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How to Clean Your Dishwasher | Sin & Soul DIY blog

How to Clean Your Dishwasher Naturally
my dishwasher is clogged

How to Clean Your Dishwasher Naturally

I am embarrassed to even admit this, but my dishwasher is disgusting. Riddled with food, the back screen had mold and mildew and all sorts of food trapped in it. It is nothing short of a disaster. I never thought in a million years about cleaning it myself. That is, until the invention of Pinterest. Hello, magical land of tips and tricks to save us all our sanity. I pinned how to clean your dishwasher from a girlfriend and it sat for a while until the inevitable clogging of the dishwasher and the standing of nasty and disgusting, stinky water forced me to face the facts and realize I HAD to do something.

Hello, magical pinning land. Thank you for saving this dandy tip! The website, onegoodthingbyjillee.com, is to thank for this little gem! SO thank you, Jillee!! You are a lifesaver. I stole one of Jillee’s photos so head on over to her blog post to read her write up.

I did do a few things differently.  I proceeded with the vinegar on the top shelf of the dishwasher and ran through a cycle on the “pots & pans” selection. With the baking powder, again I followed her instructions but I also included a 1/2 cup of baking powder just sitting on the top rack. Maybe it’s overdoing it? I don’t know…I did it anyway. With the bleach, I did the full out 1 full cup of bleach and I don’t have a stainless steel interior, so no worries. :)

My dishwasher is now back to running like brand new. In fact, the first time I ran the dishwasher and pulled my dishes out they were sparkly and brand new looking. It seemed like prior to that my dishes were still looking like there was a film on them. Now, I am making it a point to run my dishwasher through this cycle once a month. Once a month happens to be today, which reminded me that you guys need to know about this! It’s a lot of running the dishwasher, but I am telling you it is worth it.

Lastly, I know I have been neglecting you guys and I am SO so sorry, I promise that I will get a new blog up on the site very soon! Promise! <3

Bits & Grits Waffles, Waffles with Bacon & Grits | Sin & Soul Food Blog

My toastmaster waffle recipe has a contender for “very best waffle recipe ever.” I’m not kidding…Toastmaster waffles will always be a main stay for a basic waffle. But this recipe? Far from basic.

Let me tell you something though…this is not for the faint of heart. Literally. A STICK AND A HALF of butter went into these waffles, not counting the butter that went on top of them when they finished cooking. And if I tell you that that’s a lot of butter? Rest assured, that’s a lot of butter. However, as with everything rich and delicious, it’s worth every fat gram and calorie. Not that I’ve been counting those lately…as I type I am trying to convince myself that I will NOT sneak a left over waffle out of the refrigerator. (I’m surprised there were left overs to sneak.)

Anyway, this recipe came once again from the American Home Cooking: Over 300 Spirited Recipes Celebrating Our Rich Tradition of Home Cooking

So, not only is there rich butter in these, but also bacon and I didn’t skimp. T’s dad gave us some fantastic bacon that he had butchered recently, and I don’t think I can ever go back to supermarket bacon. Same goes with hamburger. There really is no comparison. The grits in this recipe have you fooled into thinking that they’re actually healthy, something Travis mentioned pretty much right off the bat. We’ll just let him keep thinking that.

Cooking bacon in oven



I shared the above bacon trick in my Bacon Macaroni & Cheese blog. Just lay a piece of tinfoil across a cookie sheet, place your bacon on it and then cover and form a “tent” like shape out of it to keep the moisture out while still protecting your oven from grease splatters.


My single complaint about these waffles, however, would be that I used so many dishes making them. I hate dishes. I hate clean up. I hate it. I will avoid my kitchen for hours after cooking, unless I have guests. Strangely enough, I have a sense of shame when we have people over for dinner that forces me into cleaning up right away. I wouldn’t want them to think I am slovenly. Pshhhh. Regardless, I cleaned up right away and it took half of my dishwasher space with all the dishes I used. Not to mention the fact that I hand washed a few items. So, be prepared for clean up…and if you’re like me? Cleaning challenged? Save it for a day you’re feeling particularly motivated.

I started the recipe by preheating the oven to 350°  and lining a baking sheet with foil. On top of the foil, place your strips of bacon. Cover the bacon forming a tent with the excess foil. Then, combine all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  Once they’ve been combined, get the grits started. Here’s where I strayed from the recipe. The recipe calls for stone-ground grits, not the instant kind. But, no matter where I went I could not find anything but instant. So, I adjusted by adding a full cup of additional grits and adjusted the water. The recipe will reflect that. If you know where to get non-instant, natural grits, PLEASE tell me. Once the grits have finished cooking, your oven should be preheated so you can place the bacon in the oven. Return to the grits, and add the butter. Yep, lots of butter.



If you’ve never tried grits on their own before, they are so delicious. Creamy, and with enough texture that they’re not complete mush. They can be so many different flavors and are so versatile. Try cheese melted in, maple syrup, savory versions are also fantastic. You’re imagination really is your limit with these.

The eggs separated into two bowls.

When adding the eggs to the grits mixture make sure you are whisking them in very quickly, so you can avoid the yolks curdling from the heat. If you’re still worried, let them cool a little bit after adding the butter.

Can you see the difference in color after the yolks were added? I love the cheery, golden yellow that the yolks turned the grits. So pretty.

When mixing the flour in, make sure you don’t over mix. Just stir until combined, remember you’ll be stirring some more with the additions of the milk and egg whites so this will get plenty of stirring.


When your egg whites are properly beaten, they should look like this.

Once you add the egg whites, the mixture should look as though it hasn’t been completely mixed in. Fold gently, to keep the light, fluffiness that the egg whites will lend to the waffles.

Bacon & Grits Waffles

This is the finished product. I was very happy with these. The one downfall though, is they didn’t reheat well. I would recommend refrigerating the batter and making them in the morning if you have left over batter. If you’re cooking for more than 3, and especially if you have big male appetites in the house, you might not have left overs to worry about. They’re so delicious, if you make any of the recipes up to this point, this is a MUST HAVE.

If you loved this recipe, here are other recipes from American Home Cooking: Over 300 Spirited Recipes Celebrating Our Rich Tradition of Home Cooking

Piedmont Country ‘Q

West Trip Reviews



Bits & Grits Waffles


  • 2 cups Unbleached Flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup instant grits
  • 3/4 cups unsalted butter (1-1/2 sticks)
  • 4 large eggs (separated)
  • 1-1/4 cup milk
  • 6-8 slices bacon (crumbled)
  • unsalted butter
  • peach preserves or maple syrup


Step 1
Sift together flour, sugar, and baking powder. Reserve.
Step 2
Bring 4 cups of water to boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Stir in the salt and then the grits, whisk constantly until the mixture comes back to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until very thick & creamy. Pour grits into a large mixing bowl and melt butter, stirring it in.
Step 3
Stir the egg yolks into the grits mixture one at a time, mix well. Add the flour, mixing only to combined, followed by the milk. The batter should be thin. In another bowl, beat the egg whites with a mixer until stiff but still glossy.
Step 4
Heat your greased waffle iron. Stir the bacon into the batter and then gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Cook the waffles until crisp and golden.
Step 5
Serve with butter and preserves, or maple syrup.

Piedmont Country ‘Q or Better Known as Pulled Pork Sandwiches & Cole Slaw | Sin & Soul Food Blog

So, as previously mentioned on my vacation post, I ran across American Home Cooking: Over 300 Spirited Recipes Celebrating Our Rich Tradition of Home Cooking by Cheryl & Bill Jamison, and I have become addicted. As a result, I am going through their book and choosing my favorite recipes to cook.

I also contacted the Jamison’s to make sure they were okay with me using their book as fodder for my blog, and they responded all in the matter of 24 hours and from Hong Kong at that! They gave me the go ahead, so I am off with my very first recipe from the book: Piedmont Country ‘Q’s with Sandwich coleslaw. I did make some of my own changes to the recipe, namely liquid smoke addition and cutting the recipe in half. We have 2 people in our house and it would take us weeks to finish 6 pounds of meat. As it is, we had plenty of delicious left overs after the fact.

So, what drew me into this book? Well, I love history. Not just anyone’s history though. I love American history. I love reading about it, and the Jamison’s book is so much more than cookbook in that respect. They really share the history of America, why we eat what we do, the changing culinary landscape in America, and traditional recipes. They also share quotes from the 1800’s to the present from various culinary and historical figures, adding some interest to the book, beyond your recipes. Each recipe has a short introduction, along with Technique and Ingredient Tips. My favorite ones are the Ingredient tips, because they share their favorite places to find some of the harder to find ingredients they use. In short, this book is perfect for me. I couldn’t set it down!

With that said, I won’t share what they wrote for any of the recipes, if you want to know you’ll have to buy their book. As mentioned before, it is $5.66 on Amazon and other sellers selling new/used from $.11 making this book a huge steal. Enough to get one for yourself and a loved one.

Anyway, Country Q’s! I will forewarn, this recipe looks daunting, but if you’re organized and you have a day to yourself it is sooo worth it! You can do it on a day that you’re doing laundry or house cleaning. Once you have everything prepared, it’s more about waiting for everything to cook anyway. And besides, you’ll want to be home for all the delicious smells coming from your oven. Which reminds me, the recipe calls for a smoker. Well, I don’t have a smoker so I adjusted a little and used my cast iron dutch oven with a finish on the grill and I am more than happy with the results.


Look at how delicious it looks with the rub on it and it hasn’t even been cooked yet! mmmm…


I covered the grill grates with foil and put the grill on a very low setting because this part was just to add some smoky grill flavor, not to actually cook the meat anymore. Save those yummy juices that will accumulate in the bottom of the dutch oven and this foil! Mix them back into the meat for moisture when you pull the meat apart.


See that delicious pea salad? I have a recipe and blog post coming tomorrow for you! It was AMAZING.


If you enjoy this recipe, and would like to try others I’ve shared from the book:

Bits & Grits Waffles
An Intro to American Home Cooking

Piedmont Country ‘Q Barbecue Sauce

Serves 6
Prep time 40 minutes
Cook time 3 hours
Total time 3 hours, 40 minutes
Region American
From book American Home Cooking


  • 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • 3 tablespoons onion, minced
  • 2/3 cups cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • dashcayenne pepper
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper


Step 1
To prepare the sauce, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent.
Step 2
Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring the mixture to a boil, stir occasionally.
Step 3
Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook until the sauce has reduced to about half. Season with salt & pepper . Cool to room temp.

Piedmont Country ‘Q Barbeque Mop


  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • pinch cayenne pepper


Step 1
Use barbeque mop to baste meat while it cooks on the grill.

Piedmont Country ‘Q Carolina Dry Rub


  • 1-1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 boston pork butt (untrimmed, about 3 pounds)


Step 1
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, and can be made a week ahead.
Step 2
Place the pork, fat side up on a work surface (not wood). Cut the piece of pork in half lengthwise, to form two long strips. Be careful if there are still bones in your section of meat. Sprinkle the dry rub evenly over the pork sections and massage vigorously. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours up to 8 hours.

Piedmont Country ‘Q Sandwich Coleslaw


  • 1 cup mayo
  • 6 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons barbeque sauce (I recommend using a smoky variety for best results)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 Medium head cabbage (thinly sliced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)


Step 1
In a large bowl, combine mayo, vinegar, BBQ sauce, and sugar.
Step 2
Stir in the cabbage, and season with salt.
Step 3
Cover the slaw and refrigerate until needed, it's recommended the slaw sits for an hour or two at minimum.

A Trip Out West, American Home Cooking By Bill & Cheryl Jamison, & A Charming Montana Bookstore

Oh, am I sooo glad I am home if for anything more than just being able to blog again! I tried to access my blog while on a 9 day trek across the Western & Northern US, but alas I was unable to have contact with you guys. I was seriously going through some major withdrawals! We arrived home late last night and I couldn’t wait to get my latest blog up for you guys, and to tell you about our fantastic trip!

We left Wisconsin on Friday afternoon and headed straight to Wall, South Dakota, only stopping for gas along the way and then finally finding the cheapest hole in the wall hotel that accepted pets. The plus side was we got a good night’s sleep, and only paid $35 for it. Wall is home of Wall Drug, a glorified tourist trap that we had visited once before and not been very impressed with. Perhaps it was touring it in the beginning of March, I’m not sure…but it is a sight to see and it perfectly emulates an old Western town.



Wall, South Dakota March 2012

From Wall, we headed to Sheridan, WY where we stopped to eat at one of their best local restaurants: Wyoming Rib & Chop House. On this trip we were so lucky to have tried so many amazing restaurants and to try local foods. If in the area of Sheridan, I strongly suggest eating here, the food is incredible. They do also have other restaurants across the country, so check them out. You’ll seriously have the best ribs & steak of your life. Of all the places, Wyoming Rib & Chop House & J Gilbert’s in Kansas City beat out their competition by far.

In Thompson Falls, Montana, Travis spied this gorgeous book shop, Bearly Read Books & More off the side of the road and asked if I wanted to go, knowing full well how much I LOVE bookstores. This one did not disappoint. Owned and operated by a Minnesota native, it is small and cozy with a collection of antique teddy bears and other notable antiques throughout. I made my way to the back of the store where I found a kitchen, fully operational and stocked with cookbooks galore. It is here that I found my most recent literary gem and most prized possession: American Home Cooking: by Cheryl Alters Jamison & Bill Jamison, a husband & wife foodie team. I later found out that the couple has written numerous other books, and won multiple awards including several James Beard awards, which are highly coveted amongst food writers, chefs, etc. The owner had the most adorable italian greyhound, and the fattest & most adorable cat I had ever seen and she granted me permission to photograph them all…photos coming tomorrow!

Things to do int Thompson Falls, Montana


Owner with Italian greyhound and fat cat


The book though, has inspired me to use it as inspiration for this blog and I have come up with a plan for using some of the recipes as fodder for my own creations. I love American food, the majority of the time my food that I cook is very American-ized, unless it’ s Italian…I think you guys are going to love this new direction. Very homey foods, and some very surprising ones! If you are an avid cook, or you know one I would strongly suggest this book as a gift. It is so much more than just a cook book. It has so much interesting information and you can get it for a whopping $10 shipped on Amazon, which in my opinion is an exceptional deal!

Best Cookbooks!
In Helper, Utah we ate at a fantastic restaurant called Balance Rock Eatery & Pub, locally owned by a wonderful family man. He even came out and chatted us up while we enjoyed our meal, asking a lot of questions and filling us in on the local history. He also invited us to view the building, which was beautiful and incredibly historic, featuring beautiful local art and artists.  Helper is also home to the Devil’s Gates, a rock formation which was recently modified to accommodate widening the highway through it.



Restaurants in Helper, Utah




Balance Rock Eatery & Pub, Helper, Utah

In Vernal, Utah we visited the Dinosaur National Monument which is simply incredible. For kids, and dinosaur lovers alike, I strongly recommend this place. It is so incredibly surreal to see all these dinosaur fossils perfectly preserved in an approximately 50′  x 20′ high rock embankment. You can also view the rest of the park and see more live fossils, fossilized tracks of real dinosaurs, hieroglyphs, and an old cabin belonging to local residents. The whole thing is locked down like Fort Knox too, making it seem as though you’re entering into a modern day Jurassic Park. It’s truly incredible and comes highly recommended!






On our way to Kansas City, we needed a break so Travis pulled off the highway into Quinter, Kansas and we happened upon Ray’s Pharmacy & Q-store, one of the very few operating old fashioned soda stands in the US. When you walk in to the pharmacy, off to the right you’ll see the most beautiful 31′ soda bar that you have ever seen. All lovingly restored and brought back to life by Ray & his family. This is another spot that comes highly recommended by both of us. One old fashioned soda here and you’ll be wondering how you can ever go back to mass produced soda again!

Our trip was beautiful, wonderful, and so full of wild American beauty. Getting off the highway and enjoying some of these hidden gems is the very best part of our journey. We truly feel that we’ve seen some of the most beautiful parts of America, parts many people will never see, just by exploring off the beaten path. I urge you to try it the next time you’re on vacation, or planning one. Sure, it’s great to go to sandy beaches with hot temperatures and blue, blue oceans and seas, or to travel abroad…but there is something to be said about traveling your own country and learning about the beauty that makes up our little slice of home.



(To view reviews on this trip, please visit my Trip Advisor account where you can read all my reviews on this trip and many others, including local restaurants.)

Spinach, Tomato, & Rice Side Dish | Sin & Soul Food Blog

I’ve been pretty much obsessed with Steam Fresh’s Multi Grain Spinach, Tomato, & Onion side for a while now, but I had gotten sick of paying the grocery store price for it and I knew that not only could I make it BETTER, but I could make it cheaper. So, last week I put it to the test and came out with what I think is a close representation, but so much better than the store-bought variety. And yes, healthier to boot!

This recipe requires opening cans and heating water, all things that I thought the average cook could do without step-by-steps so for this blog post it only comes with one photo. To get your recipe started, you need some Whole Grain Rice, 2 cans of low sodium diced tomatoes, 1 package of frozen spinach, 1 lb. of italian sausage, 1 medium onion diced, italian seasoning, fennel, anise, and fresh ground black pepper.

Cook your rice as directed. I used one cup of dry rice for this recipe, adjust yours to match. When rice is halfway through with cooking, add onions. Continue to cook. When rice is done, add 2 cans of tomatoes, spinach, italian sausage and seasonings. Heat through and serve. My variation was slightly different in that I added 1 pound of ground italian sausage, which I think is amazing with this recipe. If you would prefer not to add the meat, you can just omit it.

Sinful Chocolate Hershey’s Kiss Mini Cupcakes! | Sin & Soul Food Blog

Rich & Fudgy, Moist Chocolate Cake Recipe


Sinful. Soulful. These cupcakes are the epitome of Sin & Soul. When I ate my first one, I nearly died. 3 more later, and I was trying to come up with ways to keep myself out of the kitchen. Then T came home and it was trying to come up with ways to stop him from shoving 3 in his mouth at one time. They are THAT good. Most definitely one of the best chocolate cake recipes I have ever made, possibly the recipe that’s going to have me putting Weight Watcher’s on speed dial.

Filled with a half hershey’s kiss, topped with homemade chocolate ganache, and topped again with the other half of a hershey’s kiss and these are a chocolate lovers dream.

But beware! If you’re like me, you’re going to find yourself eating the whole batch by yourself.

Begin your cake by making the chocolate ganache. It needs a lot of time in the refrigerator to set up. Mine sat for 4 hours, it can sit for longer. The longer you allow it to sit, the more it will firm and set up. You want this to be piping consistency.

In order to make the ganache you’ll need a double boiler…but secret. I don’t have a double boiler, and to be honest you really do not need a double boiler if you know how to do this right. I’m going to teach you how. First, you’ll need a large saucepan and a bowl that fits into the saucepan well. Fill the saucepan with about 2 inches of water and then place the bowl on top of the pan. Bring the water to a simmer. Only. Don’t let the water boil.


Substitution or Solution for a double boiler

Your water should look like the photo below. Teeny tiny, baby bubbles. If it starts to boil, reduce the heat.


What water should look like for double boiling


Once the water reaches that boiling point, add your chopped chocolate to the bowl and proceed to melt.






Mmmmm…Are you drooling yet? I’m not ashamed to say I am…and I already ate a half a dozen of these…mmmmhmmmm. Once your chocolate reaches this point, add your heavy cream to the mix.



Homemade Chocolate Ganache for piping


Hey! I already warned you that this wasn’t exactly low calorie…but it’s sooo worth it. Promise. After the cream is added, briskly whisk until it all combines and becomes creamy. The chocolate at this point can be poured on cake or ice cream, whatever. But, for this recipe I wanted thick chocolate ganache that I could pipe. For that, the ganache needs to go in the refrigerator for 4 hours or more in order to set up properly. I know, waiting isn’t my strong suit either.

In the meantime though, to keep your mind off the deliciousness in the fridge, you can start your cake. For the cake, you’re going to have a ton of left over batter. You can cut it in half, or you could make the whole thing and give as treats to friends and neighbors. Believe me when I say your neighbors will love you for this. You might even have them fighting to clear the last of the winter snow from your driveway, or help you bring your groceries in. I made the whole thing and made a delicious cake with it.


The star of this show is sour cream. It makes a rich and moist cake so much  more than just milk could. After you combine all your dry ingredients in a large bowl, you want to bring together the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Once the wet ingredients are thoroughly combined, you can pour them into the dry with the exception of the hot water. That will be the last ingredient added after all the wet and dry have been thoroughly combined, by mixing for 2-3 minutes.


Chocolate Ganache for piping


Once the hot water has been added and mixed until smooth, you can pour it into your prepared pans. For me, I used a 24 count mini cupcake pan and then made a large cake with the rest of the batter. For the mini cupcakes, 1 T. of batter into the liners worked perfectly. After the batter is in the liners, add a half of a Hershey’s Kiss to the top of the batter. Don’t let it sink! Just put it right on top. Also, when you cut the kisses, be careful and cut right from the center in order to maintain the integrity of the kiss. Use a very sharp knife and cut slowly. Careful for the precious digits!


Mini Hershey Kiss Chocolate Cupcakes


Bake for approximately 7 minutes for mini cupcakes and 15-20 minutes for a full cake. However, make sure you watch your cake. When it has doubled in size, it is typically ready to be checked for doneness. If it is cracking in the top, it is also done. Once the cakes are done, pull them from the oven and let it cool. Once your cake has cooled, add your ganache and the other half of your Hershey’s kiss and be prepared to wow everyone in site. These little guys are packed with delicious chocolate flavor. Sinful & Soulful.


Moist & Rich Fudgy Chocolate Cupcakes


I hope a lot of you try this recipe. You are going to love it, I promise!


Fudgy Chocolate Cake


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cups cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 cup boiling water


Step 1
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare baking pans.
Step 2
In a large mixing bowl, combine first 6 ingredients and mix very well. Make a well in the bowl and set aside.
Step 3
In a separate medium bowl, combine sour cream and milk and mix well until there are no lumps. Add the remaining wet ingredients with the exception of the hot water and mix well.
Step 4
Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix for 2-3 minutes or until there are no dry lumps. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl. Pour the boiling water into the bowl and mix well, about 1 minute.
Step 5
Pour batter into prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting for Piping


  • 12oz bittersweet chocolate (or whatever chocolate you prefer)
  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream


Step 1
Using a double boiler, or a bowl placed over a pot, bring approximately 2 inches of water to a simmer.
Step 2
Chop chocolate into fine chunks. Add to bowl over simmering water and melt.
Step 3
Once chocolate has melted, remove from heat and pour whipping cream into mixture. Briskly whisk until the cream has thoroughly combined with the chocolate leaving no traces of white or marbling.
Step 4
Cover bowl and refrigerate for 4 or more hours.
Step 5
Pipe or frost cakes when set, and serve.

Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana Soup Recipe | Sin & Soul Food Blog

Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana soup


Take me to Olive Garden, and I can pretty much guarantee you that one of the things I will order is their Zuppa Toscana soup. I love it, it is one of my all time favorite soups. For a long time now, I’ve been meaning to make my own version of this delicious soup. Through a lot of recipe research, I finally tried my hand at it last night. I am pretty happy with the results! It’s rich and creamy just like OG’s and most importantly it has more substance than OG’s. I’ve learned that they have a lunch version and a supper version of Zuppa, now whether or not that is true I have yet to learn. However, I have noticed a distinguishable difference between the two when I visit, and I have to say that supper is a heartier soup with more potato & sausage.

Personally, I am going to keep playing with this because while it is so good, and delicious I am not quite sure I am there. In the meantime though, this will curb the cravings that have been haunting me.

I used hot italian sausage in my recipe, but if you can’t handle or don’t like spicy, I would recommend using a mild italian sausage. Especially if there are kids in the house. (That’s you, Annie!) Annie is one of my blog followers. Her husband Tim is a fellow lover of Zuppa, and they have 4 (beautiful) children in their home who might not share an appreciation for the bite of spice that hot sausage lends to this recipe. The same will probably hold true for your kiddos.

The nice thing about this recipe is it is incredibly easy and quick to throw together, not to mention inexpensive. It makes a huge pot of soup, with plenty for left overs. I served mine with Julia Child’s homemade bread that I made earlier in the week and it was the perfect accompaniment. If you have the time, and inclination I highly recommend making some homemade bread with this soup. You won’t be sorry!

Begin with your onion and garlic, chopping those both up finely. Or, if you have a garlic press you can press the garlic. I am lucky enough to own a garlic press from Pampered Chef that I love. Ask me about cleaning it though…totally different story.



Pampered Chef Garlic Press


Pampered Chef Garlic Press



Add the garlic and onion to a soup or stock pot, I used a dutch oven, along with your sausage over med-high heat. Proceed to brown the meat along with 2T. of butter. In the meantime, slice your potatoes. Honestly, I don’t think anyone cares how you cut them. You can do a dice, slice, whatever. I sliced mine, and that worked well for me. Plus, it looked pretty. I also left the skins on, after scrubbing the potatoes really well.



Beginning of Zuppa


Unique Recipes with Potatoes


Once the sausage has browned add chicken broth and potatoes. Bring to a rolling boil. Once broth is boiling, set your kitchen timer at 15 minutes and prepare your kale. With kale, you do not want the stem. I used a knife and slid it along the edge of the stem to remove all the greens. Cut those up in a large, rough chop. You want some bigger chunks in there.

Swanson's Chicken Broth Recipes


Uses & Recipes for Kale


Once the 15 minutes has elapsed, reduce heat to simmering and add kale to the soup. Just let the kale blanch slightly while retaining some of it’s texture and color.


Add cream after the kale has blanched, heat for 2 minutes and serve.

Picture of Zuppa Toscana


Voila! Low stress and a quick supper for the ones you love. T really liked this, which was a surprise to me since he doesn’t normally enjoy spicy foods, and especially isn’t a fan of soup being the sole thing for supper. So, that tells you this one is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Let me know what you think, and if you have a recipe for Zuppa, please share it! I’d love to compare notes.

Zuppa Toscana


  • 1lb hot italian ground sausage
  • 1/2 cup Bacon (chopped)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 62oz chicken broth
  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 2 cups kale (overflowing)
  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 teaspoon italian seasoning


Step 1
Preheat a large soup pot with 2 T. butter.
Step 2
Add sausage and chopped onion. Brown sausage.
Step 3
When sausage is no longer pink, add garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add chicken broth and potatoes.
Step 4
Set kitchen timer for 15 minutes and allow soup to return to a rolling boil.
Step 5
In the meantime, prepare kale and bacon.
Step 6
Once potatoes are tender, add bacon and kale to the soup and blanch kale letting it retain the majority of it's color and texture. Reduce heat to med-low.
Step 7
Add cream and cook 2-3 minutes. Serve.



DIY Black & White Spanish Lace Candle With Red Rosettes | Sin & Soul Blog


Recycled Jar Candle for Decor

I am so excited to share the pretties with you guys today! I had been harboring this recycled Bertolli pasta jar for over a week now with plans for what I could do with it. Which led me to the idea that I could share a few different things with you all. I like to recycle as much as possible, and if I can make something pretty out of the things I recycle, well that is even better.

I’ve been obsessed recently with the idea of red, black, & white for wedding colors. No, I am not engaged or planning a wedding. But one can dream, right? I also know that, for me, when I get married a $20,000 wedding is not an option. More because I really just can’t justify in my mind spending that much on a single day. To me, it’s more important to have all of my friends and family with me, and at the end of the day to have married the single man in all the world that I can imagine spending the rest of my life with. I’m also a hands-on type person, so DIY really appeals to me. The fact that doing it DIY style means it’s more of a reflection of us and our tastes, is only icing on the cake.

For that reason, I created this jar candle holder with black & white lace, and red rosettes and I am in love with it! It’s so pretty and perfectly what I had imagined. Add to that, the fact that I think Bertolli pasta jars are simply the most beautiful jars known to man and these are a very good possibility for centerpieces when I do finally get hitched.


So, you start with a jar of your choice…doesn’t have to be Bertolli. Lace of your choice, and you could even just do one strip instead of layering like I did. GLUE GUN!



I tried Mod Podge, it did not work so I wouldn’t recommend that method personally.

Start gluing parts at a time. You need to get the lace onto the jar within 15 seconds so don’t try to glue the whole thing at once. Press firmly, but be careful! The glue is hot. I purposefully purchased a low setting glue gun instead of high for this reason. If it can burn me, even the slightest chance I will find a way. Same with cutting. If it can cut me, I will find a way. I’m a disaster magnet. If I was a hurricane, they’d call me Hurricane Bobbie. Just be safe. Please. Once you have it entirely glued, it should look like this.


Oooohhhh. Aaaahhhh.

Next, glue another piece on. I had an ugly seam that I needed to cover up which made me choose the black and then I saw the red rosettes in the store and it was all over.

DIY Spanish Lace Decorated Recycled jar decorations


I lined up the Black & White lace but this picture doesn’t depict that very well. Rest assured, the lace is aligned. No need to go all OCD on me. Promise? Okay. Thanks.

Next, the rosettes!

Recycled Jar Candle for Decor

They really make this jar. Without them I think it would be a sad, sad jar. I like it like this. Add a candle, and voila! This cost me about $14, but you can easily cut the cost by using less expensive lace, or not layering as I did. And the jar was FREE, so you can’t beat that.

I’m thrilled with this, I think putting a bunch of these at the center of tables for a wedding or some other fancy schmance party would really lend a lot of ambiance and set the mood perfectly. What do you think? Did this inspire you to recycle something and make it pretty?

DIY Wedding Centerpieces with candles


Julia Child Homemade White Bread, Chocolate Surprises, & Simple Cinnamon Rolls | Sin & Soul Food Blog


Julia Child's Homemade White Bread Recipe


Yep. You just read that title correctly. Triple whammy today. I like to do things in 3’s.
To be honest though, I really only have one bread pan. Then I started making the Chocolate Surprises, and realized I didn’t want THAT many of them so I started making Cinnamon Rolls with the remainder of the dough. Makes sense, right?


I also figured that since I had abandoned you for what seemed like forever that you deserved a good post today. No worries though, I have lots of plans up my sleeve. Zuppa Toscana, Homemade chicken pot pies, and a DIY craft are all in store, so stay tuned over the next week. Lots of deliciousness to come. If you haven’t already added me to your RSS feed, please do! I would love to  know I am not just talking to myself here. I’d do this anyway, because it’s enjoyable and it is a good record of all the delicious food I make.



Let’s face it, sometimes people in your own home take for granted the delicious food you make and all you do for them, so this blog is a great way for me to see that what I am doing is pretty awesome, whether I get credit for it or not. :)

I love making homemade bread. The repetitive processes and the smell of a house in the midst of bread baking is simply incredible. I remember my mom making bread when I was a kid, and sneaking into the kitchen to watch her, kneading the dough. The kitchen was usually off limits when mom was cooking, but for some reason when she made bread she would let me in there with her. Watching her was like magic, it was also good bonding time because she would talk to me and tell me what she was doing and why. Bread making days were happy days in my house.

Now I get to bring that happiness into my own home. Pups were wondering what the heck was going on and kept coming in, sniffing, walking out. Coming back, laying on the rug, and just watching mumma. So silly boys, sometimes I wish I knew what was going through their heads.

The first step to making bread, is good yeast. Don’t use something you’ve had in the cupboard forever. Use as fresh as possible. Also, make sure you have enough flour in the house. This recipe requires 7 cups of flour, which is about a half of the normal size bag. You don’t want to get started on this and then realize you don’t have enough flour. Anyway, mix the yeast with water and sugar. Mix it well, until it forms frothy bubbles.


Like so. Now let it sit for 5 minutes. Make sure to time it, don’t be like me and think ahhhh…it’s probably done. Nope. Time it.



Once the 5 minutes has elapsed, pour the yeast mixture, the remainder of water and 3.5 cups flour into your mixing bowl with your dough hook and combine. Once it has fully combined add the rest of your flour.


What does a dough hook look like?


Mix until well combined.



Don’t forget this next step. I did. It’s okay, and it still makes good (fat free-ish) bread, but without the butter it just doesn’t have the tenderness, and the richness. I could have kicked myself when I realized I forgot. We all make mistakes right? I also suppose if you want your bread to have less calories/fat you could choose this route too…but now I am going to have to overcompensate and add a full tablespoon of butter to each slice of bread I eat. I’m probably not kidding.




When your bread is done, it should have good elasticity. Check it by pulling, it should look like the picture above.


Oh, and for those of you who didn’t believe I was a messy cook? Ummm…yeah, here you go. :) Explosion.



Once all your butter has been added, turn out on to a floured surface and form a ball with your dough.





Next, butter a large bowl. I just washed my mixer bowl and buttered it. See what I mean, by fat free”-ish”? Uh-huh.



Place your bread round in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and go do something else for 45 minutes. 15 of my 45 was spent cleaning my kitchen.


Punch your bread down, divide in half and form 2 loafs. Or, if you’re like me…proceed to make fattening and delicious sweet things.




For my chocolate surprises, I just cut small squares of dough, formed a pocket and put a Hershey’s kiss on the inside. Seal it well, and leave to raise for 45 minutes more. (The bread loaf too.) For the cinnamon rolls, I combined 1/4C. brown sugar with 2 T. butter and 1T. cinnamon and slathered on the dough. Roll it up, pinch the sides and leave to raise for 45.  Preheat the oven to 375.



Once the 45 minutes has elapsed, slice the cinnamon roll, and put everything in the oven for recommended time or until golden brown. Pull everything out of the oven, and add icing to the cinnamon rolls, or caramel sauce. Whatever you choose. I left mine plain.



I got my Julia Child recipe from my Art of French Cooking cookbooks, you can find the recipe HERE. Enjoy!






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