RECIPE: Wicked-Good Varenna Soup

imageBecause I’ve never really been known for my cooking, this whole nutritional wellness blog thing has been an adventure.  For every exceptionally delicious recipe listed here, there have been many culinary tragedies… just ask my husband.  Especially when we were living in Maine.  He managed to keep down some terrible concoctions.  It was a dark time.

One genre in particular has evaded my skills….  that is, until now….

I just made a wicked-good (as they say in Maine) soup!   Perhaps it’s because I’m on a Wellness Retreat in Varenna, Italy; or maybe the stars aligned, or maybe I’m finally getting the hang of creating in la cucina (that’s kitchen in Italian)!  Whatever the reason, you must try this recipe! It’s flavorful and filling. And, by the way, my husband just went back for thirds!


In a large pot combine:

1 can tomatoes (or 3 ripe tomatoes, chopped)
1 can cannellini beans, drained
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 cup farro
3 cups water
1/4 red onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Crushed red pepper * optional
Salt and pepper to taste

Slow cook in pot on low heat for 30-60 minutes.


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Madeleine Vanstory attended Duke University and began her post-graduate journey at The Elaine Clark Center working with special needs children. She went on to work as a Clinical Research Scientist running clinical trials for the CDC and developing medical devices for Welsh Allen, Abbot Labs, Roche and Johnson & Jonhson Her work included non-invansive cervical cancer detection, continuous diabetic glucose monitoring, non-harmful infant bilirubin level detection and studying Vitamin C's anti-aging effects on the skin. Madeleine attended Medical school at The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University and completed a residency in Family Medicine at Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro NC. Dr. Madeleine Vanstory is a board certified Family Physician who has practiced all over the world. She has lead medical missions in Kenya and Honduras. She has participated with Operation Smile in Russia, she has patients in North Carolina, Maine, Oregon and New Zealand. Dr. Vanstory has worked the medical tents in the Marine Corps marathon in Washington DC and at the Kona Ironman World Championships. And Dr. Vanstory has marched with the Surgeon General promoting "Exercise is Medicine" at the World Congress Sports Medicine Conference. Disillusioned by the current health care system and armed with the realization that culture, nutrition and emotional well-being have a profound impact on health, Dr. Vanstory now motivates clients and patients to discover the healthiest versions of themselves through humor, counseling in her "Upgrade Your Health" Wellness Program.

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