The Real Housewife of Santa Monica

Archive of ‘Garden’ category


Almost every day I check my little garden. It’s the most relaxing part of the day.

dinosaur kale, tomatoes, arugula, parsley, mint & oregano

Noticed the first tomato of the season:

Actually a lot smaller than it might appear…

Love bumping into LP out here!

You’re never alone in our backyard.

Hearty White Bean Soup


I know what you’re thinking. “Couldn’t she have poured that soup into a clean pot?” The answer is, “No.

I really couldn’t – I’m lucky I got that soup done at all. And it came out great but I agree, it, that moment, really wasn’t a photo op.

Growing a fall garden seemed like SUCH a great idea so I could avoid trips to the Farmer’s Market only to buy (& then let rot) lettuces and greens that appealed visually but that I had no idea what to do with. Well, I didn’t know my garden would grow so quickly and now I have to actually eat this stuff!! (What a problem to have?)

Last week I posted a pic of my fall harvest asking people what to do with it. I got a few great ideas and executed one of them a couple of days ago. I made the white bean soup with my Rainbow Swiss Chard & parsley. Incidentally, those leaves kept really well for about 5 days in the fridge – I washed them, wrapped them in damp paper towels & stored in fridge in a Ziploc. They were really fresh & crisp when I took them out a few days later.

This soup is extremely tasty, healthy, easy & soooooooo good for those chilly (70 degree) fall nights. (That parenthetical was for my sister’s benefit as well as anyone else whose Halloween was cancelled due to SNOW this year.)

Here’s what you need: (+ 1 more can of beans & a bunch of parsley & basil)

2 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
32 oz vegetable broth
3 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans (or white beans – I think mine are bigger beans)
1 (32 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 tsp Italian seasonings
1 bunch greens (spinach, swiss chard, beet greens etc.)
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
1/4 c chopped fresh basil

1. Saute onion in hot olive oil over medium heat for 4 minutes or until translucent. Make sure to coat onion with olive oil & stir occasionally.

2. Add garlic and stir. Sautee with onion for about a minute.

I love garlic.

3. Add vegetable broth!

4. Add 2 cans of the beans and 1/2 of the tomatoes to the broth. Turn medium-high to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes.

5. To make soup extra creamy, add the 1 remaining can of beans and the rest of the diced tomatoes to your blender or food processor. Hello, I do NOT have a food processor. Christmas is coming, friends & family!!

I cannot emphasize enough how important holding the lid on is.

Not only does this thicken the soup but it also tricks family members into eating things they would never eat in a recognizable form.

Add the blended concoction to the simmering soup.

Isn’t it ironic that some people who gag at the sight of diced tomatoes (or any tomatoes) find odds & ends of pig guts comforting? Being one of those people, myself, I’m definitely not judging!

6. Add chopped greens (whatever you chose/have on hand), the chopped parsley & basil to the soup. Guess what? I didn’t have any basil. I cannot keep my basil alive in the garden (full/partial sun) or even in those window pots you can get at Ralph’s. But I think you ought to add basil to yours. Or not.

Have you seen Rainbow Swiss Chard? It’s a beautiful thing. I only planted it b/c of how pretty it was.

As you can see from my picture at the top of the post, my pot is quite “coated.” Yours won’t look like that. Mine looks like that because I set it to boil, then ran back to the girls’ room to break up a fight. There, I quickly forgot I was cooking and started reading “It’s Christmas, David!” Suddenly I remembered I had set something to boil, jumped up & ran to the kitchen. Sure enough it was boiling, probably for 10+ minutes. Boiling HARD. Anyway, I simmered it after that. We did not eat it right away as it was done just after lunch. So instead I spooned it into freezer bags to store & exchange with our neighbor.

This soup is supposed to be very good after freezing. Since I knew nobody in my house (except for yours truly) would like this soup due to all the ahem, green things & tomatoes, I froze it in 3 parts and will be reheating it this week.

What I learned about freezing soup:
1. Soup with fresh veg freezes better than soup made with frozen veg.
2. Do not freeze soup with potatoes. The potatoes are not tasty & get a strange consistency.
3. Pour soup into airtight containers or bags leaving a little room to expand.
4. Freeze soup in bags flat so they are more easily stored.
5. Store in freezer no longer than 3 months.

Stay tuned for the post with someone eating the soup! I did taste it a whole bunch & it’s yummy. I plan on serving it with a parmesan crusty toast & will share the results!

Love to hear any comments below on what you did differently or how it came out for you! Thank you, Dena, for this idea!

Hearty White Bean Soup
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4-6

Tasty & hearty fall comfort food! Easy to make & freezes well!
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 32 oz vegetable broth
  • 3 (15 oz) cans cannellini or white beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 (32 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 5 oz chopped greens (spinach, kale, swiss chard etc.)
  • ¼ c chopped parsely
  • ¼ c chopped basil
  • Freshly shaved Parmesan cheese

  1. Sautee onion in olive oil over medium heat until translucent (about 3-5 minutes). Be sure to stir to coat onion with oil. Add garlic for 1 minute. Be sure to coat garlic with oil as well.
  2. Add broth. Add 2 cans of beans and half the can of diced tomatoes & Italian seasoning.
  3. In a blender or food processor, puree 1 can of beans with rest of tomatoes. Add to soup.
  4. Bring soup mixture to a boil on medium-high heat. Once it’s boiling, reduce heat to simmer for 25 minutes.
  5. Add greens, parsley & basil. When greens have wilted, taste & season with salt & pepper accordingly.
  6. Serve in individual bowls with Parmesan cheese shavings & crusty bread!

This soup freezes well in plastic containers or freezer ziploc bags! Store frozen no longer than 3 months.


Fall Harvest

Besides salads & sauteeing, what should I do with this stuff? I didn’t realize my garden would be so..ahem…bountiful! Do you all have any ideas? Please share & I’ll make your recipe my next posting with full credit! Please post idea(r)s on the blog (instead of on Facebook!)

beet greens, rainbow swiss chard, parsley, romaine

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