It’s Soup Time!

I am a soup-lover. I could eat one every day but, it seems to me you need to have a little bit of a chill in the air to really enjoy them – especially the hearty kind.  But then, maybe that’s just me.

I went out for a walk with the pooch Tuesday morning and you could actually hear the falling leaves landing on the frozen ground!  Alrighty then… we have just gotten a reality check! We are “Falling Back” with the clocks this coming Sunday which is a definite sign that winter is just around the corner.

Morning chill

Morning chill

That means it’s soup time!  That heart-warming, feel-good meal that I love so much. I set to work.

I was in the mood for a lentil soup so I went through a couple of my standard cookbooks, compared recipes and then finally made my own!

Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup

2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2-3 carrots, diced
2-3 stalks celery, diced, keep leaves for garnish
2-3 garlic cloves, slice or chopped
2 cups of lentils, rinsed and picked over (I use Dupuy as they keep their shape well)
Salt & pepper
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3 cups chicken stock (or veggie stock, or water)
3 cups water
1 can whole Italian tomatoes, hand-squeezed
Large bunch of kale, stem removed, and chopped

Heat olive oil in stockpot and gently sautée 1st four ingredients until soften but not browned, about 5-6 minutes. Add lentils and mix around to warm up, about 5 minutes. This allows the lentils to get coated in the mixture of oil & veggies. Sprinkle in seasoning.

Add stock and water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and gently cook, partially covered, for 20 minutes or so – the lentils must be softened but still al dente and not mushy!

Add hand-crushed tomatoes, chopped kale and leftover celery tops (if using). Bring heat up to a low boil to cook kale, verify seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a touch of wine vinegar.

Guaranteed to warm up your tummy!

‘Tis the Time of Abundance

I so love this time of year! And this year is especially good. No, not garden-wise. My garden totally sucked this year, quite frankly. Each heirloom tomato plant gave me only one or two tomatoes. All my bell peppers got eaten by slugs and bugs as did my lettuce and basil.

The only things that did do well were the kale, the rainbow chard and some of my son’s hot peppers. A disappointing yield indeed.


That said, the Farmer’s Market had LOTS of stuff!

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With this delightful bounty I have made jars and jars of salsa – surely this time hubby will not complain of not having enough to last the year! He will, of course, take exception to my giving ANY jars away to “undeserving people”. You must understand, dear reader, that no one is deserving, in his eyes. Usually a most generous fellow, he becomes quite miserly when it comes to his salsa!
This week-end I returned to the market for another 44 lbs of tomatoes… we won’t be needing jars of tomato sauce either!

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Photo 9-30-2013, 9 29 27 AM

As if I didn’t have enough to do… I went to my friend’s orchard and got bags of apples and pears which are in the process of being transformed into jellies, butters, jams…

Dear Mrs. Spider

Dear Mrs. Spider,

Let me begin my missive by telling you how much I appreciate your existence. I totally believe you have your place in this world. You do keep certain bugs away and you are a most creative creature. Your webs are works of art indeed! Depending on the light, they shimmer and shine. In the early morning due or after a light rain (not one so wild that it would destroy your oeuvre) is when your web positively sparkles! Yes indeed, you are truly appreciated.

I do, however, have issue with where you choose to weave… Must you absolutely, positively HAVE to do it right between the plants and trees I NEED to walk through to get my lovely heirloom tomatoes? Could you not choose, say, between a tree and the house, far away from the steps I must take?



Yes, yes, I know I could go through my patio doors (as I did to take the first picture above) but these doors are, quite frankly, a pain in the ass to open, especially when it is only to collect a handful of cherry tomatoes for my lunch. Plus, I usually forget they are there as the dining room is not often used in the summer.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I always saw your “abode” – but even then, I cannot pass by without having to destroy at least one side of it, which is a shame, really; you need to renovate each and every time. No, it’s those times when the sleep is still glueing my eyes shut that I just plow right through, having totally forgotten your existence that truly bother me. UGH!!!

The Only thing worse about you having to rebuild, or re-weave? The feeling of cobwebs all over my skin and hair. I then spend the next 10-15 minutes shaking my hair out and rubbing myself trying to ensure that YOU are not stuck to me as well!!!

It’s not that I’m frightened of you per se; I just don’t enjoy the sensation of having something crawling over me. You have such power over me that as I write this, I feel you all over me!

So I ask this of you, dear Mrs. Spider, when I go out later and destroy your latest creation, please do not come back to rebuild in the same place! I will do my utmost to choose a more satisfactory location; one far from us two-footed beasts, most of whom have nary a care for the serious work you do.

I do apologise in advance that I cannot save your web and do wish you a long and fruitful life doing your spidery things.

Most sincerely,