Where We Are … (Hannah)
After we spend the morning snorkeling in the emerald waters, we’ll visit one of the last remaining tropical forests on the planet, the Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park, home to the rare Zanzibar red colobus monkey.
What We Eat … (Sandy)
MINESTRONE, YOUR WAY
Have you reached (or surpassed) that point in the holiday season when you need healthy and hearty? Look no further than this classic Italian, easy-to-make, soup with flexible ingredients. Tomato-flavored Minestrone typically includes lots of green leafy greens, other vegetables, and beans for a protein fix. You are limited only by the contents of your refrigerator, pantry, and/or garden harvest. Every batch is different, but here is a starting point with my basic recipe and suggestions for optional ingredients.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 2 medium carrots (or parsnips), peeled and diced
- 2 large celery stalks, diced
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp minced fresh rosemary, or ¼ tsp dried
- 1 tsp freshly ground salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) tomatoes, drained and finely chopped, or 1 lb. of fresh garden tomatoes.
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 large potato, peeled and diced, or 1 cup peeled and cubed butternut squash
- ¼ head green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced, or a small bunch of Swiss chard, kale, or escarole, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 2 cans (15 oz.) cannellini beans, kidney beans, or chickpeas, rinsed and drained.
- 3 cups water
- 4 cups chicken broth
- ½ lb green beans, trimmed and cut into one-inch lengths, or 2 cups of diced zucchini or summer squash
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup parsley
- 2 tbsp oregano
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Add onion, carrots or parsnips, celery, red pepper flakes, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to turn golden, 5 to 8 minutes.
Add tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook for about 1 minute until some of the liquid evaporates.
Add the potato, cabbage, and cannellini beans (or their substitutes), water, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and stir in green beans (or a summer squash substitute).
Reduce to a simmer and cook until all the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes
Stir in garlic, parsley, and oregano. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Simmer another 10 minutes
Serve hot, sprinkled with Parmesan. Don’t forget the crusty Italian bread!
What We Listen To … (Jacob)
Lots of Kinks got played in the Morris house growing up, so whenever this song came on the radio, it felt like family validation.
The Kinks – Father Christmas
What Makes us Laugh … (Patrick)
You have to be very careful what and who you make fun of these days, but it’s always safe to make fun of Dads, particularly those with big bellies:
What Amuses Us (Whitney)
O. Henry is a master of the short story, and his “The Gift of the Magi” is an exemplar of the form. The symmetry of the narrative is only matched by the earnestness of its characters, a young married couple named Della and Jim who exchange hard-won offerings. On Christmas Day, it is a perfect read to remind us of why we give gifts in the first place.
“The Gift of the Magi” is a short story by O. Henry first published in 1905. The story tells of a young husband and wife and how they deal with the challenge of buying secret Christmas gifts for each other with very little money. As a sentimental story with a moral lesson about gift-giving, it has been popular for adaptation, especially for presentation at Christmas time. The plot and its twist ending are well-known, and the ending is generally considered an example of comic irony. It was allegedly written at Pete’s Tavern on Irving Place in New York City.
The story was initially published in The New York Sunday World under the title “Gifts of the Magi” on December 10, 1905. It was first published in book form in the O. Henry Anthology The Four Million in April 1906.
What Makes Us Family (Stephen)
Everyone came to Vermont in 2017 and were treated to a very White Christmas. (In joke … the Christmas of 2019 will NOT be mentioned ever-ever-ever in this blog.]