winter minestrone & my favorite cookies

What do you do when you return to Kansas City from sunny Florida with 4 inches of snow on the ground?

You pull on your big girl sweat pants, grab a glass of wine, and cook a batch of winter minestrone with a side of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. And binge on House of Cards.

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Winter Minestrone (from Eat, Live, Run)

1 cup dried cannellini beans

1 yellow onion, small dice

4 carrots, small dice

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped

1 small butternut squash, small diced {or any other winter squash}

1 fennel bulb, small dice

2 cups loosely packed spinach leaves, rough chopped

2 bay leaves

3 tbsp olive oil

3 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 tsp salt

pepper

parmesan cheese for serving

Directions:

The night before, soak the beans in cold water in a large pot. In the morning, drain the beans, add fresh water {about 3″ above beans} and simmer until very tender – about 1 hour. Drain cooked beans and reserve cooking liquid.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and fennel and saute for about 15-20 minutes until veggies are soft and onion has started to turn golden brown. Don’t skimp on this step because it adds so much flavor for the soup later!

Add the garlic, rosemary, bay leaves and salt and saute for another 3 minutes. Then, add the water and the squash. Bring to a simmer and cook until squash is tender – about 15 minutes.

When the squash has become tender, add the beans and enough bean cooking liquid until you reach desired thickness. Keep in mind that this soup is supposed to be very thick so don’t add to much liquid here! Less is more. Add the spinach and cook just until the spinach has wilted.

Adjust seasonings if need be and serve soup topped with a tbsp {or more!} of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Bread is always a good idea as well.

Time: 1 hour

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies 

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar on medium high speed until smooth, fluffy and lightened in color. Stir in the peanut butter, vanilla and egg and beat on medium speed until well blended.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt and add to the batter, mixing at low speed until just combined. Mix in the oats and chocolate chips until evenly distributed. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets – either nonstick or lined with parchment paper or a baking mat.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges start to become golden brown. They will still seem uncooked in the middle. Cool on cookie sheets for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 18 cookies

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