“Domestic” – Minestrone Soup Recipe

The March Photo Challenge continues.

I would not consider myself very domestic. I love being at home, and creating a “cozy” atmosphere (especially with Yankee Candles; thanks, Mom) and feeling domestic, but I’m really not domestic. If I stayed at home all the time, cleaned the house until it was spotless, maintained this cleaned house, and cooked a warm meal every night, maybe I’d re-think it. But none of that happens.

As I’ve said before, cooking is not one of my strong suits. I didn’t cook when I was younger, and neither of my parents were big into cooking, even though my mother cooked every night. I learned to cook out of necessity, and I do know the obvious basics, and could put together a simple meal. Then N came along (I’m going to start referring to my husband as N, fyi, easy to type), and he loves to cook. His parents worked late into the evening when he was younger, so if he wanted to eat dinner, he had to make it himself.

In the past couple years, he has really turned into a chef. He loves all the cooking shows, puts on his apron and tries out new recipes. He will spend five hours cooking a meal on a weekend, and I can be overheard saying, “Why not just boil boxed pasta instead of making it from scratch? So much faster…”

However, I do make one dish. N does too, if I’m busy, but I’m going to give myself a little credit on this one. I am usually the one who makes this. I got it from our best man’s wife, who is an excellent cook, and it is one of my favorite recipes.

Minestrone Soup. What I love about it is that it’s healthy, first of all. I don’t feel guilty having a big bowl of it. Also, you can throw in any vegetable you’d like. If you’ve got something lying around you want to get rid of, throw it in there! It’s definitely an “everything-but-the-kitchen-sink” soup. Here is the recipe:

1-2 zucchini/summer squash, sliced

1 shallot or onion, diced

A few cups of chopped carrots (I’ve also done celery)

A tablespoon of minced garlic

15 oz. can of green beans

15 oz. can of pinto beans

15 oz. can of lentils or black beans

1 package of fresh spinach, chopped

Small can of tomato paste

28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes

One quart of chicken broth

15 oz. can-sized amount of water

Salt and pepper, to taste

Italian seasoning, to taste

Sauté the first four ingredients with olive oil, and add any other raw vegetable here if you’d like. Then, once it is soft enough for your liking, add in all of the cans of vegetables, beans, and broth, including the chicken broth. Add salt and pepper, and Italian seasoning, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn it down to a simmer and add the fresh chopped spinach, as much as you’d like. Let it simmer for about 30-40 minutes and it’s done!

You can tailor this recipe for yourself. Feel free to change the types of vegetables and beans to something you’d prefer. The end result should taste the same. I also add Parmesan cheese to my soup, as I do most soups.

Finally, back when I was eating wheat, I liked to boil a little pasta (shells) and throw them in this soup, which makes it even more delicious. Then I went gluten-free, and that pasta doesn’t do very well in this soup, and after that I decided to be healthy and leave out the pasta. Either way, it is so delicious.

It takes about an hour from start to finish, so plan ahead. It’s worth it, though.

Pardon this crappy iPhone pic, but here it is, prior to the spinach step, in all its glory.

I give you…..domestic.

Let me know if you make this one at home; I’d love to know how it turns out!


March Photo Challenge!

Happy Friday! Here’s the truth – I couldn’t wait to come home today and blog. I think I want to make blogging my new full-time job. More on that later. My blog has a new look, and I can’t tell you how much I like it. It’s so much better than before! Glad I did it. Changing themes on WordPress is really quite simple, luckily. So that’s that.

I am doing something new with my blog for the month of March. I got this idea from Belle, the creator. Many other bloggers have jumped on the bandwagon, and I think I’m going to give it a try. Here’s what it entails.

Here are the rules:

  1. Challenge begins Thursday, March 1, 2012 and ends on March 31. (But you can join in whenever you want!)
  2. Take a daily photo inspired by that days prompt. You don’t need a fancy camera for this.
  3. Post your photos, either daily or every couple of days, to your blog with a note as to what the prompt was.

I do not know exactly how this will play out for me, but I’ll give it a try. What I love about the photo prompts is that they are open to interpretation, so all of the participants’ pictures will be so different. I can also say that I may not take a new picture every day. More likely, I will dig through my vault of pictures that I’ve collected the last few years and use something from there. I have a great, fancy, expensive camera that I rarely use (oops, iphones are so much quicker), and I’ve taken many pictures with it that are worth sharing.

So here we go. Yesterday’s picture prompt was “self-portrait”, and today’s is “feet”.

After a few minutes of hemming and hawing, I decided to go with this one for my self-portrait. The quality is crap, because it was a scanned picture. It was taken 10 years ago, when I was 17. That is my husband and I, at our senior prom. Someone else snapped the picture and was kind enough to print it and give it to me a few days later, and I absolutely loved it. It was my favorite picture of us up until that point. While I’ve got plenty of better quality, newer pictures of us, there will be plenty of time to post them. This one I’m proud of.

Go ahead and mentally add about 15-20 pounds to each of us, straighten my hair, and add a few years to my husband’s face, and that’s how we look now. I honestly do not look any different, facially, than in this picture. Hence why my ID is always being checked at restaurants. That’s another story for another post, though.

Okay, now “feet”. Let me first say this. I hate feet. Hate them. Other than baby feet, of course. While I won’t comment on the feet of other people, I do not show my feet, ever, unless it’s so hot during the summer that I just can’t handle socks anymore. My feet belong in socks, and slippers, or fake Uggs. Now, they aren’t that bad. They are pretty big, but they are soft from years of not going barefoot. I just don’t like feet. And I really don’t like toes. They’re so….weird. I don’t even like the word “toes”. My feet are properly secured at the moment in socks and black fake Uggs. They will soon make the switch to cozy slippers for the rest of the night. This is why I am not going to upload a picture of my feet. It would basically have to be over my dead body that I would show off my bare feet to the world. Yuck. Disgusting. Sorry, it’s just not happening. Instead, I’m going to show you a super cute picture of feet.

Sadie Feet! She always crosses her paws like a little lady, though that’s about the only thing she does that could be considered “ladylike”. Either way, cute little paws are way better than size 9 1/2 grown woman feet. GROSS.

So the March Photo Challenge is underway. Thanks, Belle!

Meanwhile, the world continues to turn. I’m CD 16, still nothing worth noting by way of ovulation, but I will be getting my blood taken on Monday, CD 19, to see how my eggs stand. I’m excited to find out if this cycle is actually going to happen or not, though I do not expect to ovulate before Monday.

My Fitness Pal can suck it, but man, does it work. I’ve lost about 2 pounds in the last week and half or so, using it. That said, I’m starting to slack on recording everything and that is not good, so I will try again tomorrow.

I’m so happy to have the weekend here, and I’m hoping to fill it (after cleaning, grocery shopping, gym, etc.) with blogging, reading Redbook Magazine, and catching up on my tv shows. Yum.