Greek Red Lentil

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

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.

Carrot Coconut Cake

Hello October 27, what happened to the last 25 days since I last visited my own blog? Can time really go this fast? Obviously, because here I am. After a great time in Tacoma visiting sweet dear old friends from TWU, to experiencing a dramatic life changing conference in Victoria, here I am, to tackle the cyber world of our generation.
Tomorrow we are having church guests over to get to know the pastors, it is going to be fun. I have been preparing all day for the event. Thanks to the inspiration from Renata, my TWU life friend, we are having Broccoli cheddar soup, homemade bread, sun-dried tomatoes, a variety of cheese, salami, and green olives- sorry Joelle, I just can’t do pickles! My sister and pickles, seriously that is a blog within itself. For dessert, well Lizzie, I may sneak a piece over for you, we are having Rebar’s Carrot Coconut Cake. This is Sean’s absolute favorite.  It is what I am to bake for every one of his birthdays.  When we are in our 80’s, I will be baking this with my eyes closed.

Carrot Coconut Cake with cream cheese-white chocolate icing

Inspired by Rebar

1 1/2- 2 cups grated carrots
3/4 cup crushed pineapple
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped dates
3/4 cup vegetable oil (or grapeseed oil)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
3 free range eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder, aluminum free
1 tsp baking soda, aluminum free
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice

9 oz Philadelphia cream cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
3 oz white chocolate
3 cups icing sugar

This recipe adapts well to making cupcakes or a 9×13″ slab cake-which I did tonight for our church group tomorrow, but on normal occasions, I use the two 8″ round pans.

How To Play:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8″ round cake pans and set aside. Combine grated carrot, pineapple, coconut, dates, and walnuts in a large bowl. In a mixing bowl, beat the sugars with the eggs. Stir in the vanilla and whip on high until the volume has tripled. On low, pour the oil in slowly to blend well.
Combine the remaining dry ingredients and gently stir into the egg mix. Fold in the carrot mixture. Divide the batter among the cake pans and smooth the tops. Bake 30 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
While the cakes cool, prepare the frosting. Beat cream cheese on high until smooth and fluffy. Lightly blend in vanilla and butter. Melt white chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat. Add hot melted chocolate to the cream cheese mixture. Slowly add icing sugar, stopping to scrape down the sides now and then. Beat on high until all the sugar is well incorporated and the frosting is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Spread bottom layer with one third of the frosting, smoothing it evenly to the edges. Chill 10 minutes. Place the top cake layer on and frost the top and sides as you like. Garnish with toasted coconut, walnuts, and or a decorative piped border. Store refrigerated where it will keep well for up to 4 days.