Tuscan White Bean Soup

| Cooking

This Tuscan White Bean Soup is absolutely incredible. It's thick and creamy and brimming with flavor. Protein packed and healthy - it's a must try!

Tuscan White Bean Soup

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I L.O.V.E. soup!!! I don’t know why exactly but this obsession started about 6-7 years. Whoa, as I just typed that sentence I had a flashback – actually, I take back that former statement…I do know how this obsession started.

A few years after having my daughter I realized that I really hadn’t lost all my baby weight. I think for the first while after having a child you’re so deep into mommyhood that you barely have time to even look in the mirror. I woke up one morning and had a serious look at myself and decided it was time to do battle.

Overall, I’ve been fortunate enough that my weight hasn’t really been a huge issue prior in my life so diets had never entered my realm of existence. I was too embarrassed to ask friends what their experiences had been – I was determined to do this on my own without anyone knowing. Enter Weight Watchers. I had known a few people who had experienced really great success with this program and knew I needed something to keep me accountable. I really didn’t need to lose a ton of weight – I just didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin and knew I was past my own personal comfort zone. I signed up in the early fall and by Christmas, I had surpassed my goal weight by about 5 pounds – victory!!!

Now, getting back to our soup… I feel like my weight loss success was mostly due to getting a handle on portion control but also altering my typical eating habits, in particular, my lunches. I used to eat out or have huge leftovers for lunches. Instead, I switched up my lunches by taking homemade soup to work every day for my lunch. My go-to lunches were my homemade Chicken noodle, roasted butternut squash soup or vegetable soups.

Now, years down the road from my initial foray into soups, that lunch time soup habit has stuck. I was looking for a new soup that had lots of protein but that didn’t involve meat and I discovered bean soups. Now, I have to tell you, this Tuscan White Bean Soup is absolutely incredible. It’s thick and creamy and brimming with flavor. Honestly, it’s outstanding! I’ve made this soup for a number of people now and they always ask for the recipe. So, without further ado, here’s my Tuscan White Bean Soup.

TUSCAN WHITE BEAN SOUP RECIPE

Modified from Giada De Laurentiis’s recipe here.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 small potatoes, cubed and parboiled
  • 2 sage leaves
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans/white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups of low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable stock)
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 tbsp parmesan or asiago cheese
  • 4 pieces of bacon or back bacon cooked and diced into small pieces
  • 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place a medium, heavy soup over medium heat. Add the butter, olive oil, potatoes, and shallot. Cook, stirring occasionally until the shallots soften.
  2. Add sage, sun-dried tomatoes and beans – stir and combine.
  3. Add the stock and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the garlic and simmer until the garlic has softened, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Pour the soup into a large bowl. Carefully ladle 3/4 (or all if you don’t want any full beans) of the soup into a blender and puree until smooth – make sure to hold the lid tightly on the blender while pureeing the beans.
  5. Pour the blended soup back into the soup pot.
  6. Add salt, pepper, cheese and bacon to the soup. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately or ladle into containers for the freezer.

Download the Tuscan White Bean Soup recipe here.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Check out some of my other recipes including Curried Apple Egg Salad Sandwich, Double chocolate pecan cookiesThe ultimate rice krispie squareBest salad everNo bake energy ballsthe best chicken soup you’ll ever eatBailey’s dipped toasted marshmallowszucchini quinoa pattiesperfect chocolate chip cookiesmarinated feta cheeseMediterranean humus.

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15 Fun and Easy Sewing Projects for Kids

| Crafts & DIY, Kids Fun

15 Fun and Easy Sewing Projects for Kids. These starter sewing projects will help kids learn and develop dexterity and coordination. Sewing can bring hours of joy and it's also a practical life skill. Click to check out these amazing ideas now.

15 Fun and Easy Sewing Projects for Kids

We’re on the home stretch of summer now and you may be trying to find things to keep your kid’s minds (and fingers) busy. Have you considered sewing?

Kids are never too young when it comes to learning crafts, especially sewing. Sewing can not only bring hours of joy, it’s also a practical life skill. These fun sewing ideas will help kids learn and develop dexterity and coordination. I’ve been on the lookout for some cute things they can start off with and the projects I’ve gathered here range in difficulty from toddlers to teens.

Once kids learn any one of these fun sewing projects, who knows these might even spark their imagination to come up with their own creations. So go find a kid and get your sewing on!

1. Fried Egg Felt Zipper Pouch

In the ranks of cute foods, fried eggs are at the top of the list – so here they are, fried eggs in all their felty goodness. The DIY Fried Egg Felt Zipper Pouch is in full effect.
Via Damask love
15 Fun and Easy Sewing Projects for Kids. These starter sewing projects will help kids learn and develop dexterity and coordination. Sewing can bring hours of joy and it's also a practical life skill. Click to check out these amazing ideas now.

 2. Fabric Scrap Key Chain

Finally, you can get rid of your fabric scraps and teach your young ones to be crafty and resourceful, too.
Via Craftiness is not Optional

15 Fun and Easy Sewing Projects for Kids. These starter sewing projects will help kids learn and develop dexterity and coordination. Sewing can bring hours of joy and it's also a practical life skill. Click to check out these amazing ideas now.

 3. Book corner bookmark

This lovely bookmark is for the older kids who might want to put a little spin on their own creations.
Via kr creations
15 Fun and Easy Sewing Projects for Kids. These starter sewing projects will help kids learn and develop dexterity and coordination. Sewing can bring hours of joy and it's also a practical life skill. Click to check out these amazing ideas now.

 4. Emoji Keyrings

Have you seen the hundreds of emoji pillows and products in the stores these days? Once your child makes one of these keyrings, they’ll want to make one for everyone in the neighborhood.
Via crafternoon cabaret club
15 Fun and Easy Sewing Projects for Kids. These starter sewing projects will help kids learn and develop dexterity and coordination. Sewing can bring hours of joy and it's also a practical life skill. Click to check out these amazing ideas now.

 5. Scented sachets

These scented sachets will not only give your child something to do, these can also keep drawers and closets smell loads better.
Via Martha Stewart
15 Fun and Easy Sewing Projects for Kids. These starter sewing projects will help kids learn and develop dexterity and coordination. Sewing can bring hours of joy and it's also a practical life skill. Click to check out these amazing ideas now.

 6. Fish Laundry Bags

Cute… check! Useful… check! Easy… check! These adorable Fish Laundry Bags will be the envy of all the other kids at camp.
Via she can sew

15 Fun and Easy Sewing Projects for Kids. These starter sewing projects will help kids learn and develop dexterity and coordination. Sewing can bring hours of joy and it's also a practical life skill. Click to check out these amazing ideas now.

 7. Pleated headband

Kids will surely enjoy making their own combinations of fabric, buttons, and charms to make these lovely headbands.
Via Craftiness is not Optional
15 Fun and Easy Sewing Projects for Kids. These starter sewing projects will help kids learn and develop dexterity and coordination. Sewing can bring hours of joy and it's also a practical life skill. Click to check out these amazing ideas now.

 8. I Heart Coffee Cozy

Having a fabric cozy to take with me to get a hot beverage helps to keep the cardboard ones out of the dumpsters. Plus, it is super cute!
Via simply notable
15 Fun and Easy Sewing Projects for Kids. These starter sewing projects will help kids learn and develop dexterity and coordination. Sewing can bring hours of joy and it's also a practical life skill. Click to check out these amazing ideas now.

 9. Keychain chapstick holder

For kids/teens who can’t live without their chapstick – these will keep them from losing them.
Via Crazy Little Projects
15 Fun and Easy Sewing Projects for Kids. These starter sewing projects will help kids learn and develop dexterity and coordination. Sewing can bring hours of joy and it's also a practical life skill. Click to check out these amazing ideas now.

10. Felt forest friends keychains

Kids can make their own little forest friend, hand sew and use on their bags.
Via Repeat Crafter Me
15 Fun and Easy Sewing Projects for Kids. These starter sewing projects will help kids learn and develop dexterity and coordination. Sewing can bring hours of joy and it's also a practical life skill. Click to check out these amazing ideas now.

11. Handsewn Beady Eyeglass Case

These would be perfect for kids to make for their grandparents, friends or themselves.
Via How To Sew.com
15 Fun and Easy Sewing Projects for Kids. These starter sewing projects will help kids learn and develop dexterity and coordination. Sewing can bring hours of joy and it's also a practical life skill. Click to check out these amazing ideas now.

12. Glove monsters

These cute glove monsters will surely be a hit for kids, they can make them as funny or scary as they like.
Via Craftaholics Anonymous
15 Fun and Easy Sewing Projects for Kids. These starter sewing projects will help kids learn and develop dexterity and coordination. Sewing can bring hours of joy and it's also a practical life skill. Click to check out these amazing ideas now.

13. Felt iPod Case

Even young kids have smartphones now, so why not teach them how to better take care of their things by learning how to create a case.
Via Diary of a Quilter
15 Fun and Easy Sewing Projects for Kids. These starter sewing projects will help kids learn and develop dexterity and coordination. Sewing can bring hours of joy and it's also a practical life skill. Click to check out these amazing ideas now.

14. Carefree Cat from Scraps

When you start combining pieces of fabric and sewing them together, the toy starts to create its own character…just like this super carefree cat made from fabric scraps.
Via Sew Toy15 Fun and Easy Sewing Projects for Kids. These starter sewing projects will help kids learn and develop dexterity and coordination. Sewing can bring hours of joy and it's also a practical life skill. Click to check out these amazing ideas now.

15. Button Sewing

Button sewing is the easiest thing to teach young kids – just use a blunt needle and burlap.
Via Mama.Papa.Bubba
15 Fun and Easy Sewing Projects for Kids. These starter sewing projects will help kids learn and develop dexterity and coordination. Sewing can bring hours of joy and it's also a practical life skill. Click to check out these amazing ideas now.

I hope these sewing ideas for kids will give you parents the chance to widen your kids’ horizons and teach them a skill or two. If you have other fun and easy sewing ideas that you would like to share with us, please do so in the comments.

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Colorful Solid Granny Square Dishcloth Crochet Pattern

| Crochet

Free Colorful Solid Granny Square Dishcloth Crochet Pattern includes a video tutorial. A fun, lively and super simple crochet pattern. Click for pattern.Colorful Solid Granny Square Dishcloth Crochet Pattern

Another year of school has come to an end and I think it’s important to always give thanks to the amazing teachers who shape our child’s educational and extracurricular life. Last year I started my own personal tradition of making homemade soap and dishcloths for all of my daughter’s teachers and coaches. In 2015 I made the Easy Thick Crochet Dishcloth and this year I decided to create a new fun and lively granny square pattern.

This crochet pattern is so fun and really easy to make. Once you learn the pattern, you’ll be able to do it in your sleep. I’ve also included this helpful video tutorial for those who find it easier to follow crochet patterns visual.

Click here for the video tutorial.

COLORFUL SOLID GRANNY SQUARE DISHCLOTH CROCHET PATTERN

Pattern in U.S. terminology

SKILL LEVEL: EASY

MATERIALS:

• Hook: U.S. H/5.00mm
• Cotton yarn in 4 colors – 4 skeins (Bernat Handicrafter used in photos)
• Darning Needle & Scissors
*NOTE: Using the incorrect hook and yarn size will likely cause the finished project to be too large or too small.

ABBREVIATIONS:
st = stitch
ch = chain
sl = slip stitch
dc = double crochet

PATTERN DETAILS
FINISHED SIZE: 8″ x 8″

PATTERN
Make a slip knot and chain 4, insert hook into the first chain and join with a slip stitch to make a circle.

ROUND 1: COLOR A – Ch 5, working into the center of the ring make 3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc into the ring, ch 2, 3 dc into the ring, ch 2, 2 dc into the ring, join using a sl into the third ch from the ch 5 we started the round with. (will have 3 dc per side after the round is complete)

ROUND 2: COLOR A – Ch 3, [2 dc into the corner space, ch 2, 2 dc into the corner space, 5 dc into each of the dc below],repeat pattern for next 2 sides. After the 2 dc in the last corner, make 2 dc into the dc below, join using a sl into the third ch from the ch 3 we started the round with. (will have 7 dc per side after the round is complete)

ROUND 3: COLOR B – Ch 3, 2 dc into each of the dc below, [2 dc into the corner space, ch 2, 2 dc into the corner space, 7 dc into each of the dc below],repeat pattern for next 2 sides. After the 2 dc in the last corner, make 4 dc into the dc below, join using a sl into the third ch from the ch 3 we started the round with. (will have 11 dc per side after the round is complete)

ROUND 4: COLOR B – Ch 3, 4 dc into each of the dc below, [2 dc into the corner space, ch 2, 2 dc into the corner space, 11 dc into each of the dc below],repeat pattern for next 2 sides. After the 2 dc in the last corner, make 6 dc into the dc below, join using a sl into the third ch from the ch 3 we started the round with. (will have 15 dc per side after the round is complete)

ROUND 5: COLOR C- Ch 3, 6 dc into each of the dc below, [2 dc into the corner space, ch 2, 2 dc into the corner space, 15 dc into each of the dc below],repeat pattern for next 2 sides. After the 2 dc in the last corner, make 8 dc into the dc below, join using a sl into the third ch from the ch 3 we started the round with. (will have 19 dc per side after the round is complete)

ROUND 6: COLOR C- Ch 3, 8 dc into each of the dc below, [2 dc into the corner space, ch 2, 2 dc into the corner space, 19 dc into each of the dc below],repeat pattern for next 2 sides. After the 2 dc in the last corner, make 10dc into the dc below, join using a sl into the third ch from the ch 3 we started the round with. (will have 23 dc per side after the round is complete)

ROUND 7: COLOR D – Ch 3, 10 dc into each of the dc below, [2 dc into the corner space, ch 2, 2 dc into the corner space, 23 dc into each of the dc below],repeat pattern for next 2 sides. After the 2 dc in the last corner, make 12dc into the dc below, join using a sl into the third ch from the ch 3 we started the round with. (will have 27 dc per side after the round is complete)

ROUND 8: COLOR D – Ch 3, 12 dc into each of the dc below, [2 dc into the corner space, ch 2, 2 dc into the corner space, 27 dc into each of the dc below],repeat pattern for next 2 sides. After the 2 dc in the last corner, make 14dc into the dc below, join using a sl into the third ch from the ch 3 we started the round with. (will have 31 dc per side after the round is complete)

Fasten off and weave in any ends.

Looking for more great crochet patterns:  Elegant Capelet Wrap PatternOutlander Cowl PatternCross Hatch Button-Up Cowl Crochet Pattern, Easy Modern Crochet Patterns, Crochet Beach Bag Pattern, Easy Thick Crochet Wash & Dish Clothes, Crochet Boot CuffsCaps for a CauseCrochet Infinity ScarfCrochet Cat BedCrochet iPhone CaseEasy-Peasy Crochet Beanie

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Penne with Roasted Onions, Gorgonzola, and Walnuts Recipe

| Cooking

Who isn't always on the lookout for a delicious vegetarian meal that's great to serve to dinner guests. The combination of sweet, caramelized onions, flavorful cheese, and toasted walnuts is irresistible and makes this penne with roasted onions, gorgonzola and walnuts recipe a winner in my book.Penne with Roasted Onions, Gorgonzola, and Walnuts Recipe

Who isn’t always on the lookout for a delicious vegetarian meal that’s great to serve to dinner guests. The combination of sweet, caramelized onions, flavorful cheese, and toasted walnuts is irresistible and makes this penne with roasted onions, gorgonzola and walnuts recipe a winner in my book.

A few years ago I had the pleasure of working with a remarkable co-worker named Diane. Her office was next to mine so I was lucky enough to get to know her really well. She’s an extraordinary woman, you know…one of those. The kind of woman that can milk a cow then churns fresh butter for her divine homemade rustic bread with the concord grape jelly that she’d made yesterday. Seriously, there’s nothing she can’t do.

We became good friends and eventually starting exchanging gifts at Christmas time. Even though I make a lot of my own homemade gifts, I was intimidated by her incredible “Martha-like” talents so instead, I decided to give her a recipe book. As with everything else, Diane is an amazing cook. Thankfully she appreciated the book and even tried a number of recipes from it. The recipe I’m sharing today is from that book (which I’m sorry I don’t know the name of as I just have a photocopy of the recipe). Diane said this recipe was simple and delicious, my two favorite things in a recipe so I decided to give it a go. Good thing I did, it’s become one of my husband’s favorite meals.

I’ve made this on a number of occasions and my dinner guests always ask for the recipe. It’s very simple, only a handful of ingredients and great if you have vegetarian guests (or even none vegetarians) for dinner.

Penne with Roasted Onions, Gorgonzola and Walnuts Recipe

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 Large red onions, quartered
  • 8-12 garlic cloves
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 oz penne, rotini or other tubular pasta
  • 6 oz Gorgonzola cheese, broken into small chunks
  • 3 tbsp coarsely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Cut each onion half into crescent-shaped slices about 1/8″ thick. Toss in a roasting pan with garlic cloves, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Roast for 30-35 minutes, shaking the pan every so often. The onions should be tender and slightly charred.

2. Cook the pasta, drain and return it to the pot. Add the roasted onions, garlic, cheese, parsley, walnuts, extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper. Stir and serve immediately.

Download the penne with roasted onions, gorgonzola and walnuts recipe here.

hope you enjoyed this recipe. Check out some of my other recipes including Double chocolate pecan cookiesThe ultimate rice krispie squareBest salad everNo bake energy ballsthe best chicken soup you’ll ever eatBailey’s dipped toasted marshmallowszucchini quinoa pattiesperfect chocolate chip cookiesmarinated feta cheesemediterranean humus.

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