Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I want to break for a minute from my standard recipe-driven posts and talk about a side of life that is far too often misconstrued. It's the part of life that is dictated by a certain four letter word that makes the hairs on the back of my, and probably your, neck quiver. D-I-E-T.

My guess is at some point in your life you have tried a diet or been aware that it's a new year so "you should go on a diet". Within days or weeks of attempting what was touted as a "miracle fat buster", you stopped wondering what happened to that miracle?  You may have wanted to loose weight and did for a short time but found your body quickly plateaued and then began to gain the weight back. Maybe you wanted to gain weight and took on a high protein, supplement-packed diet. A few weeks in you found yourself tired, irritable, depressed, and struggling with insomnia - issues that may not have been there before. Lack of results, boredom, or "absence of discipline" led you right back to your normal, comfortable lifestyle, waiting for the next new diet to peek your interest. Thus began a series of diet "failures" and theft of your trust in the entire health system.

No matter where you fit in this picture, I would bet you gave yourself a good beating for not having the discipline to complete the diet or the willpower to say no to certain foods when your body craved them. My guess is you walked away from that diet feeling like, well, a loser and found yourself either searching for the next miracle diet or headed to the freezer to commiserate with Ben & Jerry. At least they could offer you some sweet relief and a temporary endorphin high.

The problem with many of the diets that line the bookstore shelves and news headlines is that they fail to look at you as a unique individual with a unique lifestyle and personality. They pigeon hole you into a category: obese, nearly obese, moderate, perfect, underweight, or dead. You may be overweight, underweight, or struggle with chronic health issues, true, but you also have goals, dreams, skills, desires, likes, dislikes, a family and / or significant other, a job, emotions, personality, morals, values, spiritual beliefs, a set of genes, and a past. All of these things add up to make the one and only you and many diets, in failing to realize this, belittle your existence.

Release yourself from carrying that burden - the one that says somehow you failed, you're a loser, you never finish anything, you can't do anything right.

You didn't fail the diet, the diet failed you. You didn't complete the diet because the diet was incomplete. You couldn't finish because the diet was unfinished.  

I want to say this again: You didn't fail the diet, the diet failed you. Repeat this as many times as it takes for you to begin to believe it. I didn't fail the diet, the diet failed me.

The essence of holistic healing is to help you succeed rather than set you up to inevitably fail. This is one of the reasons I am so passionate about this way of living.

I encourage you to look at your life and ask yourself what kind of physical activity do I like? What whole, nourishing foods do I enjoy? What hobby or activity do I do that, when I do it, I loose track of time? What makes me feel alive? Where in my life would I like to grow? Find someone [like a health coach or counselor] who can help you harness these qualities that are so deeply ingrained in your being and use them to work towards your personal goals. Find someone who will see you as something greater than a number in the recent headlines or a place on a graph, but as the unique and beautiful person you are.

As snow begins to fall and our world heads for hibernation, may you find wholeness and health, rest and well-being. In the same way that each snowflake is impossibly unique, may you begin to see yourself as an intricate masterpiece, designed by a master artist. May a spark be lit deep within you and may you begin to trust in truly living again.

Grace and peace.

Monday, November 21, 2011


One of my favorite places to go is nestled in this little eclectic community about 40 minutes away from where I live [check out Global Infusion here]. It really is unfortunate that I don't live next door [or in the storage room]. But because I'm just not that lucky, I am constantly trying to create their chai recipe. Let me just say they are masters when it comes to chai, this probably being an understatement. Recently they came up with a Ginger-Tulsi chai that I am praying will carry on into life after death. It really is that good.

Well here is my attempt at their recipe. The original will of course always be better. One, because when they make it is means I didn't have to. This natural phenomenon is what draws us back to grandma's homemade apple pie or dutch bread and mom's seven layer sandwich. Two, all creators should have dibs on being "the best" at their creation.

So my hats off to you ladies!


If you're curious what Tulsi is and it's benefits, look here for details. It's worth the read or at least a glance!


3 c. water
3, 1-inch chunk of fresh, peeled or 2 tsp. dried
10 cloves
16 peppercorns
2 star of anise
10 cardamom pods
1 tsp. fennel
4 whole allspice
1 cinnamon stick
pinch or two of cayenne pepper

3 tbsp. Ginger-Tulsi Tea

1 1/2 tsp. organic blackstrap molasses [to taste]
2 -3 tbsp. of honey or sucanat, to taste [optional]

2/3 c. non-dairy milk of choice [I love coconut milk in this, light or regular works]

In saucepan, bring water to boil. Add spices and simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Place loose leaf tea in cotton tea bag or mesh tea ball. Remove pot from heat and add tea bag / ball. Cover and let stand for 15 - 20 minutes. Remove tea bag / ball, strain spices, and return liquid to pot. Warm. Stir in molasses and honey. Turn heat to low and cover the pot.

In separate saucepan warm non-dairy milk until almost boiling and light froth forms.

Combine 1/3 c. non-dairy milk and 2/3 c. of chai tea in mug. Gently stir and serve immediately. You could also allow to cool and server over ice.

Makes 3 - 1 cup servings, appx. $0.50 per serving

Saturday, November 19, 2011


This past Saturday I headed up to my local, "organic-vendors only" Farmer's Market. I, as usual, walked away with more than I had come for. On Saturday my new find took the form of celeriac. I've always wanted to try it but have been intimidated [rightfully so in my opinion] by it's misshapen, root-ball form. Even so, I dutifully listened to the farmer explain why this plain looking vegetable should be my next purchase. One dollar and a few cooking tips later, I walked out with one in hand.

It's no secret in my family that I love, and I mean love, potatoes. It has always been one of my favorite foods. Thanksgiving is of course about meditating on and celebrating all of the areas in your life that you have to be thankful. This is something that should never be understated or ignored. Intentionally seeking out the blessings in your life is quite possibly the most healing and nurturing thing you can do for your body. A quick side on this, if it has been a tough year and you are finding it difficult to come up with just one blessing, start with being thankful for each breath you take while reading this post. You will be amazed at some of the other things that come to mind as you do this. The simple art of being aware that each breath you take is a gift can be quite revolutionary.

In addition to being thankful, Thanksgiving is about the potatoes. Oh, the potatoes. I like them any and all ways - mashed, steamed, twice-baked, sauteed, shredded, and used in baking [yes you can do this!]. I like them red, white, yellow, blue, purple, and pink [yes there are that many - I dare you to try them all!]. I'm sensing there could be Dr. Seuss book written about potatoes!

I hope this recipe inspires you to head out to your local Farmer's Market for the last few weeks of this harvest season if your market is quickly coming to a close [and even if it's not].

May you take the time to get to know the people who grow your food. May you see them as master's of what they do and come to deeply respect the work they put in to provide you and me with the best, most nutritional foods on the planet. May you listen intently when they describe each treasure on display and may you have the honor of walking out of the market with something unexpected in hand and a sense of deep joy and contentment permeating your soul.

Here's to all of the farmer's who are wrapping up this year's work and to those who carry on through the winter. We salute and thank you.

Special Note: If you are going to give this to your infant or toddler I would recommend eliminating the ghee and salt in his / her portion. 


1 celeriac, peeled and cubed [cut into smaller pieces for a shorter cooking time]
1 lb. of potatoes of choice, peeled if desired and cubed
1/2 a cauliflower head, cut into small pieces
2 tbsp. of ghee [go here to easily make your own] or non-dairy butter [try Earth Balance Soy Free]
1 tsp. Real Salt sea salt, or to taste
1/4 - 1/2 c. non-dairy milk [rice milk has a neutral flavor and works well here]
2 - 3 cloves of garlic, minced very fine

Wash, peel [if necessary] and dice celeriac, potatoes, and cauliflower. Place all in a medium size saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil and let boil gently until all the of the vegetables are very soft. Remove from heat and add ghee, salt, non-dairy milk [start with the smaller amount], and garlic. Using a hand mixer, beat well until potatoes are creamy and fluffy. Taste and adjust accordingly.

Serves 6 - 8, $0.75 - $1.00 per serving


1 lb. potatoes of choice, peeled if desired and cubed
1 large rutabaga, peeled and cubed
1 large parsnip, peeled and cubed
1 - 2 medium carrots, peeled and cubed
1 tsp. celery seed
2 tbsp. of ghee [go here to easily make your own] or non-dairy butter [try Earth Balance Soy Free]
1 tsp. Real Salt sea salt, or to taste
1/4 - 1/2 c. vegetable broth
2 - 3 cloves of garlic, minced very fine

Wash, peel [if necessary] and dice potatoes, carrots, parsnip, rutabaga, and cauliflower. Place all in a medium size saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil and let boil gently until all the of the vegetables are very soft. Remove from heat and add ghee, salt, vegetable broth [start with the smaller amount], and garlic. Using a hand mixer, beat well until potatoes are creamy and fluffy. Taste and adjust accordingly.

Serves 6 - 8, $0.90 - $1.00 per serving

I love to have sauteed kale or cooked red cabbage on the side of both of these recipes.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


It snowed today. My favorite kind of snow. It's the snow that brings anticipation and complete stop-what-you are doing, child-like wonder. It demands a crackling fire and warm cup of peppermint chai. It drives me, helplessly, down to the basement to find just one strand of white Christmas lights. Yes! They're still here. As I carefully cradle them in my hands, just the feel is enough to course warmth and cheer through the core of my being. I plug them in and feel as if I might burst with joy as each little globe dances alive with glitter and glitz. Desperately I turn on the radio pleading that there be just one crazy station playing Christmas music.

On most days this expediency we have towards Christmas would annoy me. Just seeing Christmas decorations in October brings out my inner Grinch. I mean, I'd like to enjoy Thanksgiving if you don't mind!

But not today. Today I have become one of them. One of those insidious people who try to will the twelve days of Christmas closer through incessant glee and holiday cheer. I hum hall decking tunes. I dance a little jingle bell jig. And inevitably, I bake. And bake. And bake. The kitchen beacons me, luring me in with the oven's warmth and it's oh so magical scent of cinnamon and cloves. I wait an entire year to experience this kind of snow. It's the kind of snow that enchants the air and breathes mystery into the normalcy of life.

So, you can hate winter if you want. You can sulk at Frosty and "bah humbug" all you'd like. But not at this snow. May this snow remind you of the blessing of new beginnings. May it surround you with joy and peace and contentment to be just who you are, where you are.

And may it bring you alive with the mystery of life.


Buckwheat is a blood-building food making it a good gluten-free grain for people with diabetes [it helps to stabilize blood sugar]. It boasts the longest transit time [in comparison to other grains] and therefore keeps you feeling full and satisfied for a longer period of time. Its real claim to fame, however, is that it contains a high proportion of all eight amino acids. In addition, it's a good source of protein and high in calcium. A minor caution: if you have signs of extreme heat [fever, thirst, and / or high blood pressure] you may want to minimize your consumption of buckwheat.


To the creators of "Got Milk?", you may not like this. Amaranth is significantly higher in protein and calcium than milk when compared cup for cup. It is an important food for pregnant or nursing women, infants, children, laborers, people who are very thin, and anyone that expends a significant amount of energy, such as athletes. It's a wonderful source of magnesium and silicon [two nutrients needed for calcium absorption], phosphorus, iron, and zinc. Considered a chi tonic, amaranth improves the quantity and quality of energy available to the body. It also aides in the healing of congestion, excessive menstruation, and yeast overgrowth.


1/2 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 c. amaranth
1 1/4 c. coconut milk [or other non-dairy milk]
2 tbsp. black strap molasses
4 tbsp. coconut oil
3 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. star of anise or anise seed, finely ground
1 tsp. fennel seed, finely ground
1/4 tsp. dried ginger, finely ground
1/2 tsp. Real Salt sea salt
1 1/4 c. buckwheat flour
1 1/2 c. gluten-free flour [1/2 c. millet flour + 1/2 c. tapioca flour]
1/4 - 1/2 c. water
extra buckwheat flour for dusting

In a small saucepan bring coconut milk to boil. Reduce heat to gentle simmer and add amaranth. Simmer until amaranth is cooked [see manufacturer's instructions for cooking time]. Remove from heat and stir in oats. Set aside until cool [or let stand 10 minutes and then place in the refrigerator or freezer to speed up the cooling process].

When the oat mixture has cooled completely, place in a mixing bowl and add the molasses, coconut oil, baking powder, sea salt, ground anise, fennel, and ginger. Blend well [I like using the paddle attachment here if you have a KitchenAid mixer]. Add in buckwheat flour and blend. Add tapioca flour and blend. Finally add millet flour and blend well [you may have to remove the dough from the bowl and knead by hand]. Knead until a smooth, firm dough has formed.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Sprinkle a bit of flour on your counter top. Cut or break the dough in half and place one half aside. Roll the other half into a ball and place on floured surface. Flatten the ball with your hands, sprinkle with flour, and roll, using a rolling pin, until 1/4 - 1/8" thick [you may have to dust with flour from time to time to prevent tearing and sticking]. Once the thickness is achieved [the thinner the better], cut dough with cookie cutters. Using a spatula, remove the cut dough pieces from the counter and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat this process until all of the dough [including the half set aside] has been used. You can sprinkle them with a little salt if you don't plan on giving them to your child.

Place pans in oven and bake for 9 minutes. Flip crackers and bake another 6 - 8 minutes [depending on the thickness of the crackers]. Watch carefully to make sure they don't burn.

Remove from oven and let stand 5 - 10 minutes to cool. Repeat with remaining dough [you should have at least two "rounds" depending on the size of your crackers]. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 60 - 70 crackers, less than $3.00 per recipe or less than $0.04 per cracker.

[This recipe is inspired by 101cookbooks.com]

Monday, November 14, 2011


I love recipes that remind me of my childhood. I was blessed to grow up in a wonderful family with a mother who loves to cook and a father who seeks activity and adventure. We had a modest garden and compost pile in the backyard, lived on a small lake, indulged in some intense neighborhood pick-up soccer games, stayed up way too late telling stories around the campfire, cooked burgers picnic-style in our wood-burning fireplace, and at one time had a 17-foot tall Christmas tree. These are just a few memories in the mosaic of stories I have collected over the years.

One of the greatest things that stands out in my mind, however, is that even though both my father and mother worked full-time and raised two kids, we always had a fresh, home cooked meal on the table. We were required to be at family dinner, something that wasn't much of a hardship. Our family always opened with a prayer of blessing and closed with a fun biblical story usually picked in true democratic style. Through dinner my parents nourished both our bodies and our souls. We laughed, we cried, we got into and out of trouble, we joked, we admitted, we loved - life happened, all around our dining room table

Family dinner times have taken quite a hit in these modern, fast-paced times. Or maybe these times simply feel faster because family dinners are quickly become a thing of the past. A lot of families are so busy, one person here and another there, that quick and convenient seem like blessings. Food is fuel but not nourishment. Moms are caretakers but not mothers. Fathers are breadwinners but not life givers. Families are becoming more like roommates sharing common utilities and living separate lives.

I encourage you to look at your families. Do you truly know one another? Is your life filled with "hi's and goodbye's" but void of actual conversation? Do your kids and your spouse know you love them? How are you showing this? Are you giving your childhood a chest full of beautiful memories? What will they carry away from their childhood and into their own families? 

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, now is perfect time to reflect. Use the month of November to intentionally name the blessings in your life and make changes where changes need to be made. 

So, to my parents, thank you for the gift of life in every possible sense of the word.

May your children and the children of others thank you some day.

This recipe is one I adapted from my mother's recipe [and probably her mother's, and her mother's prior to that]. The traditional recipe calls for rice and beef or venison. I traditionally eat in a more vegetarian fashion, as does my daughter [still working on the hubby], and have adapted it so it works for us. A couple of rolls easily make a meal for me but they can also be a delicious side [think Thanksgiving!].

This is a great meal [or side] for vegetarians / vegans in particular. If you have chosen a vegetarian lifestyle it is vitally important that you pay attention to the type and quantity of your protein intake as well as vitamins like B12 and minerals. Proper food combining is essential. These cabbage rolls combine walnuts with quinoa giving you a complete protein. Vegetarians should try have a complete protein with at least two meals a day to ensure that their bodies are receiving what they need to sustain good health. This can be done by combine a nut or legume with a grain or seed food like rice, quinoa, and millet. Adding herbs like garlic, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, and cardamom aid in the digestion and assimilation of the foods and their nutrients. I highly recommend making these and other appropriate herbs a part of your daily diet. 

Many vegetarians think they are eating healthfully but ignore what and how they eat and assemble their foods. This leads to deficiencies and diseases that, in some cases, are much more difficult to resolve than issues found with a standard American diet. If you eat vegetarian [and especially vegan] and / or follow a raw foods diet, I urge you to do your homework and look closely at your meals and snacks. I believe there is a time and season for everything and no one diet should be a long-term solution. Our bodies change, the seasons change, and life changes. Our diets need to do the same in order to adequately maintain health and balance.


1 medium head of savoy cabbage [savoy cabbage is milder in flavor and more tender making it easier to roll]
2 c. cooked quinoa
1 1/2 c. walnuts, ground
1 - 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 small turnip, finely chopped
2 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt [with a little extra for sprinkling]
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 tsp. fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried rosemary
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. arrowroot starch [or tapioca flour, potato starch, or cornstarch]
1 pint [2 cups] of tomato or pasta sauce

Cut [or core] the end of the cabbage, keeping the leaves together. Steam in a large pot until just soft and pliable [7 - 10 minutes, you can bring to boil steam a few minutes and then turn the heat off. Let it sit in the pot, covered until soft. This can save you a bit of energy / gas].

While the cabbage is steaming, saute the onion, carrot, and turnip in olive oil until just soft. Add salt, pepper, arrowroot starch and herbs / seasoning. Saute 30 seconds and remove from heat. Mince the garlic and set aside. Place the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast on low [or broil] until just browned [3 - 5 minutes]. In a mixing bowl combine cooked quinoa, sauted vegetables, minced garlic, toasted walnuts and 1/2 - 3/4 cup of tomato or pasta sauce. Mix well.

Carefully remove the cabbage from the pot and cool to touch. Very gently pull each leaf away from the head. Place a spoonful of filling on the leaf, fold the sided over the filling and roll. You should end up with an egg-roll looking pocket. Place each roll into a large glass baking dish.

Once the dish is full, slowly pour the remaining tomato or pasta sauce over the rolls. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes.

[You will probably have leftover cabbage. I am working on a recipe for that! In the meantime, cut up and add to a soup or broth.]

Remove from the oven and allow to cool a few minutes. Serve immediately.

This is a great meal to double or triple. You can cook, cool completely, and then freeze in containers or ziploc bags.

Serving size is appx. 15 rolls and $0.75 per roll.

Monday, November 7, 2011


This past Saturday I drove up to an organic-only Farmer's Market near to where I live. I love this market for many reasons but I think primarily because I can walk up to any farmer and I know I will be getting the best possible food at a reasonable price and a lot of passion coming from the hand that grew it. I was reminded of this as I was salivating over one local producer's many varieties of potatoes, radishes and other root vegetables. I then over heard [confession, I was intentionally eaves-dropping] him telling a woman about this squash, this buttercup squash, that was quite a few leaps ahead of any other. In fact, he had the kahuna's to say that she would never want butternut squash again! Judging from it's modest exterior I have to admit I was really skeptical. Upon a brief observance of this mallow-like orb, any regular Joe would think this farmer to be a bit off on his regal description. But, a few minutes later I walked away, plain-Jane squash in hand, wondering what I was in for.

Actually, I couldn't wait to get my hands [and knife] into this thing. For the entire drive home I dreamed about what I could possibly turn this little buttercup into, making it worthy of the praise it's former owner had adorned it with. Throughout the day, as each hour passed by, I got exceeding anxious. No one idea seemed to stick. And then, sometime around 7pm it came to me - custard!

So here it is, a Thanksgiving Table worthy delectable that really does live up to my new farmer friend's acclaim. You can make this as simple or as extravagant as you'd like. The only requirement is that you find and use a buttercup squash!


1 Buttercup Squash*
1/4 - 1/2 c. apple cider or juice
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. each ground nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice [optional]
2 - 3 drops [1/8 tsp.] of orange flavoring [optional]
2 tsp. psyllium seed husk powder
1/4 c. maple syrup [optional] or to taste**


1 15-ounce can of regular coconut milk, well chilled 
1/3 c. maple syrup
1 1/2 tbsp. vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, scraped


Cut the buttercup squash in half and scoop out its seeds and strings. Reserve the seeds for this recipe or allow them to dry and plant next year. Place the two halves face down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 - 40 minutes or until flesh is very soft [make the whipped topping while this is baking]. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.

While the squash is baking prepare the whipped topping. Remove can of coconut milk from refrigerator but do not shake the can! Gently scoop out the thick cream and reserve the water-like portion for a smoothie or soup. Place the cream in a mixing bowl with the remaining ingredients. Using a whisk attachment, beat the cream until light and fluffy [2 - 3 minutes]. Place the mixing bowl in the refrigerator and allow it to set.

Once the squash is slightly cooler, scoop out the flesh and place it in a mixing bowl. Add all of the remaining custard ingredients and beat, using the paddle attachment or beaters, until all are well combined and the mixture is very creamy. Scoop into individual serving bowls and refrigerate until chilled [1 - 2 hours].

Once the custard is cool, top with the whipped cream and lightly ground, toasted hazelnuts. Serve immediately or keep in the refrigerate until serving.

Serves 6 - 8 depending on the serving size, appx. $1.60 per serving.

* I really urge you to seek out your nearest Farmer's Market and hunt this particular squash down. It is well worth any effort that may be involved!

**I prefer my custard without the maple syrup as the whipped topping provides plenty of sweetness for me. You can decide what your preference is and adjust accordingly. Please note that chilling the custard will enhance the flavors, giving you a richer dessert.

Friday, November 4, 2011


To all of my pocket-book challenged, study-laden, no-sleep stricken, two job, no time to think let alone cook, college friends [you know who you are!]. This recipe is for you!

Let's be serious, we've all been there in some way or another. I remember taking 18 credits, working a full-time job, and having an internship my senior year. I slept, well, never. And I paid the price. My existence was based on power bars, gas station or office coffee [please cringe here!] and no sanity. I survived, which serves as definitive evidence that the human body can withstand a significant amount of torture [for a short time at least] and still somehow keep air flowing and blood moving. Now that I have graduated, held some great jobs, and am a mother, I have gotten quite a bit smarter when it comes to stress and diet [this may be an understatement now that I've admitted to my dietary doomed past and aired out that closet].

Anyway, my goal here is to provide you with a highly nutritious, allergy-friendly, cook-it-while-away meal, that is easy and husband approved [aka: picky eater approved] and to hopefully rescue you [or maybe offer a brief escape] from the insanity I dealt myself years ago.


I am sure the word "lentil" conjures up a variety of emotions. My husband generally says "Uhhh, lentils? Really?" with a scrunched up face. I've taken it upon myself to try to change his mind and, with this recipe, I think I have.

Lentils are a vital protein source, especially for vegetarians [they are 17 - 25 percent protein which is higher than most grains, eggs, and meats]. Because they cook much quicker than other beans [one hour on the stove at the most, 20 - 30 minutes if soaked first], they are more convenient than their other bean counterparts and have a more mild flavor. Lentils are easier on your digestive system than other beans and don't cause many of the unpleasant side affects that beans are famous for. Beans are especially helpful for people with diabetes as they digest slowly causing a gradual rise in blood sugar as opposed to the quick spike that commonly happens with other foods [specifically processed foods or high sugar foods]. They have a good amount of calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, and several B vitamins.


In this post I am unveiling a new "perk" I am adding to this blog. For each recipe I create from here on out [and maybe some old posts as well], I will be designating each as an "inexpensive meal [$]", a "once-in-awhile experience [$$]", or a meal "reserved for special occasions [$$$]". In the recipe index you will find a link each of the to the appropriate recipes [look for the $ sign]. Generally you will find the $ per serving at the end of each post. My hope in doing this is to show you that healthy eating doesn't need to cost a lot or take a lot of time ["time" will be upcoming]. I would love feedback on this once I get it up and running!

And here's a secret: this meal costs $1.20 per bowl or serving [assuming you are using a standard size soup bowl]. This means pair the soup with some toasted bread and you have a meal for four at under $10 and for six at under $15. Your family's or roommates' tummies will be full, you will still have cash for gas, and you won't be drained heading into your late-night homework gig.


7 cups of dried green lentils* 
2 quarts [8 cups] of vegetable broth 
1 quart [28 ounces] of stewed tomatoes, with juices 
1 heaping cup of chopped carrots [about 2 large] 
1 heaping cup of chopped celery [about 3 - 4 large stalks] 
2 large leeks or medium onions, finely chopped 
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped 
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. of ground fennel 
1 tsp. of ground cumin
1 tsp. of ground coriander
2 tsp. of Real Salt sea salt [or to taste]

*If you choose to soak the lentils [go here to find out why and for instructions], do so the night before for Options 1 and 2 or first thing in the morning if you plan to use Option 3.

Option 1 [if time is an issue - meaning you have none]:

Rinse lentils well and set aside. Wash carrots, celery, and leeks. Peel garlic. Chop into manageable chunks and throw the vegetables into a food processor [you could even use a blender, just add some of the broth to make blending easier] and chop until finely minced. Place into a Crockpot with all of the other ingredients, including the lentils. Cook 8 hours or until lentils are soft. Working in small amounts, blend half to three quarters [or as desired] of the soup in a blender for about 30 seconds [consistency should be lightly chunky but smooth] or use an immersion blender. Mix back in with the remaining soup. Serve with a slice or two of toasted bread.

Option 2 [if you have 5 - 10 minutes extra to spare]:

Follow all of the instructions for Option 1. However, saute the chopped vegetables in the olive oil for 5 - 8 minutes [or until just soft] prior to adding them to the Crockpot. Sauteing will deepen the flavor.

Option 3 [if you don't have a Crockpot]:

Follow all of the instructions for either Option 1 or Option 2 but place in a large soup pot. Bring to boil and then simmer 30 - 40 minutes or until lentils are just soft and still have their shape.

Serves approximately 12

This recipe is based on Alton Brown's Lentil Soup.