Like a child who wants to eat the same things everyday, or read the same books over and over again, there is something that I find so comforting about routine. I am a planner, so having structure to my day helps me to think clearly and feel more at ease. Not for one second would I deny the importance of change, and the ability to adapt to circumstances that come and go. Change is undoubtedly one of the greatest and most freeing feelings in the world. However, I find that I am the most content when things in my life remain pretty straightforward.
That being said, there has been nothing so intense, so momentous, so capable of changing every bit of normalcy in my life like having a new baby. From the very moment I stepped foot into that new world, everything around me looked and felt different. Daily activities like cleaning, cooking, and socializing, suddenly felt completely foreign. Luckily, we have great friends who were more experienced and able to prepare us beforehand, at least as much as one can be prepared for such a dramatic shift. The room bursting into laughter after my husband made mention of me being able to resume all of my household duties two weeks postpartum, was enough of a tell-tale sign that things would surely be different.
During the last months of my pregnancy, I started making double batches of meals to freeze. It seemed one of the best ways to prepare, so that we could continue enjoying healthy meals during that time. The helpful advice we received, and the habits that formed of it, to this day could not be more appreciated. Our freezer is now stocked at all times so there’s always something on hand in the event we have a crazy day. I never would have dreamed of eating a dinner that requires no more than removing it from a bag and throwing it into a pot, but sometimes, convenience is a matter of sanity. Soups also freeze better than most foods, and are sensible to make in large batches; so a few extra minutes this week can earn you an entire relaxing night next week. Enjoy!
Hearty Minestrone Soup
- 2 carrots, peeled
- ½ red onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
- ½ green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 4 oz green beans, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
- ¼ c tomato paste
- 1 quart vegetable broth
- ½ c peas
- 1 15 oz can dark red kidney beans
- 4 oz chickpea or brown rice pasta, cooked according to package
- 1 Parmesan rind (optional, for umami flavor)
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- Coarsely chop one of the carrots and put into a food processor. Add onion, pepper, and garlic, and pulse until the vegetables are finely chopped. Transfer to pan and saute for 2-3 minutes.
- Add green beans and saute for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and tomato paste, and stir until well combined and fragrant.
- Add broth and bring to a simmer.
- After about 10 minutes, julienne the remaining carrot and add it to the pot along with the peas, kidney beans, and Parmesan rind. Continue to simmer for an additional 20 minutes.
- Immediately before serving, add pasta, and season with salt, pepper, basil, and oregano.
Leave out the Parmesan rind for vegan option.