Out of the Ordinary

30 Nov

Happy Friday!!!! I don’t know about you all, dear readers, but I thought the end of this week would never arrive. The Thanksgiving holiday was just enough to get me into the routine of not working and this week has been an unwelcome transition. If only I had won the lottery…

So yesterday, I did something pretty out of the ordinary – for me, anyway.

IMG_1537[1]Yep, I got on the treadmill and ran. My friend Ellen is convincing me to sign up for the Jingle All the Way 8k in Washington next weekend and I figured that I should probably try to run five miles before the race. I haven’t been on a treadmill (or been running, in general) since Labor Day, so you can imagine that I was feeling a bit rusty. My heart rate and breathing were fine, but I ran more slowly than usual and ended up calling it quits before the five mile mark because my left knee was acting up again. I am definitely going to get it looked at by my PCP when I’m in Seattle.

On my way home from the gym, I walked by my festive neighbor’s house and they have their Christmas decorations up!

IMG_1538[1]I am refusing to do anything Christmas-related until December (tomorrow, yay!), which includes listening to my Christmas music on Pandora, but this little preview made me super ready for the holidays. It also means that Stef and I go back home to visit in three weeks!

December always marks winter for me, even though winter doesn’t technically start until the end of December. For me, winter means soup and so I fiddled around with a soup recipe last night that I want to share with you. It’s a take on pasta and bean soup, which some of you may know as pasta e fagioli in Italian. It’s a hearty yet light soup that’s filled with all kinds of yummy ingredients like cannelloni beans. Now, this is not the most traditional pasta e fagioli (it uses whole wheat pasta, for starters), but I promise that it still tastes good! Especially when you pair it with a crusty loaf of olive and herb bread for dipping.

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Pasta e Fagioli (vegan!)

What you need:

  • (1) 16 oz. can of kidney beans (drained)
  • (1) 16 oz. can of cannelloni or navy beans (drained)
  • (1) 16 oz. can of diced tomatoes (with liquid)
  • 4 oz. dry pasta (traditionally it’s elbow pasta or tubettini, but I use whatever is on hand)
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. of each dried thyme/sage/rosemary
  • 32 oz. vegetable broth
  • Grated parmiggiano-reggiano to top (optional)

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What you do:

  1. Saute onions and garlic with olive oil in the pot you’ll be using, until onions are tender
  2. Add broth, tomatoes, beans, and herbs. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and let simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Add dried pasta to pot and bring back up to a boil and cook until pasta is al dente, about 10-12 minutes.
  4. Top with grated parmiggiano-reggiano (optional) and serve with a nice loaf of crusty bread to dip in the soup!

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The great part about this soup is that it can be modified in so many ways. You can include whichever kind of beans you like, whatever kind of pasta you prefer, and it turns out wonderfully, regardless! I love putting a few shavings of parmiggiano-reggiano on the top so it can melt into the soup and add a little saltiness, but if you want to keep it vegan, all you have to do is leave the cheese off.

I can guarantee that this meal is going to be in heavy rotation in the upcoming months on this blog, so keep an eye out for the different variations that pop up on the blog!

What do you have planned for the weekend, dear readers? Stefano and I are planning to go ice-skating at the National Gallery of Art tonight. I haven’t skated in a million years and I have only skated in an outdoor rink once, so I’m looking forward to it. There is a Christmas tree lighting in my neighborhood tomorrow evening and then I’m headed out with some friends to go see the White Ford Bronco show. They’re a 90’s cover band and they play some awesome classics, like Will Smith’s “Miami“, Eve 6’s “Inside Out“, and even some N’Synce. It’s fabulous.

Before I sign off for the weekend, I want to make a HUGE shout-out to one of my oldest and bestest friends, Rosa, because today is her birthday. She and I met in after-school day care when we were about seven years old and have been friends ever since. Since we had similar features growing up, she and I always dressed up for Twin Day (remember those themed days in school?) together. We have a mutual love of the Beatles, pound cake, and good books. Rosa is living in the Big Apple now and is in graduate school for social work and just generally doing great things with her life. I am so excited to go up there and visit soon! She came to visit me when I was living in Rome and I had such a good time showing her around the city. We even took a day-trip to Naples with a couple of my friends so she could try authentic pizza from the source! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, love you, girl!

537846_10151466073670085_735900414_nAnd with that, it is time to sign off. Have a wonderful last day of November, catch ya next month!

 

 

 

 

 

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