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.