Tuesday, July 1, 2014

June Foodie Penpals Reveal!

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Hey my fellow foodies! It’s been so quiet over here on my little corner of the internet lately as I have become the worst blogger ever! Ugh! Seriously, can you hear the crickets? Because I can. But I thought I would break my silence to tell you (if you’re still here, that is) about this awesomely delish Foodie Penpals box I got for June!

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Above is a picture of just a few of the yummy treats in my box, taken immediately after I excitedly rummaged through it. And yes, that bag does say Ketchup chips lol. So I was totally spoiled this month by Raina over at The Home Plate! Raina shares her delish recipes as well as other FPP boxes she’s received, so definitely check out her blog!

Raina and I both have a love of coffee, chocolate, and all things salty and sweet… so I knew I was paired with the perfect person lol. In my opinion, the most fun Foodie Penpals boxes are always the ones that are filled to the brim with some of your favorite things as well as a few things that are new to you. Which is exactly what this box was. Here is what it was chock full of:

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I seriously did not know where to start lol.

One of the first things I was curious to try were the Ketchup Chips. Raina said that they are her favorites and that even though they sound so wrong, they are oh so right. I’ll admit, I was skeptical lol. But I have to say that she is right! They really are so good! They have a tangy tomato-y flavor that I actually really liked!

The Dill Pickle Popcorn has a light tangy pickle taste and is so good! The Cheerwine Cherry Soda was one of my favorite things! I love cherry soda so this was right up my ally! It was enjoyed along with some of the chips & popcorn during the season premiere of one of my favorite shows, Switched at Birth! Made the perfect snack!

Okay, the coffee with Chicory… oh man, so delish!! How am I just barely discovering this?? Drinking this up fast!

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A closer look at all the assorted chocolate treats!!! Think I’ve tried just about everything now. I have a few things left in my chocolate stash but it is quickly dwindling lol.

Some of my favorites were the Goo Goo Cluster, I think it was the first one I ever tried. The nuts, caramel, marshmallow, and chocolate… addicting! Also, the chocolate covered graham crackers & s’mores graham cracker, chocolate bar with maple, the chocolate covered espresso beans, and the chocolate digestives! Yes, this box was all about the chocolate, ha!

I thought the Chocolate Digestives (such an odd name for a cookie, right?) were especially interesting. They’re basically round cookies, that to me taste somewhat like graham crackers, with one side covered in chocolate. They’re simple but good! And from what I hear very popular in the UK.

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Here’s a picture of the Cheerwine cherry soda! So refreshing! Wish I could get this in my area!

I want thank Raina for this crazy awesome box! It was such a fun one! If you want to know what I sent her click here! And also thank you to Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean for organizing all this foodie fun! :)

P.S Just realized this is my 11th time participating in Foodie Penpals! lol So that should give you some idea of how much fun this program is and how much I love it! So if you want to join in, get some yummy treats sent straight to your door, and make some new friends in the process, the info is below!

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Here’s some details about FPP in case you want to join in for July:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written.
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers.
-Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian & European residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. Same with Europeans. 

If you’re from the US or Canada and are in participating for July, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by July 4th as pairings will be emailed on July 5th!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes

Hey loves! It’s been somewhat quiet over here lately. I have no excuse really just haven’t been in “blogging mode”. I’ve been in baking mode. Spending my days baking cookies, brownies, cakes, ect. to sell at my local bookstore/café as well as to family. It’s been so fun and has given me some great experience but I do not think I’ve ever been in the kitchen more!

And I’ve also as of late been in healthy eating & fitness mode. And how that fits into all the baking I’m doing for other people I have no idea, ha! Though I’m doing pretty good, I think. But I mean a good baker has to taste what she makes, right? Especially if someone is paying me for these treats… so I’d be lying if I said I haven’t taken a bite more than what I should’ve. Baby steps.

So all this to say, I thought I’d slip back into blogging mode with a yummy and indulgent cupcake recipe!!! Woot!  This is one of the cupcakes I’ve been making to sell at the bookstore/café and it’s been the one I’ve gotten the most comments on. So far it’s definitely been one of my best selling treats. I’ve also made it in cake form for family and got some really great feedback on it! It pairs two of my very favorite things, chocolate and coffee! Match made in heaven, right?

I have to give credit where credit is due though. I first got the idea for these babies when I tasted the “Chocolate Bolt” cupcake at a bakery called Yummy Finds, which is located just an hour from where I live. I was in love with the combo of  the chocolate cupcake with espresso filling and chocolate frosting. I was inspired so I just had to go home and try to replicate it. And I think I got pretty close. By the way, if you’re ever in Victoria, Texas do yourself a favor and stop by Yummy Finds. They not only have delish cupcakes but they serve awesome lunches as well. It’s one of my favorite places!

For this recipe I used what is now my very favorite chocolate cake recipe, along with an amazing recipe for espresso buttercream that I came across on Pinterest, and my stand by chocolate buttercream frosting I’ve been using for years. If you love chocolate and coffee and need a little caffeine jolt, give these cupcakes a shot!

Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes -

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(First time I made them. Garnished these with just chocolate chips but I definitely  prefer the chocolate sprinkles and espresso beans.)

A moist, chocolaty cupcake filled with creamy espresso buttercream, frosted with a rich chocolate buttercream, and finally topped off with a small dollop of espresso buttercream, a chocolate covered espresso bean, and either chocolate chips or chocolate sprinkles!

This chocolate cake recipe is very similar to the one I’ve always used which is the Hershey’s recipe. But I recently tried this one and found that with the edition of the buttermilk and coffee it’s a lot more moist and rich then the Hershey’s cake. So this is definitely my staple chocolate cake recipe from now on.

This espresso buttercream… oh, what can I say? It’s magic. It’s just pure magic. It’s a fluffy, creamy coffee lover’s dream. And I’m definitely a coffee lover so, truth be told, I add in a smidge more espresso than the recipe calls for. Tell ya, I could eat it all with a spoon… ahem, not that I ever have or anything.

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Like I said, I use my stand by chocolate buttercream. It’s just my favorite. It’s my own version of the one bowl buttercream recipe.

To hollow out the cupcakes so I can fill them I use my trusty cupcake corer. Makes it so much easier and faster. Plus, I kinda like eating the little centers lol. And then I just pipe some espresso buttercream right in the center!

Top these caffeinated lovelies off with an extra dollop of espresso buttercream, a chocolate covered espresso bean (got these in a Foodie Penpal package, love ‘em!), a dash of chocolate sprinkles and you’re good to go! 

And while they make amazing cupcakes they also make a very lovely cake! -

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(My cousin asked me to make this one for her mom’s birthday. Really happy with the way it turned out and really really happy the they loved it!)

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(First time I made this cake. For this one I used crushed chocolate covered espresso beans on the sides. But I ended up not liking the texture of them on the cake.)

Ingredients:

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(Recipe adapted from mybakingaddiction.com)

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons King Arthur Flour Black Cocoa, optional
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup strong black coffee
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
 
Directions:
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans or one 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa(s), baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix on low until dry ingredients are thoroughly combined. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for about two minutes; the batter will be thin. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.

For cupcakes bake for 16-18 minutes. For cake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.


Espresso Buttercream -
(Recipe adapted from browneyedbaker.com)

Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2½ cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons espresso powder

Directions:
Mix the espresso powder into the vanilla until dissolved; set aside.

Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping once to scrape the sides of the bowl. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar a little at a time, waiting until it is mostly incorporated before adding more. Once all of the powdered sugar has been added, scrape the sides of the bowl and increase the speed to medium-high and whip until fluffy, about a minute or two.

Add the espresso and vanilla mixture and continue to mix at medium-high until it is completely incorporated, scraping the sides as necessary.

Chocolate Buttercream -

Ingredients:
1 stick butter
4 tbsp. Cocoa
2 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. corn syrup
heavy cream (I never measure how much. Just a little drizzle to make it light and fluffy.)

Directions:
In a medium bowl cream butter and cocoa with mixer until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar one cup at a time. Add in vanilla, corn syrup, and heavy cream and beat on medium speed for two minutes until light and fluffy.

Assembly: After cupcakes are completely cool, hollow out the center and fill each one with espresso buttercream. Then pipe on chocolate buttercream. Pipe a small dollop of espresso buttercream right on top in the center. Finish with chocolate sprinkles or chocolate chips.

Monday, March 31, 2014

March Foodie Penpals Reveal!

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Hey fellow foodies! I’m here with another Foodie Penpals reveal today!

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This month I received a lovely package from Ginger over at Mini Me Wannabe! Ginger shares her health and fitness journey with her readers and has some really great tips, so definitely check out her blog! The box of goodies she sent me all came from Trader Joes! I’ve never been to a Trader Joes before as there are none around my area but have heard so many awesome things about it. It was fun to get to sample some of their products!

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Included in the box ~

Sweet Potato Bisque – I wasn’t sure about this soup as I’m not a huge sweet potato fan but it was actually really good. It’s really creamy and the warm flavors kind of remind me of fall.

Bruschetta – This looks delish! I already have this recipe in mind to use it in!

Cowboy Caviar – This is so delish!!! A salsa chock full of black beans, corn, and peppers. It’s really flavorful with a little kick and is just a little addicting.

Thai Dry Chili Paste – Haven’t tried this yet but it’s supposed to be a little on the spicy side. It says on the jar that it can be used to season veggies, meats, poultry, and also for dipping crackers when mixed with a little olive oil. Love that it’s so versatile, excited to try it!

Green Tea Infused Mints – Was also a little nervous about these mints but oh my gosh, they’re amazing! I’m usually not much for mints but these babies don’t taste like typical mints. They have a very light tea taste along with other very warm notes. Refreshing and almost soothing flavors.

Onion Dip Mix – Loved this dip! You just mix it with some light sour cream or plain Greek yogurt and let it sit in the fridge for a while and you have a creamy, tangy dip! Though I will say those Green Tea mints sure do come in handy after eating this dip, ha!

Oh and last but not least, seriously how pretty is that peacock card?! Love it!

I want to say thank you to Ginger for all these yummy snacks, I’m really enjoying them! And also thanks to Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean for putting all this foodie fun together! :)

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Here’s some details about FPP in case you want to join in for April:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written.
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers.
-Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian & European residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. Same with Europeans. 

If you’re from the US or Canada and are in participating for March, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by April 4th as pairings will be emailed on April 5th!

Friday, February 28, 2014

February Foodie Penpals Reveal!

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Yes, it’s Foodie Penpals time again! I’m so excited to share my February box with you guys! Let me tell you, I seriously scored!

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I received this box of goodies from Rachel over at the Renegade Foodie at Large. Rachel totally spoiled me with some of my favorite foodie items! In fact, this may be my favorite Foodie Penpals box yet!

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This lovely package included:

Java Iced Mocha Mix, Venice Chocolate Biscotti, 4 homemade finishing salts (including the recipes), and The Sweet Treats Collection cookbooks!

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Of course the first thing I dove into was the coffee and biscotti! I made me a tall glass of Java Iced Mocha, which is smooth and creamy. It has that perfect mix of rich chocolate flavor with a jolt of coffee. And oh the biscotti – chocolate with hazelnuts and orange zest, with a rich layer of chocolate on the top. I love the way the orange flavor comes out in the chocolate. So delish!

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Rachel’s homemade finishing salts! How awesome are these?! And yes, that says Bacon Salt! Bacon. Salt. … ‘nuff said. There’s also Herbs De Provence, Vanilla Cinnamon Nutmeg, and Orange Infused Sea Salt. I haven’t tried them yet but I’m already thinking of different recipes to use them in. She even included the yummy recipes in box!!

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If you want to know more about Rachel’s finishing salts she just posted a blog about them here!

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So this one was a Foodie Penpals first for me and I totally freaked out when I saw it! A cookbook collection!!! The Sweet Treats Collection is full of 3 books with 300 recipes in all!

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The three books are: Chocolate Treats, Cupcakes & Mini Treats, and Delicious Cakes! As a baker and a chocoholic these are right up my ally! It was so fun to flip through these books! All the recipes sound and look so delish and I cannot wait to give ‘em a try! Plus, how adorable are the books and the packaging?

I want to thank Rachel for sending me such a fun box! I’m so enjoying it! And a shout out to Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean for organizing all this foodie fun! If you would like to join in, the info is below! :)

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Here’s some details about FPP in case you want to join in for March:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written.
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers.
-Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian & European residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. Same with Europeans. 

If you’re from the US or Canada and are in participating for March, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by March 4th as pairings will be emailed on March 5th!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

New Smash Book & Art Journal Pages!

Over the past couple of years smash booking and art journaling have become some of my favorite hobbies. I‘m a big believer in having creative outlets and these are definitely my go tos. I love sipping on some iced coffee and spending a couple hours making a mess in these books.

I use my smash book, which is by K&Company (the pink one), as a scrapbook of sorts. It’s a place to “smash” in anything I love. I sometimes use my art journals the same way but I’ve been trying to use them more for experimenting with paints, sprays, and other fun mixed media supplies. Am I good at it? Well that’s beside the point to me lol. It’s simply just fun and freeing to make a happy mess. That for me is the point of both smash booking and art journaling.

So I thought I’d share some new pages with you guys today!

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That picture of a chocolate cake I made last year that I was really proud of was the inspiration for this page. Also used an old birthday card I kept, cute baking stickers, a peanut butter blossom recipe from Crisco, a paint sample, washi tape, a doily, and a recipe card to write on.

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A random girly page. A photo I took of cute rain boots I found in a boutique, magazine clippings, a couple drawings by my cousin that I kept from years ago (because I’m a pack rat), paint sample, stickers, washi tape, a post card, and a clothing tag from Maurice's.

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Breakfast! A photo of the lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberry sauce I made a while back, a magazine clipping, stickers, stamps, paint sample, and a journaling card I printed out. And totally random but the whole time I’ve been typing this that old Newsboys song “Breakfast” has been going through my head… “When the toast is burned and all the milk has turned and Captain Crunch is waving farewell.
When the big one finds you may this song remind you that they don't serve breakfast in hell
.”. Any former fellow 90’s Christian music fans feel me? Ahem, anyway…

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Had some things lying around from when my parents and I went to GA last March to visit my sister so I decided to finally go ahead and smash ‘em in! I added some photos clipped together by a cute mini clothing pin and a journaling card.

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No real theme, a random page. A receipt from Kerbey Lane in Austin, a coffee sleeve, a birthday card that I thought was pretty, a tag from Natural Life, stickers, stamps, printed out photos,  ect. 

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Another random page. Made the page on the right while my sister was visiting in November. She has a smash book too so we made sure to get some smashing in while she was here. Lots of stickers, die cuts, stamps, a doily, and a fortune from a fortune cookie. Page left, print outs, stamps, washi tape, and sheet music.

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My new art journal and some fun supplies I recently bought.

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The first few pages in my new art journal! Just had a lot of fun playing around with paint, sprays, and printed out pictures.

Hope you enjoyed taking a peek and will maybe consider giving these hobbies a shot yourself.  :)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Red Velvet Cupcakes w/ Cream Cheese Frosting + V-day Playlist!

Hey my Valentines! Hope you’re having a happy love day today! This has always been one of my favorite holidays… chocolate, roses, pink & red hearts! In a relationship or not, what’s not to love about that? It’s actually a holiday that just makes me want to bake cupcakes… always been this way for some reason. When I was a teenager I would buy a strawberry cake mix & canned cream cheese frosting (Ugh, even though now cake mixes & especially canned frostings go against everything I believe in. I was young.) and cover them with lots of pretty pink sprinkles. It was my yearly Valentines tradition for a while & it made me happy.

But another cupcake flavor that always seems to make an appearance on February 14th is the southern favorite, Red Velvet! In all honesty, I’ve never been a Red Velvet fan. Most red velvet cakes tend to be dry, crumbly, and lacking in flavor. And then the traditional cooked frosting always tastes like flour to me and I’m not fond of most cream cheese frostings. If I eat red velvet it has to be exceptionally good. And I believe it’s for this reason that I’ve wanted to find the perfect red velvet recipe. Especially in the last few weeks it’s sort of became my quest.

I scoured the internet looking for recipes. I finally found one that I thought looked and sounded amazing. It was this recipe from Rosie over at Sweetapolita. I just planned to make the cake part of it & find a cream cheese frosting to go with it. First let me say, I think this girl is a freakin’ baking genius! I’ve been stalking her blog trying to learn all her baking secrets. My family & I actually made her vanilla cake for my parents vow renewal this past summer and it was one of the best cakes I’ve ever tasted.

So I tried this recipe, which calls for red velvet baking emulsion, which I’ve never used before but managed to track down. It’s the color and a flavoring all in one. The cupcakes came out super moist but the emulsion gave the them an almost citrusy flavor that I honestly couldn’t decide if I liked. So I decided to keep on looking and ended up going back to a recipe that I tried about a year ago and really liked. For some reason I had forgotten about this recipe. It’s the from a cookbook I have called “Chocolate Bar”. If you’re looking for a red velvet cake that is moist, flavorful, but still traditional, this is it! In my opinion it meets all the criteria I’m looking for in red velvet. 

Oh and the cream cheese frosting… heavenly! I scored big time when I found this recipe. But more about that below!

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting -

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(Recipe adapted from "Chocolate Bar" by Matt Lewis and Alison Nelson)

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A traditional red velvet that is moist and flavorful! True test is that they honestly even taste good without the frosting… though you’d be crazy not to frost them with this lovely and delish cream cheese frosting.

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So I haven’t stopped raving about this frosting since I made it. You HAVE to try it! And I can’t stress that enough. Some people like the traditional cooked frosting, some people like buttercream but now a days cream cheese frosting seems to be the consensus for red velvet. I don’t know about you but every cream cheese frosting I’ve ever made has turned out to be a soupy mess and tends to taste like unbaked cheesecake. This one, because it contains equal amounts of butter and cream cheese turns out fluffy, creamy, and perfectly pipable (Dear spell check, I’m aware that’s not a word but I’m using it anyway)!

And it doesn’t taste like unbaked cheesecake. It tastes like buttercream but with the slight tang of cream cheese. And it’s not toothachly sweet. Oh yes, perfect!

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The frosting doesn’t over power these cupcakes but is the perfect compliment! If you’re feeling festive top them off with some sprinkles and leftover conversation hearts.

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons good quality cocoa powder
1 ounce red food coloring (1 bottle)
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoon shortening at room temp.
1 2/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 tablespoon white vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar after reading somewhere that it makes them a little sweeter)
1 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, red food coloring, and 2 tablespoons of boiling water. Set aside to cool.

Sift the flour and salt together. In a separate bowl, mix the buttermilk and vanilla together.

In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and shortening together on high speed until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and continue beating for approximately 5 minutes until pale and fluffy.

Add the eggs and yolk one at a time, blending well after each addition.

Mix in the cocoa, food coloring, and water mixture just until blended.

Alternately add the flour and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Mix until just combined.

Dissolve the baking soda in the vinegar (the mixture will fizz) and add to the mixer until just combined.

At this point, though it’s not in the original recipe, I added in about 1/4 cup of mayonnaise. I know this may gross some people out but trust me, you can’t taste it whatsoever. It just makes the cupcakes even more moist. Just mix it in till well blended. 

Fill cupcake pan and bake for 16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

I’m just going to direct you to Stacy over at The Wicked Kitchen, where I found this amazing frosting. She explains why it works better than I do. Plus she has a lot of killer recipes. Best Ever Cream Cheese Frosting.

 

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And because this holiday deserves some tunes, here’s a lovey dovey playlist for you!

Valentines Day 2014 by Krystal Rodriguez on Grooveshark

 

Also wanted to share a photo of some diy Valentines decorations I made

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Just some simple felt heart and xo garlands hanging in the kitchen. Think it lights a festive air! :)

Okay sweets, hope you’re having a lovely Valentines Day!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Zuppa Toscana Soup

In my opinion one of the only good things about winter is hot chocolate and lots of yummy soups. This is definitely the season for soup. And especially since Mr. Groundhog saw his tiny little shadow it looks we will be making soup for another six weeks. Thank you Punxsutawney Phil.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we Texans don’t do cold. We simply do not know how to handle it. We ransack the stores to stock up on food, we cancel our schools for a little bit of ice on the road, we have the Red Cross at the ready and shelters open… and it’s only in the 30’s & 40’s. I’m sure all you Northerns probably get a kick out of us but hey, that’s Texas for ya!

But as long as I have a large pot of this Zuppa Toscana simmering on the stove I suppose it’s not so bad. This is a copy cat recipe for Olive Garden’s lovely soup… I swear it tastes just as good if not better. Hope it keeps ya warm! :)

Zuppa Toscana Soup -

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(Recipe adapted from here)

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This soup is flavorful, hearty, and creamy. Filled with bacon, Italian sausage, chunks of potatoes, onions, garlic, and kale (though I omitted the kale in mine). Serve it with some garlic bread and you have the perfect winter meal!

Ingredients:

4 slices bacon, cut into a small dice

1 pound hot Italian sausage, ground or links with casings removed (I used breakfast sausage)

1 large yellow onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups (32 ounces) chicken broth or stock

3 cups Russet potatoes, cubed

sea or kosher salt and fresh black pepper

2 loose packed cups kale, in bite size pieces

1 cup heavy cream or 14 ounce can evaporated milk

Parmesan cheese, grated, for serving

Directions:
In a large soup pot or sauce pan cook bacon over medium until crispy. Add sausage and break it apart as it cooks. Once sausage is browned and crumbled drain off the grease leaving a tablespoon or two to sauté the onion.

Push the sausage to the edges of the pot and add onion to center - sauté until translucent then add garlic and sauté until fragrant.

Stir in broth and potatoes, season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, simmer for about 20 minute or until potatoes are tender.

Add kale and heavy cream or evaporated milk. Bring to a simmer. Taste and re-season as needed. Serve with Parmesan cheese and crusty bread.