It's Friday! How about we have a giveaway?

Happy Friday! After what felt like an eternal winter, I think we’re over the worst of the colds and sickness in our family. The weather has turned a bit warmer, my kids ran around outside most of the morning, and we’ve got a few more hours of daylight. I have been not-so-patiently waiting for this season. It always amazes me how much easier parenting can feel when the weather is good and kiddos stay healthy!

As the week comes to an end and the season changes, I thought it’d be a great time for a giveaway! Since I write about food, faith, creativity, and motherhood, I wanted to include items from each of those four categories in the prize bundle. So, we’ve got music, beautifully designed greeting cards, coffee and tea, and all kinds of books! I’ve provided links to all the authors, creators, artists, and food professionals in the giveaway description below, so make sure to check each of them out!

Click the button below to read more about the prize items, and then enter with your email address. Make sure to share with friends and family to earn bonus entries. Thanks to FreshGround Roasting and Phoenix Feathers Calligraphy, you’ll also get a little something special in your inbox just for entering.

The giveaway will close on Friday, April 12, so don’t wait too long!

P.S. I’ll be sharing more in depth info about a few of these items over on Instagram, so make sure to follow me there!

Products for this giveaway were provided to Sarah J. Hauser by the artists, authors, publishers, creators, and food professionals. All opinions are 100% my own, and I only promote products I truly love.

Pasta with Smoked Sausage, Cherry Tomatoes + Kale

Pasta with Smoked Sausage, Cherry Tomatoes + Kale | Sarah J. Hauser

I peruse cookbooks, watch Netflix documentaries, and read food memoirs. I often find myself audibly saying, or writing in the margins, “Amen!” when I read something about food that I deeply resonate with. It’s usually because the words go much deeper than mere descriptions of ingredients, although those descriptions can be quite rich in and of themselves (see Robert Farrar Capon's chapter about an onion). It would be impossible to plumb the depths of all there is to know about food...but I intend to give it a shot anyway. 

Man invented cooking before he thought of nutrition. To be sure, food keeps us alive, but that is only its smallest and most temporary work. Its eternal purpose is to furnish our sensibilities against the day when we shall sit down at the heavenly banquet and see how gracious the Lord is. Nourishment is necessary only for a while; what we shall need forever is taste.
— Robert Farrar Capon

When my husband and I sit down for a meal at night, especially if it’s a recipe I’ve toyed around with or an ingredient I haven’t cooked before, I drive him crazy with over-analyzing. I think through every bite. Was it marinated long enough? What would I do differently next time? How come it took longer to cook than what the recipe recommended? Does this need a little more spice? I’m sure it’s very annoying, I know, and I’m learning better how and when to express my thoughts about my obsession. 

But there’s something about food that intrigues me so deeply. Maybe it’s the fact that it involves all the senses - taste, smell, feel, sight, and even sound. You don’t get that in every creative outlet. You smell the familiar sweetness of sauteed onions. You taste the saltiness of smoked sausage and the slight bitterness of kale. You hear a soft crunch with every bite, see the pop of color from cherry tomatoes, and feel creamy melted cheese on your tongue. 

Maybe I’m a little too obsessive (or crazy). But when the perfect combination of flavors comes together to ignite all the senses, I get excited. We need food to live, but God didn't create merely for the sake of sustenance. God supplied Adam and Eve with variety in the garden, a feast of taste they could enjoy.

God in his grace does not bind us to mere necessity. He gives us nourishment, and he also gives us creativity, delight, and refreshment at the table.

Pasta with Smoked Sausage, Cherry Tomatoes + Kale | Sarah J. Hauser
Pasta with Smoked Sausage, Cherry Tomatoes + Kale | Sarah J. Hauser
Pasta with Smoked Sausage, Cherry Tomatoes + Kale | Sarah J. Hauser
Pasta with Smoked Sausage, Cherry Tomatoes + Kale | Sarah J. Hauser

Pasta with Smoked Sausage, Cherry Tomatoes + Kale
Yields about 8 servings

1 pound bowtie pasta
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (more if needed)
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound smoked turkey sausage, cut into ½-inch slices*
1 ½ pounds cherry tomatoes
8 ounces chopped kale (remove any hard stems)
1 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Shaved Parmesan (optional)
Red pepper flakes (optional)

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain, reserving a ½ cup of the pasta water.

While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven set to medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Make sure you stir often to avoid burning the garlic.

Add the turkey sausage and cook for another couple minutes to brown the sausage. If the pot seems too dry, add another tablespoon or two of oil.

Add the cherry tomatoes to the pot. Cook until the tomatoes soften and pop. Stir in the kale, chicken stock, kosher salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Simmer 2-3 minutes, until the kale wilts and the liquid reduces a bit.

Add the cooked pasta to the pot. Stir everything together, and cook for a few more minutes until all the ingredients are fully incorporated and the liquid reduces to your liking. Alternatively, if you need to add more liquid, add the reserved pasta water 2-3 tablespoons at a time. (Pasta water is best to because it helps the sauce adhere to the pasta and adds additional flavor. Plain water will not achieve the same result!)

Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve with Parmesan shavings and red pepper flakes. Enjoy!

*You can use any type of sausage you like, but note that for this recipe, I used smoked turkey sausage that was fully cooked to begin with. If you use a different type of sausage that’s not fully cooked, be sure to adjust accordingly. 

This recipe was originally featured at Lark + Linen.

Behind the Scenes: Crostini with Caramelized Apples, Fontina + Rosemary [Part 1]

I am so excited to share this post with you today! Instead of my photos accompanying a recipe post, my friend Anna Guziak is behind the camera to help me give you a glimpse into what happens in the kitchen when I create and photograph a recipe.

Anna and I met about seven years ago when she was my wedding photographer, and this past fall, she took family photos for us. She is not only incredibly talented, but also probably one of the kindest people I've ever met. I'm not used to stepping in front of the camera, but Anna has an amazing ability to put you at ease and capture beautiful, real-life moments.

As you scroll through these images, I want to note a few points about my food blogging process. First, I do not have a photogenic kitchen. Anna makes it look good in her images, but you can very clearly see that I lack the Instagrammable white cabinets, marble countertops, and stainless steel appliances. So, when I photograph a recipe, I create a makeshift setup in my dining room that can be easily taken down when needed.

I move the dining table against the window for the best natural light I can get in my house and set up a few white foam boards for the photo backdrop. For many of my posts, I style the food on top of a marble pastry board. I also have a wood board, various linens, and a handful of other props that I use when I want to change things up.

Secondly, I am a complete mess when I cook and develop recipes. Even when I try the "clean as you go" technique, my kitchen looks like the aftermath of a hurricane. For this post, I tried to straighten up as best I could while still keeping it real. But much of the time, my kids’ leftover breakfast sits on the counter alongside food-splattered Post-its with recipe notes, pages torn out of food magazines, and at least a couple cookbooks or my iPad opened for reference. This particular day, I also had the help of family watching the kids while Anna and I worked, but normally I’m fighting to get it all done before the naptime clock expires. I’m usually still in my pajamas, too…but I figured no one really wanted to see that much of real life.

Anna took all of the photos in this post, and in a second blog post, I’ll share a few of my photos plus the recipe for the dish you see in these pictures (Crostini with Caramelized Apples, Fontina + Rosemary). In Part 2, I’ll also share more about the photography equipment I have and links to resources you may find helpful if you’re getting started with food photography.

Want to know more about what happens behind the scenes in my kitchen? Feel free to ask a question in the comments section! And make sure to check out the rest of Anna’s work over at!