Tag Archives: sierra

Souper Bowl: Kale and white bean soup


I haven’t exactly been present on this blog.  This last year has brought a lot of changes to my life: work has been busier than ever, I’m eating more healthfully, and having taken up running means that I get less time at night to prepare (let alone photograph) supper.  But when I saw Branny’s Souper Bowl post invitation, I knew I had to participate.

We have two cats.  Ever since I found out that I’m not actually allergic to cats, I’ve known that I wanted a couple and that I wanted to adopt them (rather than buy a specific breed).  Both of ours came from the local shelter, and both have very distinct personalities.  Sierra, the first cat we got and the older of the two,  is a cuddle-bug… for about two minutes. Then she’s out of your arms and dashing away to go off on her own… but if you wait long enough, she’ll be back, for two more minutes of intense cuddling, purring, and marking your chin with her nose. In any case, this post is dedicated to Sierra, our quiet furball.

Up close, wanting some love. (Soup in the background!)

This soup has been one of my winter staples until recently.  Bacon, homemade croutons, and soft slumped kale- what’s not to like?!  It’s filling, salty and almost buttery.  The bacon adds some chew, while the veggies and beans bring the heft. I’ve made it with both curly and lacinato kale, and both work just fine.  And if you’re a fan of chorizo or sausage, you may want to try that instead of the bacon.  But one thing is for sure- do not skip the homemade croutons.

Kale and White Bean Soup
Approximately 4 servings
Adapted from Everything is Better with Bacon and a recipe in the Williams Sonoma Bride and Groom Cookbook

1 pound or 2 cans white beans (if you can’t get fresh dried beans, go with canned)
4 slices bacon, chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 bay leaf
1/4 to 1/2 t. sage and thyme each (to your taste)
3 -4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2-3 stalks celery, diced (save the leafy greens if you’ve still got them)
5-6 cups chicken stock
1 large bunch of kale, ribs removed and roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the beans: if using dried beans, soak overnight and boil for 30 minutes, or prepare according to package directions. They don’t need to be totally soft as they will simmer in the soup.  If using canned beans, drain and rinse; set aside.

In a large dutch oven or kettle, fry the bacon in the olive oil for 3-4 minutes over medium or medium-high heat.  Stir in the onion and sautee for 4-5 minutes more.  Add garlic, sage, thyme, and bay leaf, and stir while cooking for a minute.  Add carrots and celery, stir, and saute briefly; add chicken stock and beans, and bring soup to a simmer.

Simmer the soup for at least 25 minutes, but up to an hour to combine flavors and soften vegetables. Stir in the chopped kale (and the celery greens if you’ve got them), return up to a simmer, and allow the kale to wilt in the soup, about 15 minutes. (If you want a bite to your kale, watch closely and only cook for about 5 minutes. I like mine silky soft and slumpy on my spoon.)  Season with salt and pepper, and serve with homemade salted croutons.

For croutons:
Melt 2 tbsp butter in a small sautee pan on medium high.  While melting, add 1/2-3/4 cup bread cubes.  Sprinkle with a few pinches of good salt.  Toss bread around and allow to brown for 2-3 minutes between stirs, for a total of 8-10 minutes. Serve warm or at room-temperature with soup.

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January 20, 2012 · 3:28 pm

Sourdoughs update

Our sourdough starter is getting there! I made a delicious loaf this weekend, and it is truly starting to get that awesome sour taste.

N’s dad loooves sourdough, so I split my starter and am feeding it double-time this week so that I can have two loaves to bring next weekend. Again, I’ve been mainly using this site as my source, including his FAQ, which is really helpful.

I’ve been on the road for 3 weeks now. This week, though, I’m only 45 miles away, which means that I get to come home in the middle of the week! Hurrah! :) In fact, I think I’m only staying out one night. What a luxury! Plus a four-day weekend full of family, food, and drink… AND I get to bring Sierra … that’s a life I could get used to.

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Filed under Breads

the shrillest highs and lowest lows

I am in the middle of so many projects, and it feels really great. I hated Dallas because I worked all day and had nothing to do all night. Coming home at first felt very much the same- work, TV, sleep, rinse and repeat.

But now that N has a job and is working like a CRAZY man… seriously, 12 or 13 hour days, anyone?!… I have a lot of time outside of the 8 or 9 hours at work daily.

So I got my basket spray painted and am letting it dry overnight before tackling the lining. I chose a grayish-taupe:

… which mostly looks white in this picture. I’ll be sure to get a good one of the finished project.

I also got some seeds started today. Yes, it’s early, but I figure that with global warming and the like, hopefully the ground will thaw and I can have these in the ground in 8 weeks?! :)

Not much to see yet! But I decided that the tomatoes can spend a little extra time inside without harm, and if need be, I will transplant into larger containers before they go out. Plus, I plan to keep the herbs- rosemary, basil, oregano, and lavender- as well as the lettuce in containers.

I also made a sourdough starter AND experimented with a version of Amish friendship bread, which will be in the next update. Add the cable neck-warmer I knit that’s being blocked and the feather-and-fan scarf I’m knitting, plus Sierra, and I am far from bored!

Gazing off into the distance. She’s a very deep thinker.

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Filed under Just a Thought

birthday girl stuff

What have I been doing this week, you might ask?! Birthday girl stuff, of course! :)

My birthday was yesterday, and I can honestly say that this felt like my first birthday as a grown-up. My husband went to work, I went to work, I ran errands and made supper and cleaned house, N came home and we got ready for tomorrow (today), and then went to bed. There were a few glasses of wine in there and some super nice birthday calls… along with 4 or 5 funfetti cupcakes… so it was good. :) However, no presents, no parties, no special birthday outfits or supper or trips. And that’s okay.

However, I have been haunting a few thrift and antique stores this week, and made quite a few sweet purchases. More updates with photos to come later.

Sierra is getting spayed today! :(  I know it’s better for her “quality of life,” so they say, but I still feel horrible. And she was so cuddly and playful this morning too!!! I was so tempted to call the hospital and cancel, just to sustain her innocence for a little longer, but alas… it would only be delaying the inevitable. I’m sure as soon as she went into heat and kept us up all night yowling, I’d be kicking myself for putting it off!

Isn’t she adorable?! She’s screaming with her eyes, “Petttt meeeee. Mmmm…. petttt meeeeee.” :)

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Filed under Optimism

Better than an orange kitty…

A gorgeous white and gray tabby, 6-month-old little girl, adopted straight from a loving foster home… and now she’s in the McC family!

She’s lazy… she’s definitely one of us.

Meet Spider Cat McC, affectionately referred to as Sierra. [S.C. … Sierra Charlie in military-speak… & shortened to Sierra.] She loves to swat at crumpled paper balls, cuddle for approximately 3 seconds before leaping desperately out of your arms, wake you up by tap-dancing on your butt at 3am, and fart. She’s a smelly little girl.

I bet she’s also a wicked tether-ball player!

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Filed under Just a Thought