Monday, February 25, 2008

Lentil Soup

I don't usually cook with beans...or lentils. I'm trying both. Healthy, inexpensive, and very good for the environment; a great source of protein and fiber. Diversity in our diet.

Today when shopping at PCC while Tessa was at gymnastics, I was talking to a lady in the produce section (she was wondering how I was going to cook "all those leeks"). She, in turn, told me about a lentil soup recipe that she swears makes "people who can't stand lentils start to love lentils."

She said....

A couple of turns of olive oil in the pan; add chopped onion and garlic. Add chopped leeks, and saute until softened; season with salt and pepper. Add "french blue-green lentils" (the type, apparently, being very important), and chopped potatoes, and simmer in chicken broth for 20 minutes. Finally, add carrots or other vegetables, simmer an additional 10-20 minutes, and serve.

I'm adding more farmer's market sausage from Sea Breeze Farms on Vashon, because Ryan and Tessa aren't quite ready for hard core lentils. The amount of sausage is quite small compared to the total quantity prepared, but hopefully will add the zing that they seek.

From the farmer's market:
Kale (which I'm adding as cooks down beautifully in soups and adds a green element)
Potatoes (Peruvian Blue, at Tessa's request)
Carrots (Nantes sweet)

The chicken broth is home made from farmer's market ingredients.

From PCC, organic:
blue-green lentils

It's simmering away right now. I'll serve it with some fresh fruit slices, and some home made bread. I ran out of honey so I substituted molasses in my last batch, and it's quite good...the molasses was an acceptable substitute.

Speaking of honey, it was really expensive at the Farmer's Market, so I got it at PCC. Maybe next time I'll break down and get the Farmer's Market stuff, but right now budget is more important.

I bought MOST of my groceries at the FM this week, and I'm happy with that...

Since writing my last post I've had some anxiety about what a negative Nellie I am, and how people will perceive my whining. I'm trying to come to terms with those thoughts, hoping that nobody will judge me too harshly. I'm still working on all fo this positive stuff. I'm still trying to be a good little homemaker, feeding my family nutritious, delicious, organic, healthy home cooked meals. I'm trying to find pleasure in it. I'm trying to remember the slow foods movement. I'm trying not to remember that Tessa is watching a Clifford movie so that I can cook.

(In my own defense, she played with Jessie all morning, then I picked her up and went straight to Anna's to pick up Anna. Beth arrived her to pick up Anna, and they went out the front door and we went out the back door to gymnastics. I shopped while Tessa was at gymnastics, and then we came home. It's not great 1:1 time with Tessa but she's beenhaving a fabulous, kid-focused day anyway. Tomorrow we're going to visit my mom, and so I'll get lots of 1:1 with Tessa and I'll take her swimming.)

Edited to add: I just tasted the soup; I'm letting it simmer for a few more minutes, but it's done. YUM! I hope Tessa doesn't complain about the texture, because I don't have a backup plan. I'm serving it with the bread, but also fruit - blood oranges were on sale, and Braeburn apples, so that's what we're having. Tessa will like bread and fruit, at least, and worst case scenerio she can dip her bread or eat just the carrots from the soup or....?

Also...we discovered "real" baby carrots at the Farmer's Market. Not those weird machine processed ones that pass as baby carrots all over America, but real honest to goodness ones, with tops and roots and such. And the best part? They taste GREAT. Tessa loves them, and took pride in telling Anna today that they were "real" carrots. I love sharing this journey with a child who is (mostly) open to the process. Now, wish me luck with lentil soup....

Tessa Soup Update: First comment was "Ewww I'm not eating that." Then, minor fits. Then, she started eating it. Then, she cleaned her plate until "Look Mommy, I can't eat more, I can't even pull in my stomach any more!" Funny enough, the part she wouldn't/couldn't eat was the sausage, because it was "too spicy," but the rest got gobbled up. Next time, I will make the soup minus the sausage, and see how the family likes it. If it didn't have sausage, it would be healthier AND cheaper, and though it's made with chicken broth I'd still count it as a vegetarian meal for our purposes. (If you're a vegetarian friend of ours, never fear, I'd never pull that stunt on you and I'm capable of "real" vegetarian food, but since we're not trying to become vegetarians, it's close enough for us.)

And here's a diet tip. My home made bread is rather large and square, so a regular thickness slice is much larger than a slice of store bought bread. So, for dinner tonight, I cut two pieces, quartered them, and put them on a plate for sharing. There were three pieces left at the end of the meal, meaning that the three of us shared a mere 1.25 slices of bread, and walked away sated. Go figure! I think that the trick of piling it up on a plate was what did it - we could reach for more than one piece and not feel deprived.

And it is a good thing that we like the soup; we'll be eating it for days. It made 8 portions.

(I like the fact that it's dinner in one pot. There were a LOT of veggies in that pot, so I didn't even make a side salad, which would have been a nice fresh complement, but I didn't fee, l like it, and it wasn't nutritionally necessary.)

1 comment:

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