crispy bacon on white

3

The seasons influence what we eat. In the spring and summer, when sugar snap peas, string beans, raspberries, tomatoes, radishes, lettuce or squash from the garden is abundant, we eat what we grow. We eat it until sometimes I can barely face another meal of whatever is in season. If we truly can’t keep up with the harvest, the surplus will get frozen, to be pulled out and thoroughly enjoyed months later.

At this time of year, I have a hard time buying some out-of-season vegetables that we grow in the summer – it just feels wrong. I usually will turn to a can of diced tomatoes rather than the pale, stiff “fresh” ones in produce. The green beans look okay, but I rarely leave with a bag of them. Snap peas in the bins look pale and limp. Sometimes I will give in and bring home a packet or two of fresh herbs, even though they’re expensive.

The good news is that at this time of year I rarely need to buy summer vegetables. The soups I fix are usually hearty, made with beans or barley, and simmered with braised meats or a ham bone. I like to use butternut squash, potatoes, onions, carrots and parsnips. The slow cooker comes out and meals bubble away on the countertop for hours. Citrus fruits are at their peak in the grocery stores now, so we’re eating pink grapefruit, tangerines, and oranges.

I found this recipe the other day and decided to give it a test drive. It turned out remarkably good! It’s not as heavy as a typical bean soup – it felt light, but still filled us up and seemed perfect for a January evening. The recipe didn’t call for it, but I think topping a bowl of this hot soup with a little grated Parmesan cheese would be a great addition. I made cornbread to go along with it – a meal we will repeat with leftovers tomorrow.

White bean soup with fresh herbs and crispy bacon – a recipe modified from Food & Wine. (Recipe can be doubled.)

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound Great Northern beans
  • ½ pound thick-sliced bacon, cut crosswise into ¼-inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons reserved bacon drippings
  • ½ Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely diced
  • 1 celery ribs, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small fresh bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Pour beans into a colander and pick through them carefully. Rinse. Put rinsed beans in a large sauce pan and cover with two inches of water. Bring beans to a boil and take off heat. Cover and let sit off heat for one hour.

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring, until browned and crisp, about 7 minutes. Drain the bacon bits on paper towels. Pour the bacon drippings into a small bowl and wipe out the pan.

Return 2 tablespoons of the drippings to the pan and heat over medium heat.

Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf and ½ teaspoon of the thyme and all of the rosemary, and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the drained beans and stock and bring to a boil. Simmer the soup over moderately low heat until the beans are tender, about 1 ½ hours.

Discard the bay leaf and stir in the remaining thyme. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Garnish the soup with the bacon bits and serve.

MAKE AHEAD The soup and bacon can be refrigerated separately for up to 3 days. Recrisp the bacon before serving.

5

I made egg cups yesterday. They’re easy to make and perfect for those who are on the go! The best part about them is that you can  really include whatever you want. I prefer not to add sodium other than what comes from the turkey bacon & garlic powder. Below are the ingredients & macros for each cup for this particular recipe:

Yield: 24 cups
Oven Temp: 350 degrees
- Bake for 12-15mins.

Ingredients:
• 4 - Bell Peppers
• 2 1/4 cup - Egg Whites
• 1 Pack - Butterball’s Thin & Crispy Everyday turkey Bacon
• .5 tsp - Garlic Powder (to taste)
• .5 cup - Shredded Mexican Cheese (Optional or any type of cheese you’d like)

Cals: 35
Fat (g): 1.5g
Carbs (g): .8g
Protein (g): 4g
Sodium (mg): 107mg

Justin and Selena having a date at Metro Billiards (October 13, 2012)

Earlier in the day: They had a date at Blue Plate Diner in Edmonton 

“ “I didn’t know who it was, but my staff knew right away. They said it was the hair that did it. It was like he was trying to be incognito, but it wasn’t a very good disguise. Basically, I surrounded his table with oldies who didn’t know who he was or didn’t care. They were well-insulated. No one bothered them,” the owner of Blue Plate Diner told the Edmonton Journal.

Selena ordered huevos rancheros while Justin ordered scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, white toast and hash brown potatoes.

“When I asked [Justin] how everything was, he said, ‘Everything’s really good.’ His answers were kind of short but he was very sweet. It was clear he really wanted to be left alone, and I was respectful of that. [Justin and Selena] disappeared after about an hour, leaving behind a note at the table vacated by the security guard.”

The note reportedly said, “The guy in the tuque, one of Bieber’s bandmate, will pay the bill; thanks for everything.”