Favorite Turkey Burgers

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Last night felt like summer. The warm gentle breeze, the excitement of the BBQ being turned on, and laughter coming from the nearby houses around us, because it is that time of year again! The sun is out, the windows are open, and our worries about yesterday are not evening trespassing in our current thoughts. I love sharing meals as much as I love sharing recipes. I remember seeing this episode of Oprah when 1 was only learning to walk. I happened to glance at the special guest chef on her show and wrote this recipe down in tyrant speed. I am so grateful recipes can be shared through cyber space, because once the show was done, I had no idea how to make sure I wrote everything down right, until….ding the brilliant idea of looking on the internet sprung forth into my mid-19th century brain. I have made a couple of alterations, but needless to say, this is a no fail burger.

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My Favorite Turkey Burgers

Inspired by Oprah’s Favorite Turkey Burgers

Ingredients:
1/4 cup scallion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
1-2 organic granny smith apples, peeled and diced
1/8 cup coconut oil
2 lbs ground turkey breast
1 tablespoons salt
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
2 teaspoons Hot Sauce
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup Major Grey chutney, pureed

How To Play:

Sauté the scallions, celery and apples in the coconut oil until tender. Let cool. Place the ground turkey in a large mixing bowl. Add sautéed items and the remaining ingredients. Shape into eight 8-ounce burgers. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Season the turkey burgers with salt and pepper. Place on a preheated, lightly oiled grill. Grill each side for 7 minutes until meat is thoroughly cooked. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Dress and serve with:

Garlic Aioli, cut up avocado, chopped cherry tomatoes, a slice of Provolone, fresh spinach, sliced pickles, and sautéed onions on a fresh open faced Kaiser bun. Nothing goes better with a burger than seasoned potato wedges and Caesar Salad. This summer time dinner is a favorite, and what goes great with a good meal? Great company.

Enjoy.

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Roasted Beet Avocado Salad

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This was a great post workout meal. Tasty, zangy, roasted beet sweetness with a calming avocado coolness. This recipe is from Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook “It’s All Good.” Indeed, this salad was just that.

Roasted Beet Avocado Salad

Ingredients:
For Dressing:
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard 
3 Tbsp White wine vinegar
2/3 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Cracked Pepper

For Salad:
1 pound roasted beets, peeled, roughly chopped
1-2 avocados, peeled and pitted
3 scallions

How To Play:
Wash 2 – 3 beets then and wrap in foil, and roast for 40-60 minutes at 425 degrees, until tender. Once cool, peel and chop. Add avocado and scallions. Mix all the dressing ingredients in a jar with a lid. Shake really good and pour liberally over the salad. Enjoy!

30 Day Challenge: Day 11

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Day: 11

Since Sean has been out of town, this little challenge has been challenging me in more ways than one. I have been finding it difficult to find time to write, time to eat, time to think, and time to work out, because there are so many different things happening in the day! By the time night rolls into town, I want to head to bed with the kids. Last night while they were eating their leftover chicken paprikash and dumplings, I ate Gwyneth Paltrow’s Millet and Chickpea Falafels and Tomato Avocado Salsa. I had it again today for lunch. SO GOOD! I have been happy with the results of my restricted eating compared to when I just ate chocolate whenever I wanted. My tight pants are beginning to feel slightly normal again, Phewie! It is amazing how after one week of strictness, our bodies are able to adjust to the sudden changes halfway into the second week. I am looking forward to Sean’s return and for my return back to spin class, also for the use of his phone so I can take photos of my meals. Oh trashed camera…how I miss thee. I can just imagine a few friends under their breath saying, “Well, if you would just get your own phone….” Any ways….that is not going to happen, but what is going to happen is 19 more days of this challenge and a possible weigh in, but scales scare me, so truly doubt it.

Green Chickpea Medley.

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Being from the coast, I remember countless times of being at my grandparents’ house, a house situated right on the beach, and my parents taking their aluminum motor boat out into the depths of the West Coast sea. My sister, grandparents, cousins and all the rest of the family, would sit around the bonfire telling stories. I was quite young, so probably didn’t make for an interesting conversation piece, but never will I forget my foot being scorched by an ember from the fire that was hidden underneath all the ash. My uncle came to the rescue by pouring his cold beer all over my 5 year old foot. My grandma would often collect oysters along the shore and fry them up for the next evening’s dinner. If mom and dad caught a salmon, then it would be there for dinner time as well, with new baby potatoes from grandma’s garden, along with some beans, and last but not least ketchup for Papa. A Vancouver Island dinner, a true living off the land and sea kind of meal. Well, this dinner isn’t so much a Mountain man experience, but Sean did catch the fish I used to go along with this meal, from the West Coast of Vancouver Island this summer. I baked salmon with a smudge of mayonnaise, squirt of lemon juice, a dash of dill, salt and pepper, and a drizzle of grapeseed oil. This is a wonderful dish for a BBQ, a luncheon, or as a simple side platter rested upon fresh cut tomatoes. The Chickpea Medley is from Oh She Glows. When I make this, I find myself eating it for lunch, dinner and then lunch again for the next day. I also prefer parsley over cilantro, but either way, it is super yum.

Green Chickpea Medley

(Oh She Glows)

Ingredients:

For the chickpea medley:

2 cups dried/uncooked chickpeas (makes 5.5-6 cups cooked)

1 (5-ounce) package baby spinach

1.5 cups cilantro, large stems removed (or parsley)

3/4 cup red onion, chopped finely

For the dressing:

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)

3/4 tsp kosher salt + ground pepper

How To Play:

1. To cook chickpeas: Soak 2 cups dried chickpeas in a large bowl of water overnight. Drain and rinse the beans in the morning and add to a large pot of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, uncovered, until fork tender, about 40 minutes

2. Rinse and drain the spinach and cilantro (or parsley). Spin until dry in a salad spinner.

3. In a food processor, add the spinach and cilantro and pulse until chopped very small. Add the processed spinach and cilantro, drained cooked chickpeas, and chopped onion into a large bowl and stir.

4. In a small jar, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, minced garlic, cumin, maple syrup, and salt.

5. Pour the dressing on top of the spinach chickpea mixture and stir well. Let stand for about 10 minutes (or overnight) to let the flavors develop.

Enjoy.

Rebar Caesar Salad With Homemade Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets

Sometimes it gets incredibly boring making dinner, right? Over the summer, Sean told me how I was slipping. Not the kind of words you want to hear when you are one who likes to take dinner, or any meal at that, seriously. Was I slipping? Not really. What is wrong with protein shakes and cereal? Ok, ok,  I was super BORED!  I admit it and yes, dinners were kind of the last thing I was really thinking about. Last week, however, I was able to visit my favorite restaurant in Victoria, Rebar. Inspiration has once again come forth. I love Rebar and my Rebar cookbook. It has been sitting on the shelf way too long. So here we go. Here is a new staple dinner for us. So long protein shakes and cereal, we will just be seeing in the morning now.

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Rebar Caesar Salad

(inspired by Rebar)

Ingredients:

1 bulb roasted garlic (see below)
juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp capers
1 Tbsp caper juice
1 1/2 Tsp Dijon Mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 Tsp salt
1/4 Tsp cracked pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup olive oil (I used less)
extra Parmesan cheese for garnish

How To Play:
Combine all of the ingredients, except oil, in a blender or food processor and blend. Add olive oil in a slow, thin stream. Correct seasoning to taste.
Serve, toss the dressing with washed , dried and torn romaine lettuce, or any one you fancy, add fresh croutons, garnished with Parmesan, fresh cracked pepper and lemon wedges.

Whole Roasted Roasted Garlic:

Ingredients:
2 garlic bulbs
2 tsp olive oil
pinch of salt
pinch of cracked pepper

How To Play:
Preheat oven to 400. Using a sharp knife, slice the top off the garlic bulb, just enough to expose the tops of the garlic flesh. Center each bulb on a square piece of aluminium foil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap the bulbs securely and pop them into the oven.
After 45 minutes, test the bulbs by slipping the sharp point of a paring knife into one of the cloves. If is slides effortlessly or the bulbs are starting to poke out of their skins, then the garlic is ready to serve.

Homemade Chicken Nuggets:

Ingredients:
Boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in chunks
1 cup brown rice GF cereal, blended finely
dash or two of paprika
2-3 Tbsp parsley, chopped
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese
salt and cracked pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp Flax Meal
1/4 cup almond milk
Grapeseed oil for frying

How To Play:
Make the crumb coating by mixing blended cereal, spices, and parsley and cheese, place in bowl. In separate bowl, combine flax and almond milk, stir and let sit for a few minutes. Dip raw chicken pieces in flax “eggs” and then dip into crumbs. Place on a heated skillet and fry away until no longer pink in the center.

Enjoy!

Holy Gluten Free Batman!

Falafal and tahini sauce

It is hot. I mean, it is a warmer for us in the Northwest. Sheesh! I worked out in the basement in slow motion, due to fear of overheating. Overheating or overeating? Seriously, these last few days have been brutal. Chocolate has never seemed to taste so good in the 34 years of my existence. Eight weeks ago, I was rear-ended in my friend’s car. I have been very diligent in eating as one should who has been rear-ended and can’t partake in daily activities, but I am concerned something was knocked in my brain. My taste-bud sensies have been magnified. My husband made mention the other day I had not posted a post in some time. This baffled me, because I was certain it had been a couple of weeks ago. So much has been going on. I found two gray hairs in 2’s hair which through me off to the max. I took him to my natural path and discovered he has allergies to wheat, gluten, and dairy. More and more I am meeting those with the same allergies, my sister included. So the whirlwind of transforming my meals has been a bit intense. So sad about not baking with spelt or kamut, but learning the ropes with brown rice and coconut flours. It has been 2 weeks and we have noticed such a difference in 2’s countenance and alertness. It used to be when he would wake up in the morning he would sit on the couch with his blankee and tell us in a low voice, “I’m hungry.” He would just sit there quiet. Now he is up and at ’em. Preparing his own breakfast, running around the house dressed as batman, spiderman, or superman. He is climbing, jumping, and kung foo-ing. He is being a boy, I guess, but seriously, we had no idea this was in him. He had always been the quiet, not so active, super chill little kid with a soft little voice. Needless to say it has been pretty cool to see the transformation. In times past, I used to make one meal for me and one dish for the family, but now it is pretty much revolving around 2’s needs, which is crummy for Sean, but such a breeze for me. One meal deals and two big choices…to eat or not to eat? That is the question.
This is a meal I have been craving. I made it with the tahini sauce recommended and served it with cucumber and fresh spinach leaves. It was delish.

Scrumptious Falafels

Inspired by: The Shiksa

Ingredients:
1 pound (about 2 cups) dry chickpeas/garbanzo beans
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3-5 cloves garlic (I prefer roasted)
1 1/2 tbsp flour, or brown rice flour
1 3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Pinch of ground cardamom
Vegetable oil for frying (grapeseed, canola, and peanut oil work well)

How To Play:
Pour the chickpeas into a large bowl and cover them by about 3 inches of cold water. Let them soak overnight. They will double in size as they soak – you will have between 4 and 5 cups of beans after soaking.Pulse all ingredients together until a rough, coarse meal forms. Scrape the sides of the processor periodically and push the mixture down the sides. Process till the mixture is somewhere between the texture of couscous and a paste. You want the mixture to hold together, and a more paste-like consistency will help with that… but don’t overprocess, you don’t want it turning into hummus!Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
Fill a skillet with vegetable oil to a depth of 1 ½ inches. I prefer to use cooking oil with a high smoke point, like grapeseed. Heat the oil slowly over medium heat. Meanwhile, form falafel mixture into round balls or slider-shaped patties using wet hands or a falafel scoop. I used about 2 tbsp of mixture per falafel. You can make them smaller or larger depending on your personal preference. The balls will stick together loosely at first, but will bind nicely once they begin to fry.
Note: if the balls won’t hold together, place the mixture back in the processor again and continue processing to make it more paste-like. Keep in mind that the balls will be delicate at first; if you can get them into the hot oil, they will bind together and stick. If they still won’t hold together, you can try adding 2-3 tbsp of flour to the mixture. If they still won’t hold, add 1-2 eggs to the mix. This should fix any issues you are having. When the oil is at the right temperature, it will take 2-3 minutes per side to brown (5-6 minutes total). If it browns faster than that, your oil is too hot and your falafels will not be fully cooked in the center. Cool the oil down slightly and try again. When the oil is at the right temperature, fry the falafels in batches of 5-6 at a time till golden brown on both sides.Let them drain on paper towels. Serve the falafels fresh and hot; they go best with a plate of hummus and topped with creamy tahini sauce. You can also stuff them into a pita.

Tahini Sauce
INGREDIENTS
1 cup tahini sesame seed paste
3/4 cup water, or more for consistency
3 cloves raw garlic (or 5 cloves roasted garlic)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
1/4 tsp salt (or more to taste)
2 tsp fresh parsley, minced (optional)

How To Play:
Grind tahini paste, water, lemon juice and garlic together in a food processor or blender till sauce is creamy and ivory-colored. Pause blending and use a long-handled spoon to break up the thick part of the sauce once every 30 seconds; this will keep it from clogging your processor or blender blades. After a few minutes of blending, sauce will turn into a rich, smooth paste. If mixture is too thick, slowly add more water until it reaches the preferred consistency. If using tahini to top hummus or a meat dish, keep it thick and creamy. As a condiment for pita or falafel, a more liquid sauce is usually preferred. Taste often during the blending process; add more lemon juice or salt, if desired.
When you’re happy with the sauce’s flavor and consistency, pour it into a bowl. Stir in parsley (optional) till well combined, or garnish sauce with fresh parsley on top.

Enjoy!

February to April 139

A picture of batman and robin with their new special power foods.

Doing Valentine’s Mexican Style in a Canadian sorta way….

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Oh Man! Bonnie Tyler may have sung, “I need a hero,” but I need a breather! I am actually listening to her as I type and it is pretty intense. A whopping 19 million others have clicked onto this video. I can’t even begin to imagine who they are, but I am sure they are all pretty cool. Happy Valentine’s! I don’t need a superman to sweep me off my feet, but I do need someone to rub them…Sean? He is actually out right now with a dear old friend he has not seen in probably 3 years, but my feet will await, slippers off with great anticipation. Today was a radically fun and dazey day. Sweet friends Ashley and Shaun would understand. We had a quite an evening last night, one in which records were played and talks of God, life, marriage, and pasts. We were all stunned and half asleep when we peered at the time and it whispered 2 AM. Wow. So, needless to say, I don’t have a clue what I packed in 1’s lunch this morning. I don’t know how I even got dressed, but life as a mom is not about standing around and asking questions, it is about getting the things that need to get done, done. I know she went to school with a lunch, what it had in it, I do not recall. Boys 2 and 3 had their haircuts late this afternoon, and as we left the salon, Sean asked what was for dinner. As I glanced at the clock in our car shouting 5 pm, I determined and willed for a spicy warm Mexican Valentine’s Dinner. Mmmmmm. I have been craving this for a week. Unfortunately my organic avocados couldn’t hang in there, so we did without them, but the meal was scrumptious none the less. We had 3 Cheese Nachos, Black Bean and Red Quinoa Salad, and cheesy refried beans!

Three Cheese Nachos

Ingredients:
Favorite Taco Chips
1 or 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and seasoned (we used Trader Joe’s Taco Seasoning)
1 Red Pepper, cut in rings
1/2 Red onion, cut in rings
1/4 cup Cilantro, roughly chopped
1 cup Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
Salsa, optinal, on the side
Sour Cream, optional, on the side
Guacamole, optional, on the side

How To Play:
Turn oven on to Broil. Spread the taco chips evenly in a large 9 X 12 baking dish. Layer with shredded cooked chicken, peppers, onions, and cheeses. Top with chopped Cilantro. Place in hot oven for 5-10 minutes, checking often to make sure the taco chips don’t burn, but cheese is melted, perhaps even bubbling. I do realize that this may be a lot of cheese, we, or perhaps it is more so me, loves cheese, so please tweak the ingredients to your preference!

Serve with refried beans (heated with shredded cheese and salt), salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and Black Bean Red Quinoa Salad.

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Enjoy.

Living the life we choose

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Because I am so awesome with keeping up with things…I was pleasantly surprised to come across this re-vitalizing salad I made the other month, which never made it to the cyber side of this life. It has been so busy. We all, in this day in age, are busy, I get that. Within the business of life, I am beginning to see how it could be so easy to choose a bag of potato chips, down a few tim-bits, pop a burrito in the microwave, or just order in, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. Please know I am not complaining, I am stating the obvious, I live the life I choose. So, yea, it might take a bit more time, more prep, more organization, less time watching the Bachelor (yay for PVR), and so forth, however in the long run, I rather this colorful concoction of beauty over a bag of potato chippers any day, come on, grains, seeds, beans, and leaves, it does the body good, in more ways than one!

Adzuki Bean & Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

From Oh She Glows

Ingredients:
For the tabbouleh (makes 5.5-6 cups):

1/2 cup dry adzuki beans (or use 1.5 cups cooked beans)*
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa (makes 2.5 cups cooked)
1 cup packed fresh parsley, thick stems removed and minced
1/2 cup packed fresh Cilantro, thick stems removed and minced
2 small tomatoes, chopped (makes 1 & 1/4 cups)
3 large green onions, chopped
Herbamare or fine grain sea salt & black pepper, to taste

For the dressing (makes 2/3 cup):

1/3 cup + (1 tbsp, optional) red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
Herbamare/fine grain sea salt & ground pepper, to taste
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

How To Play:
1. Adzuki beans: Soak the dry beans overnight in water. After soaking, drain and rinse the beans and then place back into the pot with new water, covering the beans with water by about 2-3 inches. Bring water to a boil and then reduce heat to low-medium, simmering for about 35-45 minutes. Watch closely and add more water if necessary. Alternatively, you can use canned beans for a time-saver.

2. Sweet potato: Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice a sweet potato into 1cm rounds. Lay flat on baking sheet at bake for about 15 minutes each side, watching closely so it doesn’t burn.

3. Quinoa: Add 3/4 cup of dry quinoa and about 1 & 1/4 cups water in a medium-sized pot. Stir. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and cover with lid, simmering for about 15-20 minutes and watching closely. Quinoa will be light and fluffy when ready and the water will be absorbed.

4. Dressing: Whisk together all dressing ingredients and season to taste. Or feel free to use a mini processor if you have one.

5. Tabbouleh: Combine the drained & cooked beans, quinoa, and chopped vegetables in a large bowl. Pour on the entire amount of dressing and stir well. Season to taste. Makes about 5.5-6 cups and should keep for at least a few days in the fridge.

6. To assemble the salad: Add 1 cup shredded kale onto a plate or large bowl. Spoon on 1.5 cups of tabbouleh on top. Garnish with goji berries, pepita and hemp seeds, and a handful of sprouts (all optional). Finally, add the grilled or baked sweet potato rounds on the side.

Enjoy.

For Lizzie, It’s Amore

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“When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore” Ok, so these lyrics have never really made sense to me, but I can see Cher and Nicholas Cage in Moonstruck, with his wooden hand making pizzas, a big sweaty mess, and Cher with her absolute coolness, being well, Cher. I used to love that movie. I just realized that it is kind of an odd movie to like when one is 8, perhaps it was just the song, It’s Amore, by Dean Martin, that stood out to me the most. There is something about Pizza. I love it. I loved my mom’s homemade pizza growing up. When we lived in Europe, there was not a word to describe the thrill my taste buds endured. Absolute wonder. I am excited to share a pizza dough recipe that was introduced to me when I visited my lovely friend Renata and her family in the state of WA. This recipe is from a blog called Not Without Salt. I find making this dough therapeutic. The kids love watching the process as well, especially when it rises and we poof it down. There is an atmosphere of begging, “Can I touch the dough, can I touch the dough.” Seriously, it is the most exciting thing for them. The most freeing thing is, is that you can top the pizza however you like. I am still on my radicchio and truffle oil kick, but the kids love these different types of toppings:
mozzarella cheese with ricotta and Parmesan
mozzarella cheese with pizza pepperoni
mozzarella cheese with ham and pineapple
and then there is me with spinach,feta, peppers, mozzarella cheese, and radicchio in there somewhere…
But for all who are in great need of a snazzy pizza dough, I truly hope this helps in some way, I have been so pleased with it.

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The Greatest Pizza Dough I Know

From Not Without Salt

Pizza Dough
makes enough for 3 or 4 pizza

4 cups all purpose flour (1 lb 4 oz.)
1 T salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 cups water, room temperature
Additional flour, for dusting.

Combine flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 2 cups of room temperature water, then mix on low speed using dough hook until dough binds, about 1 minute, adding more water as necessary. Let rest for 5 minutes. Knead on second-lowest setting for 5 to 7 minutes, until dough pulls away from the bowl and forms a smooth ball. (I don’t have a stand mixer, I just use a wooden spoon.)
Turn out onto a floured surface, knead and form into a ball, then let rest in a bowl for 3 to 4 hours.

By this point the dough should have doubled in size. Punch down and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge overnight. It is possible to use this dough the same day with great results although the long rest in the fridge improves the texture and becomes much easier to stretch.

Take it out of the fridge two hours before you want to eat dinner and let rest on counter. After approximately 90 minutes, turn out the dough onto a floured surface and cut into 4 8-ounce pieces. Fold and knead each three or four times until it forms a smooth ball. Let rest/rise for 30 minutes.Working with one ball at a time, using your hands, slowly stretch the dough to your desired size leaving a bit of a crust around the outer edge. If the dough becomes tight and hard to work with, let it rest for a few minutes while you move on to the next ball of dough. Sometimes the dough just needs a moment to relax. Preheat your oven for at least 45 minutes with a pizza stone inside, to 485 – 550 degrees. Create 12” round using your dough. We then place it on a floured piece of parchment paper, place it on the stone or baking sheet, cook for 6-8 minutes until cheese is bubbling and the crust is to your liking.

Enjoy.

Greek Red Lentil

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I was first introduced to this soup 4 years ago. I was 6 months pregnant with 2 when I traveled to Calgary in early December of 2008 to visit with my good friends Sarah and Brian. It is hard to believe that we have been friends since TWU days, which seem like just a couple of years ago. Truthfully it does not at all feel like 12 years have gone by that fast. We used to laugh when I would pick her up in my dad’s massive Ford truck with my hair out of control and No Doubt’s ‘Hella Good’ blaring as we would enter the school grounds, slowly going over the zillion speed bumps. We reminded ourselves of Janey and Lynne from the 1985 most awesomeness movie ever, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Anyways, back to the soup. On a beautiful crisp winter day, Sarah made this soup for dinner and it was just so yum. I love to serve it with really fancy loaf. I had good intentions of picking one up this evening, but decided the sourdough bread in the freezer would be just fine, and it was.

Greek Red Lentil with Lemon, Rosemary, and Feta Cheese

Inspired by Rebar

Ingredients:
2 cups red lentils
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion diced
2 tsp salt
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, diced
1 tsp cracked pepper
1/4 tsp red chile flakes
1 tbsp minced rosemary
2 tbsp minced oregano
2 bay leaves
8 cups (2 litres) vegetable stock (I used organic chicken stock)
zest 1/2 lemon
juice of 2 lemons
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tsp minced rosemary
cracked pepper to taste

How To Play:
Rinse lentils thorough in a colander under cold running water. Set aside to drain. Heat oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat and saute onion with 1 tsp salt until translucent. Add garlic, carrot, pepper, chiles, herbs, bay leaves and remaining salt. Stir well and saute until the carrots are just tender. Add rinsed lentils and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the lentils are soft and falling apart. If you like, the soup can be pureed or left as is. If you choose to puree, remove the bay leaves first.
Season the soup with lemon zest, lemon juice and more salt and pepper to taste. Before serving, stir together the feta cheese, rosemary and pepper. Sprinkle over hot bowls of soup and enjoy.