Happy New Year!

Have you had your black eyed peas? If not, eat up! You wouldn't want to start the year without a hefty helping of luck! I grew up eating black eyed peas and cornbread for dinner every New Year's Day. It wasn't until I was out of college that I accumulated a whole New Year's good-luck-mojo meal.

One year I went to visit my grandmother over New Year's and she added quite a few things a few things to the must-have menu. So, black eyed peas for luck. She said that you needed to eat cabbage for folding money and carrots for coins. Lastly, you needed poppy seeds for health. So I have developed a menu that incorporates all of them. My in-laws refer to it as my 'special New Year's meal.'

The menu? Black eyed peas with ham, coleslaw with cabbage and carrots with lemon poppyseed blossoms for dessert. This isn't a cooking blog, but I just can't help myself. Here are the recipes.

Rae Ann's Healthy, Wealthy and Lucky New Year's Meal

Black Eyed Peas - Cover one pound of frozen peas with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes then turn down to a simmer. Add one chopped onion, 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic, 1 cup of salsa. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until the peas get soft, about 45 minutes. Add one boneless ham steak , cubed, and simmer until the ham is hot. We usually eat it with corn bread. I like mine with ketchup, which my parents consider heresy.

Coleslaw - This recipe is all about the dressing. It is neither too savory nor too sweet. Mix together half a cup of Miracle Whip, 2 tablespoons sugar, two tablespoon apple cider vinegar, a generous dash of celery seed, a teaspoon salt, and a dash of pepper. Mix with a pre-bagged shredded cabbage with carrots. Or to be true the the coin part of the luck, cut carrots into thin coins. Toss together. I usually serve the dressing separately so you can put as much or as little as you like on it.

Lemon Poppy Seed Blossoms - This is a modification of a recipe from Paula Deen that you can find here. The original recipe calls for yellow cake mix and instant lemon pudding, but I have a hard time finding that at the store, so I changed it to lemon cake mix and white chocolate pudding. (I love lemon and white chocolate together!). Mix the mixes, 4 eggs, and 3/4 cups of vegetable oil and one and a half tablespoons of poppy seeds until smooth. The batter will be very thick. Fill muffin tins half full. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes for small muffins and 20 minutes for regular sized muffins. They are yummy on their own, but it is the glaze that makes them amazing. Mix 4 cups powdered sugar with 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice, the zest of one lemon, 3 tablespoons water and 3 tablespoons vegetable oil. While the muffins are still warm, dunk them in the glaze with a fork, covering all surfaces. The glaze will harden in about an hour. This glaze is to die for. I could eat it by itself.

Enjoy! I hope that your new year is filled with luck, wealth, and good health!

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