Sausage and Tortellini Florentine Soup

I am a big fan of homemade soups.  That makes me a Souper Mom.  Get it?  Okay, maybe you don’t think it’s funny but I think I’m hilarious.  I am proficient in entertaining myself as a stand up comic.  As I was saying, I love homemade soups.  I love making them and because I store them in mason jars they last a long time.  It’s souper easy (last one I promise) to pull one out of the fridge, heat it up, and my lunch or dinner is served.  I sometimes make a huge pot of some deliciousness and share it in those same jars.   

Believe it or not it does get cold here in Florida.  Not like the cold in other parts of the world but for t hose of us born and raised here, 30 degrees is cold.  We aren’t used to temperatures like that and thankfully they don’t last long.  I live in North Florida.  It has snowed here twice in my lifetime. Once in the late 70’s and once in 1989.   Yes, it was weird.  This week it got down in the 30’s and it’s supposed to do the same next week.

The soup I made this week is Sausage & Tortellini Florentine.  This is a scrumptious soup but hardy enough for a full meal.  Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients:

  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery sticks, diced
  • 1 large, yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Smoked Sausage (you could substitute ground sausage or ground turkey)
  • 8 oz.-10 oz. Tortellini (I used three cheese tortellini)
  • 10 oz. Spinach, stems cut off
  • 96 oz. Chicken Broth
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Basil
  • 1/2 tsp Thyme
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Olive Oil

Step 1:

Start by sauteing the carrots, celery, and onion in olive oil over medium high heat. 

Once the vegetables begin to soften, turn the heat down to medium and add the Oregano, Basil, Thyme and Garlic. Continue to cook until the onions become almost transparent. 

Step 2:

Pour in all 96 ounces of the Chicken Broth and bring to a boil.

Step 3:

Once the broth is boiling, add the tortellini and cook according to the directions on the tortellini label.  It’s usually about seven minutes. 

Step 4

Time for the Florentine!   Make sure you remove the stems from the spinach then add all of it into the pot.  It will wilt quickly! 

Now, turn off the heat and put a lid on it and just let it sit for about thirty minutes so all those flavors come together. 

After a little bit of time you have a delectable, hearty soup full of flavor!  

The perfect cup of soup, you may even consider sprinkling Parmesan cheese on top!  Dive in! 

I’m the mommy, not the grandma.

Me and my two little ones. 

Having babies later in life is a blessing, of sorts.  I would have been a terrible young mother. Truth be told, when I was young I was self-absorbed, putting myself through college, waiting tables and partying my, very much smaller then, tail off.  No time for babies, or true commitment of any kind really.  I basked in freedom, sun, big hair, and alcohol and savored every moment.  I wasn’t responsible for anyone but me and there were certainly times I was irresponsible at that. 

So many people look at me now and say “I don’t know how you do it at this age.” I don’t know how anyone does it in their 20’s!  I guess it’s all in your perspective. I can’t even remember most of my 20’s so I must have had a great time then but I know that now is even better.  I now delight in sloppy kisses, bedtime stories, youth sports, and dates nights, when we can escape our children.  Life is really good. 

I don’t feel any different than any other mom chasing around a toddler but occasionally I get a reminder.  Like recently when I was at a building supply store with my youngest. 

Gentleman Shopper:  “He sure does have blonde hair!”

Me:  “Yes, he does indeed.” 

Gentleman Shopper:  “I was blonde like that when I was a kid.”

Me: “Yeah, me too.”  Thinking this is all nice chit chat, and then it came…

Gentleman Shopper:  “Are either of his parents blonde like that?”

Me (with a wry smile): “I am his mom.  I grew him for nine months then birthed him.  Me.  The blonde woman standing in front of you.”

Man Shopper:  “Wow!!!”  

Me: “You’re not helping yourself.” 

Man Shopper: “I mean, wow, what a blessing.” (Trying to get his foot out of his mouth).

Me: “Move along sir. Move along.” 

It happens with some frequency so I’m used to it now.  There’s a woman at the grocery store who has said, on three different occasions, “Are you having a good time with Grandma?”  I’ve stopped correcting her, and going in her line.  I never know when my sharp tongue may get away from me. 

I am clearly older.  I mean I’m not one of those women who is 52 who looks to be 32.  I look 52 and I’m fine with that.   

Some people crack me up in their efforts to make sure they aren’t saying the wrong thing.  Like the ones who do not assume I’m the grandma and once they figure out I’m the mommy they ask, “Is this your first child?”  As if I’m planning on popping out five more after this one if he is indeed my first.  I like those people.  They make me laugh, in a goodhearted way. 

The lesson here is to never assume the role of the person with a baby.  I would bet there are some young moms,  and some moms who just look very young, who are asked if the baby with them is a sibling.   Moms (and dads) come in all sizes, shapes, and ages.  Just smile at the cute baby and be on your way. 

Who is Vintage Mom South?

I live in my hometown in North Florida with my husband and three sons. I’ve been here all my life other than a four year stint after graduation. So before you get visions of palm trees swaying in my yard, and the smell of salty air from the Florida coastline, I have to tell you I do not live on, or near, a beach but I do visit regularly.  It’s roughly 75 minutes to either the east or west coast of Florida from my front door.

I am a late bloomer.  I graduated from college late.  I got married late and I had three sons, super late.  My oldest is 14, the second is 7, and my caboose is 2.  My childbearing train has left the station never to return.  I had my third son a month after my 50th birthday!  Trust me when I tell you he was a gigantic surprise!  I tell you that story later.

I worked in advertising/marketing after college but when I came back home I started what became a new career in hotel sales.  I left that industry three years ago to become a full time mom and wife.  Then came that sweet baby!  Now I work with my husband at his office and I am still a full time mom, taxi driver, housekeeper, gardener, coach, teacher, and whatever else I need to be when call upon.  I’m also an awesome wife.  🙂

I live with four male humans and two male dogs,  I craft and cook as often as possible.  It is my escape from the madness of testosterone that fill my home.  Out of a gazillion channels, we watch three: ESPN, Disney Jr., and Hallmark.  Guess which one is mine.

I can’t say there’s anything special about our family or me but apparently having a baby at 50 interests some and there is a wonderful kinship in crafting and sharing.  That’s the reason from my blog.  I have friends all over that I want to share things with and maybe share a little entertainment and insight on life as I know it with people I haven’t met yet.  Thanks for visiting and I hope to see you again soon!

Old Dog, New trick

So, if I’m labeling myself an old dog, and I’m a female, does that mean I just called myself a bitch?  Well, so be it, the title is fitting.  I mean the new trick part, the other is subjective and could go either way. 

I taught myself to crochet! Okay I didn’t totally teach myself, I followed this You Tube video and practiced for about a week before taking on my first project. 

NOTE: If you are even marginally good at crochet, look away.  Look away now!  You will  find my rogue crochet offensive and I could not blame you, therefore I’m trying to save you. 

Growing up I had a best friend in middle school.  Michelle and I rode our bike for miles and miles and miles.  Or so we thought.  We lived less than two miles from each other and thought it took forever to get from one house to the other.  My best friend from high school, Laura, likes to blame me for getting her into all kinds of, uh, situations.  Maybe so but I simply made suggestions and clearly she was a willing participant since I was always in it with her.  Michelle went to a different high school and then moved down South.   Now they live in New York and Virgina!  How these two Florida girls got so far away, and in places where it gets really cold and snows, is a real head-scratcher.   I feel certain that love had something to do with it.  Anyway, I wanted to make something special for each of them for Christmas, enter the crochet idea.   

SIDE NOTE:  I am notorious for taking on far more than I can handle along with taking the road less traveled (a.k.a. the hardest route possible).  

So I watched the video, repeatedly, and I made two scarves from the same color yarn, with the same stitch pattern but on the first one I made the stitches tight (on the right above), on the second they are loose (on the left above).  I like the loose one better, it’s considerably softer.  So now I’m in a quandary, which friend gets which scarf?  Ugh.  Okay, I’ll give the loose one to the friend I like better.  Just kidding! 

I’m actually keeping the tight stitched one for myself since it was my very first time crocheting.  I’m making a third, loose stitch scarf so my besties can both have the soft version of my endeavors. 

Here’s what I have learned so far:

  • Watch the video slowly and pause when needed.  I would watch a part, then do it.  Watch some more, then do that part.  I  just kept watching and practicing along with it.  Finally I started to understand what she was saying.  
  • Then I got the wise idea to write down each stitch and what she says to do.  That was key for me because then I could concentrate solely on the stitches.  I ripped a bunch out and started over numerous times but finally I got it.  
  • Also what helped me was doing the stitches lengthwise for the scarf I was  trying to make.  I started off doing them like she did.  My ends kept turning out uneven.  (They are still a little tricky but I found a way to cover them up until I get better.)  Anyway, I would chain the length I wanted first then work each row that way. 
  • I also used much thicker yarn because I could see what I was doing better.  (old bitch = old eyes)
  • I added fringe to either end.  It’s a good way to hide how completely uneven they ended up! 

I will continue to practice and share with you so stay tuned…you never know what’s going to happen…neither do I.  C’est la vie!!!

Holiday Gnomes

I was inspired to create these adorable holiday gnomes after researching “gnomes” for my toddler’s Halloween costume.   It was the best costume ever!  He was so cute and so are these little gnomes! 

Here’s what you need:

  • Rice and or dried beans (I use them both)
  • A regular long sock
  • String or yarn
  • Rubber bands
  • Faux fur
  • Razor knife
  • A decorative sock for the body
  • Felt or another decorative sock
  • Skin colored material (I used the top of support hose. There, my secret is out)
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun and sticks
  • I also use a needle and thread but you could make it work with hot glue alone
  • Optional: Hat decorations: embroidery, buttons, Pom-poms, bells, etc.

First things first:

Step #1

Fill the long sock with rice or a combo of rice  and beans to a height of about six inches. Tie off the top tightly with string or yarn. You can cut the excess sock off to leave an inch of material above where you tied it off.

Step #2

Next, form the nose by simply pushing your fingers into the sock where you want the nose and pull outwards. Tip: form it bigger than you want because some of it will get away from you. I tied yarn around it tightly but you could use a rubber band.

Step #3

Cut a small circle of the hosiery or skin colored material and secure it with a rubber band. You can then adjust as needed. When it was set the way I wanted, I tied it off with yard and got rid of the band.

Step #4

Fit the decorative sock over the body of the gnome. Cut a line from the top to just above the bottom of the nose and secure it with hot glue. Tie up the top with yarn.

Step #5

Now he needs a beard. Cut the beard into a triangle at whatever width and length you want. Tip: I use a razor knife and cut the nine-fur side of the piece. This insures that you keep the long hair intact.

Step #6

Then cut out a notch where the beard will fit under his nose and hot glue it to the body. He’s almost gnome! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)  You can trim off the extra on top if you need to.

 

Step #7

His hat. I do two different kinds (aka experiments). I’ve seen some people just use a sock but to me it looks like a sock on their head. See the picture here. This is how I cut the sock then I stitched up the seam by hand. Did I mention I’m no seamstress? But since you turn it inside out to stitch, then turn it back again you can’t even tell. Yes, the sock one needs a Pom-Pom on the end.  I’ll get one later.

The second hat is made of red felt. Measure your gnomes head circumference (width) then add a half inch to allow for the seam. Then determine the height you want and cut the felt in a triangle shape but with a rounded bottom to those measurements.

I stitched mine on the seam but you could hot glue if you like. On this one I did a blanket stitch on the bottom (first time ever) and then a made little snowflakes all with embroidery thread. Oh, I’m also not an embroiderer. Is that a word? Anyway this was my first attempt.

 I think they are so stinking cute. I hope you like them!

Sweet Baby = No Sleep

Need. More. Coffee.

Truth be told, he’s not a baby anymore, he’s two.   He’s not even a terrible two, but I’m certain that will come.  As moms know, anytime you have a little one a good night’s sleep is sometimes just a bonus.  I don’t get many bonuses.  My sister-in-law is a year younger than me and her kids are grown and she has grand babies. She has often commented that she doesn’t know how I do it at this age.  She knows the answer: You just do what you need you do no matter what.  

Much to my husband’s amazement I can fall asleep within two minutes of my head hitting the pillow, any time of day.  A few hours later I’m awake for one reason or another.  Last night 12:45 a.m. was my wake up.  Wide awake without cause.  Still awake at 2:15 a.m., I hear that familiar call, soft and sweet: “Mommy?”… “Mommy?”  Do you think he ever says “Daddy?”  Nope.  Not.  Ever.  The same phenomena happens each time one of the other kids appears bedside.  Do you think they ever stop at daddy’s side of the bed THAT THEY HAVE TO WALK RIGHT PAST TO GET TO ME?  Nope.  Not.  Ever.  Those midnight callers always come to mommy.   Sometimes they come to me in the middle of the night only to tell me they can’t sleep.   Awesome.  

So, here it is middle of the night and me a my baby are rocking.  After about 40 minutes I think he’s asleep, I gently put him back in his crib and he pops back up.  “I seep wif you mommy.”  Ugh.  I’m exhausted now so I cave.  I put him in bed with us. 

“Juice.”  Nope, no juice, go nite-nite.  “Juice.”  Nope.  “Juice.”  Okay, okay I get him juice.  By 3:30 a.m. he has beat up his dad and I and talked our ears off, so I decide he has to go back in his crib.  Then he cries for half a second and goes silent.  I mean hear a pin drop silent.  That’s weird.  Fifteen minutes later daddy opens his door slightly only to see him standing straight up.  My dear husband says “maybe he didn’t see me”.  And then it comes, “Mommy?”…”Mommy?”  

He goes back to sleep around 4:30 a.m., right next to me.  

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce

When I was growing up my family always had cranberry sauce during the holidays.  I remember it well. It came in a can. You know the ones, the coagulated cranberry sauce that takes the form of the can, including the ridges.  My mom would simply pour the one, perfectly-formed, can-shaped sauce in to a beautiful sauce bowl and SLICE it up.  Seriously, name another sauce you can slice.  My brother loved it, or so he said.  As a kid I was repulsed, as a grown up I decided I liked cranberries but not in the shape of a can and I could do better.

It’s the holiday season and there’s nothing more festive than homemade goods. This cranberry sauce is super easy and a great addition to any holiday table whether you keep it for yourself or dress up the packaging and give it as a hostess gift.

Ingredients:

  • Three cups of cranberries
  • 1 cup of orange juice (no pulp)
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Step 1:

Combine the sugar and orange juice into a sauce pan and melt over medium heat, stir frequently. The sugar will become transparent in a few minutes.

Step 2:

Add all three cups of cranberries (and the cinnamon if you like it). Depending on your stove, you may want to turn up the hit to medium high. I cook on a gas stove at home but we have a standard electric stove at a vacation spot. I know how heat can be different.

Step 3:

This part take a little patience but trust me, not much! Soon you will start hearing a popping sound. That is the cranberries heating up, popping, and releasing that scrumptious tart flavor cranberry is known for. Before too long most all of the cranberries have popped and your sauce begins to thicken. The orange juice is going to make it bubble quite a bit so don’t wander off. The next thing you know, Voila!, you’ve made a delicious sauce that can be used on the main course or days afterwards on turkey sandwiches.

Step 4:

If you want to taste it, let it cool on the spoon or you will burn your tongue (experience speaks). Once it is not boiling hot you can pour it into mason jars. This recipe makes about 24 ounces.

Step 5:

Sometimes I put it in 8 ounce jars to give as a gift.  Tie a seasonal ribbon around it and you are good to go!  Enjoy!