Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Pasta E Fagioli Soup

I am not one to believe in coincidences....I used to, but after many, many years of revelations, growing up and soul searching I have learned that there are no such things as coincidence.

In my effort to fight off the terrible effects of this cruel joke that by body is going through (the combination of PMS and Pre-Menopause), I have been trying to get myself back to going to the gym with my husband.  He is so good about going and looks terrific.  I on the other hand am battling the blog bulge all this "taste testing" from the creative new recipes I have been trying out on my family.

Yesterday I did not want to go to the gym.  It's darker earlier here and I just wanted to go home (cause you know know how much I love Tuesdays), get into my pj's, start Taco Tuesday prepping and watch my addictive NCIS and Person of Interest.

I got the energy though and went to the gym...met up with my husband right on time and jumped on my favorite treadmill at the end of the row.  I typically plug in my headphones, tune out the world and get caught up on the news of the day.  Today though, I just couldn't take another minute of more bad news that is happening in our world.

I quickly scanned through their 25 ceiling mounted tv screens the gym has up and strangely enough the ESPN channel caught my eye.  The program airing was called E:60 and featured a story about Jeff Agar and his son John.  They are the father and son team that have traveled the country doing marathons, triathlons and iron man races, together as a team.

Jeff and John Agar
John was born with Cerebral Palsy and typically uses a wheelchair in the races with his father.  On August 17, 2013 in Rockford, Michigan, John crossed the finish line for the first time on his own, as he said that he "wanted to give his dad a break".  As I watched the video of his heroic life and amazing parents that have stood by his side, he truly is an example of achievement and reaching for your dreams, no matter what obstacles you may encounter.  It's hard to really describe in words his story, so I invite you to watch his amazing finish.  As I am on the treadmill watching this touching story, I teared up and started sobbing.

So, there I am trying to keep up with wiping my tears and not fall of the treadmill at the same time with my overrun of coincidence that I didn't give up the gym that day.  If I had not shown up, I never would have seen this incredibly inspiring young man and I feel so blessed that I had the opportunity to be touched by this motivating family. His story will warm your heart and soul....just like a good bowl of soup. 

Pasta E Fagioli
Adapted from

1 pound ground beef (or I used ground pork)
1 small onion, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (26 oz.) container beef stock
1 jar (25 oz.) jar spaghetti sauce
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. ground black pepper
salt, to taste
1 cup ditalini pasta (or your favorite pasta shape)

Brown and crumble ground meat.  Drain excess grease.
Add all the other ingredients to the slow cooker (except for pasta) and stir.
Set slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
During the last 30 minutes or so of cooking, add in the pasta and stir.

***The pasta likes to absorb a lot of the liquid so if you like your soup more brothy/soupy, be prepared to have an extra can of beef broth handy.  You can add it in towards the end.

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