Sunday, February 17, 2013

Minestrone Soup

Our church hosts a fellowship meal every Wednesday evening called "Fling." Last fall I learned that there was a committee that helped prepare these meals - a fact that should have been obvious but one I'd clearly missed. Seeing as I love all things cooking, I figured that this would be a great way to help contribute to my church community. This past Wednesday we deviated from our usual meal of fried chicken and all the fixin's and served Minestrone Soup in observation of Ash Wednesday. Because Audrey is still too young to face crowds in flu season, instead of preparing it at the church, I made this at home during two of Audrey's naps.

Parenthood is funny in that somehow you have both a lot of time on your hands and no time to do anything. This conundrum is because babies don't operate on schedules. Sometimes Audrey sleeps forty-five minutes; sometimes four hours. Sometimes she eats every hour and a half; other times she'll wait three. So you can see that planning anything becomes impossible. There are days when all I have time to do is feed her, change her, put her down for a nap, feed myself and pee before I do it all again! Other days I have a couple of hours to do things like chores (ugh), cook (yay), or go out to lunch with a friend (double yay).

There are many well-intentioned folks who think that parenthood means I can no longer do anything "normal" and many days that holds true (and on days like that, I am so very thankful to have that pot pie in the freezer or Chipotle delivered). But during those lovely periods where Audrey decides to nap for two - even three! - hours, it is a project like making a soup for church or preparing a Friday night meal for friends that keep me sane and help me keep my life in perspective. As Debbie, an associate pastor at Highland, so wisely understood, projects like this help me "remember that there's a bigger world outside; a world which someday my little one will know about."

Minestrone Soup
adapted from original recipe by Debbie Layman

Serves 8-10

In a large pot, heat:
1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 medium white onion, finely diced
4 large carrots, coarsely diced
2 stalks celery, coarsely diced

Saute for 10 minutes.

4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil

Let cook 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent garlic from burning.

2 cups diced potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 15 ounce can skinless tomatoes, diced
1 15 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
8 cups vegetable stock

Let simmer 10 minutes.

2 cups fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
Cook 5-7 minutes or until green beans and potatoes are tender.

Salt + pepper to taste

Serve with a nice loaf of crusty bread.

Eat up!

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