Theresa Gage Tag

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Theresa’s New Tradition – Zuppa Toscana Soup


Property Geek Theresa has a new favorite recipe — perfect for the cold December days and long winter nights ahead of us in Minnesota.  Her daughter, Lauren, originally made it in her Culinary Arts class but they’ve adapted it a bit and it’s become a new family favorite… a copycat recipe of the Olive Garden’s delicious Zuppa Toscana soup.

The original link to the recipe and directions can be found on

First, gather all of the ingredients…

Zuppa Toscana

Next, you’ll brown the sausage then drain it.

Zuppa Toscana - Sausage

Chop the onion and garlic, then add the onion to the same pan, cooking until it’s tender and translucent.

Zuppa Toscana - onion & garlicZuppa Toscana - Garlic








Potatoes are next. You don’t even have to peel them, just dice them and toss them in.

Zuppa Toscana - Potatoes

Zuppa Toscana - potatoes mixed








Smells delish already, doesn’t it? Now add the chicken broth and relax while the stove top does the work for a bit.

Zuppa Toscana - Broth

Now add your power veggie… kale… and let it cook until the leaves are nice and tender.

Zuppa Toscana - Kale

If you’ve stuck with us this far, you’re about to be rewarded. Final step, mix in the cream and bacon. Only a few more minutes to go.

Garnish and enjoy!


Thanks Theresa and Lauren (pictured!) for sharing your new family favorite with us!



  • 1lb Italian Sausage, browned & drained
  • 1 Large Onion, chopped
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 6 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 4 Large Potatoes, diced
  • 1 Bunch Curly Kale, diced
  • 3/4 Cups Heavy Cream
  • 4 Slices Bacon, cooked & chopped
  • 1/4 Cups Parmesan, grated


  1. Brown the sausage in a large pot, then drain.
  2. In same pot, add the onion, letting it cook over medium heat until it softens.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add chicken broth and potatoes and simmer until potatoes are cooked through and tender, about 25 minutes.
  5. Stir in kale and cook until leaves are soft, about 3 minutes.
  6. Add cream, sausage and bacon. Simmer an additional 3-5 minutes.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan and serve while hot.

The soup is hearty and filling and makes a meal all by itself. But Theresa likes to serve it with bread sticks and salad on the side. She also suggests making a double batch since it tastes even better the second day!

What are some of your favorite winter recipes?

Theresa Gage

The Most Expensive Garage Sale Item

If there’s one thing the Geeks like to do it’s talk. So it was no surprise that we went out to lunch at one of our favorite local pizza places (huge shout out to Ole Piper pizza!) and got to chatting about houses and neighborhoods. Pretty soon the conversation turned to garage sales.

Property Geek Theresa Gage mentioned she’d bought a pretty pricey item she’d found at a garage sale one time so we made her dish up the whole story…

In 2008 she stopped by a garage sale at a house down the street. She started looking at a filing cabinet–not even a very attractive filing cabinet–and the gentleman holding the sale started to make small talk. He asked why she’d need such a big cabinet and Theresa responded that she and her husband owned some rental properties and needed to keep their paperwork organized.

Turns out the neighbor owned some rental properties he was about to lose in foreclosure, including the home where he was holding the garage sale. He wondered if she and her husband might be interested in talking about them. Theresa ended up leaving the filing cabinet but buying a refrigerator for one of their rental homes. She said she’d send her husband down later to pick it up and chat.

One chat led to another and another until Theresa and John found themselves negotiating multiple short sales with separate banks. It took several months, hours of phone calls, and many inches of paperwork but they were able to secure financing and buy out most of the properties, including the original home where the garage sale had been held.

Theresa remembers it being a win-win-win situation. She and John had been looking for some additional properties to add to their portfolio and were thrilled to acquire some investment units so close to home. The gentleman was ecstatic to be able to walk away without tarnishing his credit, and since the properties were under lease contracts, all of the renters were able to stay in their homes. To this day, Theresa still can’t believe the way the transaction happened.

But The Property Geeks aren’t surprised. We know savvy investors have to keep their eyes and ears open if they’re in the market for real estate deals. Opportunities are sometimes as close as just down the street!