Hello, beautiful people!
I’m back home in Seattle after our trip to Paris and Brussels and feeling super excited for the new year! I always forget how much good it does me to step out of my day-to-day routine and how travel energizes me like nothing else. There was a piece of me that didn't want to leave town before our trip. I could imagine nothing better than spending the holidays catching up on sleep and work. What the eff was I thinking?!?
This trip was one of the best ever. I feel like I might say that after every trip, but somehow it’s always true. I walked all over the city. I ate amazing food. I got enough sleep for the first time in ages. I connected with some awesome people doing very cool things. I am starting 2017 feeling full of creativity and inspired to bring new projects to life! (Want to come with me to Paris next time? Click here.)
The benefits of our trip have carried over into my routine back in Seattle as well. December was pretty disastrous in the self-care department. But since I’ve been home, I’ve been eating better, going to sleep at a reasonable hour and exercising again. All of which makes me realize how important nourishing myself physically and emotionally is for creativity.
Before I dragged my ass onto our flight to Paris, I was interested in precisely nothing. I was feeling seriously burnt out and uninspired. Photography: don’t care. Writing: nope. Cooking: hardly. I had slid into old habits of pushing myself to the edge of my mental and physical limits with work, shitty food and a sleep deficit no amount of coffee could compensate for.
Now that I’m home and feeling excited to create again, I’m writing this post as a reminder to myself (and maybe to you, too) that when we stop taking care of ourselves, everything else falls out of whack.
In 2017, I aim to nourish myself with good food, sleep, connection and travel. One way I keep myself eating well is to fix a big pot of soup for the week. This Lemony Parsnip and White Bean Soup is one of my favorites. It’s got all the good stuff: kale, beans, garlic, olive oil. Simple, hearty and comforting, it’s perfect for staving off the winter blues or a nasty cold. As part of my intention to stay healthier, happier and saner in 2017, I’ll be cooking up a pot (or two or three) of this warming soup in the new year.
P.S. I’d love to hear back in the comments how you’ll be taking care of yourself in 2017. And for those of you looking to spark your creativity through a retreat in Paris next year, click here!
Lemony Parsnip and White Bean Soup
- 1 lemon
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus additional to serve
- 1 medium leek, halved lengthwise and sliced into thin half moons
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Kosher or sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch rounds
- 4 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into ¼-inch rounds
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 cups vegetable stock, chicken stock or bean cooking liquid (if you cooked your own beans)
- 1 bunch kale (I like lacinato), stems removed and torn into 2-inch pieces
- A nice hunk of parmesan rind (optional)
- 2 cups cooked white beans (preferably homemade)
- Grated parmesan (optional), to serve
*Notes: You can leave out the parmesan for a vegan soup.
- When I have time, I like to cook this soup a little longer to let the lemon peels soften and then serve the soup with the peels left in. When cooked long enough, they're almost like preserved lemons.
- For a heartier meal, I sometimes serve this soup with pasta in it. I like conchighlie, trofie, gemeli and orecchiete in particular, but any bite-sized pasta will do. In order to keep the pasta from getting soggy in the soup, I always cook it separately until al dente, then place it in the individual bowls and top it with hot soup just before serving. I think this soup would also be lovely served with a grain like farro or barley.
- For a non-vegetarian version, shredding some cooked chicken into the soup is delicious.
Use a peeler to cut 4 1-inch-wide by 3-inch-long strips of zest from the lemon. Once the zest is removed, juice the lemon. Set the juice and zest aside.
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leek, garlic and a generous pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leek is translucent and soft, but not browned, 5-8 minutes. Add the carrots, parsnips, bay and lemon zest and saute for another 4-5 minutes, until the parsnips begin to soften.
Add the stock, kale, parmesan rind and beans to the pot and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook gently until the kale and parsnips are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in lemon juice to taste and season the soup with salt and pepper. Cook for a few more minutes to allow the flavors to come together.
To serve, remove the parmesan rind, strips of lemon zest and bay leaf from the pot. Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the soup and sprinkle with parmesan (if using) and some more black pepper. Serve hot.
Makes 6 servings.
Inspired by this recipe by Heather over at Flourishing Foodie.