I’m making a big pot of soup today for a group of hungry teenagers who will descend upon us around dinner time for a Bible study. The house smells soooo good with the aroma of bean soup wafting through. It’s warm and cozy and raining outside. Perfect for setting up a Christmas tree.
All that made me slightly nostalgic and thinking about past years. That made me think about “Stone Soup”, a lovely little fairy tale I use to tell my children. Since I am trying to figure out how to do Christmas without much money this year, I chuckled to myself about the story….
In the old Stone Soup fairy tale, strangers trick a starving town into giving them some food. It is usually told as a lesson in cooperation, especially amid scarcity. According to the story, some travelers come to a village, carrying nothing more than an empty pot. Upon their arrival, the villagers are unwilling to share any of their food with the hungry travelers. The travelers fill the pot with water, drop a large STONE in it, and place it over a fire in the village square. One of the villagers becomes curious and asks what they are doing. The travelers answer that they are making “stone soup”, which tastes wonderful, although it still needs a little bit of garnish to improve the flavor, which they are missing. The villager doesn’t mind parting with just a little bit of flour to help them out, so it gets added to the soup. Another villager walks by, inquiring about the pot, and the travelers again mention their stone soup, which hasn’t reached its full potential yet. The villager hands them a little bit of seasoning to help them out. More and more villagers walk by, each adding another ingredient. Finally, a deliciously nourishing pot of soup is enjoyed by all.
That’s when the ARTFUL LIFE inspiration hit me! This would be a very inexpensive and charming Christmas Gift. Package up a soup recipe, all the dry ingredients, spices, …and of course a STONE. Add the story above and tie it up with a big bow and voila!…an ARTFUL thoughtful gift someone will have a lot of fun enjoying and sharing with their family.
Here’s a soup recipe for you too!
Mixed Bean Soup
With fewer than 300 calories and just 4 grams of fat, this soup is healthfully filling.
Servings: Makes 6 servings.
1/2 cup dry baby lima beans or garbanzo beans
1/2 cup dry pinto beans or kidney beans
1/2 cup dry navy beans or great northern beans
4 cups cold water
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil
3 cups water
1 14-ounce can vegetable broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram, crushed
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1-1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable juice
Fresh marjoram (optional)
1. Rinse beans; transfer to 4-quart Dutch oven and add the 4 cups water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer for 2 minutes; remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. (Or, omit simmering and soak beans in cold water overnight in a covered Dutch oven.) Drain and rinse beans in a colander.
2. In the same covered Dutch oven cook the celery, onion, carrot, and garlic in the hot oil until tender, stirring once or twice. Add beans. Stir in the 3 cups water, the vegetable broth, thyme, marjoram, and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer covered, for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until beans are tender. Stir in the undrained tomatoes and vegetable juice. Heat through. If desired, garnish with fresh marjoram. Makes 5 servings.
The beautiful part of the story of stone soup is the pulling together of people during difficult times. We are in difficult times in America. God has helped us through difficult times in the past. He will help us now. And, He will help us again in the future. Stone soup is another way to make the artful touch of God’s love and beauty in your heart shine through your spirit to light up a troubled heart within your reach! God bless your Stone Soup! (Some might call this button soup…Same thing!)