Saturday, July 21, 2007

Lentil Soup in the summertime!

I've been attempting to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my daily diet. It takes quite a lot of thought unless.....when life gives you lentils, you make lentil soup.

I know it has been brutally hot outside (above 90 every day + humidity)and the thought of soup may not appeal to everyone. Too lazy to run to the food market, I perused my pantry. A bag of lentils, a trip to, and a recipe where I had all but one ingredient on hand. Not too bad, eh?
Whatever the season, soup seems to warm the soul. The lentil soup cooked for a few hours instead of the 1 hour they suggested. I needed to get the spinach, the only ingredient missing for the soup. If you print the recipe, please add: a few tablespoons of VOGUE CUISINE powdered vegetable bouillon. I guess you could use vegetable stock instead but that was an afterthough.Suffice it to say, the lentil soup was delicious. Today, I had some and added another great find to make it scrumptious....The Gluten Free Pantry came out with olive oil and garlic croutons....crunchy and yummy.

I know that quick and easy recipes are the key, especially when we want to add veggies...this recipe includes carrots, celery, tomatoes, and spinach! Enjoy!\

Lentil Soup ( by Marie)

1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 (14.5 oz.)can crushed tomatoes (I USED DICED)
2 cups dry lentils
8 cups water
1/2 cup spinach, rinsed and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons vinegar (I USED WHITE)
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery; cook and stir until onion is tender. Stir in garlic, bay leaf, oregano, and basil. Cook for two minutes.
Stir in lentils, and add water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for at least 1 hour. When ready to serve, stir in spinach, and cook until it wilts. Stir in vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper, and more vinegar if desired.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A Soulful Retreat!

I just returned from spending 5 days with my sister, Ellen ( in Worcester, Massachusetts. Our visit together was truly one full of "sisterly love." People sometimes say that they wouldn't choose members of their family as friends. I disagree! Ellen and I are bound by family first, friendship second. We spent 5 glorious days laughing, cooking, eating, and shopping. (We love T.J. Maxx, Homegoods, etc.)

When I got off the plane we drove to downtown Boston to meet my niece for lunch. We went to Wagamamas, an asian restaurant with a gf menu. There is another one in London as well. I enjoyed a stir-fry rice with tofu dish that was yummy. Kudos for Wagamamas for accomodating us.

We stopped at the market to pick up all sorts of ingredients to cook. I wish we had Trader Joe's in Florida...I've got a bad case of Trader Joe's envy! During my stay we made fresh almond milk, museli, tofu stir fry, french rolls, fresh vegetable juice and more. Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables definitely improved my digestion...take my word on that!
My brother-in-law, Peter, filmed us making almond milk and museli for youtube. It's hilarious. Go to and type in Ellen Allard. Ellen said that I had my teacher hat on and was way too conservative. But, we had fun!

I came home Monday evening, restored. Ellen restored my faith in myself. We all need reminders to keep us on track. Like I told her when she was diagnosed, "this isn't a death sentence." Thanks to my gf blogging community I have EMBRACED my celiac. I got "juiced," literally and figuratively. My body and soul received nourishment for 5 days...what a gift.

When I awoke Tuesday morning I went to Tunies (health food market), the asian market, and Whole Foods. I stocked up on some essentials I'd learned about from Ellen. I made my own museli, made hummus from raw chickpeas, and made raisin scones. For dinner I made stir-fried tofu. Ellen's tip: I coated the tofu with cornstarch, giving it a hard outside. I used Agave Syrup to sweeten the dish, another Ellen's tip! The recipe for the scones is from Bob's Red Mill. The dough is VERY sticky so I put the sorghum flour on my hands as I flattened it onto the baking sheet. This morning, I put a piece in the toaster oven, added some Earth Balance, and was in Planet Celiac heaven.
Last night, I went to the Palm Beach Celiac Support Group meeting. Lisa, Gluten Free Vegan, lives close to me and invited me to join. I was so happy to meet her and enjoyed the meeting. Next February, thanks to Lisa's efforts, we are having a vendor fair, the first in Florida. Something to look forward to! I learned that the fundraising efforts of the support group sent 80 children to gf summer camp. WOW! How inspiring! Thank you Lisa, for opening up another door for me.

A soulful retreat...sounds good doesn't it? If you live in South Florida and are interested in a cooking retreat, please let me know. I'd love to share experiences as we cook away the day! As for my sister Ellen, THANK YOU, for inspiring me to fully embrace my Celiac Disease. Thanks for sharing your gf kitchen with me, for laughing till it hurt! You are the best and I love you.