Today in Houston, TX everything was pretty much shut down.  Schools closed, businesses closed, the Y closed, the government… CLOSED!  Even the IRS has made concessions for my little ol’ home town.

There are only a handful of reasons this ever happens (in general):

  1. Ice
  2. Snow
  3. Anything that resembles ice or snow
  4. The threat of ice or snow
  5. Flooding

Well, it’s the middle of April and if it there was ANYthing that looked like it might want to be ice or snow, we would have to make plans to build a (high-end) bunker and y’all might not see me for a while.  THAT would be insane.

{Note to self: start researching bunker plans. Seriously.}

That leaves only 1 possibility – flooding.  It rained so hard last night that I could not sleep in my own bed – I had to find a spot with no windows and preferably not on an outside wall.  My choices – the media room (with 1 outside wall) or the laundry room.  Guess where I slept… and guess how my body reacted.

I digress.

The point is that everything was closed today – including school and DH’s office.  So we were all here doing what we do.  And then came hunger.

Normally I’m home alone working and lunch is as easy as whatever I want.  Not so today because… everything is closed.  So I had the brilliant idea to cook a lunch that would also work for dinner.  AND that the littlest could help with.  He has been asking to help cook since we moved and always reminds me that he only ever got to help make salad at the old house.  So… GREAT.  Let’s make lunch!

I was craving soup – Toscana Soup to be specific.  Of course we’ve all had it at our favorite everyday Italian restaurant, but I’ve been making this for years at home.  It’s so easy you wouldn’t believe it.  And since the boys like it too, the menu was set.

Kid Friendly Toscana Soup it is – lunch & dinner… DONE and done!

And the littlest is the chef of the day with mom as sous chef.  How fun is that?!

As sous chef, I just cut up all the aromatics (the flavor) and the potatoes, set up the station and helped roll the sausage/meat balls.  He did the rest and he did a GREAT job!


Avery's Soup

So he did all this work for a pot FULL of soup and we ATE. IT. ALL.


Yes… it was delish, but now I have to cook again for dinner.

I am not amused.  I’m full, but not amused.

Maybe I can get him to do it all again for dinner… with Dad this time.

In the meantime, here’s the basic recipe with a few tips to follow.

 Kid Friendly Toscana Soup (Copycat Zuppa Toscana)


1 lb Italian sausage (or Italian seasoned ground meat balls)
1 onion
2 garlic gloves
3-4 russet potatoes (more if using smaller red, gold, or baby Yukon potatoes)
1 lb kale ( or collards or mustard greens)
2 c chicken broth
2 c water
2T butter
1/2 c cream (or 1/4 c milk + 2 T butter)


Coat heavy sauce pot with just enough oil to cover the bottom.

Roll the sausage/ground meat into small balls and brown in heavy sauce pot.

Add onions and garlic and saute until translucent.  DO NOT let the garlic brown (add water if you have to).

Season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.

Add 1 cup of broth and the greens (kale, collards, or mustards).

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the sliced potatoes, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add extra broth or water to make sure potatoes are covered.

Cover & let sit for 5 minutes.

Serve it up and enjoy!


  1. If the soup is too thin, add a little cornstarch and stir it in very well over medium low heat.
  2. If you like it spicy, add half a chopped jalapeño.
  3. No potatoes?  Add some rice (preferably brown) or some pasta.

Try it and


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