Easy Sausage and Kale Soup

This cold snap in Seattle has me looking for ways to get warm and I can think of no better way than soup. I had a few items in my arsenal that looked soup worthy like kale, stock, potatoes and white beans but wanted to add a hearty component. I remembered a soup I saw on Martha Stewart's website and poked around for a few minutes until I found it. Here is her version of the Sausage and Kale Soup

This simple recipe is very versatile. You can omit the sausage or use a vegetarian version for a meatless soup. You could swap the kale for swiss chard, omit the beans or even add some crispy bacon. It is creamy from pureeing part of the potatoes and broth without the addition of heavy cream. A warm satisfying soup with minimal effort.


Sausage and Kale Soup

Serves 4-6 

1 onion minced

1 tablespoon plus a drizzle olive oil

2 cloves of garlic minced

1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes

64 oz chicken or vegetable broth 

1lb of Yukon Gold  or fingerling potatoes cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 can canellini beans drain and rinsed

1 bundle of dinosaur kale chopped - remove the large stems

12oz of chicken sausage links sliced into rounds (I love the Applegates Organic Fire Roasted Red Pepper Sausage)

Heat a large pot to medium and add 1 tablespoon of oil and onions. Cook onions until soft and translucent. About 5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes - cook until fragrant about 2 minutes. Add stock and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. 

While soup is simmering, heat a skillet to medium high and add small drizzle of olive oil. Add the sausage and saute until slightly crispy. Remove from heat. 

Puree 1/2 of potato/broth mixture in a blender and return to remaining soup. Add beans, kale and browned sausage and return to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for another 15 minutes. 


Espresso Biscuits

I like a little sweet in the morning. Usually I am on my best behavior and stick to oatmeal or cereal to start my day right - but sometimes I go the other way. A cup of coffee and something sweet and a little sinful to pair with it. A kick-start to my morning. 

Instant espresso is one of my pantry secret weapons. I love adding it to a variety of chocolate baked goods. It deepens the cocoa flavor in such a lovely way. Often I add a tablespoon or two into the liquid ingredients in a recipe. Sometimes I add it to the dry ingredients for cookies. 

The other ingredient in this recipe to call out is the Dutch Process Cocoa. Unlike regular baking cocoa, Dutch Process Cocoa is made from cacao beans that have been washed with a potassium solution, to neutralize their acidity and mellow out the cocoa flavor. When recipes call for Dutch Process Cocoa you want to not swap it our for natural cocoa as it can change the outcome of your recipe. 

These Espresso Biscuits are perfect with a cup of coffee or a bowl of ice cream. I also love to wrap some up and take them to a friend. They have a really full cocoa taste and are dry in a really good way - that must be all the butter balancing them. 

Espresso Biscuits

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup Dutch cocoa

1 1/2 tablespoon instant espresso powder

1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

3/4 cup confectioners sugar

1 teasponn vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment

In a small bowl sift together the flour, instant espresso and cocoa 

In a larger bowl blend the butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy with an electric mixer - about 3-4 minutes

Gradually mix in the flour mixture to the butter mixture - making sure to scrape downt he sides of the bowl

Roll 2 tablespoons of dough at a time between your hands to form a ball

Place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart

Use tines of a dinner fork to press the dough down into the biscuit shape

Bake until firm to the touch - 10-12 minutes

Transfer to a wire rack to cool 

Will store for 3 days in airtight container


Lebkuchen Bars

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and all I want to do is bake. The holiday season is my favorite time to be in the kitchen. I love the tastes of fall - pears, pumpkin, citrus and cranberries. The spices so rich - nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and clove. With that in mind I thought I would begin baking some of my favorite holiday treats. 

Lebkuchen Bars are a a spicy gingerbread type bar hailing from Germany. They are a traditional Christmastime treat and would be delightful with a cup of tea after a cold day outside. Some recipes call for almonds, candied citrus peels or ginger. 

These bars are great the day they are made but only get better over the next couple of days - if they last that long!

Lebkuchen Bars

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons vegetable shortening

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspon cardamon

3/4 teaspoon ginger 

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup molasses

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest 


1 tablespoon  lemon juice

1 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

3 tablespoons whole milk

Preheat oven to 325. Set oven rack to lower middle. Prepare a 13x9 pan by lining it with foil or parchment and greasing it. 

Melt butter and shortening together and let cool slightly. 

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, cardamom, ginger and salt together in a small bowl. 

In a large bowl, whisk granulated sugar, molasses, eggs and lemon zest loather, then whisk in cooled butter until combined. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. 

Spread batter into prepared pan and smooth top. 

Bake 35-45 minutes - rotating pan halfway through baking. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean. 

Let bars cool completely in pan on wire rack - about 2 hours. Lift bars out with parchment/foil overhang. Cut into 24 pieces. 

Whisk the Glaze ingredients in a small bowl and spread evenly over each bar. Let glaze set for 30 minutes before serving. 

Store in airtight container for 3 days. 


Meet the Midwives!!

Ever since we decided to try and have a baby I knew midwives were for me. Its hard to explain or even to remember when or how I started thinking this way. I believe that pregnancy and birth are some of the most natural parts of being a woman. Its what our bodies are meant to do and that is amazing. As I saw my personal health care over the years evolve to more natural doctors, chiropractic care, acupuncture and yoga, the shift to midwifery care while pregnant makes sense. 

I started doing research on midwifery and Seattle area midwives once we started down this baby road. I wanted to be prepared and knowledgeable. I also started to ask myself - do I want a midwife that has been catching babies since to dark ages or possibly a younger midwife. I also wondered - would they even take me into their care? Here I am in my early 40's and just starting on this baby thing? 

Then I found In Tandem Midwifery. Reading through their website I knew that I needed to meet them. Mr. Ramon was on board to go meet and greet Christine and Taylor. And at that visit, I knew - just like you know on a first date that these ladies were for me. 

I was excited to hear from them how they work with clients, what our birth options were and how we would work together. Mr. Ramon asked a lot of the tough questions - like "Have you ever lost a baby or a mom?", "What if something goes wrong?". They were completely prepared for any question we asked. I was so exctited to know that I am considered a low risk pregnancy and that Midwifery care would be in the cards for me and baby!

Some people worry about the level of training that midwives receive. Fear not - midwives go through extensive schooling and many hours of real hands on experience before becoming licensed. A great resource in Washington is Midwives' Association of Washington State

"Licensed Midwives (LMs) complete a state-accredited midwifery program and are licensed by the State of Washington. Washington state law requires licensed midwives to complete 3 years in a state-approved midwifery educational program, which includes participation in 100 or more births and verification of clinical skills and didactic course work. To attain licensure, all LMs must pass an examination provided to the state by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM)."

The care I receive with Christine and Taylor is so amazing. Our monthly visits are in depth and we talk about all aspects of my pregnancy from physical to emotional. They have been able to recommend a wonderful Naturopathic Physician for me as well as a new chiropractor. Having this amazing team support me during my pregnancy feels so powerful. 


Shopping Portland - HAUNT

Mr. Ramon and I spent a weekend recently in Portland, OR with an amazing couple to celebrate a birthday. It was their first time in Portland so there was much to see, do and eat over the 2 dyas we were there. 

We took some time to shop and I came across an amazing little boutique called HAUNT on Burnside St. Holly Stalder is a designer of beautiful custom bridal and artful clothing pieces. She sells her designs along with beautiful jewelry, bags, accessories and others designers clothes in her shop. You can find her one of a kind pieces on Etsy as well. 

I fell in love with a clutch made from a Pendleton blanket with this awesome leather tassle on it. Mr. Ramon saw how much I loved it and made it mine. What a swell guy!!

If you are looking for one of a kind pretty things I really recommend you check this boutique out!