Nonna’s Alphabet Soup

Nonna's Alphabet Soup

An old favorite and the kiddos love it!

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Nonna’s Alphabet Soup

It is another Sunday and I am always thinking of what I can cook that my grandchildren would eat.  Austin is the carnivore and Emmalee won’t eat meat so coming up with a dish they might both like is tricky.  No surprise that they both love pasta and beans, so I took an old minestrone recipe and just added alphabet pasta instead of the macaroni. 
This dish is not only good but it is about as easy as it gets!  Enjoy!

Saute one onion and 3 cloves of garlic for 5 minutes.  Add 1/3 cup of fresh fennel finely chopped, salt and pepper to taste

Add one can of fire roasted tomatoes

One can of white beans (rinsed) canelini is good too

2 cans of chicken stock

Bring it all to a boil

Add 7 oz. bag of alphabet pasta and simmer 7 minutes with lid on medium low

Finish with 1/2 cup of parmesan and 3 tablespoons of butter, preferably unsalted

Children and adults will love this classic soup…ENJOY!


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Bullying – A Big Deal

I walk as fast as I can trying to catch up with my older brother. We have just been dropped off in front of our school and we are late that morning.  I hear someone laughing, but I cannot tell where it is coming from, nor do I want to know.

I hear this laughter every day, but I am getting good at pretending I don’t.  I also act like I don’t care that the girls whisper when they look over at me.  I would rather be at home in my room and I would do anything not to ever go back to school.

That was a scene that has played thousands of time in my mind since I was a child.  It mattered then, but no one thought it was a big deal, so I learned to accept it. That same feeling of dread still arises when I walk into a room and someone looks at me.  I still look away so I can’t see their faces, or their judgement.

If you don’t think bullying is a big deal, just ask an adult whose experienced it how vivid the memories are to them decades later.

What made me different then was that I was the only child in my Catholic school whose parents were divorced.  I didn’t have a daddy at home, and that was a big deal to me.  I had curly- light- auburn hair with freckles. I was small and had what my Grandmother called, “magnolia skin.” All those things about me were the ammunition for the school bullies to use to make me feel horrible about myself and fearful of their next move or verbal bashing. Later I was bullied because my Dad was “queer.”  The word ‘gay” had not been coined yet, and those two words in the sixties meant odd and happy, which he was. At seven-years old, I did not have the words to describe how that made me feel. Now I know, it was a deep sense of shame from an external condemnation that persisted by people I barely knew, and most certainly, did not care to know.

Today, bullying is being brought to our attention because it is a big deal. So big, it is epidemic in our society. Children, teenagers, and adults alike, have been ridiculed and bullied so badly, they have taken their lives to escape their torment and their tormentors. Bullying is abuse and it should be eradicated.  No child should have to attend school fearing for their safety, or demeaned and made to feel inferior; ashamed of who they are or where they come from, or who their parents are or who they choose to love.

There are children going to school this morning, catching buses, and walking into classroom, who would give anything to either stay home or have the bullies in their lives disappear.  There will be FB posting today that will transform someone’s self-esteem so negatively, they won’t want to live.

Judgement and ridicule are devastating our society.  It’s the ingredients that war is made of, and the war here is starting in our own homes, then taken into the schools and onto the internet.  Children are being taught that the “put down” of other people is commonplace, and disrespect is the norm.

If there is only one scripture in which humanity should remember, it is this: “Judge not, that ye not be judged.” I don’t believe it was a suggestion.  It certainly would solve a great many of our problems too if we related to one another with love and respect.  Until that happens, another childs heart will be broken by ridicule, their spirit diminished, and their hope for a future in jeopardy because of the “bullying spirit” among us.

Silence is an enemy.  I, for one, will not remain silent about abuse, on any level.  Bullying is abuse, and it is a big deal!

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