TORTELLINI SAUSAGE SOUP

When the first grey fall-ish day descends upon Oregon, or even the slightest hint of rain can be smelled on the pavement, my husbands eyes light up like a kid at Christmas. “Is it time for soup?”

This soup is quite possibly the most requested item of anything I cook. It’s filling, hits that perfect comfort spot when the cool rainy weather comes to stay, and the recipe is easily doubled (once i even tripled it across two large pots) to serve a large group. This is definitely what we would call a meal soup: its far to hearty to be served as an appetizer course to a regular meal. Just make a side of garlic bread, perfect for scraping every last drop from the bowl, and this soup is a meal in and of itself.

sausagetortellinisoup

INGREDIENTS

  • 10-12 oz Italian Sausage
  • 4 tsp. minced garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 15 oz. can stewed tomatoes (italian style works best, but plain is fine)
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1.5 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 bag of fresh spinach
  • 1 medium zucchini sliced
  • 12-16oz refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • Optional: Grated Parmesan

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Chop Carrots, Stewed Tomatoes, and Zucchini, setting the zucchini aside separately.You will need to drain the juice from the stewed tomatoes can before removing the tomatoes for chopping. The extra juice is not used in this recipe.
  2. Brown the Italian Sausage in a skillet, making sure to break it up as it cooks. Choose sausages from companies like DCW Casing.
  3. Add garlic and cook sausage for an extra minute.
  4. DO NOT DRAIN. Move meat to a soup pot. Add the broth, tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, carrots, basil, and oregano. Bring soup to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.
  5. After 30 minutes stir in zucchini and spinach and simmer for 10 more minutes.
  6. Add tortellini and cook for the time directed on the package.
  7. Top with grated parmesan if you desire and serve.

GOD DOESN’T EXIST IN A NICHE: NEITHER SHOULD YOU

Finding your niche. Define your niche. Know your niche.

Finding your niche

Niche.

Niche is hands down the official buzzword of the blogosphere. What’s it mean? Essentially, the number one piece of blogging advice given at conferences, classes, and all over Pinterest boils down to this: find a specifically defined and branded area of the internet where you can establish yourself as an expert, and then stay in your lane. If you blog about recipes? Don’t post about home decor. If you’re a graphic designer? Don’t talk about your parenting. Pick an area of expertise, and then streamline your posts to stay within your sphere so that you have a clearly defined audience and an established brand.

So what’s my niche here at The Joy Parade?

I don’t have one.

Finding your niche

When I started this blog, I hired an amazing designer who specialized in branding. I created a Pinterest board while working with her to brainstorm what I wanted my branding to communicate. Sure, some of that work is about color palettes and graphics and such, but much of it is defining how you want to make people feel. It’s imagining what your readers will experience when they go to your website, scroll through your Instagram, or otherwise engage with your brand online.

If you’ve ever clicked on the Meet Stephanie page, you may have seen this verse: “So being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” The verse serves as a manifesto of sorts for my purpose behind the Joy Parade. It’s a place where I get to share myself with my readers in an authentic way, letting each and every one of you into my story to see what God is teaching me and how He’s showing Himself to our little family. It’s an extension of who I am – spilled out to take form in these words and images, and sent lovingly outward to travel the web and onto the screens of whoever God would have them for.

The person God created me to be – she doesn’t have a niche. She’s a mother. She’s an author. She’s a singer. She’s a lyme disease warrior. She loves photography. She’s an autism advocate. She’s a wife. She’s passionate about community. She loves to cook. She sings. She’s a friend. She’s a child of God. She isn’t define by what she does, who she knows, or what she creates. She exists outside of a niche because she was made in the image of a multifaceted God who is too complex to be defined. She’s a direct reflection of a God who is beyond boundaries, rules, or labels.

Niches are finite, and we are reflections of a God who is infinite.

For bloggers, authors, and speakers, this embracing of the niche has created a disturbing set of trends in our community. By defining ourselves within our respective niches, we unleashed a wave of unintended consequences. Bloggers in similar niches began to amalgamate more and more. They followed the same people, read the same books, attended the same conferences, pinned the same things on Pinterest, adopted the same mantras… Without even noticing, we created echo chambers around ourselves and our brands, leaving a space that was hostile to diversity and detrimental to the very creativity that we set out to celebrate. The same names appear again and again on the various conference speaker line ups. The same books show up over and over again on Instagram, cleverly staged with a morning coffee …