Easy and Healthy Slow-Cooker Bean Soup

One of my favorite things about life at home is a ritual that Matt and I have dubbed “Sunday Soup”.  Each Sunday afternoon, after church, I make a large quantity of some type of soup, and we eat it for lunch or dinners for the rest of the week.  I try to just use whatever I have in the house already and buy as little ingredients as possible, but also make it something tasty and healthy.  This week’s concoction was cheap, easy, and delicious, so I thought I would share with you!

Ingredients:

1 Bag Multi-Bean soup mix (I used Trader Joe’s 16 Bean and Barley)

2 containers organic vegetable broth, or homemade if you have it

1 medium sweet onion, diced

3 large carrots, sliced into ¼” circles

3 stalks celery, sliced

4-5 cloves garlic, left whole but smashed with the side of a knife

3 bay leaves (remove before serving)

1T EACH Oregano and Thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

Here comes the hard part- put everything in your slow cooker, turn it on low, and enjoy your soup 8 hours later.  I didn’t even presoak the beans- but you can if you’d like. Whew.  I love when my kitchen does the work for me!

This soup is great because it contains so many good things- protein and fiber from the beans, Vitamin C and beta carotene from the carrots, an immunity boost from the onions and garlic, and a plethora of vitamins and minerals from the vegetable broth.  The soup is also very versatile- you can add in your favorite ingredients to enhance the flavors.

Here’s some ideas:

Sub beef broth for the veggie broth

Add a can of diced tomatoes, or tomato paste

Stir in a few cups of fresh spinach

Add in ½ cup of white wine (I did this and it added great depth of flavor)

Sprinkle with crushed red pepper for heat

Add some ground beef, tomatoes, and pasta for a quick pasta fagioli

Add chunks of your favorite cheese- smoked gouda or parmesan would work nicely

Add leftover turkey or chicken

Add or sub different vegetables- zucchini, potatoes, etc

Stir in a few tablespoons of basil pesto before serving

The possibilities are limitless!  If you try something new, let me know how you like it!

Also- Sunday Soup is a great way to have something healthy on hand for the week when you don’t feel like prepping something for yourself or are short on time.  I encourage you to try it, or something like it, and see how much easier making healthy decisions can be when you’ve already got healthy meals ready!

For a great resource on meal prepping and healthy eating, check out the website www.teamtewson.com 🙂

If It’s Broken, Fix It! Don’t Buy a New One!

If it’s broken, fix it.  Don’t buy a new one.

Matt and I have been talking a lot lately about being good stewards of what we have, and how best to use Kingdom money.  If you don’t know our job situation, Matt and I work for an organization called The Hunger Strike, raising money to fund meals, hold advocacy events, and mobilize missionaries in the third world.  While we work full time in our roles, we do not get a paycheck- rather, we rely on the generosity of our community to come alongside us and support our ministry.  It is a challenging and humbling place to be- relying on others for your rent to be paid, for groceries, for gas, for school loans, savings, even for our Christmas budget.  But in the past year, we have seen the Lord provide for us every single month.  We have been incredibly blessed and so encouraged in the work the Lord has set before us.

Because we receive this money each month to do our ministry, we are very cautious to make sure that we are not spending anything frivolously- after all, each person that supports us gives us money to do ministry with, not to go crazy with!  We take this responsibility very seriously.  Which leads me, eventually, to my original statement: if it’s broken, fix it.  Don’t buy a new one.

We live in a culture of planned obsolescence- the things that we purchase are created to fail, or become outdated quickly, so that we end up making the exact same purchase again very soon after.  Take the Apple world for example- while I blog on a circa 2005 PowerBook G4, which works perfectly most days and really just looks a little bulky, if I took this to the Apple store for a repair of any kind they would tell me that they couldn’t even order parts and that I need a new computer.  Software is not compatible, all the parts are brand new for the latest laptops- this guy doesn’t even autocorrect me when I type iphone.  It didn’t even exist when this thing was born!

The fact is, there isn’t anything wrong with this laptop.  Yet everything in me thinks that I need a new one.  Why?  Because it’s not compatible with current software. Outdated.  Sometimes a little slow.  Bulky.  I’m a Social Media Director and a blogger, darn it!  If anyone needs a new, fast, awesome computer, it’s me, right?

But that’s just not what being a good steward looks like for us.  We spent time cleaning out my laptop and updating what we could instead, and saved ourselves the $1000+ it would cost to get a new laptop.  We fixed it, and now we don’t have to buy a new one.

I think this is a principle that we, as the Church, should seek to employ much more often in our lives.  Sometimes, it’s worth it to spend a little extra money to buy something of good quality, take good care of it, and even fix it when it breaks, instead of repeatedly buying the same thing when it fails us.  Think of the things you repeatedly buy- maybe shoes?  Jeans?  Cars? Phones? What could you fix, instead of buy again?

The beauty in this is how it created a new economy within communities.  Suddenly, you are getting to know the cobbler in your town, who will fix the heel of your beloved black stilettos.  You’re giving business to the local computer repairman, or maybe the seamstress that your family has used for years.  You’re saving yourself the money it would cost to upgrade your phone.  Better still, you aren’t continuously pouring money into a broken and sinful system of “necessity”. The Kingdom is growing at your hands.

As we enter the New Year, think about the ways that you can change your spending habits this year.  Think about the sacrifices you can make to free up money to be used wisely in the Kingdom.  Challenge yourself!  It’s worship in the eyes of our Lord.  Give Him your best.