01 January

Garbanzo Beans Soup

with Parsley and Parmesan

January 6: National Bean Day

On busy days when we do not have time to prepare a big dinner but want something soothing and heartwarming, we make a simple soup out of canned garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas). The garlic chips and Parmesan cheese add flavor and texture while the parsley flakes add color.

We complete this meager meal with slices of crusty French or Italian bread or baguette and dip them in an olive oil sauce that complements the soup well—it uses some of the same ingredients (olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and parsley)—so preparation time is quick and all-in-one.

Try this tasty garbanzo beans soup on National Bean Day and during National Soup Month in January with the bonus recipe for the olive oil dipping sauce for bread for a delicious dinner duo!


(Adapted from Martha Stewart)


  • 1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (about a tablespoon)
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 can (1 ¾ cups) chicken broth
  • ½ cup water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded


Drain and rinse the can of garbanzo beans in a colander. Optional: Rub off and discard extra skin from the beans. Slice the garlic thinly. Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat and stir in the garlic slices.

Add the red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue to saute the garlic until it changes color but do not brown or it will become bitter. Remove garlic chips to a plate and set aside. In the same pot, add the drained garbanzo beans. Cook on medium high heat. Smash a bit of the garbanzo beans, leaving a few whole.

Cook for about five minutes in the olive oil before adding the broth and water. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 more minutes. When ready to serve, ladle into soup bowls. Sprinkle the chopped parsley, Parmesan cheese and garlic chips on top. Serve hot with crusty bread and dipping sauce.

Bonus Recipe: Olive Oil Dipping Sauce for Crusty Bread

(Adapted from My San Antonio)


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped


In a small cup, combine the olive oil, vinegar, pepper flakes and garlic.

Salt and pepper to taste. Chop the parsley and mix everything. Invert into a lipped plate. Serve with crusty bread.


  • We halved the original garbanzo soup recipe for just the two of us.
  • Also try the garlic garbanzo soup recipe for something similar to this post.

Lunar New Year Candy Bars

January 25 (2020): Asian Lunar New Year

Happy new year (again)! In an attempt to make edible spring couplets, Islander asked her adult ESL students to write Korean and Chinese greetings and well wishes on auspiciously red-colored confectioners candy bars. The activity was a nice break from the usual reading/conversation/pronunciation lessons for the day and gave her students a chance to share some sweet candy, traditions and information about their cultural observances of the lunar new year with others at school. Simply make this fun and festive food to ring in the Year of the Rat!



  • Red candy melts (Wilton brand)
  • White tube icing


Melt the candy melts according to the package instructions. Stir until smooth. Pour into rectangular candy molds. Cool to set. Unmold carefully onto paper towels.

Using a small round tip on the white tube icing, write short new year greetings in Chinese or Korean characters. Let dry but do not stack.


Millionaire Shortbread

January 6:National Shortbread Day

Around the holidays and Hogmanay, we usually make some type of shortbread as an ode to Highlander’s Scottish heritage. As we wish for a prosperous new year ahead, we make millionaire’s shortbread. Well, this treat breaks any diet resolutions because it is an ultra rich cookie topped with decadent chocolate with a chewy caramel filling and a sweet shortbread crust (similar to a homemade Twix candy bar)!  But this dessert is so delicious that it is worth indulging on millionaire shortbread, especially on National Shortbread Day.


(Adapted from Food Network)


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, cold and chopped into small pieces
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate (1 bar Baker’s brand chocolate)


In a bowl, combine the flour with sugar and salt. Cut in the butter pieces and mix until it resembles coarse peas.


Press flour mixture into an 8×8 inch square pan lined with foil. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely. In a saucepan, over medium heat, stir the condensed milk with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.


Keep stirring until it turns into a light caramel color, around 15 minutes. Pour the caramel over the shortbread cookie layer and spread evenly with a spatula. Cool completely.


In a bowl, melt the chocolate according to the package directions. Pour this over the cooled caramel layer.  Let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.


Chill it in the refrigerator until the chocolate layer is slightly hardened. Using the foil as handles, lift everything out of the pan. Cut off the edges to straighten. Then cut into 16 squares.



  • Make this millionaire shortbread on January 25 for a Scottish Burns Supper dessert. 
  • For a quicker recipe, substitute the sweetened condensed milk and 1 tablespoon of butter for canned dulce de leche
  • Search our blog for more shortbread recipes.

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