Wednesday Walkthrough . . . More Comfort Food--packed with protein!

Cookie magazine (RIP) featured this delicious soup recipe in one of their final issues. The picture in the magazine alone makes my mouth water (my picture above is a poor attempt to tempt you) . . . and makes me wish I lived in a log cabin where it snows 365 days a year and I only serve tasty comfort food served in large white bowls shaped as small pots. Ahhh, yes, that really is a dream of mine.

Back in reality, I tried making the soup (especially because it contains kale and lots of beans--two things I need more of in my life), and I LOVED it! The kale turned out to be my favorite part--adds a little crunch and texture to what could otherwise be conceived as your common bean soup.

I froze half of the soup batch, and just last week I thawed it out and was again reminded how much I love this recipe. I just HAVE to share it with you :)

Tuscan Ribollita

Serves 6 | 20 minutes active time | 1 1/2 hours total

3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped (I think I added two because I love carrots!)
1 celery stalk, chopped (again, one just didn't seem like enough, so I used two)
4 ounces pancetta (expensive!) or ham (not quite so healthy . . . I honestly believe you can easily make this vegetarian and it would still be DELICIOUS! I'd just drop the meat).
1/2 cup olive oil
1 15-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
3 15-oz cans cannellini or great northern beans, drained and rinsed (I found these at WF--the 365 brand is really cheap--and locally at Reasor's--their Great Value organic brand is actually a few cents cheaper than WF).
2 cups chicken broth (veggie broth if you're going vegetarian)
1 sprig fresh rosemary (my favorite part of the dish! The flavor really bursts in this!)
1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs (I just toasted some panko on a hot skillet)
Grated Parmesan

1. In a large pot over medium heat, saute the first five ingredients in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil for 5 minutes.

My daughter had to taste-test the carrots for me :)
2. Add the tomatoes and their juices, along with the beans, broth, and rosemary. Simmer, covered, until the beans break apart, about an hour (it took longer than an hour for me).

3. Add the kale and cook for 5-7 minutes more. Stir in the bread crumbs and serve, drizzled with the remaining olive oil and sprinkled with the cheese.

MMMMMMMMmmmmmmmm good!


Christmas Survey

There's an AMAZING giveaway on Today's Mama. It's just what you need to get you in the Christmas spirit!

Here are my answers to some Christmas trivia:

1. What 5 items are on your holiday wish list this year?
  • Kindle
  • Bike Trainer
  • Bike trailer
  • Digital SLR camera
  • Countertop compost can
2. What is your favorite handmade gift you have received?
  • Birthday banners from Rae :)
3. What handmade gift have you always wanted to tackle?
  • Knitting an adult-size scarf
4. What was the best Christmas gift you received as a child?
  • Basketball goal
5. What items are on your kid’s wish list this year?
  • Praise and worship CDs
  • Wooden bowl/silverware
  • Doll
  • Anything from Chasing Fireflies, MiniBoden or Nova
6. What is your favorite holiday food?
  • Hmmm, toughy. Maybe my mom's cranberry salad?
7. What will you be hand-crafting for the holidays?
  • It's a secret. People who read this blog will be receiving one :) Last year I made Christmas pillows and appliqued clothing!
8. What is your favorite holiday movie?
  • The Holiday and White Christmas
9. Favorite holiday song?
  • Let It Snow! :)
10. Favorite holiday pastime?
  • Cutting down our own fresh Christmas tree at Eby Pines in Indiana, and then going to the Blood's or Rozebooms's afterward and eating Christmas cookies and playing with some of my besties. The tradition continues cutting down our tree in Owasso instead :O


Wednesday Walkthrough . . . What's Your Core Strength?

photo courtesy of alpha7allan

Hello dear friends, did you miss me last week? I sincerely apologize for being absent without notice. I took the liberty of a day off since last Wednesday was my birthday. I hope you understand. And, yes, it was a lovely, quiet, and blessing-filled day. I have much to be thankful for. And I am noticing a trend that the older one gets, the quieter the birthday celebrations. I like that. I like it a lot.

Back to business . . . I just heard a really challenging message tonight, and for today's walkthrough I want to take a stroll inward and examine your heart. My question to you is "What's your core strength?"

Recently I've been working a lot on my physical body's core strength. I'm in a kickboxing class, and we don't just do fun punches and kicks; we do tons of core-strengthening exercises as well. My least favorite is the plank . . . followed by a twisting plank . . . followed by more plank. Yikes!

The message I heard tonight talked about the simple truth that what's in abundance in your heart is what will show up in your life. Or, put another way, whatever is strongest in the core of your life, that will dictate your destiny.

I'd like to challenge you to take a moment and think about what's in the core of your being? The easiest way to figure out what's at the core is to look at how you reacted to your last crisis or trial. Did fear consume you? Did you get depressed? Were you overcome with worry? Anxiety? Insecurity? If so, that's a good indicator of what's in your core.

If the opposite is true, and instead of fear, faith and hope rose up inside you, then that conversely is an indicator of what's in your core.

And as simple a truth as "what goes in, must come out"; you can easily identify where the source of that fear or faith is.

Consider these sources inputing in your life. How much time are you giving them to "strengthen your core"? TV. Talk radio. Your Family. The Negative Nancy's in your life. Your music. Your church. Your friends. Your reading material. Your favorite websites/blogs/chatrooms. I'm not saying it's time to completely do away with the negative; I'm just saying, keep the scales tipped toward the positive. When the majority of what you put in is based in faith, that faith will surface again in time of trial.

And considering the craziness going on around us . . . yep, that economy, crime, politics, etc., it's good to be in a position where you can respond with faith and hope instead of fear.