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Chickpea Soup w/ Almonds & Saffron

On a mission for a quick, easy soup, I scour the pantry, the fridge, and Bitty's Kitchen Express searching for a final destination.  I found it in the unlikely combination of almonds, chickpeas, and saffron.  Okay, maybe not so unlikely...just surprising in a quickie soup, I suppose.  To me.  And yeah, although it was surprising, it totally worked.  Whoda thunk it?  Slivers of almonds pleasing in a brothy soup base?  But it totally works.  I had some chickpeas in the fridge that I'd just cooked the day before with hopes of hummus...but obviously they didn't make it that far.  Next time.  The dregs of a bag of almonds and some sadly inferior Mexican Saffron.  I added a grating of Parm over the top, as I'm wont to do...and switched out the parsley for cilantro...which turned out to be a fantastic swap- the brightness of cilantro was just what each earthy spoonful begged for!
Chickpea Soup w/ Saffron & Almonds
ever-so-slightly-adapted from Mark Bittman's Kitchen Express

In a couple tablespoons of olive oil, cook a thinly sliced small onion (leek), some smashed garlic (3 cloves), about half a cup of slivered almonds, salt, pepper, and a pinch of saffron for about five minutes.  Add a can of chickpeas with their liquid (~1 c. cooked from dry, measuring w/ cooking liquid and all) and four cups of chicken broth or water; use a potato masher or wooden spoon to break down some of the chickpeas.  I mashed 'em up pretty good, then added another handful of whole beans for appearance and texture. Cook and stir until warmed through and serve with a sprinkling of chopped parsley (I used cilantro-which was perfect!  Plus, a good grating of Parmesan).
Oh, and thinking about my writers block, I think what so many of  you suggested and what I already sensed  inside is correct...it's the holidays.  While my goal is always to take it easy and not let anything stress me out...it never works.  I feel frazzled just try NOT to feel frazzled.  Ugh.  Oh well...we'll get through it and semi-peacefulness will reign soon enough.  I just want to make it through with love in my heart.  Deep breaths.

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