It's officially December 1st! This makes me really, really happy. I'm pretty much obsessed with winter and anything having to do with this wonderful upcoming holiday. In high school, possibly even middle school, my best friend coined me the "CEO of Christmas." It's perfectly fitting! I love holiday cards, making gingerbread houses (in a competing, "mine is better than yours" kind of way,) classic Christmas movies & music, Frank Sinatra, baking all kinds of treats, and spending tons of time with my family.
Oh, and soup. Lots & lots of warming, hearty, healthy soup. :)
Over Thanksgiving break, I was able to help decorate the family Christmas tree. We went out to the store specifically to buy a new tree and all of the trimmings since we weren't using a real tree this year. It was pretty much imperative that we needed new everything because last year when I tried to help decorate, there weren't many ornaments to work with and hardly any garland! I can't begin to imagine where the ornaments disappeared to, but I'm convinced that my dad's garage is a black hole because many things that find their way in there do not find their way out. Anyway, after our shopping extravaganza, we get home, put on Elf, got all Christmasy, put the tree together, and then it happens. We ran out of lights. And garland. And overestimated the height of our ceiling. Bye angel, hello big bow. Maybe one year we will get things right on the first time haha. We had to finish decorating the following night, but regardless, the tree turned out beautiful.
Now to this wonderful winter soup! I made this on a whim, and didn't really know what was going to come of it. I knew I wanted to make a soup with ground turkey breast, white beans, a ton of vegetables, and squash. This soup is basically that, with some warming seasonings and flavorful herbs. I adore kale in soup, so I decided to throw that in too. It's pretty filling and definitely a hearty soup. Perfect for cold winter days. It's also relatively healthy, which allows you to splurge a bit more on holiday treats! ;)
In a little over two weeks, I get to travel to one of my favorite cities during the winter; New York City. The way Manhattan, specifically West Village, makes me feel during this season is almost indescribable. Almost. All of the lights strung around the village, the cozy bakeries and coffee shops, the style on the streets, and the almost-bare trees. There's just something about it all that truly makes it feel like the most wonderful time of the year. And then there's the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, which is of course a beauty in itself. This tree in the photo below is in my neighbor's yard, right next to my bedroom window. The other morning it was pretty chilly out and the skies were gloomy. It reminded me of my trip to NYC last winter because the weather was similar. The look of this tree was reminiscent of the ones we saw in the village. Almost bare, but still rather charming in a wintery kind of way. It paints a wishful picture in mind;
Cozied up on the couch in my tiny NYC apartment, staring out of the window, watching snow fall past the naked trees, and sipping on a warm cup of tea.
Hope you are beginning to enjoy this wonderful month just as much as I am. What makes you feel most Christmasy and puts you in the holiday spirit? Leave a comment below to share :) After all, spreading Christmas cheer is what it's all about, right?
Click "read more" for a text version of the recipe.
Hearty Winter Soup with Turkey, Kale, and White Beans
Yield: 4-6 servings
adapted from Giada
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
2 cups acorn squash, cubed
3 tablespoons of green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
4 cups of roughly chopped Kale
~1 lb ground turkey breast (mine was 1.3 lbs)
1 can of white beans, drained and rinsed
3 teaspoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon savory
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups of water
2 pinches of kosher salt
2 generous pinches of black pepper
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the green onions, garlic, carrots, parsnips, salt, and pepper. Cover and let them cook for about 8-10 minutes until vegetables just begin to soften. Add the squash to the pot and turn the heat up to medium. Cook uncovered for 5 minutes to brown the vegetables slightly. Add the ground turkey breast, break it up into small chunks, and cook until meat turns white and begins to color around the edges, stirring frequently. Season with cumin, savory, basil, thyme, fennel seeds and black pepper and stir for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, water, and white beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and add the kale. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender and kale has softened, about 10 minutes.
Ladle into bowls and enjoy!