VEGETARIAN MINESTRONE SOUP

Every time my mum would return from a trip, I would welcome her back by stocking up the fridge and cooking her a hearty meal. On her most recent trip she went to Moree to soak in the mineral-rich Artesian Waters and enjoy a 10 day trip with 3 other girlfriends. (Some may think four 72 year old women would have a boring time but trust me.....when these women get together they laugh, quarrel, tell cheeky jokes, share recipes and enjoy outings together) Upon her return I cooked a Hearty Vegetarian Minestrone Soup. Soup always heals the soul and warms the tummy. Every time I cook for her she complains that there is no need YET I know she likes and expects it. I find that as our parents age, they verbalize and pretend to not want help but feel relieved when it is offered. The next day she called me and said she was glad she didn't need to cook as there was leftover food due to the amount I cooked and therefore she was going to seniors yoga class! LOL She cracks me up! Her attempt to hold onto her independence is a struggle within herself and is at odds when help is offered. I find she wants to be cared about but not made obvious when she is cared for. This tug of war is a struggle for me and learning when to step in or offer my assistance has been a big learning curve. However, I totally understand as she was and still is a very strong, independent, stubborn and proud woman who has never had any help (not even from her parents or extended family) and to have her independence taken away is like losing her identity. I have had many friends and extended family that tell me similar stories about their parents. Role reversal is difficult for all.

Hope you enjoy this hearty meal.

250g tubular gluten free pasta

3 tbs olive oil

3 garlic cloves chopped

2 celery sticks chopped

2 carrot sticks chopped

2 onions chopped

2 large kale leaves finely chopped

1 can cannellini beans

1 can diced tomatoes

1 tbs tomato paste

2 tbs finely chopped parsley

2 tbs thyme leaves

1L water or vegetable stock

1. Cook pasta, drain. Set aside.

2. In pot lightly brown onion, garlic, celery, carrot, kale with oil and then add diced tomatoes, tomato paste and stir for a few minutes.

3. Add beans, stock and pasta. Bring to boil and simmer for 10 min.

4. Serve hot with a sprinkle of fresh herbs.

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