BUTTERNUT, APPLE, RED LENTIL SOUP

The weather is turning a bit cooler lately and I really wanted soup. Held off on posting to the blog today until it was finished and I could actually give a recipe, not just some general idea. This soup is vegan and oil free!

Butternut, Apple, Red Lentil Soup

Butternut, Apple, Red Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

½ of a small onion, diced

1 stalk celery, diced

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1 tablespoon curry powder

Apple Juice (I used Cawston Press, Cloudy Apple, in a tetra pack on the grocery juice aisle)

Veggie Broth or water

16 ounces cubed butternut squash

2 Honey Crisp Apples (medium size), cored, quartered, and sliced thinly crosswise

1 cup red lentils

1 heaping tablespoon Patak’s Indian Curry Paste (For oil-free, sub additional curry powder)

Salt/Pepper to taste

Cawston Press Cloudy Apple Juice

Cawston Press Cloudy  Apple Juice

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Patak’s Mild Curry Paste

Directions:

In the Instant Pot, using the sauté function, dry sauté the onion, celery and ginger until onion is translucent. Add a little apple juice and then the curry powder, sautéing until dry. Add about 4 cups veggie broth (or water) and about ½ cup apple juice (this is not exact; you’ll just need about 4 cups of some liquid.) Stir well and make sure all the little bits are up from the bottom.  Add squash, apples, and lentils. Lock lid in to place, select Manual or Soup (I used Soup) function, and adjust time to 6 minutes. Once cooking is finished, allow for at least 10 minutes of natural release (I did 15 minutes) and then release remaining pressure. Remove liner from pot and set on something heatproof. Add curry paste. Using a stick blender, blend until mostly smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle into bowl and garnish with a swirl of almond milk or a dollop of non-dairy yogurt. Makes about 6 servings.

Enjoy!

Options:

  • Try subbing the butternut squash with pumpkin or sweet potato.
  • Omit curry powder and curry paste and sub with apple pie or pumpkin pie spices, or just some cinnamon and ginger.

Recipe and photos are the property of “LivingaRadiantLife” and may be used only with permission of the author. You may link to this page if you would like to share this recipe. Thank you!

PICTURES TELL THE STORY

There are many who say that Climate Change is not an issue. Others seem to think the environment is expendable…it doesn’t matter what we destroy as long as we have fuel for our cars. Whether one believes it or not, mankind is wreaking havoc with the soil and with the air. We are destroying our home and the home of future generations.

Just take a look at the pictures on this site. http://zumfeed.com/life/1168-27-images-that-prove-that-we-are-in-danger-7-left-my-mouth-open.html

And after you look, tell me…IS IT REALLY WORTH IT?

I’M LATE

Yesterday was Monday, October 12, and a national holiday. It felt like Sunday…I am late.

Yes, I am late…again… I don’t like being late. In the process of thinking about the fact that I am late, I realized that we are midway through October…Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here in a heartbeat. I have presents to make (my daughter wants me to knit her hat; I have some ideas for gifts from my sewing machine, too.)

I also have two pairs of socks started…each with one sock completed. My church group has been making ornaments to give away at a Christmas festival in town in December. Those ornaments are nowhere near complete and so I have those at home to finish off, too. I have stacks of fabric to sew up.

Plus I admin a few groups on Facebook, try to write a twice-weekly blog post (sometimes without success), am taking an online cooking class, participate in a community garden (we have two growing seasons here), and am involved in a couple of committees at church. How  did it reach this point? I am supposed to be retired, after all.

It reached this point because I said “yes” rather than “no.” It reached this point because I love everything I do and I love feeling just the slightest bit rushed. It’s that little rush of adrenaline, I suppose. What I don’t like is being late…

So, forgive me if I now see if my new laptop battery is a dud (like the one I received last week) and then go tend to two weeks worth of laundry and clean up the kitchen a bit. I’m late for laundry and cleaning, too…

What’s your take on being late? No judgments from me.

LIFE TOOK A DETOUR

Life has many twists and turns. I’ve been absent for a couple weeks because of those twists and turns. I am back now…but today’s post will be quite short.

One of my detours was taking my elderly cat to the vet last week because of odd behavior. After telling me to be prepared for the worst, the vet ran some tests and said that between kidney failure and cancer, it would be best to say goodbye…and so I did. My sweet “cat girl” and I snuggled while we awaited the test results and upon hearing them, snuggled a bit more as they prepared the injections. I held her through her final moments and cried at her passing.

“Cat girl” had been a part of my family for well over 18 years. My daughter named her Aya, but I gave her so many names over the course of the years, I don’t know that she knew what her name really was. She was a snuggler who thought my lap was the best place in the world. She loved lettuce and begged for it when I made a salad. We carried on conversations together, and I know beyond a doubt that she understood every word I said.

My house is empty now. Hubby doesn’t want more pets…it’s the first time in over 30 years that there has not been a fur baby in our family. Hopefully, some day he’ll relent and another animal will make its way into our home, our hearts, and our lives. In the meantime, I grieve for a precious bundle of fur who brightened my days in so many ways.

And I am grateful that we had 18 plus years together, loving each other.

In Memory

In Memory

BARLEY CASSEROLE IN THE INSTANT POT

I’ve had a recipe that I clipped from Prevention Magazine ages ago. It was a baked vegetarian barley casserole which I really enjoyed…when I was vegetarian. I like to cook faster now (enter my trusty Instant Pot) and I also like to use no animal products at all. I’ve modified the original recipe substantially so I feel comfortable in calling it my own, but I do say thanks to the folks at Prevention for the original inspiration.

BARLEY CASSEROLE

(4 Servings)

Combine the following in the liner of the Instant Pot:

1/2 cup pearl barley

1-1/4 cup water or vegetable broth (if not using bouillon)

1/2 teaspoon dried, minced onion

1/2 teaspoon dried, minced garlic

1 vegetable bouillon cube (I use a recipe by Kathy Hester)

Stir the above together and then pop the lid on the Instant Pot. Push manual and cook for 20 minutes, natural pressure release (this took about 16 minutes in my unit).

Once the float valve has gone down, open and add the following, one on top of the other (do not stir):

1 can of green beans (drained), or use 1-1/4 cups frozen green beans

1 small can mushroom slices, drained, or use 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

1/4 cup green pimento-stuffed olives, sliced (black olives are good, too)

1/2 jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped

1/2 – 1 bag of fresh baby spinach leaves

1 jar marinated artichoke pieces

Put the lid back on, select manual, and cook an additional 3 minutes. When cooking is finished, do a quick release.

To serve: I put some of the casserole into a bowl and topped with cut up Roma tomatoes and some blanched slivered almonds. Salt and pepper to taste.

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Use any vegetables you’d like in this; just layer them as above. The marinated artichokes are what really make the dish so, unless you do absolutely no oil ever, use them. I haven’t tried using un-marinated artichoke hearts, but if you use those, I would add a considerable amount of Italian Seasoning to this.

As for barley…substitute brown rice, quinoa, wheat berries or another grain of your choosing. The initial cook time will need to be adjusted based on the grain.

Questions? Post them in the reply section and I’ll try to answer. If you cook this, please let me know what you think.

FACING THE SQUIRRELS

Life has gotten rather squirrelly lately. Squirrelly? Is that really a word? I hear it used but am not sure whether it has two “Ls” or not…hopefully you understand.

Image courtesy of James Barker at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of James Barker at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I really don’t want to give squirrels a bad rap. I like them. I feed them peanuts. I enjoy their antics. I had one that visited my doorstep when we lived up north. Whenever he saw me, he flattened himself on the deck, so I named him “Pancake.” (He didn’t answer to the name, but that was his name just the same.) The squirrels also kept stealing all of the food from the bird feeders, so I finally gave up and fed the squirrels instead. They did seem to enjoy that. Of course, one day I also came home to a decapitated squirrel in my front yard; that was left for the hubby to take care of so we won’t discuss that anymore.

Squirrels are just a little bit crazy, though. You know how they dart out in front of you as you drive down the street? They stop, sit up on their haunches, look right at you, and seem to say, “Go ahead…HIT ME! I DARE YOU!” And if you are like me, you slam on your brakes, and then check to make sure you didn’t just have a heart attack. It’s scary. Killing animals isn’t my thing. The thing about squirrels is that you never know what they will do…run across the road; run half way, look at you, and run back the way they came; do the “Hit me!” routine; or speed completely across to the other side.

Well, my life has been like that lately. I have no idea what to expect, no idea what’s coming, and certainly no idea how to handle it when it comes. Thankfully, I am at peace with that. Even if it is crazy, I still wake up each morning with a new chance at a new day. Because the eye issues haven’t fully gone away, I’m avoiding the gym (don’t judge! It seems like every time I go, I wind up getting sick), so I’ve begun spending time each morning stretching (yoga type stretches) and using some of my Leslie Sansone “Walk at Home” DVDs. I’m spending time in prayer (if you don’t pray, try it!). I’m getting my calm on so when a squirrel jumps out at me like the one in Chevy Chase’s “Christmas Vacation,” I’m prepared. I may not know exactly how to handle it, but that will come.

I imagine life is squirrelly for most of us. How do you handle your squirrels?

Image courtesy of Tina Phillips at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Tina Phillips at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

TO WHET YOUR APPETITE

My friend and cookbook author, Kathy Hester (The Great Vegan Bean Book, The Easy Vegan Cookbook. among others) is currently working on a Halloween e-book. I have the pleasure of being a tester for the e-book and, no matter whether you are omnivore, vegetarian, or vegan, you are going to love her collection of recipes.

A few goodies to whet your appetite (more will be coming!)

Ghoulishly Green Potato Soup with Pumpernickel Croutons

Ghoulishly Green Potato Soup with Pumpernickel Croutons

The Ghoulishly Green Potato Soup called for Pumpernickel croutons. I only had Silver Hills Bakery’s Flax Seed Bread on hand, so that’s what I used. I also had no ghoulish cookie cutters so I made basic squares. Verdict? Delicious! And so simple to make.

Black of Night Black Bean Soup with Flame Tortilla garnish

Black of Night Black Bean Soup with Flame Tortilla garnish

I had to do another bit of improvising with the Black of Night Black Bean Soup…I didn’t have a red tortilla. I did have organic blue corn chips…so I have a blue flame. 🙂

Pecan Pumpkin Spice No Ice Cream Needed Shake

Pecan Pumpkin Spice No Ice Cream Needed Shake

Love pumpkin? How about dessert? The Pecan Pumpkin Spice No Ice Cream Needed Shake is amazing! It’s planned for 4 servings…I drank half of it and put the remainder in the fridge for breakfast. It was still rich and creamy. By the way, there is a nut-free option!

So…start saving your pennies or add some to your Paypal account. This ebook is going to be great for any party, not just Halloween!

Be sure to check out Kathy’s web page here: http://healthyslowcooking.com/

In Memoriam

September 11, 2001

Do you remember?

Our world changed that day.

Terrorism had a new face

And a new method.

Life had a new normal…

Increased airport security,

Wariness of anyone

Who looked Middle Eastern

(Muslim),

Polarization of our country

(If you are not for my ideas,

You are against ME).

FEAR

MULTIPLIED.

War,

Military,

Heroes,

Death.

Questions.

WHY?

I do not know

What drove men

to this.

I do know

that

I FORGIVE!

I WILL NOT WALK IN FEAR!

I WILL REMEMBER!

And

I WILL STILL LOVE!

In Memory 

of those who lost their lives 

at the World Trade Center,

at The Pentagon,

and in a field in Pennsylvania.

WE ARE ALL BROKEN PEOPLE, PART 3

Last Friday I discussed Shalom, that wholeness and balance that we all want pervading our lives. But how can we have Shalom when we live in such a polarized world? It seems that there are two sides pulling on a giant rope in a game of Tug of War. Each side wants to win…no one does.

GOD’s design is wholistic. He wants to restore each of us in all dimensions of life: economic, social, physical, psychological and emotional, political, and spiritual. The problem is we are so busy pointing out the problems with others (whether its a political system or a spiritual fault) that we neglect one thing. IT’S NOT OUR JOB!

Our job is to be peacemakers and restorers. Our job is to draw people to the ONE who can right the wrongs, correct the faults and sins, and bring complete wholeness. Our job is to light the way to the LIGHT SOURCE. And we do that not by finding fault or building walls around ourselves; we do it by building relationships with other people, in spite of who they are, what they’ve done, where they’ve been, what they believe, or who they vote for.

This quote from the author, Madeleine L’Engle, sums it up so well….

We do not draw people to Christ by loudly discrediting what they believe,

by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are,

but by showing them a light that is so lovely 

that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.

Let your Lights shine!

WE ARE ALL BROKEN PEOPLE…PART 2

Sorry for the delay in posting today. It’s been a crazy week…but here I am…Finally!

On Tuesday I wrote about GOD’s desire to restore His creation to its rightful state. Jesus was the instrument for bringing that about. Jesus was all about restoration. He also had a lot to say about peace…shalom..

The Hebrew word shalom is about more than peace, the word we use in English. Shalom is about wholeness, unity, harmony, completeness, and soundness. Each time it is spoken it announces to the world “this is how it should be but is not yet.” Shalom is about reconciliation between/among people and reconciliation between GOD and humanity.

In the Beatitudes, as Jesus talked with the crowd, He said “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God” according to most Bible translations. The deeper meaning, though, is “Blessed are the shalom-makers.” In other words, those who seek to create wholeness, unity, harmony, completeness, and soundness in their relationships and in the world around them are blessed and will also find wholeness, unity, harmony, completeness, and soundness in their relationship with GOD.

I lost my shalom this past week. I had a problem with a tooth and tried several times to reach the dentist’s office during office hours. I kept getting a recording to call back during office hours…duh… I became more and more agitated and finally drove to the dentist’s office and managed to crash a staff meeting they were having. It was not a pretty sight; let’s just say, they saw me right away, listened to and changed their message, treated me gently, and bent over backwards to help me. (Maybe it was all of my tears?) The real hero in this was the technician who calmly took me to the dental chair, spoke gently, took x-rays, and as I was leaving, gave me a hug. She showed shalomI had none…until she gave me hers.

In the midst of all of the above scenario, I had no shalom with GOD, either. I was angry, unhappy, and a melting mess. Yet, when I received shalom from another person, I also regained my shalom with GOD.

I believe GOD gave me a living parable this week to communicate His message. I can give shalom or I can withhold it. When I give it, it sets things right between people. When I withhold it, I suffer for it and so do those around me.

How’s your SHALOM? 

(Part 3 next Tuesday!)