White Bean Soup with Kale & Sausage

This is the soup with kale on top--see below for options!

A white bean soup with kale and sausage is pretty normal, right? I think it's a standard Portuguese or Spanish recipe. What's funny about this particular soup is that I found the recipe during my regular weekend menu planning, wrote down what I'd need to make it (4 CANS OF BEANS!), and then totally forgot where I'd seen the recipe in the first place. When soup day rolled around, I was at a loss.

So I made it up. All I knew was it involved 4 CANS OF BEANS, sausage, 2 carrots, and a box of chicken broth. I also remembered that I'd written a note on the recipe to add kale if available. Here's what I came up with. It was yummy!

  • 1 t butter
  • 1 t extra virgin olive oil
  • small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 3 sweet Italian sausages (I used turkey ones), squeezed out of casings
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 box (32 oz) chicken broth
  • 4 cans (15 oz each) cannelini beans (I used Goya)
  • salt to taste
  • bunch kale, chopped (I used Lacinato kale)

  • Sauté onions in the butter and olive oil until fragrant. I suggest using a Dutch oven. Then add carrots. Stir until they're looking a bit cooked.
  • Add the squeezed-out-of-casings sausage and stir/poke as it cooks. The goal is not to have huge pieces in there.
  • Add the garlic and briefly stir until aromatic but not burned, then add chicken broth.
  • Add 3 cans of beans. With the fourth can, empty it into a smaller bowl and use a potato masher or similar implement to squash the beans into a creamy mess. Then add to soup.
  • Stir and simmer, add salt to taste. The sausage should be pretty much cooked by now, so your goal is to get the carrots to whatever tender-soft consistency you desire.
  • For the last step you have a choice. Either steam the kale separately and add on top of the soup after serving (see photo above). This is recommended if you have fussy children. OR, if nobody will mind, add the chopped kale directly to the soup and simmer a bit more until everything is gorgeously intermixed.

Serve! This soup is super tasty on a fall evening, especially with buttered toast or your favorite comfort carb.

Do you have a white bean & kale soup recipe too? Do you remember where it is?!

Happy Fruitcake Day!

I guess in the last few years the day after Thanksgiving has come to be called Black Friday. I don't really get that. I like to think of this particular Friday as Fruitcake Day. It's a perfect time to take part of the afternoon (and today's was sunny and gorgeous) to make the family fruitcake recipe. Making this fruitcake several week before Christmas is essential, because it must be dosed with sherry every week to become properly palatable. I play Christmas music in the kitchen and try to enlist young helpers (and old helpers!) when I can.

Today I looked at the recipe typed up for me by my mother and she noted that the first time she made this was December 1, 1972. We've made it many, many Thanksgivings since then. My father used to be assigned the job of cutting the brown paper to fit the angel food cake pan. He always did a very, very careful job, with reading glasses, pencil, and scissors and he even created slots and tabs so it would all fit in the pan perfectly. Happy 40th, fruitcake!

This is also the weekend of the annual Putney Craft tour, which I try to attend diligently. Here is a quick shot of paintbrushes in Carol Keiser's studio. She makes gorgeous, colorful art tiles--like the ones hanging above the cabinet. Thanks, Ma, for accompanying me yet another year!

So do you do the Black Friday shopping thing? Or do you have your own special "Digestion Day" traditions?

Happy Thanksgiving 2012!

Happy Thanksgiving! Sorry for the dearth of posts this month. I've been having technical difficulties (old OS, old browser) and haven't had time to update stuff. But here's a quick update on moi:
  • Work has been super busy this month, with no end in sight--but it's interesting stuff so no complaints 
  • It hasn't snowed yet so I'm still following my routine of running 3 days a week. When it gets too cold or snowy I'm planning to get a gym membership and move to the treadmill.
  • I'm excited for Thanksgiving! Delicious food, mellow family times. 
  • I ran my first Turkey Trot this morning (3 miles) and it seemed like a perfect run. 
  • I'm excited to start playing Christmas music the moment it becomes "official," which is the moment Thanksgiving dinner is through. I am a Christmas music dork. 
  • We've been watching the Marx Brothers as a family. We seem to own all of their movies. They are awesome.
Have a fabulous holiday!! What are you doing for this long weekend? Traveling? Working? Chilling?

Happy Time Change: Turn on the Dark

I just set our kitchen clock back an hour. Thank goodness for the phrase "Spring ahead, Fall back," right? Otherwise I'd always be confused. With the oncoming dark, it worked out perfectly that I'd scheduled this weekend for my first trip to Ted's Shoe & Sport in Keene, NH. But I'm getting ahead of myself. My initial goal for this Ted's pilgrimage was to look for some Brooks running shoes, possibly the Brooks Ghost 5.

Ted's did carry this shoe, but unfortunately not in my size. They also had the Mizuno I wanted to try, but not in my size. I did have a helpful conversation about how one would switch from a "regular" supportive shoe to a more miminalist shoe that's closer to neutral (i.e. barefoot-like or zero difference between toe & heel). The associates reminded me that because a more neutral shoe has less heel cushioning, I would have to be sure not to heel-strike while I'm running or I'll do even more damage than heel-striking in a normal, cushioned shoe. They suggested easing into a minimalist shoe by only going a mile or so at a time, or using it once a week, and the rest of the time running in something more supportive. So basically I would need two pairs of shoes if I wanted to work on changing my gait. Since I need to research that more and I really want to try the Brooks before I spend at least $100 on shoes, I said I'd think about it.

So I switched gears and decided to shop for safety and visibility. Because I'll probably be running in the dark most of the time (either 6:30 am or 7pm) until snow or freezing cold cuts me off for the season.

New Balance Visto Shoe light
It also flashes madly and that's the setting I'll use.
Gave it a spin tonight. It fell off because I didn't know how to put it on correctly.
Nobody was around though, and I found it on my way home.

Here's the shoe light turned off and unclipped.
It just squeezes around the heel.

I love this groovy Brooks half-zip jacket.
I have vowed that all my running tops must be either be pink or purple.
This is perfect.

It has a neat thumb-hole detail, my first.
I also got a pair of Nike thermal running gloves for very chilly runs.

Unlike Brattleboro, Keene has a Target. I stopped there and had to score these ridiculous slipper boots.
How many snow leopards died to make these?

Fortunately zero snow leopards were harmed, because these are pure flammable viscose or whatever, including a hot pink fuzzy lining. Our first-grader made me take these off and give them to her as soon as she saw them, even though they are a million sizes too big. I only got them back at bathtime.

I also got a 12-pound kettlebell because I want to try a workout from Women's Running magazine.

That brings me to my November goals, especially the first one:
  1. blog at least once about something that isn't running or eating Paleo
  2. run 45 miles for Pile on the Miles 2012
  3. look into a gym membership so I can keep running even if it's freezing/snowy
  4. run the annual 3-mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day
  5. go on the Putney Craft Tour
  6. make Sangkaya--winter squash with coconut custard baked inside
  7. figure out holiday cards EARLY
  8. do a bootcamp/kettlebell workout at home at least once a week, probably Monday evenings
  9. Devote Thanksgiving long weekend totally to family (and the Putney Craft Tour)
  10. figure out about gymnastics classes for our 1st grader
  11. convert our toddler to a "big boy bed," and also persuade his to stay there all night (he can now vault out of his crib at will, and has done so at least once a night since Halloween)
What are your November goals? This may be one of my favorite months--lots of good food, not yet stressed by Christmas and winter, lots of excuses to be cozy and wear my new slipper boots.