Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Renovations, Toys, and Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

Today Nick's Grandpa was over, putting in our new bathtub. He worked really hard on it. Nick was very excited, as you can see. Just wait until the whole bathroom is done and he can actually take a bath!

I had a very quiet day today, which was nice. I edited some papers for Brainmass and did some laundry, but I also had the chance to read Barbara Kingsolver's "The Poisonwood Bible." I would highly recommend it. This novel tells the story of a family of missionaries that go into the Congo and are changed forever. I love how the author changes who is telling the story with each chapter; the characters are very realistic and well-developed, and a little bit about the history of the region is woven into the story. The utter stupidity and disrespect of many white missionaries and the clash of cultures changed all of the characters irrevocably. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction written from multiple perspectives.

I have been spending a little time each day on napervilleyardsales.com, and today I bought Nick 3 new toys. You can see him here playing with his new basketball hoop. Do you think he'll be into sports? Greg was and is into all kinds of sports, but I am most definitely not a sports enthusiast. But I still figured he'd get a kick out of this basketball hoop. And he did! Not a bad deal for $5.

Everytime he shoots a basket (or hits the rim with his hand), it sings and cheers for him. Plus, the balls must be pretty tasty, because he kept chewing on them.

Now I'm going to tell you about a new recipe I tried this week, one for Pumpkin Black Bean Soup. I know, it sounds kind of weird, but trust me on this, it's delicious. I am definitely going to add this one into my repertoire of recipes that I make regularly. This one is reasonably healthy, hearty, and it has a unique flavor. It was really good with a salad and some fresh bread.

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

At least 1 cups each of celery, Vidalia onion, and carrot, cut into tiny pieces, especially the carrot
2 - 15 oz cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 - 15 oz can of petite diced tomatoes
Around 20 ounces of pumpkin puree
1 large box of chicken broth
5 cloves of garlic, pressed
2-3 T of extra virgin olive oil
4 slices of crispy cooked bacon, crumbled
1/3 cup of red wine
1 T of cumin
1 t. of sage
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Whatever other spices you think necessary


1. Using medium heat, pour the olive oil into the bottom of the pan and add the celery, onion, garlic, and carrot.
2. Add the spices to the mixture.
3. Saute until the onion is mostly cooked. Keep the heat low enough so that the garlic doesn’t brown.
4. Add everything but the broth, and bring to a simmer.
5. Add the broth, stirring carefully. Bring to a simmer again.
6. Taste the soup, and add whatever spices you think would be good. I added more pepper and cumin at this point.
7. Simmer for at least 30 minutes, or until the carrots are totally cooked and the soup tastes yummy.

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