Revived Kitchen’s Minestrone Soup is loaded with fresh vegetables, homemade Italian meatballs, and homemade broth. This recipe is one of the first things I learned how to cook by myself when I was experimenting in the kitchen outside of high school. Now, it’s progressed into this tried and true version of Minestrone Soup.
Every Saturday growing up, my mother would call off the chores to me and my sister and say, “Who wants to clean the mirrors and bathroom counters?” “ME!” my sister would shout. She always took that one, which was fine with me because I would claim the dusting.
I’ve never really minded chores. There’s something very satisfying and tangible about cleaning the dirt and wiping the dust away. It’s true that it never seems to be done except for that small moment afterward. But working with my hands is cathartic in a way that office work and working on a computer just can’t satisfy.
As a child, dusting meant that I could peruse the books on the book shelf and play with the antique hand-painted porcelain figurines, as I moved them from their frozen poses and wiped away the fine dust from where they stood, giving them a clean place to stand again.
Dusting meant that I could wind up all the music boxes and listen to them play. I’d watch them spin as I moved about the room, dusting off cups and candlesticks and lamp stands.
My mother’s house was full of antiques claimed from my great-grandparents’ house after they passed away. Among them was an old Singer Sewing machine and a round drum table with drawers and open shelves. I would spin that drum table round and around and around… Inside the drawers of the claw-footed cabinet in the dining room were old silver spoons in need of polishing, antique china dishes, and old pewter coasters engraved with pictures of roses.
(This is a video. You should play it.)
But as the years have gone on, all these dusty old things and that big empty house have become somewhat of a burden for my mom to carry. This past year or so, my mom packed up the house and put it up for sale. One day, I came home and had five big boxes sitting on my porch. I opened them and found old toys and knickknacks my mom had packed away and sent to me.
Putting the house up for sale hasn’t been an easy process. For one thing, my mom is ready to move on, but the house just won’t sell. My sister, on the other hand, is beyond upset that mom would even think about selling “my sister’s house” where we grew up. She would rather not let it go ever. It’s because she loves that house.
It’s hard to let go of the things we love.
I know that’s a rather obvious thing to say isn’t it? But there are different stages of letting go, so it can mean something different depending on the situation.
Sometimes, people we love pass away and are gone from this life forever. Sometimes, they pass out our lives after a season and move on to other things. Sometimes it’s voluntary. Sometimes involuntary. Sometimes people ask us for space, and we must give that to them, whether it’s for 10 minutes or a day, or indefinitely.
Letting go of the people we love is painful. It can be hard to feel respect for them or not to feel angry when they take themselves away from us voluntarily.
Regardless, it’s not the love that hurts. It’s being stopped from sharing that love.
What I’ve learned from Casper ten Boom.
Who is Casper ten Boom? Casper ten Boom is the father of Corrie ten Boom, and this week I’ve been reading Corrie’s book The Hiding Place for probably the tenth time in my life.
Every time I read this book, it nourishes my soul in some way.
I want to share with you what Mr. Casper ten Boom says to a young Corrie—when she’s about my age—and the love of her life becomes engaged and marries another woman. Corrie is heartbroken.
Gosh, Corrie. I sure can relate to you.
As we enter, Corrie is sobbing on her bed.
How long I lay on my bed sobbing for the one love of my life, I do not know. Later, I heard Father’s footsteps coming up the stairs. Later, I heard Father’s footsteps coming up the stairs. For a moment, I was a little girl again waiting for him to tuck the blankets tight. But this was a hurt that no blanket could shut out, and suddenly I was afraid of what Father would say. Afraid he would say, “There’ll be someone else soon,” and that forever afterward this untruth would lie between us. For in some deep part of me I knew already that there would not—soon or ever—be anyone else.
The sweet cigar-smell came into the room with Father. And of course he did not say the false, idle words.
“Corrie,” he began instead, “do you know what hurts so very much? It’s love. Love is the strongest force in the world, and when it is blocked that means pain. There are two things we can do when this happens. We can kill the love so that it stops hurting. But then of course part of us dies, too. Or, Corrie, we can ask God to open up another route for that love to travel. God love Karel—even more than you do—and if you ask Him, He will give you His love for this man, a love nothing can prevent, nothing destroy. Whenever we cannot love in the old, human way, Corrie, God can give us the perfect way.”
I did not know, as I listened to Father’s footsteps winding back down the stairs, that he had given me more than the key to this hard moment. I did not know that he had put into my hands the secret that would open far darker rooms than this—places where there was not, on a human level, anything to love at all.
I was still in kindergarten in these matters of love. My task just then was to give up my feeling for Karel without giving up the joy and wonder that had grown with it. And so, that very hour, lying there on my bed, I whispered the enormous prayer: “Lord, I give to You the way I feel about Karel, my thoughts about our future—oh, You know! Everything! Give me Your way of seeing Karel instead. Help me to love him that way. That much.” And even as I said the words I fell asleep.
My prayer for love
I think about love a lot. I suppose this is because my desire to love those around me is great. I wish to be better at loving the people I care about, and I struggle often with knowing how to love them.
How do I love my friends whom I don’t see 340 days out of the year? How do I love local friends here when everyone works all the time? How do I show love to friends of the opposite sex in an appropriate and non-misleading way? How do I show love to my sister who is so very far away in New York? How do I show love when I’m tired or frustrated or anxious?
Even in my last two relationships, simply being in love was not enough. I’ve never believed that love is enough in and of itself. At least not the love I’m capable of.
My human love is simply inadequate.
My mother has always told me that love is a choice. And that to truly love someone, you have to choose actions and words that are loving.
How else do we learn what it means to choose love unless we look God, who is Himself Love?
My honest prayer is this: God, make me a better lover. I pray that the people you place in my care and my keeping will experience Your love through me. I pray everyday that you will take my small human love and transform it into Your own. Please give me your perfect way, when my way fails. Give me the strength to choose love when I feel wronged or hurt. Give me Your strength to extend grace to others, just as I ask that you extend grace to me. I submit myself to you and ask your forgiveness when I fall short, and I pray that you bind my will close to yours, that I might also choose to forgive those that wound me—whether intentionally or not. Lord, I pray for your Love, that I might learn to love in the way you do. Your love is the reason you sent your Son Jesus, that we might be One with you. For you love us that much. Lord, temper me with patience and fortitude, so that when all else fails—when I fail—at least your love will shine through, and in that way, I hope to glorify you through my own weakness. Thank you for your promises and your unfailing love. Amen.
I have no doubt that I will fail over and over in this lifetime, and that I’ll need to say this prayer many times.
But one of the most obvious ways I love those around me is through food. I want to share with you my recipe for Minestrone Soup.
I’ve made this before when friends were feeling low, and I’ve found that this soup is a good way to nourish both hearts and tummies in need of mending.
4 TBSP butter
1 large onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
2-3 handfuls of green beans, chopped in 1 inch pieces
2 large beefsteak tomatoes, blanched and chopped
2 poblano peppers, diced (optional)
3 quarts beef broth (Use my recipe for beef broth, easy style)
3 TBSP tomato paste
One 12 oz. box of spiral fusilli pasta (I used this gluten-free kind)
5 cloves fresh garlic
3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1-1/2 cups sweet corn (optional)
15 oz. kidney beans (optional)
1-2 lbs meatballs (I made my own. Get the recipe here.)
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
If you’re using my meatball recipe, it’s very simple to make the meatballs while you’re making the rest of the soup. The meatballs are added last and only take 20 minutes in the oven. Here’s how you would time everything:
First, put all the ingredients for the meatballs in a bowl and mix it up. Then put it in the fridge to set while you start the soup. Preheat that oven to 425˚F.
In a large pot, melt your butter and sauté the onions, carrots, celery, green beans, and peppers on medium heat.
In a medium pan, boil some water. You’re going to use this water to blanch the tomatoes. Using a paring knife, poke several holes in the skins of the tomatoes. And when the water comes to a boil, remove from the heat, plop those tomatoes in there, and cover with a lid for two minutes. After two minutes, drain the water, and let them sit to cool for a few minutes before chopping and adding to the soup.
By now, your other veggies should be be mostly soft, and it’s time to add the beef broth, tomato paste, chopped blanched tomatoes, and a bit of salt to taste. Bring the broth up to a boil, and add the pasta. My pasta box said 12 minutes, so here’s what I want you to do—if you’re making meatballs, turn that broth back down to low for a minute and go ahead and roll the meatballs up and put them in the oven. Start your oven timer for 20 minutes.
NOW, bring the broth up to a boil and add your pasta. When the pasta is two minutes from being done, turn it down to a low simmer and add the freshly minced garlic, chopped spinach, frozen sweet corn, chopped parsley, and black pepper to taste. And kidney beans if you’re adding beans. (I didn’t add beans to mine.)
Cover and cook on low, and when the meatballs are done, pull them out of the oven and add them to the soup.
Let all of that continue to cook on low for 5 more minutes. Taste for salt one more time, and then serve.
- 4 TBSP butter
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 2-3 handfuls of green beans, chopped in 1 inch pieces
- 2 large beefsteak tomatoes, blanched and chopped
- 2 poblano peppers, diced (optional)
- 3 quarts beef broth (I used my recipe for "Beef Broth, Easy Style")
- 3 TBSP tomato paste
- One 12 oz. box of fusilli pasta
- 5 cloves fresh garlic
- 3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1-1/2 cups sweet corn (optional)
- 15 oz. kidney beans (optional)
- 1-2 lbs meatballs (I used my recipe for "Spicy Italian Meatballs")
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- SAUTÉ: In a large pot, melt your butter and sauté the onions, carrots, celery, green beans, and peppers on medium heat.
- BLANCH: In a medium pan, boil some water. You're going to use this water to blanch the tomatoes. Using a paring knife, poke several holes in the skins of the tomatoes. And when the water comes to a boil, remove from the heat, plop those tomatoes in there, and cover with a lid for two minutes. After two minutes, drain the water, and let them sit to cool for a few minutes before chopping and adding to the soup.
- PASTA TIME: By now, your other veggies should be be mostly soft, and it's time to add the beef broth, tomato paste, chopped blanched tomatoes, and a bit of salt to taste. Bring the broth up to a boil, and add the pasta.
- TURN DOWN THE HEAT: When the pasta is two minutes from being done, turn it down to a low simmer and add the freshly minced garlic, chopped spinach, frozen sweet corn, chopped parsley, and black pepper to taste. And kidney beans if you're adding beans.
- LET THE FLAVORS COMBINE: Cover and cook on low, and when the meatballs are done, pull them out of the oven and add them to the soup. Let all of that continue to cook on low for 5 more minutes. Taste for salt one more time, and then serve.