Thursday, February 15, 2007

Lentils, Pizza, 5 Things

My husband's grandmother lives alone and is close to 90. He visits her every Thursday, so today, I sent along some of the Lentil Soup I made. This soup was a little milder than I usually make, because she doesn't like spicy foods, but it was still delicious and a nice change of pace for us. Mine is usually full of dried red peppers and a lot of black pepper. Here's how I made this batch:

Lentil Soup
4-6 servings

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 /2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp coriander
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
1 lb lentils, rinsed and sorted
2 cups tomato puree
6 cups water or veg stock (more if needed)
2 veggie cubes
1/2 capful liquid smoke
splash dry sherry (optional) or splash balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp hoisin sauce or dark soy sauce
2 oz soup pasta or barley
1 tbsp fresh thyme
salt/pepper to taste

In a large, heavy bottomed soup pot add olive oil, spices and garlic. Slowly, bring up to a medium heat, making sure you don't burn the garlic. When the garlic is very fragrant, add the onion and carrots and a pinch of salt. Stir to coat with the garlic/spice mixture, then add either a splash of sherry, or balsamic vinegar (or water or stock). Cook the onion/carrot mixture for several minutes, then turn the heat up to medium high and add the lentils, liquid smoke and stock. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat to med-low, and cover. Simmer until the lentils are tender (around 30 minutes), then add the tomato puree and more water if needed. Turn heat back up, uncover and when it is boiling, add the soup pasta. Turn off heat, cover for 20 minutes. Add the hoisin or soy sauce, taste for seasoning and add fresh thyme before serving. It would also be very good with an extra tbsp of extra virgin olive oil drizzed on top.

We finally got some snow up here in New Hampshire! It is still bitterly cold, which drives me nuts. I reminds me of my winters growing up in Iowa. brrrrr..

I decided pizza was in order, so I made the dough the night before and let it rise slowly in the fridge for 18 hours or so. The crust was made with a mixture of white whole wheat flour and all purpose flour. My pizza was made soycheese (containing caesin) and the rest of the pizza had dairy cheese. The pictures pizza is the dairy pizza. My batteries were dying, so my pizza was too blurry to post. My pizza was topped with peppers, mushrooms, onions, jalapenos, spinach, artichokes and fresh garlic. The entire medium pizza only had 20 WW points. I ate 1/2 of it along with a salad with low fat balsamic dressing.
I've been tagged by Vanessa and Dori to answer the 5 Things About Me:
1. One of my best friends had her baby in my car. It was around 1am on a cold, November night in Iowa. I was driving her to the hospital and we didn't make it. I have always wanted to be a midwife (I've even gone to Midwifery School, but didn't finish).. When he was born into my hands in the pitch black, I KNEW that I had done this before and it was my calling. It felt 100% natural and normal and just RIGHT. I am a firm believer in Natural Childbirth, Homebirth and Breastfeeding.
2. I had my first child at 19 and my second at 21. I have definitely "grown up" with my children.
3. As a young teen, I was in foster care. I lived on a turkey farm. When the baby turkeys were delivered, I used to go into the huge houses and sing to them. They would all stop chirping when I would sing. It made me sick to see the conditions they were living in as they grew. They literally were on top of each other and dead turkeys were all around. I never got used to the sight of dead turkeys hanging upside down in our basement after my foster mom butchered them.
4. I grew up in an Eastern Indian "cult". Transcendental Meditation. Many people have heard of it, and know of it because the Beatles were into it briefly. It is a total cult and I have nothing good to say about it. We lived on campus in a dorm like setting and I was schooled for many years within their cult system. I always questioned it, while everyone around me was totally brainwashed.
5. Martin Luther King Jr is my hero. When I was a little girl, I spent years reading everything possible about him and his family.


  1. Soup and pizza, the perfect comfort foods!

    What an interesting life you have led. I think your admiration of Dr. King and his teachings helped you thru the rough spots. I love that you sang to the turkeys and they responded.

  2. Mmmmm...soup is hitting the spot lately!

    Very interesting 5 things, thanks for sharing.


  3. Food is lookin' G-O-O-D, Mel!!!

  4. The soup and pizza look yummy! I enjoyed reading the little tid-bits about your life :)

  5. Dear Melody - I celebrate you! You're history has been a difficult one, filled with cruelty and brainwashed blindness, and you have responded with loving kindness, compassion, and generosity. I'm so proud to "know" you. You are an inspiration!

  6. wow very interesting life. thanks for share that with us!

  7. How amazing that you delivered your friends baby! that is the best!

    I saved your recipe for soup. I am definitely going to be making it!

  8. I'm glad you played. I know the area you said you lived in in Iowa and the levitating beliefs, etc that they have. I think it's neat you liked Martin Luther King, an amazing visionary. Rough times can make us stronger and more firm in our beliefs is we let them, it appears you have. Great food!

  9. You soup looks and sounds fantastic. I love pizza and after going vegan I have decided that my favorite pizza is cheeseless roasted veggie. It is amazing how you can taste all the veggies and fresh hot bread when the cheese is not there.

    I too had my first baby at 19 and second at 21. I have enjoyed growing up with them.

  10. Melody, your lentil soup (well, and all your food, as always,) sounds fabulous! Now I'm hungry for lentil soup . . . !!!

    Singing to turkeys . . . how sweet. And your other four things . . . I agree with everyone else's comments -- what an interesting life! I don't think I could come up with five things half as unique. :)

  11. mm..that soup looks so good. I love lentil soup

  12. The lentil soup looks great! When I lived in Michigan, I used to make food for my grandma (she's 95).

    Wow, you've sure had some interesting things happen to you....that's wild your friend had her baby in your car! Nice to learn a little more about you :)

  13. How neat to learn all of those interesting things about you! I find that I'm also growing up with my daughter (I was 21 when she was born).

    I'm going to try the soup soon! I might even make it for the potluck we're hosting at our home this Sunday for the Pgh Vegan Meetup Group.

    I'm going to add you as a link on my blog - hope that's ok!

  14. What a rich and interesting history. I love learning more about people and am so glad you shared this with us. I think that it is a true testiment to your spirit that through all the difficulty and adversity you were able to rise above it and become the wonderful person you are today.

  15. Your soup looks amazing and is very close to the soup my mom makes (minus the bacon fat!). I'll have to try your version.

    It was interesting to read your five things. Recently, I've been thinking that there are two types of people: those who rise above the pain or trauma of their upbringing to become successful sane individuals and those who wallow in pity and bitterness because of their family or childhood. From reading your posts, you appear to have survived your past and risen above any trauma you may have endured. (Note: I'm sure there are people whose childhoods were sane but I haven't met any of those people - lol).