We recently enjoyed a family trip to Portland, Oregon for a long weekend. From Chicago, the trek is a long one but it turned out to be a memorable adventure. The thoughts of airport hassles, security and four hour flights with a 10-month old wiggle worm had me shaking in my boots. One of my friends advised that should the baby start crying on the plane, just don’t look back or make eye contact with anyone. There is nothing you can do about it. Before leaving, I was talking to my friend Stephen about it and he said, “Well, you are going to be that ‘one’ with the baby.”

All in all, it went quite well. I saw our businessman seat mate deflate from his bad luck when he saw us approach his aisle. And, we endured some unbelievable diaper “situations” that will forever be burned in my memory and will surely be a source of teasing throughout Mini-Whipped’s teenage years. But, we made it there, made it back and were overall rested for the weekend away.

One of my best chums lives in Portland. She is the one who gave me this cheesecake recipe and who started this amazing non profit. The first evening we arrived at their house, Steph whipped up a delicious kale and white bean soup. The ingredients are few and the flavors are simple. And boy was it good. Salt-of-the-earth, hearty-winter-warming good. Back in Chicago, I made a simple version of the soup, adding a little sausage. Make this recipe vegetarian by adding vegetable stock and omitting the sausage.

Kale, White Bean and Sausage Soup
Makes 4 servings

2 links Italian Sausage
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
6 cups chicken stock
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 small bunch kale

Remove sausage from its casing and saute in a skillet, stirring to break it up a bit. When cooked through, remove the sausage and put it on a plate lined with paper towel to drain it a bit. Wipe most of the grease out of the pan. Saute the onion and garlic in the pan for a few minutes, stirring.


Meanwhile, in a soup pot, bring 6 cups of chicken stock to low boil. Add the onions and garlic, beans and drained sausage. Wash all of the kale leaves. Remove the stem and the tough center part of the leaves. Chop leaves into about 1 inch strips. Add the kale to the soup. Stir and cook about 5 minutes or until kale is wilted. Serve right away.