her “Stopper”, because we were always yelling ahead to people in the halls at church to, “STOP HER!” as she ran off.

Sarah has been diagnosed with several issues. She is classified as having a seizure disorder, cerebral palsy, an anxiety disorder, developmental delay and she is deaf. I asked one of the many doctors for a “name” for what she had. Her response was, “Does it really matter?” We could have done lots of testing, but it wouldn’t have changed anything. In the back of my mind I always wondered if she might have autism. Just because of how anti-social she is and how she doesn’t like to interact a lot. Recently a friend spent some time with us one evening and she suggested that Sarah might have autism. She has a son who is a high functioning autistic so she recognizes the signs.

I have been reading the book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle, because we are putting Sarah on that diet(referred to as the SCD diet). It has helped children with emotional issues which is the reason I was putting Sarah on it. As I read and researched more online I began to see Sarah in much of what I was reading. Since her breakdown she has begun doing odd motions/movements and making odd sounds that she didn’t make before. Her behavior and actions drastically changed. Today she is nothing like before. Though we get glimpses of “the old Sarah”. I came across this video last night and it is amazing how much like Sarah this is. I found out that those odd mannerisms, movements and sounds had a name, it’s called stimming.

It may be true that having a diagnosis for what she has doesn’t really change anything, but it helps me greatly to understand what is going on better. We started the diet about a week and a half ago and we are already seeing great changes. When I got up today I was surprised at how different she looked. The Lord is in control of her progress and we are trusting in Him as we go through this daily. We are thankful that this diet may help her. Our hope is once she works through the stress and anxiety that she is working through the stimming will diminish

Please share any thoughts or experience you may have. I’d love to have input if you have encouragement to offer.

Trim and Healthy Sausage Pancakes- E

Today I made some yummy and filling pancakes. Breakfast is always hard for me because I don’t like to eat when I first get up. After looking in the fridge and finding some browned ground turkey I had a plan. I made the turkey into breakfast sausage and made some Trim Healthy Pancake batter (page 223 in the Trim Healthy Mama book). I’m going to share with you how I made my sausage and my sausage pancakes.

I put my pre-cooked ground turkey into a small skillet. I used a good handful of it, don’t you like my precise measurements? 😉 I added to the turkey a little water, homemade sugar-free brown sugar (Gwen has a great recipe), sage, marjoram and salt and pepper. You could add a few red pepper flakes if you like, but I’m a wimp when it comes to spicy. I cooked it on medium heat until it was heated well while my blender did the work to make my low carb/ low fat pancakes.

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 As the sausage finished up I began to heat my griddle on medium heat. I then took my sausage and put it into little piles on the griddle. I only made 3 pancakes because that was the most I could eat. I think I ended up eating a little over 2.

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I then poured my batter over the sausage. The edges took on the shape of my sausage pile so it looked more like flowers (if you’re really imaginative).

 photo THMSausagepancakes03_zps2d90c16a.jpgSince my edges all oozed together I had to take my spatula and cut through the joined places. I want you to know that we are just simple home cooks here and though we like our food photography to look nice, we want to keep it real too. Yes, I have weird looking pancakes, but they taste awesome!

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 I had only greased the griddle with a tiny bit of butter (I mean really tiny) and din’t have any issues with them sticking. Often with gluten free and different flours sticking can be a real issue.

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 These pancakes were really light and satisfying. What a great way to start the day! What do you do to your pancakes to make them special?

Cheesecake Dip & Trim Healthy Mama

For about the last year I have been seeing my friends link to recipes and testimonials from Trim Healthy Mama. I didn’t really know anything about it and one day in late July I started looking into it. I joined the Facebook group and ordered the book. The last year  of my life has been filled with many ups and downs and much sorrow. I was ready for something positive in my life. I began reading the book and trying to implement some of the things I was reading. Then we got a call we all dread and found out Gene’s step-father was dying. While on that trip Gene’s brother was testing out his new glucometer and one morning we all decided to get our blood sugar tested. This was a big wake-up call for me because my sugar level wasn’t terrible, but it was higher than I would have liked.

If you know me well, you know that I usually have a Dr. Pepper in my hand. Even after the high sugar level it took me a few weeks to get off of Dr. Pepper completely. At this point I haven’t had a soft-drink (with HFC) since the beginning of October. I actually don’t desire them any more. The only type of soft drink I have had is Vitamin Water Zero and an occasional Izze (made with fruit juice, no added sugar). I did cheat last weekend and have a drink like an Izze that had added cane juice in it, and I am still paying for that with major joint pain.

So far I have lost about 10 pounds, but I haven’t been anywhere close to faithful with the diet except on the soda front. I see now after my sugar binge this weekend that it really does play a major role in my Lyme and joint pain. I am going to be much more careful from here out. I also have some adrenal fatigue issues which may cause my loss to be slower as I heal my adrenals.

Many people think that everyone who is over-weight is obsessed with food. I even had a “friend” talk to me about it one time. She was trim but was obsessed with food and assumed my weight issues were related to my food obsession. I actually have the opposite problem. . . I could care less. It is not unusual for me to be up for 4 or 5 (or more) hours before I take my first bite of food. Often I would hardly eat all day and I rarely if ever felt hunger pains. I was just never hungry. This causes your metabolism to shut down and it stores fat instead of burning it. I now have to reverse this process through the way I eat and supplements. If I were to go to a restaurant to eat, I might be able to finish 1/2 of what they served as an entree. The biggest struggle for me is to eat. What will happen often is I forget to eat and then realize it has been over 4 hours and I panic and eat just anything because I know I need to eat. I am working on planning ahead more and having friendly foods ready and easily accessible so that I don’t blow it when I need to eat.

We do have sweets on this plan, just not with sugar. We use stevia, erythritol and xylitol to sweeten with. I will be sharing recipes that I have made and use that incorporate these sweeteners. I will also post some recipes that have sugar in them because Sarah cannot use these due to health issues.

In THM (Trim Healthy Mama) meals are classified as: S= satisfying (these are higher in fat/low in carb) E= energizing (Low in fat/ higher in carb) and FP= fuel pull (these are both low in fat and carbs and burn the most fat). My recipes will be labeled to denote which category they fall into.

Cheesecake Dip

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This recipe came about last night when Rachel offered me a snack that she had made. I think she called it cheesecake. When I tasted it I found it to be very rich, which isn’t a bad thing but I wanted to eat it with something else. I remembered about Gwen’s Low Carb Cinnamon Dippers. After baking these I sat down for my snack. Gene asked me what I had. I told him and gave him a taste. He loved it as well and asked me more than once if this was really on plan.

When I asked Rachel how she made this she said she added some of this and a dash of that. I made some today and got the measurements so I could share it with you. I hope you like and enjoy it. Let me know if you try it and if you do anything else with it.

Cheesecake Dip (Trim Healthy Mama -S)
A wonderfully satisfying sugar free cheesecake dip that makes you feel like you're cheating.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1- 8oz package of cream cheese (we used 1/3 fat but you could use full fat or fat free)
  2. 1/2 cup of heavy cream (I'm sure you could substitute with almond or coconut milk but why would you? 😉 )
  3. 1 tsp of vanilla
  4. 2 tsp of lemon juice
  5. 3 Tblsp of Truvia
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients into a bowl and mix until combined.
Notes
  1. This is a super simple and adaptable recipe. I was thinking about the ways to adapt it and I will play with some other ideas and post them as we make them.
My Titus 2 Journey http://www.mytitus2journey.com/

I hope you enjoy the recipe and will let me know what you think of it. What ideas do you have as to how to adapt it? If you have any questions about THM, please feel free to ask.

Homemaking Joyfully in 2014

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This last year has been a little crazy, OK, a lot crazy. We’ve had issues with Sarah; Hannah, Rachel & Caroline dealing with Chronic Lyme disease, Papaw’s death & Caroline’s emergency surgery. Needless to say, it’s not a year we want to repeat. We are starting 2014 off with an optimistic outlook.  It’s a year of new beginnings and we are looking forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for us.

This blog has been woefully neglected in the last year due to the aforementioned events. Our hope is to start posting what we are doing in our homemaking adventures. We will be sharing our photography, our recipes, organization and other homemaking skills/tasks, I may do a series on small space living with a large family, food budgeting, monthly shopping and money & time saving tips. 

Our food journey has taken on many different complexions over the last few years. In an effort to combat the Chronic Lyme and other auto-immune issues we have changed our diet. We believe that what you eat can drastically affect your overall physical and mental health. We have experienced this first hand. Our recipes will cover several different diets and restrictions. We will have recipes that are one or more of the following: gluten free, egg free, grain free, dairy free, corn free, soy free, sugar free, low carb, high fat, or Trim Healthy Mama

We try to keep our food as clean as possible while also keeping our budget in mind. We don’t buy organic meats, our budget just doesn’t allow for it at this time. We believe that food should be tasty, fun, affordable and pleasing to the eye as well as being good for you. 

This week I am focusing on cleaning out and organizing our middle bedroom. It is very small and for the last few months has been the room that you put things into that don’t have a home. There are no before pictures (I didn’t want to be cast on hoarders) but when I finish, I’ll post some. This room is going to be used for storage of some of our 8 million books, our craft/office supplies and is home to our deep freeze. 

Please take time to stop by our other blogs (there are links in the right side toolbar). Caroline also has her photography website. You can also find Rachel and me on Twitter.  We also have Facebook pages for our different sites.

Joyful Homemakers

My Titus 2 Journey

Lavender and Honey

Currahee Photography

What are your homemaking goals for the upcoming year? 

Homemaking Joyfully in 2014

 photo Carohospitaleditedblog_zps4e6d4a93.jpg

This last year has been a little crazy, OK, a lot crazy. We’ve had issues with Sarah; Hannah, Rachel & Caroline dealing with Chronic Lyme disease, Papaw’s death & Caroline’s emergency surgery. Needless to say, it’s not a year we want to repeat. We are starting 2014 off with an optimistic outlook.  It’s a year of new beginnings and we are looking forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for us.

This blog has been woefully neglected in the last year due to the aforementioned events. Our hope is to start posting what we are doing in our homemaking adventures. We will be sharing our photography, our recipes, organization and other homemaking skills/tasks, I may do a series on small space living with a large family, food budgeting, monthly shopping and money & time saving tips. 

Our food journey has taken on many different complexions over the last few years. In an effort to combat the Chronic Lyme and other auto-immune issues we have changed our diet. We believe that what you eat can drastically affect your overall physical and mental health. We have experienced this first hand. Our recipes will cover several different diets and restrictions. We will have recipes that are one or more of the following: gluten free, egg free, grain free, dairy free, corn free, soy free, sugar free, low carb, high fat, or Trim Healthy Mama

We try to keep our food as clean as possible while also keeping our budget in mind. We don’t buy organic meats, our budget just doesn’t allow for it at this time. We believe that food should be tasty, fun, affordable and pleasing to the eye as well as being good for you. 

This week I am focusing on cleaning out and organizing our middle bedroom. It is very small and for the last few months has been the room that you put things into that don’t have a home. There are no before pictures (I didn’t want to be cast on hoarders) but when I finish, I’ll post some. This room is going to be used for storage of some of our 8 million books, our craft/office supplies and is home to our deep freeze. 

Please take time to stop by our other blogs (there are links in the right side toolbar). Caroline also has her photography website. You can also find Rachel and me on Twitter.  We also have Facebook pages for our different sites.

Joyful Homemakers

My Titus 2 Journey

Lavender and Honey

Currahee Photography

What are your homemaking goals for the upcoming year? 

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake in a Jar

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Tonight when I ran into Walmart I saw a sign for a McDonald’s pumpkin drink and my mind started swirling and a recipe came to me as I walked through the store. When I came home this is what I created. I’m not very good at original names, so this one is sorta cheezy (pun intended).  

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake in a Jar
Serves 2
A creamy pumpkin treat with a hint of cheesecake and a crunch of pecans.
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Print
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 15oz can pumpkin puree
  2. 1 cup pecans
  3. 1 tsp vanilla
  4. 2 tsp cinnamon
  5. 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  6. 1/8 tsp allspice
  7. 1/8 tsp cloves
  8. 1 1/2 Tbsp Truvia
  9. 4oz 1/3 fat cream cheese
  10. 4 oz of greek yogurt
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in food processor and blend until creamy and blended. Put into 2 pint mason jars or 4 1/2 pint jars. Put in the freezer for about 15 minutes to set up. Enjoy!!!
Notes
  1. The nutritional information for this is for the whole batch. Divide the information based on how many servings you make. If you are on the THM diet this is an S. Don't freak out about the carbs. The carbs are from the nuts and pumpkin which are all fine to eat with an S and we don't count those.
My Titus 2 Journey http://www.mytitus2journey.com/

Pecan Shortbread Cookies

On Wednesday nights we have a potluck at church and we are always looking for something new to bring. Yesterday we were in a time crunch so Rachel decided to make  shortbread cookies because they come together pretty quickly. She made The Picky Cook’s Pecan Shortbread. I must say that they were AWESOME! I’d love to share a picture of them, but that would be difficult since none of them made it home. We have some more dough in the fridge and if any make it to a plate we will get some pics.

Rachel did adapt the recipe ever so slightly, she added 2-3 Tablespoons of cool water to the dough. It just seemed to need it to stick together.

 

Turkey Day

Every year after Thanksgiving and Christmas I hit the stores looking for the holiday meats that have been marked down. Last Friday I went to Kroger looking for marked down fresh turkey. Normally I would buy a turkey that is .25 a pound or less, but this year we are having to do things differently. Due to dietary restrictions we aren’t able to buy the frozen turkey because it is injected with all types of things before they freeze them. So, from now on it’s fresh for us.

When I went to the store to buy my turkeys they only had 22 pounders left. They were some huge birds! I bought two of them planning on roasting, carving and putting them in small portions in the freezer. We’ll use the meat for soups, salads, and casseroles. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get to them for a couple of days and put them on ice in a large ice chest. I use my ice chests a lot during the holiday season since my refrigerator is usually packed. I don’t know why it took me so long to think of doing that, it has sure been a lifesaver since I started doing it.

I bought my two disposable roasting pans Monday and was ready to roast on Tuesday. I usually use my table top roaster for my turkeys (can’t say how much I love that appliance!) but these birds wouldn’t fit in it. Tuesday was going to be turkey day! I was ready, and I had a plan. I was going to roast the turkeys one at a time in the oven because I didn’t think there was any way to fit them both in at the same time. I wasn’t injecting them because I was going to be using the meat in different ways. It was going to be simple; rinse the birds, throw them in the pan and roast them.

I should know by now that simple doesn’t exist in my house. I am the type of person who always hopes for the best, and thinks things are going to run smoothly, I don’t know why I am always surprised when they don’t. You would think I would have learned by now. Well, on turkey day who do you think awoke with a stomach bug? If you guessed me, you’d be right. On top of me being sick, Caroline also had a stomach bug an Hannah is suffering with a major migraine which left Rachel to run the house and cook two turkeys. Did I mention that I am the only one in the house to have ever roasted a turkey? As I was getting back into the bed about to pass out the thought came to me that it was turkey day and I had two humongous turkeys that were going to take about 8 hours of cooking. The idea of sticking my hand inside a naked, dead, & cold (which is a greater reminder of its lack of life) bird was enough to turn my stomach, not that it wasn’t already doing somersaults.

When I told Rachel my dilemma she cheerfully told me that she would take care of it. I was in that state of half-awake, half-passing out when I gave her directions as to how to cook the turkeys. I am sure I was quite clear in those directions, they made perfect sense to me. After I awoke from my coma to smells of turkey wafting in the air, I walked stumbled into the kitchen to check on the turkey. Much to my surprise I found two turkeys in roasting pans crammed into the oven. I asked Rachel how she had prepared them because they looked different than anything I had done before. She told me that she had adapted a dry brining method we had heard about from a friend. She separated the skin from the birds and rubbed a mixture of olive oil and sea salt generously all over the bird. On top of the skin she rubbed a little more of that mixture and more oil on them to make them crispy. She cooked them breast down, which allows all of the juices to run into the breast, and slow roasted them at 325 (F). The only problem with cooking them breast down is that the skin isn’t crispy on the breast. You can alleviate that by flipping the bird and cooking it breast side up for the last 45 minutes or so. For me, I would rather the juicy meat and I don’t worry about the skin. Besides, who wants to try to flip two hot 22 pound turkeys?!

We were rather dubious at first, thinking that the meat was going to be too salty. Once we carved the bird and tasted it, all fears were gone. Those were the best turkeys we have ever tasted! It was all moist and juicy and had just the right amount of saltiness to it. I don’t have pictures to share, I wasn’t up to taking any last night, and I sure wish I could give you a taste through your monitor, but since I can’t, you are just going to have to trust me.

Ground Turkey Soup

Today is a cold and blustery day in Houston with snow threatening to start falling any minute. One of my favorite things on a cold day is a big bowl of steamy hot soup. We recently began doing Weight Watchers Points Plus and it has caused me to be very conscious of everything I eat. The wonderful thing about this soup is that is friendly to my waist as well as being friendly to my wallet. If you are doing WW the points value for this soup is 2 per cup. Now, the cornbread I love to eat with soup is another thing completely. We put our recipe into the calculator that WW has online, and it was a whopping 7 points per piece. I will have to decide if I am willing to part with that many points for a piece of cornbread.

Ground Turkey Soup

1 pound of ground turkey breast
4 cups 99% fat free beef stock
16 cups of water
1 6oz can of tomato paste
2 tsp of salt
1 tsp of marjoram
2 tsp of Tiger Dust (or Cajun seasoning of your preference)
3 cloves of minced garlic
3 Tbsp dried minced onion, or 1 onion chopped
4 potatoes, peeled and diced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced

Brown the ground turkey (there should be no fat to drain if you use the ground breast, but if you use another meat be sure to drain off any fat). Add all other ingredients to the pot, except potatoes and carrots and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 3 hours (you can do it for less, but the longer it simmers the better the flavor). 45 minutes before you want to serve the soup increase the temperature and when it begins to boil add the potatoes and carrots. Once the potatoes and carrots are tender, serve and enjoy.

White Bean Soup With Smoked Turkey

Our family loves beans. To some that seems to be odd. One day when I was in Sam’s buying a 10 lb bag of pinto beans for making homemade re-fried beans, I ran into a friend. She made a comment about feeling sorry for us because we “have” to eat beans. I thought it was funny, because we don’t have to eat beans, we like them and enjoy eating them.

I think my love of beans developed when I was a child. My grandparents had a 52 acre farm about 30 minutes away from where we lived and on weekends we would go to visit. Many a day was spent sitting under a shade tree shelling peas, or snapping beans. There is nothing quite like a lunch made of fresh purple hull peas with homemade chow chow, sweet corn and cornbread. After we were married and moved to south Louisiana, our love for beans grew with the addition of Red Beans and rice and White beans.

This soup recipe is one that I created several years ago. It is super simple and very satisfying. I must warn you that I cook beans a little differently. I wasn’t taught to cook them (the right way) and so when I began cooking, I would just throw everything in the pot and cook them until they were done. What may have started out as a mistake turned out well. I believe that cooking them this way infuses the beans with a great amount of flavor. I will occasionally do a quick soak by putting only the beans in water, bringing them to a boil, turning off the heat, covering them and then letting them sit for an hour. After they have soaked for an hour I will then dump everything else in and start cooking them.

I would love to do a soup recipe swap with everyone, so please leave your favorite soup recipe in the comment section.

White Bean Soup with Smoked Turkey

2 lbs. Great Northern Beans, rinsed
1 onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp. Simply Organic All-Purpose Seasoning (this is an herb based seasoning blend, not salt based)
1 tsp. of Tony’s
1 tsp. hot sauce
1 Tbl. Worcestershire sauce
1 smoked turkey wing (I found mine near the ham at Wal-mart)
water

Put all ingredients into a stock pot and cover with a couple of inches of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a medium heat. Cook until beans are tender(this took about 3 1/2 hours), making sure to keep about an inch of water over the beans. Before serving remove meat from bones; discarding bones and skin. Serve with cornbread. This soup will also freeze well. For a family of 7 we had leftovers, for a smaller family, this would give you a couple of frozen meals.