I'll bet you thought I'd fallen off the face of the earth, huh? What? Didn't even notice I was gone? Figures. I'll tell you about our holiday travels in a bit, but first.....Happy New Year. It's officially that time of year. You know....that time when you make all of these lofty promises to yourself about healthy this and healthy that only to get bored with all that shizzle about the first of February when all you want is a big ole juicy ribeye and to veg out on the couch.
I've made all those same resolutions and promises that the rest of you make every January, but what I've learned about myself is that I'm crazy if I think I'll exist on lettuce and grapes for very long. I just end up eating more in the long run. So my strategy is healthier ingredients but still in a hearty way. Take this White Bean and Sausage Soup, for example. In November, I made this with spicy Italian PORK sausage, but in January I used more beans and went with a spicy CHICKEN sausage and added some spinach for a little more fiber.
And you know what, it's actually better. That could totally be my crazy brain playing tricks on me (because I know it's better for me, it tastes better?) but whatever. This is a great soup to get your healthy January started on the right track.
Here's the recipe:
White Bean and Sausage Soup
King Arthur Flour
1 pound dried white beans (navy, canneloni, Great Northern) picked over for stones, soaked overnight in three quarts water, refrigerated.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups carrots, peeled, medium dice
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 1/2 cups celery, or celery root, medium dice
2 cups leeks, well washed and drained
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon dried marjoram or oregano
2 1/2 quarts chicken stock
1 pound diced cooked sausage of your choice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Pour the beans onto a baking sheet and go over them for stones or clumps of dirt, Put the sorted beans in a gallon container and add 3 quarts of water. Refrigerate overnight.
The next day, drain the beans. In a large heavy stockpot heat the oil until you see ripples in it. Add the onions and carrots, stir and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until it's fragrant. Add the celery, leeks, bay leaf, marjoram or oregano, the drained beans and the chicken stock.
Simmer, skimming any foam that comes to the top for 30-45 minutes, until the beans are tender. Add the sausage and Worcestershire sauce and cook for 3 minutes. Season to taste and serve hot.
For New Year's, Jack Hanna and I went to Colorado to visit some great friends. Actually that's just Hubs in his Jack Hanna hat. He thinks he looks pretty cute. (So do I, but I'll never tell him that!)
Our friends live in Pagosa Springs, home to the Pagosa hot springs. The Ute Indians claimed ownership to the world's deepest natural hot springs and people come to soak in the springs for their therapeutic powers. I didn't partake. The thought of getting into a "bath tub" with a bunch of people I've never met, frankly, grosses me out. Plus, because of all those minerals in the water, it STINKS! Like rotten eggs. Just sayin.
The weather was crazy beautiful the entire week. Unseasonably warm and sunny and not a flake of new snow. They'd received a few feet in previous weeks, so there was plenty on the ground, but I'm not gonna lie.....totally didn't break my heart that it never snowed.
Look at that sky. It was like that EVERY DAY!! And is that view beautiful, or what?
My poor, unfortunate friends have to look at that every day.
From here. They just finished it this Fall and it's really beautiful.
They have beautiful view of Pagosa Peak......
and lots of room for the Aussie Posse.
There's the baby, Commander....
his older sister, Olive
Sweet, gentle Oso
and his brother, Zeus.
And then there's Blue. Blue is the oldest and she takes care of everyone else!
On New Year's Day we all went skiing at Wolf Creek. When I say "we", I don't actually mean ME. You see, our hosts threw a big ole NYE party and around midnight, someone suggested shots of Patron and apparently I thought that idea was GENIUS. Until the next morning. So.....in the interest of the other skiers I chose to not risk loosing my lunch all over the mountain and just watched. Nice, huh?
I did participate in the snow shoeing. Loved that. If you've never tried it, you should.
And we did some sledding down the hill in their back yard.
We had a fabulous time and I can't wait to go back. I already promised to stay out of the Patron so my chances of an invite would go up!