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Food:

Bean and Bacon Soup w/ Crispy Sage makes a lot! (About 20 cups!)

5 c. carrots, chopped

5 c. celery chopped

5 c. butternut squash, peel, seed and cube (leftover from summer’s farmers market)

2 large onions, chopped

5 garlic cloves, chopped (left over from summer’s farmers market)

1 T. each thyme and rosemary, chopped (I used Kenyon Organics)

20 sage leaves (Kenyon Organics)

1/2 Clifford Family Bacon, chopped (if vegan or vegetarian sub coconut oil 2-4 T.)

5 c. broth (I used the broth I made from the thanksgiving turkey bones)

5 c. water

1 c. chopped parsley

2 bay leaves

salt and pepper

8 c. cooked beans, recipe to follow*

Directions:

1. Place a LARGE soup pot on the stove top over medium heat. Start by sautéing the bacon until crisp, spoon out and drain on paper towel. (If you are using oil and not bacon heat the oil over medium heat until hot and then proceed). Throw in the sage leaves and cook until just browned, careful not to burn. Spoon out and drain on paper towel.

2. Next saute the carrots, onions and celery in the leftover bacon oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss until the veggies to soften, maybe 5-8 minutes. Next add the butternut squash, garlic, thyme and rosemary, season with a bit more salt and pepper (just a little you can always add more!). Toss again, then place lid on the pot and sweat the veggies for about 10 minutes.

3. After that 10 minutes with the lid on, take off lid and add, broth (any kind you like), water, beans and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, turn heat to medium low and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

4. Check to make sure butternut squash is tender, check for salt and pepper, add more if needed. If all is good pull soup of the heat and add the parsley. Stir to combine.

5. Serve piping hot, garnish with crispy bacon and sage. Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

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*Basic beans

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1. Cooking your own beans is easy, cheaper and healthier! Soak three cups of your favorite beans in water overnight (at least 20 hours). For this soup I would suggest white beans, garbanzo beans, or I used these gorgeous adzuki beans I scored at the farmers market this summer.

2. Drain the beans, place them in heavy bottom pot and cover with enough water to cover about two inches above the beans. Throw in a finger long piece of kombu (kombu is a sea vegetable that helps tenderize the beans and adds minerals. You can find kombu at most health food stores or asian markets). Bring beans to a boil and let boil for 5 minutes, skim any foam that forms on the top. Then turn down heat to medium low, place lid on the pot and simmer for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours depending on the beans. You’ll need to check them, you do this by taking one out and lightly smashing it with your finger, if it does this effortlessly they are done.

3. When done, turn off heat and let them cool. Drain. Ready to use!

Nutrition:

Beans- Adzuki beans are not only high in protein but easier to digest than most beans. Surpassed in importance by the soybeans. Adzuki beans are an excellent source of fiber and protein. They are also rich in vitamins, folic acid, B3, a very good source of B1, B6 and B2. Rich in high levels of trace minerals molybdenum, copper, manganese and zinc. In addition to supplying high levels od soluble fiber and protein the trace mineral molybdenum which is necessary for the production of an enzyme called sulfite oxidase, one of the most important enzymes in a liver detoxification pathway called sulfoxidation. Poor sulfoxidation is associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease and with inflammatory conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, delayed food sensitivity, multiple chemical sensitivities, and diet-responsive autism. Food is so powerful, eating a variety and an abundance of plant-based nutrient dense foods is vital for a happy healthy life.

Love:

I am a sucker for soup, especially this time of year. The first time I made this soup was for Sunday dinner with friends a week before we left for Italy, the best part is that I had just attended our last farmers market of the season and ALL my ingredients were local! The whole time I was in Italy I yearned for a bowl of soup, I couldn’t wait to get home and make another batch of this Bean and Bacon Soup w/ Crispy Sage. Soup to me is love, love for veggies, love for beans and love for a bowl of warmth. I have mentioned before that I think soup is the perfect lunch, I made it for this last weeks lunches. This soup is portable, full of vegetables, protein and light put filling. This batch made so much I froze some for one of those weeks I might just need a break from cooking. Soup is love. Whip up a pot and love and sit back and ENJOY!

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