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
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
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)
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!