Last year, for the first time, I gave up spending on myself. I still bought things for O and made necessary purchases, but gave up all the little things like lattes, magazines, going to movies, dinner out for date night, pedicures, clothes etc. It was hard, and I didn't stick to it completely, but I felt the sacrifice most of the 40 days, and even if that only gave me a tiny speck of sands sized piece of understanding of Jesus' sacrifice, it was worth it.
This year Keith has decided to join me and I'm so thrilled to not be going it alone. I'm happy with this choice because while we'll be fasting from having the things we want, we'll also be doing something that is good for us (and our bank account) in the process.
Yesterday, in honor of Fat Tuesday, I made my favorite Gumbo and the beignets pictured above.
Are you fasting from anything during the Lenten season?
---------------------------------------------------Now I have a great recipe that I'm excited to share with you! It's a quick, healthy and easy to make soup that is great for cold weather. Using shredded rotisserie chicken and pesto from Costco makes this soup even easier to throw together. Top it with your own fresh croutons, or just buy some from the store I bought these ones at Trader Joe's.
Chicken & Spinach Soup with Fresh Pesto
source: Eating Well
2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup carrot or diced red bell pepper
1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 8 ounces), cut into quarters
1 large clove garlic, minced
5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons dried marjoram
6 ounces baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans or great northern beans, rinsed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
Freshly ground pepper to taste
3/4 cup plain or herbed multigrain croutons for garnish (optional)
- Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add carrot (or bell pepper) and chicken; cook, turning the chicken and stirring frequently, until the chicken begins to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Stir in broth and marjoram; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
- With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken pieces to a clean cutting board to cool. Add spinach and beans to the pot and bring to a gentle boil. Cook for 5 minutes to blend the flavors.
- Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, Parmesan and basil in a food processor (a mini processor works well). Process until a coarse paste forms, adding a little water and scraping down the sides as necessary.
- Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Stir the chicken and pesto into the pot. Season with pepper. Heat until hot. Garnish with croutons, if desired.