Nothing better on a cold night … Hearty Vegetable Lentil Soup

Given the cooler Canadian falls, I thought why not repost one of our favourite (toddler friendly) meals!

wpid-dsc_0218.jpgOn a cold winter’s night, my family and I love to warm up with a fresh bowl of this hearty vegetable lentil soup.  What I love about it is that we usually just throw whatever fresh veggies we have in our fridge into it! Our weekly delivery of vegetables from a local farm “Bryson Farms” provides us with fresh, yummy seasonal veggies (including fennel, different varieties of radishes and squash). Depending on my mood, I will sometimes mix it up (you can’t go wrong with veggies!).

I hope your family (and toddlers) enjoy this recipe as much as mine. 

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups of green lentils
3 whole carrots
3 celery stalks
1/2 red onion
1/2 cup green beans
1/2 sweet potato
1/2 cup of baby tomatoes
1/2 cup red pepper
2 garlic cloves
3 tbsp of fresh parsley
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar (finishing touch!)
4 cups of chicken stock or to keep it pure vegetarian 4 cups of vegetable stock
2 cups of water

Directions:

Step 1: Boil your lentils for 15 minutes to soften them a bit (I find it can take along time for the soup to be ready if you do not soak the lentils first).

Step 2: Saute the onions and garlic until they start to brown (5-7 minutes).

wpid-dsc_0663.jpgStep 3: Begin to add in your vegetables, start with the vegetables and celery, followed by the remaining vegetables (add babywpid-dsc_0667.jpg tomatoes last).

 

 

Step 4: Add the seasonings (parsley, garlic powder, salt and pepper).

Step 5: Saute the vegetables and seasonings for 2-3 minutes, and then add the cooked lentils and the chicken stock (or vegetable stock) and the 2 cups of water.

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Step 6: Keep soup on medium heat for 15 minutes and then turn it on simmer for 20 minutes (or until the vegetables are soft).

** This soup is slow cooker friendly and toddler friendly. If you decide to slow cook the soup follow the instructions on your slow cooker (although I recommend that you pre-boil the lentils). We sometimes like to add a drop of balsamic vinegar just before serving! 

#SeasonalFallTreats Garden Fresh Salsa

IMG_0403Fall Appetizers

As the weather grows cooler, we start to see an abundance of fresh produce emerge in local markets and stores just before the wonderful gardening season ends. This is one of our last opportunities to taste the delicious fresh burst of juice from those home grown tomatoes and the experience the joys of cooking with garden-fresh herbs freshly picked. Growing up in a cold weather country like Canada, we look forward to the seasons where our produce is entirely farm picked and local. During the winter it becomes more difficult to find the quality of produce that you get in the summer.

One of my favourite appetizers, perfect for any upcoming holiday celebration is a bowl of fresh salsa served with only finest tomatoes and herbs. This dish is not only easy to make, but is a real crowd pleaser. Add a few crackers, homemade kale chips or baguette thinly sliced (and toasted with seasoning) and you have yourself delicious appetizers that will have your guests coming back for more.

Here’s what you will need:

4-5 roma tomatoes (diced small)
¼ cup of finely chopped red onion
1 tsp of salt
½ cup of finely chopped peppers (mix the colors up for a beautiful display)
1 tbsp of fresh coriander
juice of 1 small lime

Mix all the ingredients together, and to allow time for the natural flavours to infuse.  I like to prepare it and refrigerate it 1 hour before serving. Happy Serving!  

** If you enjoy a bit of a kick, very finely chop one small jalapeno and add it to the mix.