We woke to a blanket of snow, our first real snow of the winter. Despite our colds and sinus yuck, I went out for some fresh snow and we enjoyed a little snow ice cream for a pre-breakfast snack. After a bit of sick morning lounging instead of the usual speedy routine to get ready for church, we donned our snow pants and boots and built a snowman. (Yes. We sang the song.) The cold, crisp air was refreshing for our stuffy heads.
Our afternoon was long and leisure, full of plenty of Kleenex, a few movies, and Thieves in the diffuser and lavender around our eyes to help our stuffy noses. A snowy, chilly, sick day calls for one other important thing. A pot of hot, nutritious soup! Here is the recipe for one of our favorite winter soups that I learned from my friend, Kelly.
Then I add the real goodies–1 or 2 bay leaves and a good bunch of oregano and basil–and some parsley since I had some dried. Fresh is better, but this works in a pinch. Mix it with the veggies and sauté them together for a few minutes until the veggies start to brown.
Then I add a pound of lentils and a big can of crushed tomatoes and stir those together before I add some broth–vegetable or chicken–or just water. It comes out just as delicious with water. In fact, most of the time that is what I use.
When they are cooked, add a splash of balsamic vinegar. And salt and pepper. Oh, and if you haven’t eaten all of the spinach supply in smoothies and omelets, before doing that add a good bit of chopped spinach. It doesn’t need to cook but for a few minutes. Kale might be good too, but would need to simmer a few minutes longer.
This warmed us from the inside and was good for us in general, sick or not. The girly does not care for lentils, but she did have a few bites of the broth part with some carrots. The sickest and oldest boy often insists he doesn’t like this soup. I told him I wanted him to eat a few bites. Guess who ended up eating a full serving?
I especially like it with fresh homemade bread and butter, but we have lovers of crackers crumbled in soup here too. Here is the recipe spelled out traditionally. I highly recommend it for warming you on a cold winter’s day and for helping to fight the sick germs–and just to enjoy.
Kelly’s Lentil Soup
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
oregano, basil (about 2 rounded teaspoons each; I’m not a measurer and neither is Kelly.)
1-2 bay leaves
1-2 tablespoons fresh parsley
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 bag/pound lentils
8 cups vegetable or chicken stock or water or a combination
3/4 cup spinach, chopped
splash of balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Chop and dice all vegetables but the spinach. Warm olive oil in stock pot. (This recipe will feed our family of five for about two meals. I like to double it and freeze the extra for those days that don’t go quite as planned.) Add the vegetables and sauté until the onion and celery begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the dried herbs and the parsley and continue to sauté until the vegetables begin to lightly brown. Add the lentils and tomatoes and combine. Then add the stock or water. Simmer until lentils are soft and cooked through. (This time will vary depending on the age of the lentils.) Chop spinach and add it when lentils are cooked. Simmer a few minutes longer; season with salt and pepper and add a splash of balsamic vinegar.