Margaret Button | Kitchen Comfort: Binging on TV and hot soup

Christmas 2017 is over. Part of me is happy about it, part of me is sad. There is such a huge build up to it and then it less than 12 hours it's all over with — the present unwrapping, Christmas dinner, visiting friends ...

While the tree and decorations are down (well, technically up as they're stored in the attic), I leave the candles in the window through Twelfth Night, Jan. 6, a tradition handed down by my parents. That is, if the batteries in them last that long. But hey, what do I expect out of batteries (eight in a package) that I bought at the Dollar Store? They've given me over a month of light as it is.

My son gave me an Amazon Firestick with Alexa remote for Christmas. (Alexa and I aren't communicating well with one another, but that's another column. The Spanish language app on my phone doesn't understand me, either.) I had been bummed for two years that there was a "Gilmore Girls" series released on Netflix and I couldn't watch it. So, yes, I requested the Firestick solely to watch "Gilmore Girls," which I did — all eight hours — from 6 p.m. Christmas night to 2 a.m. on Boxing Day.

I've listened to tales of fellow Eagle coworkers binge watching a series and shaking me head in disbelief. I am so sorry for disparaging the act. I truly understand now. From "Gilmore Girls," I moved onto "Grace and Frankie," a series about two 70-year-olds who bond as friends after their husbands of 40-plus years fall in love, divorce Grace and Frankie and marry. Three seasons, roughly 50 episodes, binge-watched over the long weekend. (It was frigid outside and it seemed like the thing to do.)

In addition to Netflix, my kid hooked me up with Amazon Prime. Not only do I get free two-day shipping, I get the series "Bosch," based on the Harry Bosch by one of my favorite authors, Michael Connolly.

To combat the cold and have more time to binge watch Netflix, I made a batch of minestrone in my crockpot. The recipe came from a friend, and calls for a pressure cooker, which I don't have. The crockpot seems to work fine. I added some stew beef, about a pound, at the beginning and at the end, along with the beans and pasta, some leftover Polish sausage, may be a quarter pound, that I cut into thin slices.

Crockpot minestrone soup


1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes

2 cups carrots, chopped

2 cups potatoes, chopped

1.5 cups celery, chopped

1 white onion, diced

3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon salt

teaspoon pepper

2 bay leaves

4 cups vegetable or beef stock

2 cups water

3 cups V8 or tomato juice

1 can (15 oz) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 oz) cannellii beans, drained and rinsed

1 cups zucchini, diced

1 cups ditalini pasta

1 can (15 oz) green beans, drained


Place diced tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, celery, white onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, bay leaves into the crockpot. Add in vegetable stock, water and V8. Cover and cook on low heat 6 to 8 hours or high 3 to 4 hours.

After cooking time is up, add in red kidney beans, cannellii beans, zucchini, green beans and pasta , and cook on high heat for an additional 10 to 15 minutes until pasta is tender.


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