Today is, of course, Ash Wednesday, a day of fasting and abstinence that kicks off Lent.  As a Catholic Mom, it falls to me to make sure my family remembers not to eat meat today, and that today is one of the two days set aside by the Catholic Church for actual ‘fasting’. (I am not going to go into detail here about what that actually entails, but for an excellent explanation of the Catholic definition of fasting and abstinence, please see the article on Fisheaters.)

Since my kids are all older, they don’t really need a whole lot of guidance as to the whys and wherefores of Lent.  At this point, I am hoping that the meals I create and our faithfulness to the precepts of our religion will continue to be a source of inspiration and comfort for our children as they make their own ways in the world.  I am hoping that they will not look back and feel that we  ‘forced’ our religion on them, but that we shared our Catholic spirituality with them, and made it a natural part of our daily lives.  It is Gaylon’s and my hopeful prayer that they will pass these observances and precepts on to their own children.

My job, essentially, is to create food that falls withing those parameters and is still healthy.  So, I found an amazingly delicious recipe for Vegetable Bean Soup on Taste of Home, and thought I would share it here. Best of all, it’s a Slow Cooker recipe!  It may not seem to be all that important, not eating meat, or fasting two days each year, but in this world that constantly encourages us to give in to our desires and feed our fantasies, refusing to do that can be quite a victory.

Vegetable Bean Soup

  • 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15-1/4 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 4 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 bay leaves


  • In a 5-qt. slow cooker, combine all ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaves before serving. Yield: 7 servings.

Nutritional Facts 1-1/2 cups equals 268 calories, 2 g fat (trace saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 1,296 mg sodium, 49 g carbohydrate, 14 g fiber, 13 g protein.

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