French Onion Tortellini Soup Made with Only Four Ingredients

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Jan 142014

french onion tortellini soup with only 4 ingredients

On cold, rainy dreary winter days I love to have a pot of soup on the stove. There’s something about soup simmering that feels so homey to me. Here’s a quick and easy soup my family loves – French Onion Tortellini Soup. This soup is so fast to prepare if you’ve got the ingredients on hand in your fridge. Its really satisfying to be able to get a homemade soup to the table on a weeknight with a minimum of effort and a minimum of ingredients. I like to serve this with a baguette or rolls and a salad on side, and it’s also great with a leafy green added in – spinach, kale and chard all work great.

French Onion Tortellini Soup
Serves 6

1 pound mild Italian sausage
1 large yellow onion, sliced thinly
1 quart beef stock
16 oz. Tortellini (I use the cheese tortellini from Costco).

1. Roll the Italian sausage into small meatballs and cook them in a large dutch oven or stockpot on medium high heat until they are browned all over and almost cooked through. You don’t need any oil in the pot – the sausage will release a lot of fat on its own.

2. Remove the sausage from the pan onto a paper towel lined plate and drain off the fat, leaving just a thin film behind on the bottom of the pot.

3. Saute the onion slices in the pot until they are soft and brown – the more caramelized they are the better.

4. Add the stock to the pot and stir to bring up all the browned bits from the bottom. Then add back the meatballs and the tortellini and cook for about 8 minutes more.

5. Serve and enjoy!

french onion tortellini soup recipe using 4 ingredients

Meatloaf Cupcakes

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Jan 062014


meatloaf cupcakes

My daughter has been wanting to make meatloaf cupcakes for awhile now, ever since we saw a picture of them somewhere (probably on Pinterest, right?). Whenever my kids make a dinner request that isn’t complete junk food I try to accommodate them so last night we made up a batch. Now, I didn’t go all out with piping on the mashed potatoes a la frosting on top (and I think while that would add to the presentation it seems more appealing to eat the potatoes on the side). There are some changes I might make next time to make them a little more cupcake-like – a more domed-top, and maybe trying to find a way to get the sides a bit more browned/less steamed, but it was a good dinner and it’s nice to have little pre-portioned serving sizes.

They were easy to make – almost as simple as a regular loaf. I used my go-to meatloaf recipe from The New Best Recipe by Cooks Illustrated – of course as always with a few changes. I had to use beef only instead of a meat mix because the local butcher (which sells an incredible meatloaf mix) was totally crazy this weekend and I walked out without getting anything. Then instead of forming one big loaf I just rolled the mixture into balls and put them into muffin tins. I used metal tins and didn’t prepare them at all (no greasing, etc) and I didn’t have any problems with the cupcakes sticking to the sides or bottoms. One regular meatloaf recipe yielded 11 regular sized cupcakes (and it doesn’t need to be exact – you could end up with 10 bigger cupcakes or 12 smaller ones). If you give this a try, do make sure to put the muffin tins on a cookie sheet in the oven to catch any overflowing fat.

Peace, Love and Light

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Jan 042014


I finally got a chance to escape my home chaos for a few hours to do something just for me – some sketching and drawing and a bit of blogging too. I started out in the beautiful quiet of the local library ’til the cold chased me out to the local Starbucks. That chill was nothing a few hot teas couldn’t handle.


 Posted by at 1:52 pm

Introducing Pisco!

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Jan 022014

pisco bed

I just realized that I’ve not yet introduced you all to the new guy in my life – Pisco the puppy! He’s a German Wirehaired Pointer, born on a farm in Eastern Washington. We got Pisco when he was just a 9 week old bundle of fluff, and now he’s a tall, skinny 6 month old. He’s a big part of the reason I didn’t post much at the end of last year; between him and the four-year-old (and the two of them together) I just didn’t have a lot of quiet time for making things, much less writing about them. Now that he’s a bit older and more calm I’m hoping to get some time to myself again.

pisco sitting

Even though he’s been keeping me busy here at home we all love him and he’s the kids’ best buddy. He’s a total lap dog who’s snuggled up with them right now watching a show, and once they’re in bed he’ll come snuggle with one of us.

pisco closeup 2

He loves to get into things he shouldn’t (sleeping on the warm laundry pile is a favorite no-no) but with that face we can’t get too angry.

 pisco laundry

I mean, look at that.  He could get away with murder.

pisco closeup.jpg

He’s smart as a whip, which is awesome except when its not. We taught him to ring a bell to go outside in about 3 days – he taught himself to open our bedroom door by jumping up and turning the handle in about 30 minutes. He learned to sit right away, but he also learned to identify an unsecured roll of toilet paper in under 15 seconds. He’s great fun though!

Beans and Rice for the New Year

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Jan 012014

rancho gordo dried beans

I usually cook black-eyed peas and rice for luck on New Year’s Day, but I never really love it. The peas get mealy and the rice gets mushy when it’s mixed in together, so this year I decided to branch out and make a variation – hopefully it’ll bring luck as well. I used some beautiful Rebosero beans my cousin gave us for Christmas – they cooked up lovely – added some turkey kielbasa and served the rice on the side instead of mixed in. Of course I had to throw a fried egg on top as well.

rancho gordo beans egg