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Tintin, the subject of 200 million comics sold, was likely based on a real 15-year-old …

 

In the overcrowded world of fictional characters, there are few faces as adorable as Tintin’s. Unlike Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman, Tintin, the young investigative reporter, is not a household name in America, but he is definitely one of the most beloved figures in Europe.

With no specific magic powers, he is the antithesis of a superhero, but that didn’t prevent him from being widely admired by both children and adults. Charles de Gaulle once declared that Tintin is his only international rival, saying that “nobody notices, because of my height. We are both little fellows who won’t be got at by big fellows.”

Tintin and his fox terrier, Snowy, appeared for the first time on January 10, 1929, in the children’s supplement of the Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siecle. What started as the subject of a supplement went on to become a symbol of the 20th century, appearing in an inde­pen­dent comic book, on television, and even on the big screen in Steven Spiel­berg’s animated movie The Adven­tures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.

Tintin is one of the most beloved figures in the comic book world.Author: Joi/Flickr-CC By 2.0

Georges Prosper Remi, known by the pen name Hergé, is the man behind the creation of Tintin. With almost no formal training, Hergé began drawing the legendary comic-book character in 1929, but little did he know that by doing so he would give birth to an entire European comics publishing industry.

Tintin and his fox terrier Snowy appeared for the first time in 1929. Author: karrikas/Flickr CC By 2.0

Since 1929, Tintin comics have sold more than 200 million copies, and over the years, this beloved character served as an inspiration for many people and influenced the ways comic book readers perceive the world around them. But what actually inspired Hergé to create the iconic character?

Debate still exists on what exactly inspired Hergé to come up with the snub-nosed teenage reporter, but most people agree that it was a real life person known by the name Palle Huld. It is one of the most original of origin stories in the comic book world.

Less than a year before Tintin made his first appearance, in the children’s supplement of  Le Vingtième Siecle, a 15-year-old Danish Boy Scout named Palle Huld won a competition organized by a Danish newspaper to mark the centennial of Jules Verne.

 

Palle Huld, during his trip around the world in 1928, almost certainly influenced Hergé to create Tintin.

The winner of the competition would re-enact Phileas Fogg’s voyage from Verne’s famous novel Around the World in Eighty Days. Strangely enough, only teenage boys were allowed to take part in the competition, and the 15-year-old was the perfect match. There was another twist: The winner had to complete the journey within 46 days, without any company and without using planes.

Hundreds of Danish teenagers applied to participate in the competition, and Palle was lucky enough to be chosen. He started his journey on March 1, 1928, from Copenhagen and traveled by rail and steamship through England, Scotland, Canada, Japan, the Soviet Union, Poland, and Germany.

His journey made the headlines at the time and when he arrived in Denmark, he was already a celebrity. Over 20,000 admirers greeted their hero when he came back home.

The next thing he did was write a book about his journey, which was quite popular among his admirers, and published in several languages. That book also came into the hands of a Belgian cartoonist known by the name of Hergé and that same year, when Huld’s book was published, Tintin made his debut.

Huld himself suggested on several occasions that he was the inspiration for Tintin. However, others believe that the inspiration behind the character was actually the French travel photojournalist Robert Sexe, whose journeys were exactly in the same order as Tintin’s first three books.

With no specific superpowers, Tintin is the antithesis of a superhero. Author: Hicham Souilmi CC By 2.0

Nonetheless, true Tintin fans couldn’t care less. For them it is all about the character, a hero they all know and love, representing something that others don’t have: uncompromising vigilance and the need to succeed no matter what the cost.

Tintin proves that a hero doesn’t need to be big or strong, he or she just needs to be tenacious and stubborn enough to do what needs to be done.

By Goran Blazeski

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ON THIS DAY:NOVEMBER 6

FEATURED EVENT

FEATURED BIOGRAPHY

James Naismith holding a ball and a peach basket, the first basketball equipment.
CANADIAN-AMERICAN ATHLETE AND EDUCATOR
BORN
November 6, 1861

Almonte, Canada

DIED
November 28, 1939 (aged 78)

LawrenceKansas

BORN ON THIS DAY

1970
Ethan Hawke

AMERICAN ACTOR, DIRECTOR, AND NOVELIST
1955
Maria Shriver

AMERICAN TELEVISION JOURNALIST
1948
Glenn Frey

AMERICAN MUSICIAN
1946
Sally Field

AMERICAN ACTRESS
1661
Charles II

KING OF SPAIN

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1917   The second phase of the Russian Revolution of 1917 began (October 25, Old Style) as the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia.
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1888  Benjamin Harrison of the Republican Party was elected U.S. president by an electoral majority despite losing the popular vote by more than 90,000 to his Democratic opponent, Grover Cleveland.
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Surprising Footage Captures Arctic Jellyfish Lurking Under the Ice

In the midst of a frosty Arctic winter, marine biologist Andy Juhl led a team from Columbia University’s Earth Institute on snowmobiles out over the frozen Chukchi sea. There they drilled holes through the ice, several feet thick, and dropped a submersible down into the frigid environment and take a peek at what lies beneath.

As George Dvorsky reports for Gizmodo, what they found delighted them: a jellyfish.

Until now, scientists believed that the creatures spent the winter in polyp form—bulbous masses that cling to surfaces and release bell-shaped jellies in the Spring. But the translucent critter, Chrysaora melanaster, shows that the jellies can overwinter in the waters off the coast of northern Alaska—an environment previously believed to be too harsh for adult jellies to survive. The scientists described their find in a new study, published in the journal Marine Ecology.

  1. melanaster, also known as the “northern sea nettle,” is one of the Arctic’s largest jellyfish. Their voluminous bells can grow up to a foot or more across and their tentacles and ruffle-like string of “lips” stretch behind them for nearly ten feet. The jellies thrive in the cold Arctic waters, but until this latest study, researchers had yet to find evidence that they could remain in this environment over the course of the harsh winters.

Though their presence might seem surprising, as the researchers write in their study, the sea ice might protect the jellyfish from turbulent storms while the cold would slow their metabolism, allowing them to survive on little food throughout the winter. According to the Census of Marine Life, Chrysaora melanaster jellies feed on large zooplankton, small fish, copepods, and even other jellies.

In the video, the creature can be seen dragging across the seafloor, which might not appear like a thriving environment in the peak of winter. But as the researchers note, the Arctic seas support a surprising amount of winter food, namely ice algae, which grow inside and along the bottom of sea ice and eventually sink to the bottom, providing a base for the food chain.

Even so, the researchers note that reduced food supplies don’t stop these resourceful creatures, which can regrow their gonads once food availability increases. This means that even if food is short, these overwintering jellies will likely still be capable of reproduction come spring.

“Thus, overwintering could be an effective strategy for individuals with the potential to mature to consume the abundant zooplankton food available in spring and increase their sexual reproductive output,” the researchers write.

Knowing that these creatures can survive the winter under sea ice will help scientists better understand jellyfish population dynamics, which greatly vary from year to year, Dvorsky writes. Some years there are hardly any, while other years they are so common that fishing nets are choked with them.

These swings in jellyfish populations don’t just plague Alaska. One particularly dramatic bloom in the Mediterranean this summer prompted a researcher from Italy’s Institute of Sciences of Food Production, Antonella Leone, to try to get locals to eat them. She hopes to curb their numbers as warmer waters spur populations to grow “gelatinous generation after gelatinous generation,” Jason Horowitz reported for The New York Times earlier this year.

The latest study is not necessarily an indicator of changes in climate, but suggests that the northern sea nettle could be sensitive to future shifts in sea ice—just like the polar bears and walruses we commonly think of struggling to adapt to the changing Arctic.

As Juhl and his colleagues write, it’s especially important to understand these dynamics now, “as coastal Arctic seas become more open to transportation, commercial fishing, oil and gas exploration, and other forms of commercial exploitation.” These ventures could affect not just the furry creatures roaming above the ice, but the gelatinous ones sliding along below.

Follow the Paths of Viking Raiders from Norway to North America

Viking ruins, Jarslhof, Shetland, Scotland
(nyiragongo / iStock)
From 793 to 1066 CE, hearing the words “Viking” or “Norsemen” would put just about anyone on edge. The group was notorious for sailing their longboats into harbors and viciously attacking the people there—stealing all the available loot, taking slaves and killing just about everyone else. But this bad behavior tells only part of the Viking story. “All Vikings were Norsemen, but not all Norsemen were Vikings,” historian and Viking Cruises lecturer Patrick Goodness told Smithsonian.com. “They became Vikings when they went out plundering; they went viking, as a verb.” Eventually, the term morphed into a classification for the entire community.

Both sides of the population, though, were inspired by the same sentiment: to go out and find new land. Some wanted to explore and plunder, but others simply wanted to discover more fertile lands to farm and settle peacefully, moving ever westward from Europe toward North America in search of the perfect spot. They traveled by longboat as the crow flied, settling in several distinct paths we can still track today.

So grab your helmet and shield and hop on a boat—now you can follow one of those paths of Viking Norsemen, from their original settlement in Norway across the Atlantic to their first settlement in North America.

Norway

The Oseberg Ship at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo.
The Oseberg Ship at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo. (Creative Commons)

Since the beginning of the Viking age, the group of settlers and raiders ruled the western coast of Norway and much of Scandinavia. The Norwegian Vikings were among the most adventurous, sailing and plundering along their path to North America long before Columbus arrived at the continent’s shores. Here, in seaside towns like Bergen and Stavanger, once a major Hanseatic League trading port, the Vikings built their longships that would take them around the world.

What to see: The Bergen Maritime Museum has a selection of Viking longship models, but to see the real thing, head to the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, which has the three best-preserved ships that have been found to date. For a decidedly more modern sight, head a bit south of Stavanger to see three gigantic metal Viking swords sticking up from the shoreline. The monument, unveiled in 1983 by King Olav, commemorates Viking King Harald Fair Hair’s success at uniting the three kingdoms of Norway into one unit.

Shetland Islands, Scotland

Part of the Jarlshof settlement. (Creative Commons)

The Vikings arrived in Shetland around 850, and the Norse influence can still be seen today throughout the area; in fact, 95 percent of the place names in the Shetland Isles are still the original Old Norse names. More than 30 archeological sites on Unst Island alone hold evidence of Viking homes and settlements. Even the dialect of present-day Shetland residents has a healthy sprinkling of Old Norse words leftover from Viking rule. And, depending on who you ask, you may be able to get a ride out to Tingwall Valley, where the Vikings held their parliamentary sessions on a small peninsula in a lake.

For the next 600 years after arrival, Vikings and Norsemen ruled the Shetland Islands. But in the late 1400s (after many Vikings had already sailed on to greener pastures in different countries), Norse rule abruptly ended; the Shetland Islands became officially Scottish as part of a marriage treaty between a Scottish prince and a Danish princess.

What to see: Jarlshof on Mainland Shetland is one of Scotland’s biggest archeological sites, a huge complex documenting more than 4,000 years of settlement on the islands. Not only will visitors find ruins of a Viking longhouse, but they’ll also explore Neolithic homes, Bronze and Iron Age settlements, medieval farmsteads, and a laird’s house from the 1500s. And don’t miss Up Helly Aa in Lerwick, among the largest fire festivals in Europe. Viking descendants follow a Viking longship in a huge procession, all carrying torches, and at the end of the route, the boat is set on fire.

Faroe Islands

The Viking settlement at Kvivik.
The Viking settlement at Kvivik. (Jennifer Billock)

Even though the name for the Faroe Islands themselves, Føroyar, is derived from the Viking Old Norse language, they actually weren’t the first to find the region. “The Islands were founded by Irish monks,” Gunnar, a tour guide on the main island Streymoy, told Smithsonian.com. “Then the Vikings came and suddenly there were no more monks.” The Vikings arrived in the 9th century and quickly established a parliamentary meeting site at the tip of what is now the capital city, Tórshavn.

That spot in the city is now known as Old Town, known worldwide for its red buildings with turf roofs and cobblestone streets. Coincidentally, the Faroese parliament still meets in these buildings, giving Tórshavn the distinction of being the oldest functioning parliament in the world. Don’t miss the Viking-carved compass rose and runes at the end of Old Town’s rocky peninsula, right by the flag pole.

What to see: From the Faroe Islands’ capital Tórshavn, it’s an easy drive to seaside Kvívík, where you can find a 10th-century Viking settlement. The ruins are right in the middle of the village—also one of the oldest villages in the Islands—and contain longhouse and barn foundations. The southern end of the site has been washed away by the sea.

Iceland

“Sun Voyager,” a sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason, in Reykjavík, Iceland. (tailiwei / iStock)

Vikings settled in Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik, in the 800s. They let the gods decide exactly where they should settle by floating a wooden chair across the water from one of the longboats: wherever the chair landed, the city should be. By 900 AD, Goodness said, more than 24,000 people lived there. It was a time of peace for the plundering Vikings.

“Iceland was considered a paradise for the settlers,” Goodness said. “Because of the pillaging and raiding, they started to be met with resistance. You can only maraud a place so many times before people [start] fighting back. The Vikings saw that and thought, people are dying, this isn’t fun anymore. They weren’t really interested in fighting anymore. It was time for them to live peacefully. This was a great period of transition for them in Iceland.”

Today, more than 60 percent of Icelanders are Norse, and the rest are mostly of Scottish or Irish heritage, many of their ancestors having been brought to Iceland as slaves by the Vikings.

What to see: Traces of Viking heritage are all over Iceland—the country even has a Viking trail you can follow—but for a good look, head to the Settlement Museum in downtown Reykjavik. Here, ruins of a Viking settlement are preserved in an underground exhibit. And across the hall from the longhouse, ancient saga manuscripts are also on display.

Greenland

Hvalsey Church.
Hvalsey Church. (Creative Commons)

In 982, Erik the Red committed a murder in Iceland and was exiled for three years as a result. He sailed off to the west, finding Greenland and spending his time in exile there. During that time, Goodness says, Greenland may actually have been green, covered with forests and vegetation, as the Viking would have landed during the Medieval Warm Period (believed to be about 900 to 1300) when sea ice decreased and crops had longer to grow. After his sentence ended, Erik the Red sailed back to Iceland to convince other settlers to follow him to this new promised land. In 985, he and a fleet of 14 longships arrived to settle the southern and western coasts.

The Vikings continued to live on Greenland for about 500 years. Remains of Erik the Red’s settlement date back to about the year 1000, along with ruins of around 620 farms. At peak population, the Norse numbered around 10,000 people in the country. And then, suddenly, the community vanished with no explanation and no written record explaining why. However, historians have ultimately been able to explain it: “It was too hard to live in Greenland and they got tired of it,” Goodness said. “They thought it was better to leave than stay in such a harsh climate.” Over time, the temperature was getting colder so farms were no longer workable, and the Vikings never learned to effectively hunt the region. The Inuit were inhospitable; fights broke out frequently. At the same time, Norway had been stricken by the plague, so many farmsteads there were left abandoned. A group of the Greenland settlers was known to have headed back to Norway to take over the land, and another sailed onward to Canada.

What to see: Hvalsey Church is the best-preserved Viking ruin in Greenland. Most people choose Qaqortoq as their base for trips to see the church. It appears to have been built around 1300, and only the stone walls remain. Hvalsey has a unique history itself, as well—in 1408, a wedding was held at the church, with many Norse attendees. The written account of that event is the last word that ever came from Greenland’s Viking population.

Canada

A workshop at the L'Anse Aux Meadows Viking settlement.
A workshop at the L’Anse Aux Meadows Viking settlement. (Jennifer Billock)

To see the first Viking settlements in North America—found 500 years before Christopher Columbus set foot there—head to L’Anse Aux Meadows. The Vikings first arrived here from Greenland in the late 10th century, led by Leif Erikson. He initially called the land Vinland (though the exact location of Vinland is disputed), because when the Vikings arrived they found grapes and vines. Spurred by Erikson’s success, more than 100 Vikings followed to settle at this spot. Prior to its discovery in the 1960s, this North American settlement was only referenced in two ancient sagas.

What to see: The archaeological site at L’Anse Aux Meadows has two main components: the actual ruins (visitors can stand inside the foundation of Leif Erikson’s own house) and a recreated Viking trading port nearby called Norstead. Here, you’ll see a unique juxtaposition of what life was believed to have been like for the Vikings and what rubble remains today.

Scots haggis exports to Canada to resume after 46 years

haggisImage copyrightPA
Image captionHaggis producers have been working on new recipes to get around regulations in Canada and the US

Scotland is to start exporting haggis to Canada for the first time in 46 years, it has been announced.

Canada lifted a ban on imports of red meat from Europe in 2015 but still does not allow imports of offal.

This has left Scottish producers, including Macsween of Edinburgh, working on new haggis recipes to meet local regulations there and in the US.

Economy Secretary Keith Brown welcomed the news during his tour of the US and Canada.

Scottish food and drink exports to Canada are now worth more than £94m, following increases in recent years.

‘Iconic symbol’

James Macsween, managing director of Macsween of Edinburgh, said he was “delighted” that his family’s firm would be the first to sell haggis in Canada for almost 50 years.

He said: “My grandfather, Charlie, would be very proud to see how far we’ve come from his original butcher’s shop in Bruntsfield, which he opened back in 1953.”


Selling haggis in Canada

Simon Bentall
Image captionThe authorities will raid shops to look for illegal imports, according to Simon Bentall

Simon Bentall, at the Scottish Loft in Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme he was delighted about the change in the rules.

“We had haggis from the States, which was OK, but it’s not the same is it?

“We pride ourselves in having Scottish stuff; something from the States is not Scottish.”

Simon said there is an established demand for haggis in North America.

“The other day I sent it to California. Two tins of haggis to California.

“Florida once too. Sent a can to Florida. That was last November.”

The regulations can be rigorously enforced. Another shop specialising in imported goods was recently raided by the authorities.

“The Customs check all the time. Not my shop, but a friend has a shop about 20 miles away and he got raided.

“Some of the stuff was thrown away. Probably about £1,000 to £2,000 worth of stuff.”


Mr Brown, who is currently in Toronto promoting Scottish food and drink to Canadian buyers, said haggis was “a truly iconic symbol of Scotland”.

He added: “After waiting 46 years, I’m sure there will be many Canadians and ex-pat Scots looking forward to having Scotland’s national dish at the centre of their table at the next Burns’ supper.

“This development is an indication of the increasing interest in, and love of, Scottish food and drink produce in North America.

“As a government, we have supported Macsween to grow their business and will continue to support Scottish companies in unlocking the significant opportunities to be found in this fast-growing market.”

7 HEARTY BEAN RECIPES WE LOVE

Beans get an A+ in the nutritional department—they’re packed with protein, soluble fiber and antioxidants.

We’ve jumped on the bean bandwagon and have pulled together seven healthy, satisfying and scrumptious bean recipes.

Learn the best ways to soak your beans.

Gnocchi with White Beans & Spinach

Mama Mia! Lisa has gone and done it by creating a gnocchi that’s both easy to make and delicious to eat in this awesome Italian recipe for Gnocchi with White Beans & Spinach. These potato gnocchi, light and tender, are served with a white bean and spinach sauce that includes white wine, tomatoes, oregano and garlic.

Ingredients

Potato Gnocchi

2 lbs (about 3 large) russet potatoes, washed and dried
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 egg yolks
½ tsp kosher salt
1¼ cups flour, divided

White Bean & Spinach Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp dried Italian seasoning
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14oz) can diced tomatoes
4 cups packed fresh baby spinach

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions

1) For the gnocchi, preheat oven to 425ºF. Poke holes in the potatoes to allow steam to escape while they bake. Bake potatoes until tender, about 1 hour. Remove potatoes from oven, let cool for 10 minutes, then cut each potato in half. Scoop out the flesh and press through a potato ricer into a large bowl. Add Parmesan, egg yolks and salt, mixing well to combine. Incorporate 1 cup of flour and mix until dough is formed. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead in remaining ¼ cup flour until soft dough is formed. Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece on a lightly floured surface into long strips. Cut the strips into ½-inch gnocchi and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Once sauce is prepared, cook gnocchi.

2) For the sauce, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until tender, 3-4 minutes. Stir in garlic, Italian seasoning, oregano, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes, cooking for 1 minute. Turn heat to high and add white wine, cooking for 2 minutes until evaporated. Stir in cannellini beans and tomatoes, simmering over low heat for 10 minutes. Stir in spinach and remove from heat.

3) To cook the gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add gnocchi and when they float to the surface, cook 1 minute longer. Remove gnocchi with a slotted spoon and add to white bean and spinach sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

penne

Penne with Roasted Tomatoes, Spinach & Beans

Looking for a delicious way to serve up pasta? This Penne with Roasted Tomatoes, Spinach and Beans is ultra-flavorful, with garlic, slow roasted plum tomatoes, leafy green spinach, creamy white beans, tart lemon juice and fresh basil.

Ingredients

Oven-Roasted Tomatoes

8 plum tomatoes, quartered and seeded
2 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

½ lb penne pasta
½ cup reserved pasta water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1½ cups canned white kidney (cannellini) beans
3 cups roughly chopped baby spinach
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh basil, cut into thin strips
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

1) For the tomatoes, preheat oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, toss cut tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on prepared baking sheet, cut side up, and bake 1½ hours.

2) Toward the end of the tomatoes roasting, cook the penne pasta in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water until tender. Drain pasta, reserving ½ cup of the cooking water.

3) Using the same large pot heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, stirring 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add cooked pasta, roasted tomatoes, white beans and spinach, cooking until spinach wilts, about 1 minute. Add lemon juice, basil, salt, pepper, Parmesan and some of the reserved pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

chili

Blazing Beef & Bean Chili

This Blazing Beef and Bean Chili is hot stuff. A dynamite mix of chili powder, red pepper flakes and cayenne, mingled with intense cocoa powder, sweet tomatoes, fiber-rich beans and well-seasoned meat, it can rival any Lone Star chili joint. In a big bowl or piled atop a hot dog or fries, this one is a Chilympic winner.

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium white onions, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp brown sugar
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper

2½ lbs ground beef

1 (28oz) tin diced tomatoes
1 (5.5oz) tin tomato paste
1 cup beef broth
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2½ cups canned red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Toppings

Sour cream
Shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
Sliced jalapeno pepper
Corn tortillas

Directions

1) In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and stir often, cooking 4 minutes. Add diced red pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cocoa powder, salt, oregano, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Cook for 1 minute to combine spices, stirring continuously. Add the ground beef and cook 10 minutes until no longer pink. Break beef up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth and cider vinegar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add kidney beans and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes more.

2) Serve topped with sour cream, cheddar on Monterey Jack cheese, sliced jalapeño and/or fried tortilla strips (cut corn tortillas into thin strips, fry in 1-inch of oil for 1-2 minutes and season with a little salt).

Serves 8-10

minestrone

Hearty Vegetable Minestrone Soup

This steaming, vegetable-packed Minestrone Soup transports us straight to Italy. The rich-tasting broth, loaded with vegetables (carrots, celery, zucchini, spinach, to name a few), fresh herbs and finished with a pesto drizzle, makes this easy and satisfying Minestrone Soup Recipe numero uno in our bowls!

Ingredients

Minestrone Soup

3 tbsp olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
5 medium celery stalks, chopped
5 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
5 cups chicken broth
1 (28oz/796ml) can diced tomatoes, with liquid
2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 cups fresh baby spinach
11/2 cups canned red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 large zucchini, chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cooked seashell pasta

Pesto Drizzle

1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 small garlic clove
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil

Directions

1) In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-low heat and sauté garlic and onion for 4-5 minutes. Add celery and carrots, sautéing for an additional 5 minutes.

2)Add broth, diced tomatoes (with liquid) and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil over high heat. Turn to low and add red wine, spinach, kidney beans, zucchini, basil, oregano, sugar, salt and pepper. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.

3) Add cooked pasta and simmer for 2-3 minutes to combine flavors.

4) For the pesto sauce, place basil leaves and garlic in a food processor and process until leaves are finely chopped. Add pine nuts and process until nuts are finely chopped. Add cheese and salt, processing until combined. With the machine running, add olive oil in a slow, steady stream until the oil is incorporated.

*This sauce yields 1/3 cup and, if you’re not using it immediately, store it covered in the refrigerator to prevent the sauce from turning brown.

5) Drizzle 1 tsp of pesto sauce over each bowl of soup.

Serves 8-10

fagioli

Hearty Pasta Fagioli Soup

This recipe for Pasta Fagioli Soup was, at one time, called Pasta FaJulie as I endlessly begged Lisa to create it for me. You see, I’m a sucker for classic Italian dishes, especially this hearty soup of pasta, beans and vegetables. Scrumptious and heartwarming spoonful after spoonful, this soup doesn’t disappoint.

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium white onion, coarsely chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
6 cups chicken broth
1 (28oz) tin diced tomatoes
¾ cup dry pasta (small shape, such as mini shells macaroni)
1½ cups canned white kidney (cannellini) beans, rinsed and drained
1½ cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1) In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and carrots, cook 5 minutes to soften, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, stirring for 1 minute. Add chicken broth and tin of diced tomatoes with their juices. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.

2) Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

3) After soup has cooked for 20 minutes, add white kidney beans and chickpeas, simmering partially covered for 10 minutes.

4) Remove 2 cups of bean soup and place in food processor. Puree, return to soup pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add cooked pasta, Parmesan, basil, salt and pepper, simmering 5 minutes. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese.

Serves 6

beansoup

White Bean, Spinach & Couscous Soup

This delicious and easy White Bean, Spinach and Couscous Soup recipe is an exotic spin on a Tuscan tradition, relying on leeks, the mild cousin of the onion, for their subtle flavor, creamy beans for their rich texture, and couscous, with a nutty taste, that makes every trip to the bowl delightful and surprising.

Ingredients

2 tsp olive oil
2 leeks, rinsed well, white portions chopped and green discarded
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
8 cups chicken broth
3 cups canned white kidney (cannellini) beans, rinsed and drained
2 dried bay leaves
1/2 cup whole-wheat couscous
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, packed tight
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

1) Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks and garlic, sautéing 2 minutes or until tender.

2) Stir in cumin. Add broth, white beans and bay leaves. Over high heat, bring to a boil.

3) Add couscous, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

4) Remove bay leaves and discard. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted, about 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 6

beansalad

Seven Bean Salad

While a three bean salads are fine and five bean salads are swell, there’s nothing as spectacularly simple and delicious as this (Lucky) Seven Bean Salad. This quick, easy and healthy salad, a combination of tasty beans tossed in a tangy Lemon Dijon dressing, is guaranteed to become a staple at your table.

Ingredients

Lemon Dijon Dressing

6 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp champagne vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp lemon zest
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Seven Bean Salad

2 cups fresh green beans, ends snipped
1½ cups frozen edamame, thawed
2 cups snow peas
1 cup fresh green peas
1½ cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1½ cups baby lima beans, rinsed and drained
1½ cups white (cannellini) beans, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp lemon zest
¼ tsp kosher salt, or more to taste

Directions

1) For the Lemon Dijon dressing, in a food processor or blender, combine olive oil, champagne vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic, mustard seeds, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Pulse 2-3 times, until well combines. Set aside.

2) For the salad, bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add green beans and edamame. Turn heat to low and cook 1 minute. Add snow peas and fresh green peas and continue cooking 1 minute more. Drain and immediately plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Once cold, drain again and dry out completely. Place in a large bowl along with chickpeas, lima beans, white beans, parsley, thyme, lemon zest and salt. Pour dressing over salad, toss well and refrigerate covered until ready to serve.

Serves 8-10

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