Thankful Thursday #24 – Fall

Fall 2014

We are entrenched into the fall season, and even though I am sad to say goodbye to summer, and all of the things that we enjoy in summer, I enjoy the change to fall. I love the beauty of the leaves changing colors, and gently falling to the ground. I love watching children making leaf piles and jumping or hiding in them. I love the cooler weather and sitting on my porch swing. The flies and mosquitos are disappearing. I am grateful for settling into the change of seasons and everything that fall brings.

This post was inspired by Thankful Thursday organized by Momdeavor.

Stuffed Pepper Soup

Stuffed Pepper Soup - HostessAtHearI grew up in a farming community where a lot of the work and social activities revolved around planting or harvesting crops.  Sometimes, they were the same thing.

When I stayed overnight with a girl friend, we often were up at dawn checking irrigation pipe. Babysitting could involve feeding livestock or other chores. Some of my fondest memories was sitting around husking and “putting up” corn. It never seemed like work because we did it together and socialized while we did it.

Everyone shared produce. We never needed a farmers market because if we had more tomatoes than what we needed, we often canned some and gave away some. So did everyone else.

One of the dishes my mother made, that I loved, was stuffed peppers. It was a mixture of ground beef, rice and tomato sauce baked inside a green pepper. I new that John wasn’t going to love eating an entire baked green pepper, so I thought I would take the same ingredients and make a soup. If John didn’t care for it, it was still something that I could freeze in individual portions and eat when I was on my own for dinner.

This is definitely in the comfort foods category but, isn’t a heavy dish. I wanted to bump up the flavor so I added spicy sausage and fire roasted tomatoes. I also used long grain brown rice, but you could use what ever you prefer.

When I make soup, I always make extra. It might be my upbringing, but I love having it in my freezer on those snowy evenings. Using a large dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once hot, add 1 pound of ground sirloin and 1 pound of ground spicy pork sausage. When the meat is good and brown, remove it from the pan to a plate lined with a paper towel. Add another tablespoon of olive oil and add 2 diced green peppers (3 cups), and one large yellow onion (3 cups). Cook for 3-5 minutes. Add 4 minced garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, and 1 teaspoon of dried basil and cook for 30 seconds. Pour in 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, 2 cans of tomato sauce, 32 oz of fat free beef broth and add the meat back in. Add salt and pepper if needed. Bring to a slight boil and then lower the heat to a simmer for at least 30 minutes. I actually let mine simmer for over and hour, and it didn’t hurt it a bit.

While the soup is simmering, cook 1 cup of rice according to package directions.

I knew I would have more soup than what we could eat that evening, so I didn’t put the rice in the pot. I put it in each individual bowl. I didn’t want leftovers with mushy rice, so I stored the rice in a separate container.Stuffed Pepper Soup Top - HostessAtHeart

Stuffed Pepper Soup

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

1 cup long grain brown rice, uncooked
1 lb spicy pork sausage
1 lb ground sirloin
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 green peppers, diced (3 cups)
1 large yellow onion, diced (3 cups)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2-8 oz cans tomato sauce
1 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes
32 oz fat free beef broth
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano


  • In a large pot heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once hot, add beef and sausage. Cook until browned. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.
  • Add remaining tablespoon olive oil and add onions and green pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic, basil, and oregano. Cook for 30 seconds. Pour in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, and browned meat. Bring to a light boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer at least 30 minutes
  • Prepare rice according to package directions.
  • If you plan on having leftovers, don’t add the rice to the pot of soup. Just add it to each individual bowl.

Recipe Source: Inspired by this recipe on allrecipes

Nutritional Information Stuffed Pepper SoupI’m taking this recipe to celebrate with Angie for Fiesta Friday and the two co-hosts; Suzanne @puginthekitchen and Sue @burgerbird who are helping with this week’s special celebration.

Spice Cabinet Intervention Completed!

Full Cabinet AfterCan I hear a Ta Da!  It’s really sad how happy a well organized space makes me.  Once I finished this cabinet, it was like a virus.  I dug into two others.  Now my life is complete.  Until the next project that is.

When I put out my Cabinet Intervention post, I found that many of us have the same problem. By putting everyones ideas to work, this is how my organization came about. Continue reading

Thankful Thursday #23 – Enough

IMG_0028In today’s hustle and bustle to keep up with life, it seems sometimes we work more than we live. There is an anxiety to always have more.  Some times we delude ourselves into thinking that having “more” will make us happy.

I strive to live a simple life. A friend of ours always says the more you own, the more that owns you. I am grateful that I have everything that I need to live a healthy life. I have food, health, and a home. I have wonderful friends, and an amazing family.

We all have dreams, and mine are attainable without changing our lifestyle.  I am most grateful that this is enough for me.

This post was inspired by Thankful Thursday organized by Momdeavor.
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Berry Nut Baked Oatmeal

Berry Nut Oatmeal Slice - HostessAtHeartI have very fond memories of my grandmother. She wasn’t a sweet little ole lady grandmother, she was an independent women that put herself through nursing school, and was one of the successful people during the great depression. She believed in hard work and saving money.

I loved doing things for my grandmother such as dusting or helping her in the kitchen. I am sure I wasn’t much help, but I had the best time cutting out huge sugar cookies, or grinding up leftovers to make hash for dinner. I attribute my love for cooking to her and the memories we made. Continue reading

Thankful Thursday #22 – Sunrises


I love sitting outside in the morning before the world wakes up and watch the sun come up. The quiet start of the day makes it easy to reflect on everything that I am grateful for. It gives me time to ease into the day ahead, long for the slower pace, and look forward to the next sunrise.

This post was inspired by Thankful Thursday organized by Momdeavor.
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Massaged Kale Salad

Massaged Raw Kale Salad2 - HostessAtHeartJohn and I had guests over the weekend. Part of my upbringing says that you have to feed people to death to make them feel welcome. I baked some amazing Pumpkin Donut Muffins and a Sausage and Egg casserole (which will be featured in a future post) for breakfast. In the afternoon, we attended an Octoberfest celebration, and had a couple German beers. For dinner, it was steak filets, with my Potato Packets, and Fancy Pants Green Beans, a loaf of french bread and a couple glasses of wine.

We said goodbye to our friends on Sunday morning, and after all the food and beverages we had enjoyed, John and I grabbed our bikes and headed out for a ride. We love starting out at a trail close to a local farmers market. When we finish riding, we can grab some produce for the week. I found some beautiful carrots and some kale among other veggies.

I intended to lighten up our meals for the week, and even though we are pretty health conscious, we have never tried kale. There are so many ways to prepare it, but I really wanted to prepare it raw in a salad, and decided on a recipe from Chef Meg on the website called Massaged Kale Salad.

This Salad appealed to me because of the simple ingredients, and not one grain of salt. I also liked the idea of tenderizing it with a gentle massage of the vinaigrette.  I started by removing the thick stems and tearing the kale into bite size pieces. I rinsed it several times and spun the leaves dry in my salad spinner.

I prepared a Garlic Dijon Vinaigrette, also developed by Chef Meg, by putting 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 lemon juiced and zested (about 1/4 cup), 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, and 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil into a small food processor.  Run until the ingredients are combined and emulsified.

Massaging Kale : HostessAtHeartPlace the kale into a large bowl, and add 4 tablespoons of the Garlic Dijon Vinaigrette, the zest and juice of 1 lemon, and 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper. Massage the ingredients into the kale for 5 minutes. Dressed Raw Kale Salad - HostessAtHeartCover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Prior to serving, I plated my kale and added thinly sliced carrots, grape tomatoes, and some honey roasted slivered almonds. The almonds added just enough sweet and salt for me. You could add any combination of nuts, vegetables, boiled egg, dried fruit, cheeses or protein. It’s so versatile.

I ate this salad for lunch with a side of fruit and was in yummy land. I had a great lunch that did the body good!

Massaged Kale Salad

  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

One bunch of Kale, washed and spun dry (variety of your choice)
1 lemon zested and juiced (1/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons of Garlic Dijon Vinaigrette

Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and massage for 5 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Recipe provided by HostessAtHeart

Garlic Dijon Vinaigrette

  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

1 lemon juiced and zested
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients into a small food processor and run until combined and emulsified.

Recipe provided by HostessAtHeart

Recipe shared with *Make Ahead Meals For Busy Moms: Melt in Your Mouth Monday *New Mrs Adventures: Tasty Tuesday’s *Buns In My Oven: What’s Cookin’ Wednesday *The Novice Gardener: Fiesta Friday *NewMrs Adventures: Flashback Friday