Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Easy Tuscan Bean Soup

The weather is getting cold, the sun has gone off to god knows where and the rain doesn't stop falling. So while I was debating whether to move to another country - as I do every year after the first days of fall - I came across this recipe.

Soups are a must during the cold seasons and also a healthy alternative to seven days of noodles. *busted!* Also leftovers can easily be frozen.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 carrots
  • 1/4 celery root
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/2 Hokkaido pumpkin
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 (seweet) paprika powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 liter vegetable broth
  • 800 gramms cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/8 chopped kale, ribs removed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Dice the onion, carrots, celery, zucchini and pumpkin.

Heat a little bit of olive oil in a pot over medium-high heat, add the diced vegetables and saute them for about 4 minutes.

Add garlic, sweet paprika powder, thyme and rosemary. Cook for about a minute.

Stir in the broth and beans. (The original recipe also added a can [400g] of diced tomatoes but I had to leave them out.) Bring everything to a boil, then turn the heat down to low and add the chopped kale. Cover the pot and let everything simmer for 15 minutes.

If you want a more creamy consistency use a blender to partially puree the soup, leaving some chunks of beans and vegetables for texture. I personally didn't do that because I like having a more liquid soup with lots of chunks in it.

Add the salt and pepper to your liking, taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Take a picture and tag me on Instagram. ;)

Original recipe at Pinterest which will lead you to The Wanderlust Kitchen.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

book review: The Passage Trilogy


A few days after finishing one of the most fascinating trilogys, I have to sit down and tell you about a breathtaking story. For the second time I have fallen in love with a character without noticing it at first. When all of the sudden I started to be protective of him I knew it happened again. My first love was Newt from The Maze Runner. I have to admit though it started with the voice Mark Deakins gave Newt. And it deepened with his self-sacrificing, fearless but caring character as a leader.

This time I fell in love with Peter Jaxson. At first I didn’t really notice him because there were a lot of characters to get to know and I had no idea who to focus on. But as the story evolved I stood by his side and watched him grow into a man I would admire in real life. I guess I have a thing for fearless but at the same time caring males. ;) But who doesn't?

It’s been a while since I read the first two books so I hope I can still give you the review they deserve. No spoilers, I promise!

The Passage

The book starts off a little slow. The chapters are written from different viewpoints so you have to really concentrate to keep up, especially when the time aspect kicks in and you have 100 years and several characters to keep track of.

The bottom of the story is this: (And yes this will change in the third book as the back story is revealed.) An experiment went wrong and the US Army is trying to fix it and at the same time keep it under control. They experimented with Death Row prisoners to create a stronger and faster soldier who lives longer and who’s wounds heal quicker. What they got was a vampire like species without remorse and a never ending hunger for blood. I know now the pejudice of vampire books kicks in! But let me tell you, you are very wrong!

The FBI agent Wolgast is bringing in the orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte so they have an innocent test subject who is not a heartless murderer. With her they hope to correct the mistake of creating monsters and continue their research to createing a new and improved human they can also control. As the "virals" free themselves Walgast’s conscience kicks in and he rescues Amy as the apocalypse breaks loose.

100 years later the world is a primal landscape of predators and prey. Some refugees have built a new society and are trying to survive. But when the lights go out everyone will die.

The Twelve 

Lila is an expectant mother who is hiding somewhere deep in her mind from the chaos and the violence that has spread around her. Kittridge, also known as “Last Stand in Denver” hast to flee his stronghold and is trying to survive the world that has formed around him. April is a teenager and trying to protect her brother. These three learn how much they need each other in the attempt to survive.

One hundred years later Amy and her allies are fighting for the right to live. They stand against the Twelve in a battle they can’t win because if they do some their own will go down with them.

Honestly I didn’t really care that much for the present story. I don’t even remember it enough to complain much.
I loved the future though. I love Peter Jaxon, Michael Fisher and Alicia Donadio and how they become Peter the Man of Days, Michael the Clever and Alicia of Blades.

The City of Mirrors

The fight has been fought. It seems like they won. Darkness has turned from inevitable death to a comforting blanket.

Far from hope Fanning, the Zero, the father of the Twelve, waits for them to forget. One moment can change everything. Anger and sorrow take over a man and turn him into a monster. One moment triggered by one person's mistake made the world collapse. You have to go back to the beginning to change the future. An epic finally unfolds. You will lose friends but in the end you will learn that every ending means a new beginning. With loss and sacrifice you earn the right to make the future better for the ones to follow.

I liked the third book the most. At first I was taken a little aback. I didn’t see the necessity of telling such a detailed background story. But in the end I understood why it was essential to give such an in depth insight in Fanning's mind.


I listened to the books on Audible. Scott Brick has a pleasant voice and did a good job in setting the mood. Him reading The City of Mirrors made all the difference for me. I don’t know if I would have liked the books as much if I read them myself. I was mesmerized by how he brought Fanning to life. Every time he called out “come to me” I couldn’t help but also hear him call out for Grey in my mind. It is amazing how how he built an accustic bridge between The Passage and The City of Mirrors.
If you like a quick read these books will probably not be for you. I feel like Justin Cronin did not only paint a very detailed and broad picture but also took the time to let the story unfold unhurried. The world he is writing about has nothing to do with the hectic world we know and therefore I feel like his writing is underlining their sence of time.