Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Soup's On: Black Bean Pumpkin Soup

More soup for you! This took a while to post. Life keeps swelling up on me. I get a daily recipe from and in the thick of the Thanksgiving season this one came up. I love pumpkin and buy up many cans when it first comes on sale in the fall. That shortage a few years ago was very sad for me. I make soup, breads, pancakes and muffins with it. Black bean pumpkin soup intrigued me. The color of the soup is not becoming, but the subtle pumpkin flavor is yummy.

All dressed up with sour cream and cilantro. Ready to eat!

I tweaked the recipe a bit. Shocking! Thanks to Fake Meats, I made it gluten free and vegan using Soy Curls. I soaked them and cut them up. I like a bit of texture in my soup. I've also made it with cut up cooked chicken and chicken broth or beef broth. For me the secret is in the sour cream. I add a dollop of sour cream to mine, and it just comes together. It does dirty the blender, but it's worth it.

Black Bean Pumpkin Soup

3 (15 oz) cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
That onion does not look medium...
1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes
1-2 tbsp butter
1 medium onion diced
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
a bay leaf
2 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 (14.5 oz) can pumpkin puree
2 cans (about 4 cups) vegetable broth
Optional and Tasty...
1 cup Soy Curls, soaked for 10 min and cut up
1/2 cup corn

1. Put the diced tomatoes and two cans of black beans in the blender and puree. Put them in that order or you may have to add some of the broth to get it to puree. If you want a chunkier soup with a thinner broth puree only one can of black beans.

2. Saute the onion and garlic in butter. The original recipe calls for more butter. I couldn't do it. Do as you will. When the onions have softened add all the other ingredients. I pour a little broth in the blender to get as much of the remaining contents out and for easier cleaning. Simmer for 25 minutes stirring occasionally.

Even enjoyed by my little critics.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Embracing My Weakness

It's been all quiet on the Midwestern blog lately. School's back in session for me, and after slacking off a bit, I've finally buckled down. My week in review became a fortnight and then some. Tomorrow I run my first half marathon of the season. Our church's women's retreat is next weekend, which I coordinate, so I've got a big weekend/week ahead of me. Life's gotten busy again. Yesterday, though, we had a snow day.
Big snow. Little dogs.
This past week I learned a bit about myself I thought I'd share. I'm taking two math classes this semester, linear algebra and calculus. One class had been getting a higher billing than the other since the start. Calculus. It just flows with my brain. (Nerdiness previously established) Linear algebra was getting the back seat. In my search for why I realized that I prefer to do math with letters rather than numbers. I'm a terrible number cruncher. When I took trigonometry a few years ago, I had two errors going into the final. One was a copying error, and one was an addition number. Data entry has always been slow going for me. This week I noticed I was favoring my strengths.

When my daughter practices piano I tell her often (borderline nag) to practice the measures she doesn't know as well so that those sections can catch up to the measures she know well. I remind her that if she plays the whole thing over and over again without practicing the weak parts independently the piece will remain unbalanced. Strong parts will become stronger, and the weak parts won't catch up.

This week I took my own advice. I hunkered down and did some number crunching. Lots and lots of number crunching. I'm not much faster, or better at data entry, but I'm more comfortable and confident with the material. Much more balanced.

I am also trying to do this with my fitness. I love running. Love. Love. Love running. However, I can't do more than three real push ups. I'm unbalanced. When I look at my mileage for January, it's lower than I'd like, but it doesn't show my cross training. Yoga, weights, swimming and even resting. And now shoveling and snow shoeing. There have been several days this year that lifting my arms was a bit rough.Striving for balance. Embracing my weakness.

Snowshoeing with the girlios