Meals · Savory · Soup

Spring vegetable + bacon soup

IMG_5543

A Mother’s Day trip to the Farmer’s Market this weekend filled my heart with memories, and my fridge with beautiful, seasonably fresh produce. It was a great morning filled with sunshine, coffee + family!

One of my favorite purchases was from a local farmer selling the most delicious asparagus. His eyes shimmered when he spoke to families walking by, and he was so sure of the quality of his product that he handed out samples to anyone willing to meet his glance. His passion for what he did was evident, and his joy for sharing it with others pure. I stood watching for minutes before approaching, because this man was clearly in his element and there’s nothing more lovely than to witness this kind of energy in others. Passion. Mindfulness. Love. Joy.

We are each given a variety of gifts by which we can bless others. It’s the things you do that while they may be hard work, don’t feel anything like hard and bring others (and also yourself) a great amount of joy. This joy isn’t derived from a place of selfishness to fulfill your own needs — but more it’s the joy that radiates from fulfilling a purpose that God has graciously given you pouring out to others.

For some, it’s teaching, coaching or mentoring; for others building, crafting or organizing. For me, it’s serving – most frequently via my kitchen. A few weeks ago while prepping for dinner, I had a very vivid image of our lives in heaven and the roles we would have that are tied to our gifts. I envisioned preparing a meal alongside my grandma and serving it to the Lord. It stopped me in my actions and a sense of pure joy and emotions washed over me, leaving me enormously grateful for a glimmer of what’s to come. Until that day, I will continue honing my gift to serve others – both in and outside the kitchen.

This soup is warm and vibrant, and reminds me of the new life and beauty spring brings upon it’s arrival. I’ve always been a fan of more rustic soups in texture, this one reminds me a bit of a warm, green version of gazpacho. It’s beautifully flavored with green vegetables and herbs – as well as rendered bacon fat for a great depth of flavor. (Vegetarians, feel free to omit the bacon fat + topping!)

Happy Spring, from my kitchen to yours!

(Yields 4 bowls of soup)

IMG_5546

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. pure organic coconut oil
  • 1 pound of fresh asparagus
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 10 oz frozen organic spinach
  • 10 oz frozen organic peas
  • 2 cups organic vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp. chopped basil
  • 4 tablespoons of rendered bacon fat
  • 1 lb. bacon, cooked + cooled
  • 2 tsp. garlic salt + black pepper

Method:

  1. Cook the bacon on a large sheet pan at 400 in the oven until desired crunchiness is achieved. Set aside to cool, reserving the rendered fat in a cup to cool.
  2. Trim the asparagus 2″ from the bottom and discard. Cut the remaining lengths into 3″ pieces.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt the coconut oil over medium high heat and sauté the onions until translucent – approximately 5 minutes.
  4. Add the asparagus, frozen spinach, green onions and peas; cook another 5-7 minutes. The asparagus should be al dente. Season with garlic salt and pepper.
  5. Add the basil, vegetable stock + rendered bacon fat. Simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  6. In a Vitamix or similar blender, puree the contents of the pan 2-3 minutes until no large chunks remain.
  7. Serve hot + garnish with diced bacon, 2 slices per bowl suggested.

 

IMG_5544

Meals · Noodles · Soup

Lasagna Soup

I have this sweet little 3 year old who has a zeal for life like no one else I’ve known. She’s passionate about everything {including her opinions}…except cheese. I can’t even begin to imagine life without cheese, and at times I find my cooking techniques to be somewhat creative to create a meal everyone will enjoy if a recipe calls for cheese. We even go as far as making her homemade pizza sans cheese. 

While I scratch my head a bit wondering how anyone could possibly not like cheese, I respect the difference in taste preferences. This meal is the perfect example of how I attempt to create something for everyone – but keep the option to maintain a standard ingredient the original recipe calls for. Lasagna without cheese:: epic fail…until now, anyway. 

Technically speaking this dish still can have the layer of ooey, gooey melted cheese sprinkled atop, and my husband and I certainly indulged in said way. But truthfully, the flavors in this soup leave little to be desired and can certainly be enjoyed on its own. Who doesn’t love a meal with options? It’s also quick and hearty; perfect for a winter weeknight meal.

Recipe yields approximately 4 servings. Serve with your favorite cheesy topping if desired. We used a combination of fresh mozzarella and parmesan because we aren’t ricotta fans – but the sky’s the limit. Go crazy.

 Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of ground Italian sausage or ground beef
  • large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 1/2 tsp black pepper (use the first 1/2 tsp to season the meat)
  • 2 1/2 tsp garlic salt (use the first 1/2 tsp to season the meat)
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (more if you like heat!)
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp fresh basil, chiffonade
  • 26 oz box of diced tomatoes (I used Pomi brand)
  • 5 1/2 cups of organic chicken broth (I recommend Trader Joes brand!)
  • 1 cup organic beef broth
  • 7 oz elbow/macaroni noodles
  • optional fresh cheese for topping

Method:

  1. Finely dice the onion and sauté with the meat in a Dutch Oven until fully cooked. Add the tomato paste, minced garlic, red pepper flakes and 1/2 tsp each of garlic salt and pepper: sauté for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the tomatoes and sauté an additional 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken and beef broths, remaining 2 tsp. each of garlic salt and pepper, dried oregano, Italian seasoning and 2 bay leaves. Bring to a simmer and stir occasionally for 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, chiffonade your basil and set aside.
  5. Remove the bay leaves and turn the heat up to a low boil. Add the fresh basil and pasta and cook 7-10 additional minutes until the pasta is done per your liking. Serve hot and top with your favorite cheese if desired.