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Last weekend was a busy one for us as we moved from our former apartment with only 2 bedrooms to a larger 3 bedroom apartment in anticipation of the twins that should be arriving sometime in January or early February. My due date is actually on February 14th, Valentine’s Day of next year, but twins often come early, so I’ve heard from many sources, as much as 4-6 weeks early so we’re getting prepared for them to arrive anytime at the beginning of next year. We’ll need a larger space to live in and an extra bedroom once they come so we decided to move now rather than after they’re born to reduce our stress. And boy was this move stressful! One week to the day after Anna’s birthday, on a Friday, and on Halloween no less!

Thomas moved our stuff to the new apartment all day long last Friday, with the help of two moving men and a large truck and it still took us over 10 hours to move everything out of our 78 sq. meter apartment! I mostly just packed light things into boxes and entertained Anna all day as I can’t lift heavy things right now but being in between homes for a day was stressful enough. We were finally in our new apartment, only a few miles away from our old one incidentally, by 8pm and were surrounded by piles of moving boxes and lots of semi-assembled furniture stacked up in all the wrong places. Slowly we’ve been putting everything back in its place but it’s still pretty unorganized here.

We had such lovely and unseasonably warm weather last weekend that we had to take a break from unpacking and go for a walk in the countryside on Sunday near Thomashof, a family run dairy farm where we like to buy their locally produced milk, yogurt and cheeses. It turned to cold and rainy weather here this past week though and I’ve been making lots of soups to compensate not just for the bad weather but also for a nasty cold that has had me out of sorts for most of the week. This soup is more of a stew but is filled with hearty beans and vegetables and can be made vegetarian if you omit the chicken. This is best made with dried beans that have been soaked the night before but can also successfully be made with canned beans. So stay warm this November and put a pot of this bean soup on the stove for a real “housewarming”.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
*Anna took the first two distant pictures of me and the last picture shown here from our walk on Sunday.

White Bean and Escarole Soup (with chicken)

1 small package of dried white beans (about 1 1/2 cups before soaking)
or canned beans can be substituted
1 large Onion or 2-3 small/medium onions
1 large bunch of leafy Escarole
3 stalks of Celery
3 Carrots
3 Garlic Cloves
1 1/2 – 2 liters of Vegetable Broth, Chicken Broth or water plus bouillon can be used
1 pound of cut up Chicken Breast *optional
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Soak the beans overnight or use the quick soak method to soak the beans before making the soup. Chop the onions and garlic into small pieces. Clean and cut the carrots and celery into bite sized pieces. Saute the chopped onions in enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a large dutch oven or soup pot and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and saute briefly until fragrant. Add the carrots and celery and saute stirring often for another minute or two. Add the broth and beans to the pot and set to a low simmer with a cover on but tilted, stirring occasionally for at least an hour or until the beans are tender. In the meantime clean and chop the escarole into pieces then add the chopped chicken if using and the escarole to the soup and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and just until the escarole has wilted and is tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.