Quinoa, Kale and White Bean Soup

Winter has made its chilly arrival, which means (thankfully) the days will get a bit longer but it's time for the holidays and all those cookies and treats and parties and stuff.

I already have a nice amount of jiggle-in-the-middle. I don't need any more.

But a girl's gotta eat, right?

My days get pretty hectic balancing the tot and work stuff. Sometimes I don't eat lunch until 1:30 or so when she has her "nap," and then the adults eat dinner around 8ish. The tot eats lunch around 11:30 and dinner at 5, and sometimes I'll have a some fresh fruit or yogurt with her during her meal times. By the time the husband gets home around 6:30, I'm famished.

Yeah, I know we are eating pretty late, but I'm not about to have dinner on the table when the husband crashes through the door. The tot is a mess and, as it is, only gets about an hour with her daddy before she conks out.

So, for now, that's our eating schedule.

Having a really healthy and filling lunch helps me get through the day - and to stay sane and not fall apart and forget things.

(I still forget things.)

Kale is in season and I've always got quinoa in the house - you know how much I love it (here, here, here...). I dug around and discovered a couple of cans of white beans and a few containers of vegetable stock and realized I had the mixings for a super healthy, high protein and fiber soup.

What you need

3 cloves garlic chopped

1 small onion chopped

1 tsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp butter

1 c quinoa

6 c vegetable stock

2 15 ounce cans of white beans (you can use any kind - cannelloni, great northern, navy...)

1 c rinsed and chopped kale

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

1/4 t salt

Additional salt and pepper to taste

How you make it

Start by getting a large stock pot heating over medium-high heat. Add your chopped onions, garlic, butter and oil and let simmer for a bit. You want the onions and garlic to pick up some color - but we're not talking blackened, so make sure to stir every once in awhile.

Now you can sprinkle everything with the salt and then add the quinoa. Feel free to rinse it first (I don't but others swear by it) and stir the quinoa together with the onions and let toast up for a minute.

Turn down the heat to medium, add the vegetable stock, stir, then cover with a lid.

That's it.

Simmer for about 10-minutes or until the quinoa have evolved into small swirls. Now open, rinse and drain one of the cans of white beans and add to the soup. You can also add the rinsed and chopped kale along with the balsamic vinegar. Pop the lid back on and keep simmering.

Open up that other can of beans, rinse and drain, and then mash with a fork until those beans resemble a paste. Add them to the pot and then stir the soup until everything is looking tasty.

You can simmer the soup until the kale is tender, which takes an additional 5-to 10 minutes, and then serve with a sprinkling of salt and pepper - or a couple of shavings of parmesan cheese.