Wednesday, January 05, 2011


"There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world."

~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Happy Thoughts of Early Spring

~ Perfect Winter fare, sure to make you 'happy'

2 lbs. special bean soup mix
(e.g. '16' bean assortment --- with large lima, navy, red kidney, baby lima, great northern, speckled lima, black, pinto, cranberry, pink, and black-eyes peas, green and yellow split peas, lentils, etc. )
3 lbs bulk Italian sausage (one plain, one hot or spicy and one fennel )
3 quarts organic chicken broth
1 large chopped Spanish onion
3 large chopped garlic cloves
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 large chopped green pepper
1 large chopped red pepper
1 lb. peeled and diagonally sliced carrots
1 can (28-ounce) Italian style diced tomatoes
1 jar (32-ounce) sugar-free pasta sauce
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 cup chili powder
1 Tbsp. oregano
1 Tbsp. basil
1 tsp. marjoram
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. crushed rosemary
2 whole bay leaves
freshly ground cracked pepper to taste
Lawry's Seasoned Pepper to taste
coarse salt to taste
juice of large lemon
1 hefty cup brandy

  • Wash and soak beans. Cover with cold water and soak 2 hours or overnight. Drain. In large pot, bring beans to boil in enough cold water to cover and simmer gently about 45 minutes, adding more water if necessary.
  • While beans are cooking, saute sausage in large stockpot, breaking up large pieces. Cook until browned. If too lean, add a bit of olive oil. Drain off excess grease leaving a few scant Tbsp. Saute onion, garlic, and peppers. Carefully pour in chicken broth. Bring to boil.
  • Add parsley, carrots, canned tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, brown sugar and seasonings. Reduce heat. Add drained beans and simmer one hour or until beans are tender. Stir in brandy before serving and adjust seasonings.
This hearty soup is great served with crusty sourdough or heavy multi-grained bread. (don't forget the sweet butter or, better yet, a dish of balsamic infused olive oil topped with crushed red pepper flakes.)

'In the Pink'
(Home & Garden)


"Almost all words do have color and nothing is more pleasant than to utter a pink word and see someone's eyes light up and know it is a pink word for him or her too."

~ Gladys Taber


Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

16 types of beans???? I had no idea there were that many beans to choose from! But, I'm definitely making this. My daughter turned me onto a white bean chili a few years ago and that sort of turned me into a bean fan. Late blooming bean fan, I guess. Thank you for the gorgeous, bright flower photos on this dull, grey day. Happy New Year!

Cat said...

Both of us must have felt the need for a little sunshine today! Your collages are gorgeous as always ;)

Marysol said...

Dear Joey, peering out my window only confirms that 'Spring' is light years away.

And judging by your lovely photos, you live in the 'good' part of Michigan. Despair.

But I'm certain your delicious soup—and inspiring quote— will help me get over it.

p3chandan said...

Amazing colour on your beautiful mosaics!

Carol said...

Beautiful Joey! Your soup would be perfect for this cold day. I do love your photo collages and those delicate ferns unfurling into life like little dancers. Lovely!!

imac said...

Certainly in the Pink now my friend, beautiful post.

joey said...

Happy New Year, Kate, and thank you. I love beans/legumes and also fond of white chili. You can usually find a bag of these mixed beans on the shelf beside the other beans. Sometimes they come with a seasoning mix that I discard in favor of my own.

Exactly why I posted this, Whimsical. It's a grey/blah day here.

I do believe we see the same blah view outside our windows, dear Marysol. I was craving a bit of stimulating color!

Thank you, p3 ... in the midst of Winter, it will be some time before these happy thoughts will truly be part of our days.

Thank you, Carol. Yes, sustaining thoughts/tastes for this cold day!

Thanks, imac :)

Gatsbys Gardens said...

The collages are wonderful, but the recipe sounds decadant. Beans, sausage, brandy, what a scrumptious dish.


Unknown said...

Joey, I am you have synesthesia? The "In the Pink" and quotation makes me think it must be so, friend!

Unknown said...

This sounds so fabulous...I will see how many kinds of beans I can find, but even with just a couple it will be fabulous. And the photos are as delicious as the recipe.

RURAL magazine said...

Those colors certainly are inspiring, and uplifting. After our beautiful sunshine, we now have grey days and rain.

So it is with a welcome heart that I peruse your beautiful shots.

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

The Idiot said...

Damn, my 2011 diet is being seriously challenged here!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the glimpse into spring, I can hardly wait!

Unknown said...

I am happy to know January is national soup month. That is my favorite thing to make, it makes me feel very domestic. Ha ha.
I love the quote and your beautiful pink collage.

joey said...

It's a good tummy coater, Eileen. The broth is rich and hearty, perfect for a winter's day.

Right, jodi, and thank you. Any variety of beans will do. Years ago, I would mix my own but now lucky to find the mixed beans on the shelf, usually with at least 7 different kinds.

How sweet, Jen. Thank you. Yes, it's pretty bleak here today with a dusting of new snow.

Go for it, IG! Stick with one bowl or forget all the other ingredients and just drink the brandy :)

Agree, Robin :)

Thanks Rosey. I'm a huge lover of soup too and must always have some on hand ... when one pot is gone, on goes another!

Kala said...

Wonderful post Joey. Just what I needed - beautiful images of spring and pink!

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

National Soup Month? I need to tell about it to my boys. They don't eat soups. I bet they would it yours!!! And the collages hold me on your blog for several minutes as always. Thank you Joey!

Jennifer@threedogsinagarden said...

Beautiful mosaics! I especially like the first one- so lush and green- just what one wants to see on a cold winter day!

joey said...

Thanks, Kala. Yea spring!

Wow, Tatyana ... your boys might starve at my house! Actually this chowder is quite thick ... call it a stew :) Thank you, dear Tatyana. Happy Gardening New Year!

Thank you, Jennifer. I love sporting ferns in my old chimney pot! This is one of my favorite gardens.

Rose said...

Thanks for brightening my day with these lovely pink spring flowers, Joey! Blue has always been my favorite color, but I've found that I like pink more and more. Besides, it's one color that seems to flatter everyone, including those of us "of a certain age." The bean soup not only sounds delicious but good for you as well!

Gail said...

Just the tonic I needed today my dear~I love pink flowers and you've reminded me I want to add more~Have a good weekend. xxoogail

joey said...

Strange, your comment got lost, dear Linda, and so interesting! Hum ... 'synesthesia' ... I had to look it up ... quite fascinating and though I'm a bit weird in many respects, I don't think so. Do you have synesthesia?

Thanks Rose. I love both pink/blue in the garden but, depending on the shade, not so good on me :)

As you have seen, more pink appeared, Gail. Yes, enjoy the weekend, dear friend. After the hectic past few weeks, it's nice to be back to some normalcy.