a pot of bean soup.


I haven’t been much in the mood for cooking lately.

This, I’m sure, has something to do with the overabundance of chopping and whisking and baking that was done over the course of the past few days.  It has left me in a funk.

But, alas, even when I’m not in the mood for cooking, people still need to eat (me included.)  And the idea of purchasing a couple of Subways was completely out of the question (I’m practicing a new form of frugality before considering it my official “New Year’s Resolution.”)

Besides, I thought to myself, a pot of soup can basically cook itself.

While the soup did just that (cooked itself, I mean) I wrote down all of the things which I spend too much money on and which things I would like to spend more.  All in preparation for my upcoming resolution.

My motto is that there is never a better time to start than today!

(For the record, bean soup is ridiculously affordable.)

I spend too much at coffee shops.  And books and magazines, which could just as easily be borrowed from the library.

I would like to spend more on fitness (it’s an investment for life) and on the organizations which I feel strongly about supporting (can we say local soup kitchens?)

And I’d like to find more frugal meals for the week, balancing out the pricier meals (wild caught salmon = not cheap but totally worth every penny!)

Let me just get it out there.  This doesn’t always come easy for me.

It’s not that I go crazy at the mall or buy a daily soy latte from the ‘bucks.  But I do have my moments, and I’d really like to put some serious thought into where each and every hard earned penny goes.  Not to be a scrooge or a penny pincher.  Just to be, you know, made aware.  

Huh.  What do you know?

It seems that after all this talk and discussion, the soup is done.

It pretty much cooked itself.

Trader Joe’s 17 Bean and Barley Mix
(Serves: 6-8)

This soup has a bountiful mixture of baby lima beans, black turtle beans, blackeye peas, dark red kidney beans, garbanzo beans, great northern beans, green lentils, green split peas, large lima beans, light red kidney beans, navy beans, pink beans, pinto beans, red lentils, small red beans, small white beans, yellow split peas, and pearl barley.

That would be exactly seventeen nutrition-packed beans.  Phew.

I followed the recipe on the back of the bag very closely, but added in some extra garlic, extra tomatoes, some watercress and some hot pepper to spice things up a little.  It’s a very comforting dish for a chilly autumn day.  Enjoy!

  • 1 16 oz. bag of Trader Joe’s 17 Bean and Barley Mix (or, any combination of the beans listed above)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 cup bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2-15 oz. cans diced tomatoes with basil, oregano and garlic (or plain)
  • salt, pepper and tobasco sauce to taste
  • 4 oz. bag of watercress, chopped
  1. Soak beans overnight in a large pot with a good amount of water.  Drain and rinse.  Pour 4 cups broth into pot with beans.  Set aside.
  2. In a separate pan, cook onion, celery, carrot, pepper, basil and garlic in olive oil until soft. Combine this mixture and remaining ingredients into the bean pot and cover with more broth. Simmer covered for about 1 hour to desired tenderness. Be sure to occasionally check liquid level and add more broth if necessary. Salt and pepper and add tobasco sauce to desired taste.  Add watercress and cook an additional 3-5 minutes.  Enjoy!

QUESTION: What are some ways you practice being frugal?


12 comments on “a pot of bean soup.

  1. Liz says:

    Oh Sarah, your post could not have come at a better time! I was thinking these exact thoughts today after I left church feeling like I should come up with a monthly contribution and how much more fun it is to have friends over to cook dinner rather than go out to eat. I’m with your idea of practicing it now and making it a full blown “New Years Resolution” in about a month or so. Just letting you know someone else out there is in the same boat 🙂

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  3. BroccoliHut says:

    I happen to have that precise bean mix in my pantry! Thanks for the recipe!
    I try to save money by clipping coupons every week and setting out a specific budget for each shopping trip!

  4. Aranel says:

    Cooking from basic groceries… shopping for sales… just thinking about every (or, OK, about every second) penny. I do like your concept of “being aware”, that is what I would like to stick on in every way of life.

  5. And I can confirm that this bean soup tastes great. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!

  6. I’m such a penny pincher. Basically all we eat is beans. All the time. Oh and cabbage (a 99cent cabbage feeds us for like 2 weeks!)
    I think Matt’s dying for some meat and things are certainly getting gassy in the Menzies home. He may or may not have rolled his eyes at me when I said I was making bean burgers for dinner tonight 😛

  7. Katie says:

    I love your sepia toned pictures! They look so comfy and cozy! And this soup looks good, too. 🙂

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