Italian White Bean Soup

Winter suddenly decided to make an appearance in the South this week!  After a warmer than normal season it was quite a shock waking up to lows in the 20’s-30’s with the highs barely making it over 40!

{I know y’all up north laugh at our cold weather whining…}

When the temps drop I love nothing more than a bowl of warm and comforting soup, even if it is mid-March and everything is in bloom!

This week I whipped up a pot of Italian White Bean Soup for the family.  This scrumptious soup was so easy to prepare and is healthy as well!

Italian-White-Bean-Soup

I used organic and low-sodium white beans, chicken broth, carrots, onion and spinach to create this soup.  I chose low-sodium ingredients to counter the salt found in prosciutto. It made for a totally filling supper without adding side dishes as well as a little extra for the hubby’s lunch the next day.

Italian-White-Bean-Soup-Bowl

What I liked best about this soup was that it was a convenient one pot (don’t you just hate a sinkful of pots & pans on a busy night?) dish.  Start with diced prosciutto in a little olive oil, then add the veggies to sauté, adding the beans and chicken broth to simmer a few minutes before throwing in freshly chopped spinach.

Delicious-Italian-White-bean-Soup

Are you hungry yet?

Bowl-of-Italian-White-Bean-Soup

Click for the printable version of Italian White Bean Soup ….

and Buon Appetito!

What’s your favorite winter comfort food?

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Making a Winter Wreath

After all of the Christmas decor is packed away and stored in January, our home always feels so empty.  In some ways I am relieved to have things back to normal, but then again I miss the color and twinkling lights that brighten up many a gloomy day.

Sometimes I add fresh flowers in the living room or kitchen for a little pop of color, and even weave twinkle lights through houseplants,  but this year I decided to make a couple of winter wreaths; one for the front door and one for our kitchen since these two areas receive the most traffic in our home.

With Punxsutawney Phil predicting 6 more weeks of winter I figured there was plenty of time left to enjoy a winter wreath, so I thought I would share a few tips for creating your own wreath.

Making a winter wreath is actually quite easy and you can utilize a few Christmas items to help create a little color that celebrates winter.

Making a Winter Wreath

To make a simple winter wreath you need an evergreen wreath, stems of red berries or other colorful floral stems, Floral decorations such as winter birds, etc, small twigs or branches, contrasting greenery (real or artificial), pine cones, or any other “fluff” that fits you decor or personality, artificial snow for flocking, wire cutters, 22 gauge wire, a hot glue gun, and an optional focal point.

supplies for making a wreath

I chose a focal point for both of my wreaths; a monogrammed “J” and a miniature pair of snow skis.

Assembling the wreath is quite simple.  If you are flocking your wreath with  artificial snow, do that first and allow time for it to dry.

flocking

While the “snow” is setting, can begin cutting apart the floral stems with wire cutters; you can leave them in clusters or singles depending on the look you want.

floral picks

I used a combination of real and artificial “fluff” for my wreath

Using odd numbers of floral stems (3, 5, or 7’s) work from the outside in, to begin framing your wreath.  Work in one direction (I aways work clockwise) and if you have chosen to have a focal point, work away from it.

Work from the outside in when framing you wreath with floral picks.  Make sure all of your elements are going the same direction.

Work from the outside in when framing you wreath with floral picks. Make sure all of your elements are going the same direction.

Add texture to your wreath using holly leaves, etc., and contrast color by using multiple shades of green and red.  On the kitchen wreath I used fresh holly and for the front door I used sparkly green twigs.  If using twigs or branches for texture, make sure they have a little personality.  Using fruit, artificial birds, lotus pods, pinecones…. also make great focal items.  You don’t have to use a ribbon!

Once you lay out how you want your wreath to look and are happy with it, you can begin gluing or wiring in the accents to complete the wreath.

Ready to attatch all of my elements

Ready to attach all of my elements

I chose to hang my wreath with the skis in the kitchen ( I apologize for the poor lighting)…..

Kitchen wreath

and the one with a monogram on our front door.

This one is actually quite visable and cheery as you walk up our front steps.... and can be seen fromt he road as well.

This one is actually quite visible and cheery as you walk up our front steps…. and can be seen from the road as well.

They aren’t huge accents (although you can use as big of a wreath as you would like), but are just the right size to add a touch of cozy, winter decor to our home.

Do you like to decorate in the winter or do you just do the holidays?

Until Next Time, 

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