I adore spinach and lentils! A perfect soup for a snowy winter day. Not only is it easy, but also it is healthy. It’s the ultimate comfort food in my book!
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/2 cups dried red lentils (brown can be used as well)
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 litres vegetable stock
1 bunch baby spinach, washed and coarsely chopped
1 lemon juiced
finely grated lemon zest to taste
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until soft. Add carrots and sauté for another 3 minutes. Add lentils and stock. Bring to the boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, for 25 minutes or until lentils are tender. Remove from heat. Add spinach, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Stir until well combined. Ladle into bowls. Top with lemon zest. Serves 6
I am so not that good with using a computer to run my business.
It's that time of year again. Time to close out the 2009 financials and organize all the files so we can file the taxes. It's not my favorite thing to do. Oddly, it's not my LEAST favorite thing to do - that distinction goes to cleaning up all of the bits and pieces out of a clogged vaccum cleaner...that seems to happen pretty much on a monthly base now.
I have spent this day digging thru my many piles, boxes and of course my purse for all of my business receipts. This is even more dreadful than you would think as I have not kept any receipt in any tidy files in way that would make it a terribly tedious, but quite simple job. Nope. Not me. For the last year, I have piled, flung, stuffed, and shoved most of my business receipt into a cold, dark, metal box, or lost in the many high piles of papers that seem to just appear over night on my desk along with my purse and one other box. No separators, no dividers. It's absolute bedlam in here.
So I have spent most of my day dividing them into neat little piles all over the floor of my studio according to month and category. It has been one very long day if I do say so myself. At the end of this day I ended up with a big zip lock bag full of receipts along with 3 pages breaking down, sales, donations, and money spent to keep things running...oh what fun.
Note to self...2010 will be the year that I will be more organized!!!
On these cold snowy days a nice warm bowl of home made soup sure does warm ones soul
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
2 quarts chicken stock, recipe follows
8 ounces dried wide egg noodles
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Place a soup pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Pour in the chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 minutes until tender. Fold in the chicken, and continue to simmer for another couple of minutes to heat through; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.
Place the chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat. Pour in only enough cold water to cover (about 3 quarts); too much will make the broth taste weak. Toss in the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and allow it to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering.
Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. When its cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones; hand-shred the meat into a storage container.
Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the vegetable solids. Use the stock immediately or if you plan on storing it, place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, toss together all ingredients except butter and honey.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt unsalted butter. Stir in honey. Pour over oat mixture and toss to distribute. Spread granola onto a parchment lined baking pan and bake, stirring occasionally, until oats aretoasted and sugar begins to caramelize, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely on pan. Transfer to an airtight container.
Fill bucket ¾ full with water. Add food coloring. Insert plastic cup into water in center of bucket. Keep cup in place by crisscrossing tape across top of bucket from one end to another. Freeze overnight. Remove bucket from freezer, run under cool water for a few seconds and flip bucket over to release ice vase; remove plastic cup. Put a candle in ice.
4 orange-flavored or black tea bags (decaffeinated, if you like)
1 cup orange juice
1 cup pomegranate juice
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
12 orange wedges or chunks
6 lime wedges or chunks
6 6-inch wooden skewers
1. In a medium saucepan, combine water, orange slices, cinnamon and cloves. Bring just to boiling; remove from heat. Add tea bags. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags; discard. Strain tea mixture through a fine mesh strainer; discard orange slices and spices. 2. In a glass pitcher, combine strained tea mixture, orange juice, pomegranate juice and sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. 3. To serve: Place 2 orange wedges and 1 lime wedge onto each skewer. Serve tea in glasses filled with ice cubes. Add fruit skewers to each glass.
Treat someone you love to these wonderful body oils and bath salts this holiday season. Lavender Body Oil
Makes three 4-ounce bottles Ingredients 4 cups jojoba seed or avocado seed oil
1 pound dried herbs, flowers, or leaves, such as yarrow flowers, plantain leaves, or dandelion leaves
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon organic essential oil of lavender flowers, clary sage flowers, rosemary stems, or grapefruit peel Lavender Body Oil How-To 1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees.
2. Place base oil and herbs in a 6-cup casserole dish with a lid; stir until herbs are submerged. Cover and transfer casserole to oven for 4 to 8 hours, stirring every hour to ensure that herbs do not burn.
3. Set a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth over a large heatproof glass measuring cup. Strain herb mixture into measuring cup, squeezing cheesecloth to remove liquid; discard solids.
4. Clean casserole dish and dry completely. Pour strained liquid into casserole dish and stir in essential oil. Cover and let stand 24 hours. If fragrance is not strong enough, add another teaspoon of essential oil; let stand, covered, 8 hours more.
5. Using a funnel, divide liquid evenly between three 4-ounce bottles and cover.
Ingredients 4 tablespoons jojoba seed or avocado seed oil
1 tablespoon organic essential oil of lavender flowers, clary sage flowers, rosemary stems, or grapefruit peel
6 pounds coarse sea salt Bath Salts How-To 1. In a small bowl, stir base and essential oils together to combine.
2. Place 3 tablespoons in a large bowl; add salt and stir until well coated. Reserve remaining oil mixture for another use.
3. Divide mixture evenly between three 16-ounce jars and cover. Add this bath salts label to your jars for some decorative flare. Herbs When herbs are combined, there is a synergistic effect; they work together, making a stronger, more healing potion than the sum of their parts, and can be used in wonderful beauty products such as these body oil and bath salts. Yarrow Yarrow has a long history as a powerful healing herb used topically for wounds, cuts, and abrasions. The botanical name is achillea millafolium and is named after the Greek hero Achilles, who would heal his wounds with it according to legend. Anti-inflammatory Yarrow is used for the treatment of wounds and sores because of its astringent, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Because of the content of Azulene, Yarrow oil is used for skin-care purposes in the treatment of acne, eczema, and inflammation, to minimize varicose veins, and to reduce scars. Plantain Plantain has a cooling effect on burns and sunburns; it has astringent properties and can help stop bleeding from minor wounds and cuts. It also helps ease the effects of bites, stings, and rashes from Stinging Nettle; and aids in poison ivy itch-relief. Dandelion Dandelion has been used to treat warts, acne, and age spots. Calendula Flower These flowers contain antiseptic, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties that promote healing. Calendula is used topically to treat acne, reduce inflammation, control bleeding and sooth irritated tissue. Burdock Root Burdock root oil extract, also called Bur oil, is popular in Europe as a scalp treatment applied to improve hair strength, shine, and body, help reverse scalp conditions such as dandruff, and combat hair loss. Yellow Dock Root This root enhances bile production to break down fatty foods, improves the flow of bile and other digestive juices, acts as a mild diuretic and laxative to help flush out toxins, provides iron and promotes its absorption for optimal blood health, supports the bladder, kidney, and liver function, and helps reduce bowel inflammation and irritation. Sage Native to the Mediterranean, sage has been valued for centuries for its culinary and medicinal qualities. In fact, its name is derived from the Latin word meaning "to heal." A member of the mint family, its silvery-grayish-green leaves have a spicy, somewhat bitter flavor. Comfrey Comfrey is used to treat a wide variety of ailments, ranging from bronchial problems, broken bones, sprains, arthritis, gastric and varicose ulcers, severe burns, acne, and other skin conditions.