*low-altitude recipe*

  • 1 lb. dried black-eyed peas
  • Salt pork (1- or 2-inch piece)
  • 1 med. diced onion
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic pulp (don’t slice)
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • ¼ to ½ cup carrots cut into small chunks (optional)
  • 1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies. For slightly spicy, use ORIGINAL. Use HOT for more kick.
  • 4 cans chicken broth and/or water to make 2-4 inches of liquid above peas (Note: broth makes them tastier)
  • 2 Tbls. chili powder
  • Black pepper and salt to taste
  • 2 cups cubed, cooked ham (optional)

Prepare black-eyed peas by picking out any rocks or discolored peas. My method: Pour dried peas onto a flat surface. I use the kitchen table, using my hand to scrape the cleaned peas into a colander in my lap. Rinse under running water. Put into a heavy 6 qt. pot.

Add salt pork, onion, garlic, celery, carrots, jalapeno pepper, can of Rotel, and the broth and/or water. Add enough liquid to cover peas plus 2-4

inches of liquid above the peas, depending on how “soupy” you want it to be. They will swell somewhat as they cook, but not as much as pinto beans. Stir. Add chili powder, lots of black pepper, and start with 2 or 3 tsp. of salt. As the peas soften, taste and add salt as needed. Use less salt if using a salted chicken-broth base.

Bring to a boil, uncovered. Reduce heat. Cover partially and simmer about 25 to 30 minutes. Stir and check often for desired softness. Don’t overcook. Add ham, heat through, and serve. Delicious with cornbread.

Black-Eyed Peas and Cornbread

Happy New Year!


Jodi Lea Stewart is the author of a contemporary trilogy set in the Navajo Nation and two historical adventure-mysteries. More are on the way!

Kat and her mother went out of their way to drive north from Texas to connect with the Mother Road *Route 66* in Oklahoma City on their way to Las Vegas. Live the sights and smells along historic Route 66 as they head into one adventure after another, including becoming entangled in a web of mobsters.


Historical Fiction



A teen and her mother escaping an abusive situation tumble into the epicenter of crime peddlers invading Arizona and Nevada in the 1950s. Stranded hundreds of miles from their planned destination of Las Vegas, they land in a dusty town full of ghosts and tales, treachery and corruption. Avoiding disaster is tricky, especially as it leads Kat into a fevered quest for things as simple as home and trust. Danger lurks everywhere, leading her to wonder if she and her mother really did take The Accidental Road of life, or if it’s the exact right road to all they ever hoped for.




Trouble sneaks in one Oklahoma afternoon in 1934 like an oily twister. A beloved neighbor is murdered, and a single piece of evidence sends the sheriff to arrest a black man Biddy, a sharecropper’s daughter, knows is innocent. Hauntingly terrifying sounds seeping from the woods lead Biddy into even deeper mysteries and despair and finally into the shocking truths of that fateful summer.

“Beyond the humor and entertaining antics of the main character, Biddy Woodson, BLACKBERRY ROAD has depth and meaning as it explores stirring universal themes that we expect in great literature” ~ D.B. Jackson, acclaimed Historical and Western author

BLACKBERRY ROAD is engaging, entertaining, and a book that is sure to linger with you . . . the trip is well worth the time ~ Cyrus Webb, Host of ConversationsLIVE, president of Conversations Radio Network, tv show host, author, and publicist



A beautiful display of culture . . . I thoroughly enjoyed Silki, The Girl of Many Scarves. As a Middle School Spanish teacher, I am always excited to find culturally and linguistically relevant literature for our youth. You will fall in love with the characters, and appreciate how authentically the Navajo language and traditions are conveyed. This trilogy is a must read! ~ Tara Moore

Just for fun . . .

What am I writing? Why, not to borrow unauthorized media, of course!

“Hey, Marilyn, did you read Jodi Lea Stewart’s newest novel, The Accidental Road?”  


“Read it? Honey . . . I was her main consultant.”