Friday, March 16, 2007

My Favorite Lentil Soup

Fifteen years ago, I was a young mother with a toddler and an infant, trying to figure out how to run a household, make decent meals and stay healthy. It was at a mall in Ohio that I first found Jane Brody's Good Food Book.

The Good Food Book was like an amazing textbook to me, packed full of information about whole grains, complete proteins, from-scratch dishes and delicious, healthy recipes. That book became one of the foundational components of my cooking.

At the forensics tournament today, "My Favorite Lentil Soup" was served. The children who were once toddler and infant are now 17 and 15, and they were debating their peers about issues that I'd never thought would even be a part of their world fifteen years ago. The ladies in the hospitality room really enjoyed the lentil soup, and I pointed them here.

So, Hospitality Ladies, this soup's for you.


My Favorite Lentil Soup

2 T olive oil
2 large / 3 medium onions, chopped
3 carrots, grated
3/4 t marjoram
3/4 t thyme
1 28-oz can tomatoes with juice
7 C broth
1.5 C dried lentils--rinsed and picked
1/2 t salt
1/4-1/2 t pepper
6 oz dry white wine
1/3 C fresh parsley or 2 T dried parsley flakes

Heat the oil in a soup pot with a heavy bottom. Sauté the onions, carrots, marjoram, and thyme for about 5 minutes.

Coarsely chop the tomatoes, then add them to the veggies. Add the broth and lentils. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about a half hour to 45 minutes or until lentils are tender.

Add the wine after the lentils are tender, then season to taste. You can add cheddar cheese to the top when you're done for a delicious complete protein!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Morning Glory Muffins

Years ago when we lived in a bigger city, my dad used to stop by a grocery store that carried delicious bakery items and lots of specialty foods. Every once in a while, he'd bring home a couple of HUGE muffins that were chock-full of delicious things--dates, pecans, carrots, apple, coconut--and I would absolutely dive into their moist goodness.

Now we live out in the country, quite far from any gourmet, whole food or specialty grocery stores. Our local grocer just recently began carrying imported cheeses. Up until then, there were only a couple of cheesehouses nearby that carried gruyere or gorgonzola, even though we live in the heart of cheese country. The days of my dad's gifts of gigantic muffins are gone.

The good news is that it forced me to find a recipe and make my own gargantuan muffins at home.

This recipe is very much like the one my dad used to bless me with, though it wouldn't hurt to add a half-cup of raisins, a mixture of dark and golden. Take the time to chop up these ingredients and enjoy a very substantial muffin you'll be proud of.


Morning Glory Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups grated carrots
1 1/2 cups peeled and grated apple
3/4 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly oil 18 muffin cups, or coat with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

In a second bowl, combine carrots, apples, coconut, dates and pecans. Stir in eggs, oil and vanilla. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients; stir until smooth.
Spoon or scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pans. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.


You can find more Morning Glory Muffins at