Lentil Chili

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The cornbread was gone before I could even snap a photo.  So you only get the recipe for the lentil chili that was the perfect accompaniment. It was the main reason I made the cornbread in the first place anyways. Hearty, with abundant flavor, and kid friendly (it won’t burn your ass coming out the other end due to it being too spicy) If you’re not a pansy like me, who sweats just from eating mustard (yep, total white girl), then by all means kick it up a notch and add some damn diced jalepeno to this betsy.

Ingredients:

1 bay leaf

1 16 oz. bag of lentils

2  Tbsp. olive oil

1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

1 jar bruschetta sauce from Trader Joe’s

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 (14.5 oz) can fire roasted tomatoes – Trader Joe’s

1/2 white onion or vidalia onion, chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

3 boullion cubes  added to 32 oz. water or 32 oz. vegetable stock

4 tsp. chili powder

sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions: In a large pot, heat 1 Tbsp. oil along with lentils and stir frequently for 1-2 minutes. Add broth or water w/bouillon cubes and bring to boil, then allow to simmer for 30 minutes or until tender. While you are bringing the lentils/broth to boil, begin sautéing chopped onions, red bell peppers, and garlic for 5 minutes in a skillet along with the remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil. I like to sauté them and then add to the lentil/broth mix for extra flavor.  After adding the sautéed mix to the lentil/broth combo, add the can of fire roasted tomatoes, jar of bruschetta, and chili powder. When the lentils are tender (approximately 30 minutes), add the chopped cilantro and adjust with sea salt and pepper.

Delicious alongside cornbread smothered with earth balance and a smidgen of honey.

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Minestrone Soup with Chickpeas

It’s been a hair-raising couple of weeks with brisk weather.  Coming from Southern California, where 38 degrees sends residents into anxiety, is nothing compared to waking at 4:15 in the morning to your car covered in ice glitter. I am not used to having to warm my car longer then 5 minutes.

We live in a converted barn. Our sleeping area is separated by a woodworking shop, that leads to our kitchen/school room/office/living room.  This bitter cold walk to and from each living quarter must be done in a snow jacket, and your hands feel like you have stuck them in snow while standing amidst the workshop to change out the laundry.  It’s interesting. It makes you toughen up.  Acclimated. Not yet.

Soup. Lots of soup.  Lots of hot food and hot beverages these days. I do adore my forest drives;  penetrating the dark route with my high beams to avoid hitting deer. I love my drives over the ridge in anticipation of spotting snow-covered Mt. Rainier. I am fond of being able to bundle up.  But, what I have not yet gotten acclimated to is the 28 degree runs.  My husband is tougher then I. I think it’s fantastic I live in an area that gets snow.  Such a change we have made in setting!  As I find myself missing the beach, I remind myself that we are experiencing actual seasons!

Hope you enjoy the minestrone.

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup leeks, sliced

2 stalks of celery, cut on the bias

1 cup carrots, roll cut

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup broccoli stalks

1 1/2 cup cooked garbanzos (chickpeas)

8 cups filtered water

1 cup gluten-free pasta

4 bouillon cubes

1 cup green cabbage, sliced

1/2 zucchini, sliced

16 oz. fire roasted peeled tomatoes

1 Tbsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. sea salt, adjust to taste

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 cup fresh basil, minced

DIRECTIONS:

In a soup pot saute leeks, celery, carrots, and garlic for 5 minutes.  Add the water, and bouillon cubes.  Bring to boil, then allow to simmer for 15 minutes.  Add broccoli stalks, and pasta and simmer for 8 more minutes.  Add the chickpeas, zucchini, cabbage, oregano, sea salt, pepper, and fresh basil.  Allow to simmer for 5 more minutes. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.

 

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Split Pea Soup

The weather got down to 33 degrees here in WA  a couple of days ago, with expected snow on Thursday.  Nothing sounded better after a family soccer scrimmage then a hot bowl of Split Pea soup.  Split Peas are high in protein and fiber. Simple, yet satisfying alongside oven roasted garden grown potatoes, a green salad and cranberry-pumpkin loaf.  Absolutely loving experiencing seasons. In southern CA, we never got to completely grasp true weather fluctuations.  It’s truly fun.

* Un-soaked peas take from 1 to 2 hours of simmering; soaked peas take about 40 minutes. Also, the only difference between yellow and green split peas is color. Split peas absorb lots of water as they cook, so check the soup often and add liquid as needed. The peas only need to be cooked until they are tender.(yields: 6-8 servings)

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups of split peas

1/2 white onion, diced

1 carrot, sliced thin

1 1/2 stalks of celery, diced

1 large garlic clove, minced

2 cubes of bouillon

8 cups water

salt and pepper

olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

In a soup pot saute onion, carrot, and celery along with garlic in a splash of olive oil (roughly 2 Tbsp. of olive oil). Allow the vegetables to soften for 5-7 minutes.  Add the split peas to the vegetable mix and stir in for 2 minutes coated well.  Add the water and bouillon cubes and bring to boil for 8 minutes. Then place on simmer for up 1-2 hours (depends on if you soaked the peas beforehand) Check your water often. If you like a thicker soup, then 8 cups should be fine. If you like a looser soup, alter the water as you cook.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

 

 

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Faux Chicken and Dumpling Soup

Based on my last few posts, the crisp fall air is obviously affecting my food choices.  But, what the heck, soup is so full of nutrition, and with the abundant amount of apples that we just picked from the orchard, my next post will be apple based. So, soup lovers, I hope you enjoy this one too. For me, I can never get enough soup. I think an absolutely wonderful meal consists of soup, salad, and bread crisp.

The first time I encountered this soup, my dear friend Brianne Wells had prepared it.  At the time, we lived right next door to one another, and it was truly a Melrose place experience with other besties, Peder and Phi, on the other side of the yard, and my younger brother one street over. It proves to be one of the highlights of my twenties, and having that experience being surrounded by amazing friends.

Brianne and I would often share food that we had prepared by hollering over the fence and trading.  Being able to invite at a whim’s notice, for dinner guests was quite the blessing.  Our dinners often consisted of all 6 of us around the table, enjoying food and company.  When we began having children, the gatherings became even more memorable.  Oddly, we moved into our first homes the same exact day.  Though 20 minutes apart, and with new experiences, I really miss having that bond.

Though I slightly altered it, whenever I make this soup I think of her, and inside thank her introducing it to me. Yield: 8 servings.

SOUP:

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 1/2  stalks of celery, diced

1 carrot, diced

2 cloves garlic

1/4 of a white onion, diced

1 cup green beans, roughly chopped

8 cups water

2 bay leaves

2 cups faux chicken strips by: Beyond Meat (gluten-free/vegan)

3 cubes vegetable bouillon (The Organic Gourmet)

dash of freshly minced rosemary

DUMPLINGS:

1 cup finely ground spelt flour

1/2 Tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/8 cup olive oil

1/4 cup almond milk

DIRECTIONS:

For the soup: In a soup pot, saute celery, onion, and carrot and garlic in olive oil until al dente. Add green beans, water, and bay leaves. Allow to slightly saute with the other mixture for 5 minutes. Add water and bring to boil, then lower to simmer for 10 minutes. Add  “chicken” and bouillon cubes and simmer for another 10 minutes; stirring frequently.

For the Dumplings: In a mixing bowl add spelt flour, baking powder, and sea salt together. Whisk. In a separate bowl, combine olive oil, and almond milk.  Whisk well.  Combine wet to dry, and with a spatula, fold together.  Form the dough into balls the size of golf balls.  While the soup is in the last stages of simmering, place the balls one at a time into the soup mix.  Allow each one to float to the top before adding an additional dumpling ball (to prevent sticking).  The dumpling mixture makes 8-10 dumplings.  Enjoy.

 

 

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Creamy Potato Leek Soup

Yesterday afternoon it began sprinkling. My hopes began. I said a quick prayer for rain, and then it happened.  An entire night of blissful tappity-tap-tap on the barn’s tin roof.  Yes, we sleep in a barn. There are no animals in the barn, unless you include a hamster and a family dog; or three children.  When we transitioned from Southern California to Washington, we were blessed with living quarters on my parents six acres to focus on business and family; get away from the hustle and bustle and jobs that drained us spiritually & emotionally.  A fresh start.

These six acres also blessed my oldest brother and his family 4 years ago when he pioneered his way here from San Luis Obispo seeking the same change we do now.  This homestead is nestled amongst antique maple trees, and settled upon a hill overlooking the Puget Sound.  Not only am I able to see Mt. Rainier on one spectrum, I can also see the Olympic Cascades.  In all the wonder lust, these six acres provide the space my children need to run, play, scream, and laugh to their heart’s content. To play in dirt, run barefoot in rain, forage for berries, and hunt for chanterelle, this place is a nature seekers Heaven.  It’s like an adventure playground for kids and adults. My palate has never been more satisfied at all the fresh offerings right on this property.

One of my favorite things here is that each morning, my oldest runs down to spend some time with her grandparents.  There is something so completely peaceful and important about this.  Her sisters eventually join her, while I prepare breakfast and daily home school lessons.

But, back to that tappity-tap-tap.  That rain! Oh, that rain! That rain brought 2 1/2 inches in less than 24 hours. I was in my glory!  I may be a native Californian, but I do love my rain.  It was such a perfect setting to enjoy fall flavors of fare and to pour my energy into an evening of preparing creamy potato leek soup (home-grown potatoes and garlic).  From fresh made rustic bread, to home-made crackers, from-scratch hummus with hand-picked cucumbers, and farm picked fruit smoothies, this potato leek soup was just one of the many recipes that were dived into with utter appreciation today.  This place is amazing!

POTATO LEEK

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 cup of freshly chopped leeks

4 large potatoes, cubed 1/2 inch

2 cloves of garlic

6 cups of water

2 bouillon cubes (I like using The Organic Gourmet-Vegetable Bouillon)

salt & pepper to taste

*** If you have vegetable broth, use that in place of the water and bouillon cubes.  Use 6 cups just as you would water.

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a soup pot, saute leeks and garlic in olive oil, until tender.

2. Add chopped potatoes and continue to saute with the leeks and garlic for flavor.

3. Add water and bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, then turn to simmer for another 20 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste

4. With an emulsifier or blender, blend until completely creamy or pureed. Garnish the way you choose. We like to eat ours alongside a salad with a toast crisp.

 

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Creamed Curried Coconut Cauliflower Soup

About 15 years ago, our paths intertwined with this amazing couple from our church. Rich and Lucy  are the type of people who light up a room; charming, funny, inspiring, uplifting.  They are the kind of people you can’t get enough of.

One evening, in an unusual torrential Southern Californian downpour, we were fortunate to be the lucky recipients of a meal hosted by them at their cute little Costa Mesa abode.  Fortunately for us, the rain dissipated so we could enjoy their lovely backyard lit up with decorative lights set amidst their quaint city garden to partake of the amazing meal Rich prepared.

Rich is probably one of the best cooks I have met.  He can pair flavors together with such intrigue, that I find myself dissecting the meal so that I can replicate it at another time. But, he is similar to me, in the fact that often times, I prepare a meal and do not write down the recipe.

This wonderful meal consisted of a main dish of creamy curried coconut cauliflower soup. Such a depth in flavor, and the perfect accompaniment for the fresh garden salad, and rustic bread and garlic spread that he created.  Since that evening, this soup has been on my top five favorite soups list.  I cannot prepare it with the same umph, as he, but it comes close enough to where I can allow my palate to be content.

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup of olive oil

1 head of  cauliflower, chopped

1 small white onion chopped

2 large cloves of garlic

1/2 tsp. curry powder

1/4 tsp. turmeric

1/2 tsp. coriander

1/2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/2 cup cashews

1 tsp. sesame oil

6 cups of vegetable stock

* salt and pepper to taste

1 can coconut milk

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375. In a bowl, mix together olive oil, cauliflower, onion, garlic, curry, turmeric, coriander, cumin, sea salt, and pepper. Allow to roast for 30 minutes until cauliflower is softened.  In a soup pot, place the roasted cauliflower mix with vegetable broth, coconut milk, and cashews. Bring to boil for 5 minutes, then simmer for another 15.  Blend with an immersion blender until creamy.  If you don’t own an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender if yours is fine with heat.  Add the sesame oil, and adjust the salt and pepper to your liking.

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