Vegan Lentil Soup- So Good!

Cravings

I made a lentil soup today that I found on cookieandkate.com. It’s delicious. Two thumbs up for this one!

Enter a caption

 

INGREDIENTS

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 large can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup brown or green lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped fresh collard greens or kale, tough ribs removed
  • Juice of ½ to 1 medium lemon, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Warm the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. One-fourth cup olive oil may seem like a lot, but it adds a lovely richness and heartiness to this nutritious soup.
  2. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chopped onion and carrot and cook, stirring often, until the onion has softened and is turning translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, curry powder and thyme. Cook until fragrant while stirring constantly, about 30 seconds. Pour in the drained diced tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes, stirring often, in order to enhance their flavor.
  3. Pour in the lentils, broth and the water. Add 1 teaspoon salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper. Raise heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then partially cover the pot and reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape.
  4. Transfer 2 cups of the soup to a blender. Protect your hand from steam with a tea towel placed over the lid and purée the soup until smooth. Pour the puréed soup back into the pot and add the chopped greens. Cook for 5 more minutes, or until the greens have softened to your liking. (FYI: I skipped the blender step due to laziness.)
  5. Remove the pot from heat and stir in the juice of half of a lemon. Taste and season with more salt, pepper and/or lemon juice until the flavors really sing. Serve immediately. Leftovers will keep well for about 4 days in the refrigerator, or can be frozen for several months (just defrost before serving).

Current Read- H is for Hawk

Culture

H is for Hawk is a beautifully written book about a falconer who loses her father and buys a Goshawk to train. All through the book she references another book about a man who is ill equipped at training his Goshawk while trying to work out his life struggles. This is an interesting, touching, and intensively descriptive book of surroundings and the English countryside. Some book are better read aloud and this is one of them.

Fresh Flower Alternative

Home

I’m a fan of fresh flower decor. However, it can be expensive. So wha-la! My latest alternative to my fresh flower dilemma. They’re feather looking branches. Although fake, I like these. They’re bold and give a feeling of nature without looking cheap.

BTW: The smaller purple flowers are Mexican Sage from my garden. Two weeks later, they’re just starting to fade. Not bad. I plan on longer cuttings and a larger vase in the future.

 

Cinnamon Vanilla Protein Balls

Cravings, Wellness

I’m so over smoothies for breakfast, especially with colder weather coming. And for whatever reason, eggs just aren’t floating my boat. I found this protein ball recipe on cottercrunch.com. A few of these with some hot tea made for a good breakfast. Per the website, each protein ball has approx. 78 calories.

  • 1 heaping TBSP ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (around 65-75grams) Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey if you are not vegan.·
  • 1/2 cup almond meal or peanut flour (you can also just finely grind raw almonds) ·
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup nut butter (creamy no stir works best)
  • 3/4 cup of gluten free quick oats or gluten free cereal of choice
  • Vanilla extract

 

  1. Grind up your oats or cereal in a food processor and transfer into a mixing bowl. This is optional. YOu can keep them whole as well and adjust the addition of honey.
  2. Add your almond meal, protein powder, cinnamon, and nut butter. Stir ingredients all together. • Add in your honey and vanilla then mix again well with hands. •
  3. You might need to add more honey or nut butter if batter gets to dry. See notes.
  4. Roll into 1-1.5 inch balls and place on cookie tray or plastic ware with parchment paper underneath.
  5. Let them freeze for 20-30 minutes then transfer into a Ziploc bag.
  6. Dust with additional cinnamon and vanilla protein if desired.
  7. keep in fridge or freezer for up to 6 weeks.

 

Pet Travel Troubles

Miscellaneous

Yesterday I flew from California to Mexico and things could not have been worse. Let me set the stage. I had two check on bags, a tote that felt like it weighed 20lbs and my furry baby Sam pictured above.

The first leg: I am blessed to have a friend I’ve nicknamed Florence *&^  Nightengale. She’s Johnny on the spot for friends in need. She took me to the airport and helped me to check in my luggage. We both realized quickly this would not be an easy trip for me having a flight layover, customs, immigration….egads. Sam and I go through security and as I unleashed her, she made a run for it. Luckily, there weren’t many people and I was able to catch her quickly. Security done, now we wait. The waiting went well with the exception of Sam being a child magnet and she can be snippy. So it’s a lot of “no, no, no” on my part. “No touching”. She succumbed to her carrier pretty easily and we boarded the plane. It was a tight squeeze under the seat, but I smooshed her in. And then realized the seat in front was broke and was at a permanent extended lounge position. Sam freaked as it smooshed her more. I tried to calm her, but the back of the chair was about 5 inches from my face. I could not reach her without leaning into the chair (and passenger) next to me to try to console her. She finally calmed down and then the babies started crying and screaming. This too set her off. Again I was unable to console her, but did my best. Thank goodness the passenger next to me was very sympathetic. Thank you passenger! The plane was completely full so trying to change seats would have been an even bigger challenge. So we had to suck it up. Then we sat for an hour before the plane even left! I was aware of every minute.

We make it off the plane, Sam a bit frantic. Next was immigration which we made it through easily. I then get my bags to go through customs. It was a bit stressful as I have to leave her on the floor in her carrier trying to find and grab my bags. One eye on the conveyer belt and one eye on her. I get a cart, load it up and proceed to the line. After waiting in the line for approximately 30 minutes, we reach the agent. She tells me I need to clear Sam in a different area. Ok, fine. I go to the “dog clearing” area. I’ve travelled with Sam a few times now and have never had an issue. Well, there’s always a first time. They would not clear her because the certification did not show she had been treated for fleas. What!!! I just Frontlined her two weeks ago, but this time they wanted to see it on the certification. The true panic sets in, not to mention the language barrier. I’m not a beginner Spanish speaker,  but in times of stress a lot of my knowledge goes out the window. I’m a mess now thinking my dog is getting quarantined. What about my next flight… am I going to have to stay in Guadalajara??? After about 30 more minutes, a man tells me there is a vet that will come and take care of this and gave me his card. I contact the vet who will come….another 30 minutes. We go into a room, he does a ridiculous exam of 10 seconds and sprays her with what must have been a flea spray, fills out the paperwork, and we give it to the agent. She then approves Sam and send me back to the customs line. The vet is with me so I can pay him. We go through customs and of course, we get pulled to the side so they can go through my bags. At this point, a man tells us I will not make my connecting flight. I’m disappointed, but it’s one less stress I guess.

After customs, the vet and I go to the check in counter of the airline to recheck my bags. She tells me I can make my flight, but I need to go quickly and directly to the gate as they are boarding now. The vet concedes his pay, but on the way we see an ATM and we bolt toward it. I get the vet paid, and Sam and I sprint to the gate making the flight. Me sweating with stress and Sam clearly traumatized from being bounced around in a carrier for hours.

In the end, we made it home. Me with the knowledge that I will NEVER travel with Sam internationally if connecting flights are happening. And I will ALWAYS be sure the American vet includes flea info on the certification. As for Sam, I’m pretty sure she needs therapy now.

Scary Movie Picks

Culture, Miscellaneous

How about watching some scary movies for Halloween. Below are a few decent, lesser known creepy movies you might not have heard of.

 

Hush. Solitary house, deaf woman, psychotic stranger. Need I say more.

The Invitation. A dinner party invitation from an ex. Just say no!

Babadook. A child and a creepy book character had me jumping in my chair.

Starry Eyes. An OCD wannabe actress who makes a deal with a perverted evil producer.

Contracted. A 20 something has a one night stand and gets way more than an STD.

Raw. A vegetarian college student tries meat for the first time and then needs more…and more…and more. (French film)

 

 

October Awesomeness

Miscellaneous

                              Autumn is my favorite season.

Here in California, the leaves are starting to change colors with crisp mornings and chilly evenings. Now I’m enjoying burying myself in blankets to sleep (even if I have to keep the window open to do it), longer walks with my 4 legged bestie, red wine, and in honor of October: scary movies.

However, in one week I will be back (thankfully) in Mexico. So, I’m enjoying what little bit of Autumn I have left.