Cold weather and bean soup

Hi everyone!  Although it’s only been a week, it feels like ages since I’ve blogged!  I guess it’s been a busy week 🙂

I played hooky from work and hit the slopes with the girls!  Well, it wasn’t really hooky since I requested the day off in advance… but being off on a random weekday still felt rebellious and awesome.

slopeside

Here I am with Heather and Sheila at Sugarbush, which is quickly becoming one of my very favorite places!  Wow, the picture makes the trail look so flat… must be an optical illusion.  Seriously, it felt much steeper!  😉

In other news, Jonathan and I had a great weekend, we spent time with both of our families, plus had a fun date night in Boston.  We went to Life Alive for dinner… we both love this place so much that we’ve already decided what to try next time we go!  (Life Alive owners, if you happen to be reading this, pretty please open up a restaurant in Portsmouth.  I promise, I’ll be there all the time!!)  After dinner, we saw a comedy show with Janeane Garofalo, which was hilarious, I love her smart humor.  And then…….

cannoli

We totally indulged!  In fact that less-than-gracious picture is me holding a chocolate chip cannoli… no plate… no napkin (!!)… just cannoli, straight up!  In my humble opinion, Mike’s Pastry has the BEST cannoli in the North End, as proven by the ever-present line out the door.

Mike's!

By the end of the weekend, we were both pretty tired.  Plus, the last few days have been cold and a bit dreary here.  A perfect time for a big ol’ pot of soup!

No-Limits Bean Soup

The great thing about this soup is that no bean is off limits!  You can use any combination of dried beans… as many different types as you like.  I used Bob’s Red Mill brand mixed dried beans, or mix and match your favorites.  This recipe does require a little planning as you will need to soak the beans overnight… not a ‘spur of the moment’ meal, but totally worth the extra time!  And dried beans are far yummier and healthier than canned.

beans

  • 1 cup dried beans (expands to about 2 cups after soaking)
  • 3 small leeks, about 2 cups chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalked, chopped
  • 1 lg. can of tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • avocado (optional garnish)

Begin by soaking the beans overnight.  Be sure to cover the beans with a few inches of water as they will expand.  Rinse the beans after soaking.

In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, sautee the leek, carrot and celery until slightly soft.  Salt and pepper to taste.

beans2

Add the vegetable stock, canned tomatoes, and soaked beans.  Bring the soup to a boil and reduce to simmer for approximately two hours.  After cooking, add water or vegetable stock if needed to thin and more salt and pepper to taste.  You can always add hot pepper, but I kept the recipe mellow.  Serve topped with sliced avocado.

Now, it was a particularly cold day and true comfort food was in order… so we ate the soup with mini grilled cheese sandwiches.  Mmmmmmm!!  As there are only two ingredients, I won’t walk you through a grilled cheese recipe, but I will say this: get really good bread and good cheese… and you can’t go wrong.  We used roasted garlic baguette and smoked gouda.  And it was ‘so gouda’  (you like what I did there)  😉

bean soup

The longer cook time on this soup really lets all of the flavors melt together.  Nothing like grilled cheese and soup to ward off the freezing weather!  And this guy…..

ice moose

15 days til Spring!!  Hang in there friends!!  xox  Kristen

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