Spicy Sausage and Bean Soup & Lazy Man’s Garlic Bread

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I could live on soup.

In fact, as long as I had a nice variety, I literally would eat soup every day of my life for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I have no idea why I feel this way about soup, but really, what’s not to like about it? Your options are endless. You can make a light soup or a hardy soup. You can make a puree or you can make one with all kinds of yummy texture and flavor. All I ask is that you don’t eat it out of a can.

Soup is easy to make yourself (not as easy as opening a can…but not much harder)  and the payoff is huge. Just the fact that you’ve created something delicious from scratch all on your own is a plus. The fact that you can control what’s in it…that’s the important part. No chemicals, creepy thickeners, hidden allergens, or crazy genetically modified who knows what for you. Just simple organic ingredients that are beneficial for the whole family.

Spicy Sausage & Bean Soup 

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Small Onion, chopped

1/2 Cup Celery, sliced thinly

2 Garlic Cloves, chopped

About 2 Cups of your favorite GF/DF sausage, sliced (I used Hot Italian Pork & Sweet Italian Chicken)

4 Large Tuscan Kale Leaves (rib removed) rolled, cut in half, and sliced thinly

1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme Leaves

1/2-1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (depends on how spicy you like it)

1 15 oz. Can Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained

1 15 oz. Can Black Beans, rinsed and drained

8 Cups Chicken Broth

1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

Kosher Salt & Pepper to taste

Add the olive oil to a dutch oven or large pot and heat. Saute the onion, celery, garlic, sliced sausage, kale, thyme, and red pepper until the sausage is cooked through and the onion and celery are becoming translucent. Add the beans, broth, and Old Bay Seasoning and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes. Add kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

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Lazy Man’s Garlic Bread

*Super easy and a perfect way to use up leftover hamburger buns.

2 Udi’s Gluten Free Hamburger Buns

Earth Balance Soy Free Butter Spread

Garlic Powder

Dried Oregano

Open the buns and spread with butter. Sprinkle generously with garlic powder and dried oregano. Place under the broiler until golden.

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Beans, Greens, & Bacon

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“Soup puts the heart at ease, calms down the violence of hunger,

eliminates the tension of the day, and awakens and refines the appetite.”

- Auguste Escoffier

Beans, Greens, & Bacon Soup

1 Package Uncured Organic Hickory Smoked Bacon, chopped

4-6 (depending on size) Organic Carrots, sliced on the diagonal

1 Medium Organic Onion, chopped

2 Tablespoon Organic Thyme, chopped

2 Tablespoons Organic Rosemary, minced

5 Cloves of Organic Garlic, chopped

1 1/2 Cups Organic Purple Kale (packed), chopped

1 Cup Organic Green Kale (packed), chopped

2 Cans of White Beans, rinsed and drained

3 – 32 oz. Boxes of Organic, Free Range, Chicken Broth

Olive Oil

Sea Salt & Pepper To Taste

Heat a dutch oven on medium low and fry the bacon slowly until crisp. Remove the bacon bits to a paper towel to drain. Reserve about 2 teaspoons of the bacon fat in the pan.

Saute the onions until they are translucent and begin to caramelize. Add the carrots and garlic and saute for 5 minutes.

Add the thyme, rosemary, bacon, and both types of kale. Saute until the kale begins to wilt.

Add the beans and broth and bring to a boil. Simmer until carrots are tender.

Season with sea salt & pepper to taste.

“Grandma’s” Potato Soup

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I had to call this Grandma’s Potato Soup because she made the absolute best potato soup there is, hands down. Hers of course involved a lot of whole milk or cream and butter…so I had to tweak my recipe a bit. But all in all, the inspiration comes from her. I can hear what you’re saying…”Potato soup, it’s 90 degrees outside.” Yes it is, but it’s only 72 in here. Perfect weather for a bowl of homemade potato soup.

While I was chopping everything up for this soup lots of really great memories came flooding back. Don’t you love that when it happens? I am so thankful that I have so many great childhood memories of my Grandparents to choose from. I can hear the fans humming in my Grandma’s house on those hot summer days, smell her garden, remember at least 35 amazing Thanksgiving dinners, sit right on the front porch with my Grandpa on those lazy, hot summer days while he sipped a glass of beer with a sprinkle of salt. A glass for him and a tiny dish of beer for their dog, Punkin. The smell of the hand cleaner my Grandpa used after he’d been working in the garage all day. The feel of my Grandma’s 100% heavy cotton sheets when we would jump back into bed in the mornings after she would wake up at the crack of dawn to make my Grandpa breakfast before he was off to work for the day. The smell of their attic that I thought had amazing treasures. I can taste the strips of pie dough with cinnamon, sugar, and butter that my Grandma always had leftover from making holiday pies.  The smell of the tiny little Christmas tree she bought for me to have in my bedroom one year when we were staying with them. The beautiful crystal formations that would form on their old windows upstairs and my Grandma’s stories of “Jack Frost”.  Sigh…I could go on and on. All I have to do is close my eyes and think about it and I’m right there. What a blessing that is!

On top of all of those wonderful memories they provided me with, she always had yummy, soothing things to eat. How is that possible? No matter when I stopped by, even unannounced, she would fix me a plate or bowl of something delicious. It must be a little Grandma miracle or something because it was the same thing when we went to one of my friend’s Italian grandmother’s house unannounced. Manicotti and lasagna always available? A miracle, I’m telling you!

My heart aches when I hear people say they weren’t close to their Grandparents. I cannot even imagine my life without mine. I hope someday I have the opportunity to be even half the blessing my Grandparents were to me, to my own grandchildren. If you’re able…have you hugged your Grandparents today?

“Grandma’s” Potato Soup

8 Medium Yukon Gold Potatoes, cubed

5 Medium Stalks of Celery, cut down the middle and sliced

1 Medium to Large Walla Walla Sweet Onion, diced

1 Whole Package of All Natural Bacon, diced (easier done when partially frozen)

3 Cloves of Garlic, diced

1 1/2 Tablespoons of Dairy Free Butter

A Pinch of Dried Parsley

2 32oz Containers of GF Chicken Broth

2 Cups Almond Milk (or your choice, I like almond milk because it’s thick like whole milk)

Sea Salt & Pepper To Taste

Slice the celery and dice the onion, garlic, and bacon. Cube the potatoes.

In a medium-large Dutch oven, saute the bacon until it is golden and somewhat crisp. Be patient, it’s a lot of bacon and it will take a while. You want it to ever so lightly caramelize the bottom of the pan for a lot of flavor later. If you cook it to quickly, it will burn.

Remove the cooked bacon with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel and set aside.

Remove all of the little bits from the pan leaving about a tablespoon and a half of bacon grease.

Next, saute the onions and celery until the onion is translucent. Then add the garlic and saute for a few more minutes.

Add the butter and drained bacon and stir.

Add the potatoes and stir.

Cover the potatoes with both boxes of chicken broth. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a low boil until potatoes are tender.

Once the potatoes are tender enough to eat, add the two cups of almond milk and the pinch of dried parsley. Bring to a boil again and season with sea salt and pepper.

Serve and enjoy!