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Friday, January 29, 2016

a recipe (Italian Sausage Soup) & some helpful tips


I thank you for your condolences on the loss of our friend.  Your kind, thoughtful words were very comforting.  You are all so dear.



When I asked for ideas/suggestions for posts many of you said you would like to see recipes.  So, I thought I would oblige with some of my go-to recipes.  You might remember from one of my kitchen drawer posts that I showed a draw with folders of recipes  HERE;  several people asked to know what was in my "go-to" folder.

(By the way... I loved that so many of you mentioned the kitchen drawers as some of your favorite posts!  Loved!  I still adore the quote from Barbara Barry's beautiful book Around Beauty where she writes...
 "As much as I love the part of my work that is all about what is seen when we walk into a room, I also love the part of my work that is about what is not seen.  Or at least not by everyone- the inside of the cabinets, the full refrigerator, the silver drawer, and the well-stocked pantry; they too can be things of beauty, artfully arranged to inspire when given a cursory glance."

 I have had a number of people tell me that because of my posts they organized their own kitchen drawers using pretty baskets and containers and feel a sense of calm and happiness when they open them.  Proof that it really is the simple, little things in life that bring us daily joy, yes?!)

Back to recipes.... several weeks ago I made this recipe (which I have been making/tweaking for 11 years now per the date stamp on the original printed copy) and was told again how wonderful it was and how much comfort it brought.  I am always amazed when I look at the ingredients and how simple the recipe is to make that it becomes this wonderful, delicious soup.  I hope you will try it and let me know how you like it.  In the recipe I've included in italics how I make the recipe.  We like spicy/pepper hot, but if you don't, or have children, I would suggest you make it with sweet Italian sausage.)



Italian Sausage Soup

Ingredients:

1 lb. Italian Sausage (sweet/hot/mixture of sweet&hot. I use hot) casings removed and sausage broken up
4 cloves minced garlic
32 oz. Beef Broth (l carton) (I use Trader Joe's Organic)
1 (14.5 oz.) can Italian-Style stewed tomatoes 
1 cup sliced carrots (approx. 2 carrots)
2 (14.5 oz.) cans Great Northern Beans, UNDRAINED (I use Trader Joe's Organic)
2 small/medium zucchini, diced/cubed
2-4 cups FRESH baby spinach- rinsed, torn and packed into a measuring cup (I use a whole small plastic-box of the pre-washed organic baby spinach)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

In a stockpot or Dutch oven, brown the sausage.  After sausage is brown add garlic for one minute until fragrant.  (If needed,  drain sausage well to remove any grease)  Stir in broth, tomatoes, carrots, and season with salt and pepper.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Stir in beans WITH liquid and zucchini.  Cover and simmer another 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and add spinach, pushing it down into the hot broth.  
Replace the lid, allowing the heat from the soup to cook the spinach leaves.  
Soup is ready to serve 5 minutes after adding the spinach.

(Soup freezes well) 
(Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com) 


Tips:
Last weekend, at the celebration of my friend at her house, a catered chili was served.  The chili had a rather soup-like consistency, so I shared with the sweet teenage girl who offered to serve the chili a tip on how to keep the ladle from dripping when serving. 
After filling the ladle to the desired amount and before taking it out of the pot, reinsert the bottom half of the ladle back into the soup then serve to your bowl/cup. The ladle will come out without any drips!  Magic ;)


Another tip (learned on Instagram, but can not remember from whom;  I think it was their grandmother's tip)  came in handy when my friend and I were de-constructing flowers from the memorial into smaller arrangements.  
Place hydrangeas in HOT, even boiling water.  The water will help open the woody stems and allow water in.  I tried it on some very wilted hydrangeas- dipping the stem into a pot of boiled water and they came back perfectly!


Wishing you a wonderful weekend!
xxojoan

66 comments:

  1. Hi Joan, Thank you for the recipe and the tips. When my husband recently bought our first home I went straight to the kitchen drawers post for organizing ideas. I was also looking wright now at your master bedroom post I love how it looks but I love more what you said about how it should feel. Thank you for your inspiration. Estela

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    1. I love that Estela! Thank you for telling me and a big Congratulations on your first home! That is so exciting.

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  2. I love the tip for ladling soup without drips and can't wait to try it! I don't eat sausage, but your soup recipe looks delish! Just curious why you specify undrained canned beans. I've always heard from dietitian friends to rinse canned beans well to remove excess salt.
    Claudia

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    1. hi Claudia, I guess is that it helps thicken the soup a bit. The nice thing about the Trader Joe's organic beans is that they use sea salt instead of iodized salt (which I would want to rinse off too:)

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  3. Thanks for the recipe and the great tips!!! We love soup here so will try this soon! I am a florist and never knew about the boling water for hydrangeas!!! Also the ladle trick....gotta tell my hubby about that one!

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    1. I know Pinky! I was a new trick for me too. I was so surprise how the wilted hydrangea came back. Let me know if you have luck with it too.

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  4. Ohhh Joan, Thank ya sooo much for the
    Soup recipe, I know it is Delish!! Being
    Italian, oh my goodness we still try to make
    my Dad's sausage/ Italian, can't wait to
    make this!!
    Love all the tips too on ladle, flowers
    Awesome!!!!

    Have a good weekend, kissaroos n bear
    hugs to those Sweetie Pies, precious
    Sisters!!!!

    I love love ya blog, still catching up in the
    archives, the witch hazel/ whole foods
    the lemon magic spray, awesome as hubby
    does not like scented smells, lemon spray
    is soooo good!!!!! And the most fav the
    Scrubby for dishes etc... I made them from
    ya instructions!!!!
    Thank you!!!!!

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    1. How wonderful that you have your father's sausage recipe! My older sister Susan will love hearing that you made the dish scrubs from her instructions!!

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  5. Thanks for sharing, I'm going to try this.

    For a healthier spin, may I suggest ground turkey in place of the Italian sausage? Theyummylife.com has a FABULOUS turkey breakfast sausage recipe that I swear, NO ONE who tries it realizes that it's turkey. It tastes like Italian sausage, and you can adjust the spices according to your liking. Very easy to make.

    She also has some pretty fabulous refrigerator oatmeal recipes as well. Chocolate / banana is my favorite.

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    1. You certainly may!! Thank you for the link.

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    2. We made this a couple nights ago, doubled the recipe and it's already gone! I used the breakfast turkey sausage recipe I mentioned above in place of the Italian sausage .... My husband LOVED this recipe, and so easy to make.

      Thank you again for sharing this delicious recipe.

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    3. ohhhh, I'm so happy!! Isn't' it ridiculously easy:) Yes, it goes fast here too! Thank you so much for coming back and letting me know you made it. Love a happy husband! :)

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  6. Delicious sounding recipe - looking forward to trying that soon. We've had a lot of soup weather and that would be a great one to put into the rotation.

    Also, can you tell me anything about your ribbed glass kitchen pendants? I've looked at a million (it seems!) pendants and they are all too busy for me, have metal banding around the rim and often metal *spokes* as well. I love the more quiet look of yours - simply beautiful. Thanks - Deb

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    1. Deb, the pendants are antique industrial lights. I found the glass pendants and we had them made into the hanging light fixtures. I know what you mean about them all having metal banding. Sometimes simple is better, yes?!

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    2. A sweet friend, Karla in CA, emailed me and sent this link for you of pendants that she found after searching for ones like mine and had a difficult time finding simple ones...
      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004K593T0?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B004K593T0&linkCode=xm2&tag=forthelove005-20

      I hope you see this Deb, please let me know if you do, thanks;)

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  7. I loved the drawer organizing post and even bought a cute sea grass basket in hopes of organizing my recipes, which are all thrown in a kitchen drawer! Never got around to doing it and every time I sort through my recipes looking for the one I need I think about yours- so nice and neatly organized in their folders. Plan to start going through them this weekend, so thanks for the post. The soup looks delicious, I think my family will love it for dinner next week.

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    1. Lisa, You'll be so happy when it's all done and a weekend is the perfect time! :)

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  8. Hello Joan - Looking forward to trying the soup, but I keep forgetting to thank you for your tip on the wax for soapstone. What a difference it has made!!! - and it was so easy!!! It has made all the difference in the world in the appearance of our countertops and no more greasy oily finish (that attracted every cat hair in the house within 24 hours!).

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    1. I'm so glad you like it too Jennifer; thank you for telling me!

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  9. That soup sounds so good and I especially like the fact that you can freeze it. I loved the trick with the ladle. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. This soup sounds delicious! I don't know if this is where you saw the hydrangea tip - but I read this on IG on @elevengable 's (Emily) feed back in the summer. Such a handy thing to know!

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    1. I bet you are right about it being @elevengable's Christi, Thank you!

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  11. Thanks for the recipe, Joan. Since we have similar weather here in Vermont as you do in NH, this sounds like wonderful winter comfort food. I will give it a try. And yes, I loved your kitchen drawer post, too. Mine are organized...I'm married to an engineer who cooks...but yours are prettier! Bev

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    1. You're a lucky lady Bev, a husband who cooks:)!!!!

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  12. I think I will be trying this recipe this weekend. I will be making Italian sausage, hot and sweet this weekend. I have always loved the posts of your kitchen drawers. I have many times and at many different Walmart's, tried to find the baskets. I think drawers, closets and pantries that are organized and pleasant to look at help us de-stress our lives. And we all need to do that. Have a wonderful weekend! donna :)

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    1. Donna, you looked in the bath section? I saw them still there not too long ago.

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  13. Your recipe sounds terrific! I think I'll try it this weekend, as it sounds warm and comforting and we are expecting a big snow storm. I too have tried the Hydrangea trick and it works like a charm.

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    1. It will be perfect for a snow storm Celia! Good to hear more feedback on the hydrangea tip.

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  14. This looks and sounds delicious!! I love any kind of soup this time of year and could eat on it for days. I hope to try this one too. :) Thanks for the tips too. :)

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  15. I've copied this recipe and will definitely be cooking it soon. We love soups and stews in the winter months. Thank you for the recipe.
    I had a similar incident with a new purchased cut stems of hydrangea. I googled the problem and read that if you submerge the entire stem for 45 minutes then recut the stem and place it in boiling water it will open...sure enough it worked. Maybe the submersion isn't necessary.
    Enjoy your weekend.
    xo,
    Karen

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    1. Karen, I didn't find the 45 minute submersion necessary, but maybe it speeds up the water intake too??

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  16. I love to read your blog. The post about drawers is one of my favorites. I have read it at least three times and shared it with my niece, too. Your kitchen is a dream. Thanks for the soup recipe. I plan to make it soon.

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    1. Oh, that is so sweet since it was a conversation with my niece that gave me the idea to post them!

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  17. Thanks Joan, will try this when the weather is cooler. Warm and humid in Australia at the moment. Could you please tell what I could substitute Great Northern Beans? Are they a white bean or maybe a kidney bean? Many thanks. Love your posts, love your house and especially love your girls. Best regards Wendy xx

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    1. hi Wendy, Yes, they are a small white bean. You can substitute cannellini or navy beans for the great northerns.
      Thank you for your sweet comment!

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    2. Thanks Joan, looking forward to trying this dish. xx

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  18. Let me first tell you that I designed our new kitchen with big drawers under the cabinets because I love that feature in your kitchen. SO, so happy I put drawers in.
    I admit that the first time I read about using extreme hot water for Hydrangea I was sure it would fail ..... and somehow that 'how cruel to the flowers'. But those lush pompoms love it.

    I'm going to take your recipe for a test drive. This is right up Richard's alley and maybe a good one for our Super Bowl soiree.

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    1. That is the way I used to feel when my husband dropped live lobsters into a pot of boiling water.

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    2. I am so happy that you love them too Katherine! "Cruel to the flowers" - too funny;) Richard will love the soup:)

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  19. Hello Joan, I can admire your well-organized kitchen, but fear that I can never emulate it. I have so many pots, bowls, gadgets, etc. that they could never be neatly put away. In Taiwan, moreover, kitchens tend to be minuscule, with drawers and cabinets at an absolute minimum. I do make a lot of soup (my specialty is gumbo), and am looking forward to trying the ladle trick.
    --Jim

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    1. Jim, While mine might be neat I do admire a "full" kitchen- with pots, bowls, gadgets.... it looks like love to me:) Is your gumbo recipe on your blog? If not would love to have it!

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  20. I made this soup tonight for dinner and served it with some crusty bread and it was delicious. Now I used mild sausage and added tons of cayenne and crushed red pepper, since Trader Joe's only had mild sausage. So good!

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    1. oh yay Nathan! So happy you liked it. I've also served it with sliced french bread with goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes and sliced french bread with pesto- delish!!

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  21. I made your soup for dinner tonight & it was a hit. We like spice at our house so I used hot sausage. Both my husband & I loved it. Many thanks for passing on your recipe, it will be a frequent guest at our dinner table when the weather turns cool.

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  22. Just made the soup. Soooo yummy. Love that you are sharing "go-to's"!!! This will be served again at our house. Thank you ...

    Shelley

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    1. Shelley- Yay! Thank you for leaving a comment telling me!

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  23. Hi Joan, I made your soup today with sweet Italian turkey sausage and it was wonderful! Sara, Ohio

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    1. I am so excited that so many of you are making the soup and enjoying it!
      Thank you Sara!

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  24. Can't wait to try the soup, it was a little too hot today here in Birmingham-73! And love the soup ladle and hydrangea tip!
    Hope the girls are good!

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    1. The girls are great Ivy! Need to do a post on them:)

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  25. This soup sounded so good so I made it on Sunday. It's SOOOO good!. We've enjoyed it for three days and I'll make it again soon. I used 1/2 pork sweet Italian Sausage and 1/2 chicken Sweet Italian. Perfecto!

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    1. LOve that Janet! Thank you for comment and how you made the soup!

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  26. hi!!! that was the sweetest comment you left about Artie!! Thank you so much for taking the time!!!! we Texans stick together - ;) Hope you are keeping warm this winter!!

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    1. We do indeed Joni! Hook 'em Horns;) ;)

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    2. This soup sounds delish! Am definitely going to try it. Thank you so much for sharing it Joan. -Brenda-

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  27. This soup sounds wonderful! I adore making soups in the winter and shall make it for my friend who is coming over for dinner on Monday!

    I also loved the kitchen drawers post. I just moved into my newly renovated NYC apartment in which I did all drawers on the lower cabinets thanks to your kitchen inspiration - I love them!!!

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  28. Thanks for sharing with us your recipe. I made it and everyone enjoyed it so much I will be making it again.
    ( I can't find your napkin drawer, I know you showed it to us :) )
    Ann

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  29. Will try this recipe! Hydrangeas......saw a tip somewhere & this really works. Dip the stem (after cutting & now after hot water) into Alum, then into the water in vase. I had them for over a week & actually got tired of looking at them! If they drooped again at first, I re-cut & dipped into the Alum again. Amazing!

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  30. I can't wait for summer to try the hydrangea trick. I missed your post asking whether we would like more posts until now....YES! Your posts always give me a "zen" moment, so I would love to see anything and everything. I am pretty sure we never saw your "treasure room," so feel free to start there! But really all the ideas were good. I am sure there are a few more objects in your house with a story, or you could show us something you saw out shopping and considered buying and how you might have used it, or more recipes, or more garden tips, or pictures of someone's house you consulted on, or books you have been reading, or, absolutely, more dog stories. It is a bright spot in my day when I check your blog and there is a new post! I imagine you could take some pics of the sweet girls in the snow right about now. Here in RI we got about 10 inches yesterday! --Shannon

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  31. I haven't made this in years! I am going to try it again! I need another soup in my repotoire!

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  32. Made this soup over the weekend, it's a keeper!! Thanks!

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  33. Can I have your vote please? I am running for President of Bloggers! please!! vote for me today! hahaha. I've been thinking about you all week - every time I hear New Hampshire!! Take care and keep warm and VOTE FOR ME!!!

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  34. We quickly went out and bought the ingredients for this soup and made it that night. It was so delicious! My husband and I both loved it. Gave the recipe to our daughter who is making it tonight! Thank you so much.

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