white bean, kale and sausage soup

This is just a little something to ground you between the inevitable highs and lows of the holidays. Kale, white bean and sweet italian sausage from Skagit River Ranch It’s a moment to go to something simple, familiar – we aren’t re-inventing the wheel here. Maybe use a little of that soup stock from the turkey bones. I made about 6 quarts from two turkeys. It’s important to keep eating healthy for a majority of the time through this season. And honestly, we enjoy the holidays more if we don’t feel like we’ve completely fallen off the cliff with eating habits.

White bean kale sausage soup @wendyellenthomas.com-5The kale is holding out but has had a couple good hits from freeze. I actually think I could plant more next year. Never enough kale right?

White bean kale sausage soup @wendyellenthomas.com-3I uncased three links of the sausage and saved one to slice. Ground sausage unlinked is a little more convenient if you have a quality source. One link I sliced in to have some chunks for garnishing but that’s optional

http://www.skagitriverranch.com

Pulled my last few leeks from the garden as well and sautéd two of them with 1 medium yellow onion along with the 3 links of the sausage with casings removed. From here I added a little carrot and about 1 large bunch of kale cut in large strips and the chicken stock.

White bean kale sausage soup @wendyellenthomas.com-2My go to white beans are Great Northern Beans from Eden Foods

White bean kale sausage soup @wendyellenthomas.com-4Put it all together… and garnish with a little grated parmesan. Warming, hearty but not too… time for a little holiday reflection and shopping:)

Side note: This fun laundered linen is from Couleur Nature and can be found at Chez Chloe online.

White bean kale sausage soup @wendyellenthomas.com-7And a couple real life shots of our Thanksgiving. We moved our living room furniture into the dining room and brought the table out to the living room and added another big table and 2 picnic tables. Tablecloths, candles, flowers and a little adornment made for some beauty and warmth. We sat down and gave thanks with so many great friends.

Thanksgiving dinner 2014

Thanksgiving dinner 2014-2

cheers… wendy

 

Grain free “Greens” pie and transitions

Quotations hug the word greens- just so you know it is not a green pie with an accidental s. It’s a nut crust stuffed with beet greens, green curly kale, lacinato kale, red russian kale, a fair amount of garlic, a little egg and a sprinkle of peppery goat cheese. Yes we do have a lot of kale in the garden.

greens pie @wendyellenthomas.com 2014-6

A recent three day mini yoga workshop left me high on breath and thoughts. Trying to be present while practicing produces quite a large container full of ideas to be processed either drifting off to sleep at night or on an early waking morning with time to contemplate.Which means don’t reach for your phone. Let the mind percolate.

Taught by Christine at our local studio, Orcas Mandala, we had a two hour session each morning for three days. A morning of breaking down sun salutations and solar poses, followed by a morning of moon salutation and lunar poses, ending on the third day with yin and restorative poses (almost equal in yumminess to a morning of scones and tea in bed -really-). The point of it all, was understanding the little transitions say, within the sun salutation. And the transition say, of summer to fall. How to find balance between poses and to find balance on these windy days that pull the leaves right off their limbs. It’s a time of being a little unsettled and redirecting routines. Even this post is a little scattered – but I’m going to be ok with that:)

The farm reveals blocks of time that pass. With the garden, I think in terms of cycles. Here we were in May…

early spring garden-13

The new kids in the pasture…

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And now inching towards late Sept we are days short of pulling up the jungle of summer veggies and covering beds.

Sept garden-3 Sept garden-5

This is a very busy time with harvest, processing and putting things to rest for some down time (like the holidays- HA). But at least the garden gets a rest. And it’s the back to school routine. I myself have to work on staying grounded. Weekend days my kitchen looks like this.

greens pie @wendyellenthomas.com 2014-2

And this is not very grounding.

greens pie @wendyellenthomas.com 2014-3

I’m canning, drying, making kraut and kombucha; juicing, smoothies, coffee or tea for the morning- a dish to take to the neighbor’s potluck, and what shall I do with the beets? More pickled? Do I have enough spices? Should I try to harvest the cherry tomatoes this afternoon? The partying fruit flies in the pear basket shout priority. How about let’s tack on making 100 mini cookies for a friend (smiles) on and on…

greens pie @wendyellenthomas.com 2014-4

I must pat myself on the back for what I accomplish in the day vs what remains on the list. Last night after canning and drying pears and making this greens pie for the neighbor’s potluck and feeling a bit overwhelmed by the mess, I had to march myself upstairs and lie on the mat. A little back and forth over the foam roller, up and down my spine,  a couple of stretches and a few deep breaths. My mind settled in a matter of ten minutes. Remember, this advice comes from someone (me) who is no yogi guru but will attest to the benefits of my rekindled relationship with yoga. Go get em grasshopper. And then back down to the kitchen, minus the tension, to clean up before dinner. On to the pie…

This nut crust consisted of 2 cups of ground nut meal- which came from making almond milk. I finally tired of tossing organic nut meal to the chickens. The last few batches I dried in the dehydrator at about 125° for a couple hours, then whizzed it in the vitamix. And no, that pear has nothing to do with the pie.

greens pie @wendyellenthomas.com 2014-5

So 2 cups almond meal, 1/2 cup of fresh ground walnuts, 1/3 cup coconut oil, a pinch of salt, 1 egg and about 1/4 cup of water. I mixed it by hand and pressed it into the pie dish. And don’t go expecting some light, flaky quiche crust because you will be sorely disappointed. This is a healthy, nutty and for sure tasty bottom to your greens.

greens pie @wendyellenthomas.com 2014

The wads of greens came from the garden. Beet greens and chopped stems, 3 varieties of kale, 4 cloves of garlic, an overgrown green onion and a little salt. I’d call it a very big bowl full. These guys really cook down. I tossed in 4 eggs to help bind it a little. And I topped the pie with a little fresh goat cheese.

There’s no proper recipe here- that would probably delay this post another couple weeks. It’s here to perk your interest and give you something to work from.

greens pie @wendyellenthomas.com 2014-7

Here’s to feet on the ground and peaceful moments in the mind as the wind blows.

Happy Fall.

And now for your four legged smile moment. Otis taking on cardboard…

Otis takes on cardboard-3Otis takes on cardboard-2Otis takes on cardboardOtis takes on cardboard-4Otis takes on cardboard-5

And I can’t resist adding this on- the goats new play thing. Building them solid blocks this fall is also on the list instead of makeshift furniture with no purpose.

Sept garden Sept garden-2

Officially the end.

Inspired by summer…

Summer is in full throttle. We are enjoying dinners with friends, work on the property, trips to Seattle and an abundance of fresh local foods. I’m indulging in the purchase of shiny magazines in English that require the turn of a page and not the swish of a finger across a screen. I’m currently sans computer for a few days and it’s kind of nice. The iPad works great but typing and photo editing aren’t so fun. It’s a good break. Here’s a visual of our happenings.
In Seattle last weekend, we picked O up at the airport. He finished teaching the semester with concerts and finals, and followed us to the states about three weeks after our arrival. After dinner one evening with friends in Woodinville, Chloe nailed a couple shots crossing the 520 bridge over Lake Washington. This girl has an eye let me tell you.

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She loves bridges…

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Back on island now, we love last minute dinners because within a half mile in all directions, we have the luxury of picking and purchasing such arrays of foods like this. Just picked raspberries, kale, chard, snap peas and fresh eggs that have not seen the inside of a refrigerator and once again, local Sockeye.

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Can one tire from fresh, local Sockeye salmon? No… Because it’s going to be followed soon by King salmon. Poor us. Here is our walk to Buck Bay Shellfish farm just down the road…

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Great old barn along the way…

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We drive by Buck Bay here (and the farm) daily.

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Never ending views, great folks,food and prices…

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Up our apple tree lined driveway…

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…we nibble a few salmonberries…

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Back to dinner…
Here was my prep for the salmon once again destined for the grill.
Lemon slices, garlic, fennel fronds and smoked salt…

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The two fillets put back together were grilled in foil…

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A little sautéed onion, garlic and fennel with lemon, seasoned the brown rice for our side dish. For greens, we used my favorite variety of kale, Red Russian which can grow virtually year round here. We massaged it, added avocado, olive oil, lemon, garlic and toasted sesame seeds.
For dessert, simple shortcake biscuits topped with fresh raspberries and whipped cream. Gotta love it!
Photo of our friends and their darling sit on the porch for dinner…

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Hope everyone is getting one moment or many to enjoy and be inspired by summer…
Tschüß for now,
Wendy

For the love of Kale…..

For the love of Kale…..

Ok… I’m at it again. I’m loving making these videos. I will probably continue unless I hear how boring they are to normal people. Well, honestly, then I may still continue doing them because they are self gratifying. So I’d love to get some feedback. Or not. No really I want it…. thx wt

I’m placing it here, up top, so you have the option to watch…. or you can scroll past to the recipes.

Kale is in. In season. In fashion. Just plain in. It’s a funny thing kale. It’s a great summer salad and really can be grown in the pacific Northwest at least, and I’m sure here in Germany, year round. Just at the peak of heat, it bolts, but usually there’s another patch just coming up and it’s only a short kale eating pause. (Baby  red russian kale in summer is great raw in green salads.) But we think of it being “in season” in winter. Certainly here in Hamburg, it’s out in kilo size bags.  I think because it is also often the garden Savior. The plant you can knock the snow off of and still harvest. It’s even sweeter after a frost. It has to be very very cold to kill the kale. And it only asks for a light cover such as remay (lite woven fabric) to give that bit of protection to hold out through the freezes.

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