Hello Spring! Get a clue, Winter.

Seriously. What is WITH this weather?! I am 100% OVER it. Spring officially started this week but it’s been cold, rainy and icy. Winter is officially the house guest that has grossly overstayed it’s welcome.

It’s time to thaw out, to wake up. It’s time for renewal, new growth and new beginnings. For me, this season always brings a renewed sense of hope and motivation.

Here in the 704, spring brings some of the BEST weather around. Cool mornings, warm evenings and a sunset that just won’t quit. Spring Break is two weeks away and I am counting down the days until we can finally get reacquainted with one of our favorite beaches, Oak Island. I know it won’t be full-on bathing suit weather, but a girl can at least hope for some consecutively warm days, right?

Spring also brings a new season of cooking. I tend to move away from the hearty soups, chilis and stews that get us through the cold months, and move on to a fresh, lighter fare. I am SO looking forward to making Saturday morning trips to our amazing regional farmers market<3. I don’t know about you, but I find myself moving away from meat-centric meals in warmer weather. I crave crisp fruit, raw vegetables, crusty breads, burrata cheese…and rosé:)

Despite my longing for warmer weather, it’s remained pretty bleak with only a few glimpses of better days to come. After making that delightful Greek Lemon Avgolemono a couple weeks ago, I was still in the soup mood, but wanted to definitely keep it on the lighter side.

For years now, I try to only go grocery shopping 2-3 times a month. I loosely meal plan two weeks at a time so that I only have to buy groceries every two weeks or so. What started as a way to save money in an extreme budgeting time of our lives, quickly became a welcomed habit and challenge of efficiency and creativity in the kitchen. Some days, however, I find myself craving something totally different than I originally planned for. Here’s where the creativity challenge comes in. Such was the case on this cold and rainy day where the salad I planned was NOT cutting it. I scratched my salad plans, stared at whatever ingredients were in the refrigerator and made a plan.

The result? Literally one of the BEST soups I’ve ever had. Seriously. I wanted to post it as soon as I made it, but I got caught up in trying to remember what exactly I put in it, how much to put in….blah, blah, blah. Writing recipes is a VERY new thing for me, so I’ll try to be better about documenting these things along the way next time. For now, hopefully this all makes sense:)

Even if it randomly becomes 70+ degrees tomorrow, I think this soup is enjoyable enough to be a winner, even in the warmer months.

<3

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Creamy Coconut Tortellini Soup with Kielbasa & Kale

INGREDIENTS

2 T     Butter
1 C     Leeks, sliced 1/4 in. circles
1 C     Shallots, diced
1 C     Carrots, sliced 1/4in. half-moons
1 T     Garlic, minced
32oz. Low Sodium Chicken or Vegetable Broth
1        Can Organic Coconut Milk, 13.5oz.
1 C     Turkey Kielbasa Sausage, sliced 1/4in. circles
2 C     Cheese Tortellini (I used frozen, but you can use fresh too)
3 C     Lacinato Kale, torn to 1-2in. pieces
2 T     Tarragon, chopped
S & P to taste

DIRECTIONS

1. Melt butter in large dutch oven or skillet over medium heat. Add leeks, shallots, carrots and garlic. Cook until tender (~3-4minutes).

2. Add Kielbasa sausage, cook for 2-3 minutes, then stir to brown the other side 2-3 minutes.

3. Add broth to mixture, stirring and scraping up any of the mixture that may be stuck to the bottom of the pan.

4. Pour in coconut milk, stirring to break up any coconut clumps. Add in tarragon and simmer for 4-5minutes.

5. Add in tortellini, cover and cook until the pasta is tender (or according to the packaging:) Toss in kale and slowly stir to incorporate, 1-2 minutes. Season with salt & pepper.

 

 

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