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Hello, friends! First, some deep thoughts from the weekend I want to share:

I was at a conference for my full time job in technology sales over the weekend, and we had a speaker for our Women in Technology group. She said the best advice she ever got was, “Don’t let your comfort zone become a dangerous anchor.”

Isn’t that so true? When you find still waters, it’s easy to just safely float there for the duration. The problem is you never go anywhere – not back, not forward, you just stay in the same spot forever. And while that may sound appealing to some, it is not sustainable. Aside from inevitable boredom alone, there are bound to be storms that come through. Sometimes it is dangerous not to move from the storm’s path.

If you are incapable of moving because you’re anchored to the status quo, that potentially leads to drowning. Be brave. Make yourself uncomfortable. Don’t give up on your passions even if they aren’t what’s paying your bills right now. Have hard conversations. Be the change. Pull up your anchor and sail somewhere new! THAT is how you grow.

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Ok, now let’s get to this soup. Maybe it was just because I spent the weekend in blazing hot Florida, but it got all kinds of chilly in Tennessee yesterday. I know that due to our crazy weather pattern here I will be back to wearing tank tops and shorts by the weekend, but it was actually kind of nice to have a day that almost resembled Fall. We don’t get many of those! The crisp air immediately made me crave soup. Well, that, and I still haven’t gone to the grocery store since my return, so I had to get creative with dinner. I decided to experiment with making Minestrone in my Instant Pot, and it was a SUCCESS. My kids even liked it, although they would never openly admit that. They took more than two bites, so I’m calling it a win!

When you review this recipe, I’m anticipating one question on repeat. Why did you not cook the pasta on high pressure? Yes, I know that I can cook pasta in the Instant Pot, but I wanted to be very careful about making sure I kept a nice texture on all the various ingredients in this soup. I did not add the zucchini in the high pressure cycle either because I wanted to maintain the firmness. One thing about the Instant Pot – your vegetables and pasta can turn to mush in a heart beat. It’s better to spend a few extra minutes boiling the pasta and zucchini than have a bowl of mush, right?? If you decide to try cooking your pasta during the high pressure cycle, I recommend adding all six cups of water or broth at the beginning, and doing 4 minutes high pressure instead of five. I’d love to know how it turns out! Or, just follow the recipe as written and you can be sure you will have nice, firm ingredients and that all-day simmered taste.

Note: There is something going on with my recipe plug-in for WordPress, so my apologies for the different format on this recipe!

MODERN DAY FOX INSTANT POT MINESTRONE (VEGAN)

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 diced onion

2 carrots, coined

3 diced celery stalks

1 tsp salt, plus more later if desired

1 tsp rosemary

1/2 tablespoon oregano

1 tsp Basil

1/4 tsp pepper

1 tablespoon garlic powder

Pinch crushed red pepper (optional)

1 28 oz can crushed tomato

6 cups water or broth

2 cups dry pasta (bowtie, rigatoni, penne)

1 diced zucchini, medium

1 can kidney beans, drained

1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

I/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar

3 cups chopped kale, stems removed

 

Instructions:

  1. Set pot to saute and heat olive oil.
  2. Add garlic, onion, carrots, and celery. Saute for 2-3 minutes until onions start to turn translucent.
  3. Add salt, rosemary, oregano, basil, pepper, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper. Saute for one more minute. Keep stirring so your seasonings do not burn.
  4. Turn pot off.
  5. Add crushed tomatoes, 4 cups water or broth, and stir.
  6. Replace lid on instant pot and set pot to 5 minutes high pressure. Be sure to turn the knob to Sealing so your pot comes to pressure.
  7. When the timer goes off, use a quick release for the steam.
  8. When the knob drops, remove lid and turn pot off.
  9. Add the other two cups of water. Stir in dry pasta, zucchini, and kidney beans.
  10. Set the pot to Saute and allow contents to boil and cook pasta thoroughly.
  11. When pasta is finished cooking, turn pot off.
  12. Add lemon juice, vinegar and kale. Kale will soften into the soup in a few minutes.
  13. Do a taste-test and add additional salt, if desired. I like my soups to have a saltier flavor so I added two additional teaspoons. I also used water instead of broth so I needed to make up for the salt that would have been in the broth.
  14. Serve, and enjoy!!
Written by Jaime Fox