Color of the day:  Black
Incense of the day:  Rue

Sweet bean soup is a bit like liquid trail mix. Often served for Lunar New Year in many countries in Asia, it is a restorative food that has its roots in ancient curative cuisines. Nuts, spices, and dried fruits are slowstewed or days, along with sweet adzuki and lotus beans. The result is a thick, richly spiced broth with many sweet treasures suspended beneath the surface.

Here’s a Crock-Pot version that is easy and rewarding. Cook the following on low heat for three to five days. Serve over rice to promote longevity.

* 1 pound adzuki beans, soaked overnight
* ½ pound lotus beans, soaked overnight
* 1 cup walnuts
* 1 cup dried cherries
* 1 cup dried plums
* 1 cup dried apples
* 1 cup diced oranges or marmalade
* 1 cup dates, sliced
* 8 cups apple juice
* ¼ cup diced candied ginger
* 1 cup sliced candied winter melon
* 1 cup honey
* 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
* 3 star anise pods
* 2 cinnamon sticks
* 8 clove buds
* 3 teaspoons cinnamon powder
* 2 teaspoons ginger powder
* 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
* 1 teaspoon allspice
* 1 pinch mace

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