California Dreaming

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      Wishing I was back here, riding through the hills of the Yosemite Valley…     And having a California style breakfast with all local food, by the fire, in a little hostel in the mountains…     … Continue reading

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Spinach Tortellini Soup

The dreaded last two weeks of the semester are upon me.  It’s this time of the year that makes me question my sanity, my priorities, and why I don’t just live off the grid like the mountain-woman I wish to be deep down.  A college degree won’t help you gut a fish or milk a cow, especially one in Accounting.  There, mind made up, college is off, cows are on.


Well since that’s out-of-the-way, time to get back to real life.  As with most unpleasant things that need to get done, as in studying, suddenly everything else doesn’t seem so bad.  Clean the inside of the freezer?  Sure!  Wipe down every cabinet and baseboard?  Sounds pleasant!  Scrub the bathroom?  Why yes, I DO have an extremely clean bathroom right now!  The daydreaming accompanies this erratic behavior, both during work and studying.  Lately it’s been about soups and stews, wondering why I only have three different tart pans, and how many scarves I can make in 3 weeks.


Somewhere in between the flash card flipping, wallet forgetting, textbook hauling spaz I’ve turned into, I get the urge to hide at home and make a huge pot of soup for dinner and enjoy an Audrey Hepburn movie by candlelight.  When your brain is fried and even the smallest tasks seem overwhelming and unimaginable, having a recipe that requires little thinking or preparation is key.  One that warms you up from the inside out, and you can eat at home wearing your pajamas and slippers?  Even better.

Tortellini, tomatoes, and broth

This soup is exactly that for me.  It was actually the first soup I ever made, and has evolved into one of MY comfort foods.  It’s a funny thing when you branch out from the comfort food you grew up with, the kind that only your mom could make the right way.  Those dishes will always be saved for my mom’s house, and I wouldn’t even imagine asking for the recipe, for the memories and time spent with her are what complete that meal.  What to do without the instant satisfaction and comfort of those meals?  Where does one search for “my comfort food”?

Tortellini soup in pot

By a stroke of luck, I found mine.  A soup that is easy enough to be made when you’re tired, sick, and needing some comfort.  Better yet, it comes together in under 30 minutes with one pot.  The first time I made it, the colors alone felt like they were patting me on the back in all their vibrant glory.  Such a simple dish, but so much healing power in those spoonfuls.


If you have it on hand, a little bit of fresh parmesan or pecorino romano cheese on top tastes fantastic.  The gooey little strings that form as it melts are so small they barely hold together.



Tortellini Spinach Soup


1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
32 ounces vegetable broth
1  14-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (with liquid)
1  14-ounce can diced tomatoes (with liquid)
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 package (10 ounces) fresh or frozen tortellini
16 ounces chopped frozen spinach
1-2 cups water, depending on how much broth you want
1. In a heavy bottom pot, or the thin bottom one that came with your first set of pots and pans from Macy’s, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and onion and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
2.  Add the vegetable broth and tomatoes, including their liquid.  The juice from the tomatoes adds great flavor to the broth.
3.  Add the spices, and stir to combine.
4.  Bring the broth mixture to a simmer.
5.  Put the tortellini in, and cook until slightly harder than al dente.
6.  Add the frozen spinach.  If the mixture seems too thick, add some water to the mixture.  I typically add 1 1/2 cups of water, which doesn’t affect the flavor of the broth at all.
7.  Simmer until the tortellini is al dente
8.  Serve and top with parmesan cheese.
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