Saturday, October 3, 2009

Reliving the best week of my life via Easy Spicy Black Bean Soup

The best week of my entire life happened almost a year ago. I'm not talking about my wedding or honeymoon, although those are come in at seriously close seconds (I know that sounds awful, but don't worry, I know that Dick completely agrees with me on this one)! I'm talking about the Eastern Caribbean cruise my grandparents took my whole family on for Christmas. It was an entire week of tropical beaches, sparkling blue ocean, unforgettable food, someone else doing my dishes and making my bed, and being on a family vacation where we could be with or escape family whenever we wanted...Heaven! I was seriously depressed for about two weeks after coming home to drudging through the snow on campus and digging my car out of our apartment's parking lot after it being buried by the plow. My whole family still talks about it all the time, and a lot of that talk is about the glorious food we ate on the Norwegian Dawn. We ate in the fancy shmancy restaurant as often as we could because none of us eat like that in real life. My sister had a steak every single night, which she loved! And I tried lots of things I'd never had before: creme brulee and duck, to name just a couple. I also got an appetizer, entree, and dessert every night just so I could try as much of the menu as I possibly could! Luckily I didn't gain the dreaded 10 pounds people talk about, although I have no idea how I pulled that one off! Anyway, it was honestly the coolest week of my life - I was with all of the people I love the most, doing and seeing the most awesome and beautiful things ever. It was hard coming back to reality, but every once in awhile there is something that takes me back. Hence, this black bean soup.
I was thinking about what soups I'd like to make last week while I mentally prepared for our crazy Utah weather to take a dive, and it just came to me. We loved a similar soup on the cruise, and this one may even be better! It is seriously jam-packed with flavor - you're gonna love it, I promise. We ate it with quesadillas, but you could do tacos or anything you want along with it. Only one requirement: you have to close your eyes and imagine you're in the Caribbean while you eat.

Easy Spicy Black Bean Soup
From Cathy Lowe of the Food Network

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 c. chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. chopped green bell pepper
1 c. chopped red bell pepper
1 Tbsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne
6 c. chicken broth
2 cans black beans, drained & rinsed
In large heavy pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, & peppers & cook until tender 5-8 minutes. Stir in spices & toss to coat veggies. Pour in stock & beans, bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer & cook 15 minutes. In large blender, puree half of soup until smooth & stir back into soup. Serve hot with garnishes.

A few fun memories:

I sang karaoke every night w/ my sister!

Doesn't it look like Dick is in a Corona commercial?!

We rented a scooter to tour the island

Best New Year's ever!

Dick & Dad: the men of my life

I was this happy all week!!!

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