Slow Cooker Southwest Lentil Soup

I love crockpot meals. I love throwing ingredients in the morning and coming home to a delicious meal ready made for me. Joe and I like to make crockpot meals on Wednesdays (which is Dungeons and Dragons night) so that we don’t have to worry about cooking when we are also meeting up with a bunch of other people in different time zones online. Lately, I’ve really wanted to find more vegetarian slow cooker recipes, which lead me to try this soup. Joe and I both liked it a lot and because it’s so easy we will certainly make it again often!

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Smoky Southwest Black Bean Soup

I first discovered the world of food blogs when I was in college. When my diet consisted mostly of ramen and peanut butter, I found reading about other people’s experiences with food fascinating. I lived vicariously through descriptions of dishes with all sorts of ingredients I couldn’t afford to buy (because anything other than the staples was too much.) Even now, reading food blogs allows me to attach an emotion to a recipe – that’s something more than a simple list of instructions can do.

This soup is the first recipe I made from a food blog for one simple reason: I could afford it. I was geekily excited to try something new. It didn’t look pretty, but it was delicious. Even now, years later, I love making this soup along with cumin roasted cauliflower for a delicious dinner that takes almost no effort at all.

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Easy, Delicious, Cheap – Bean and Lentil Soup with Pumpkin and Spinach

Every fall when I am waiting in the check-out line at the grocery store, my gaze becomes trapped by the recipe magazines displayed in the rack next to the gum and candy. They are always orange; the bright pumpkins or candy corn or sweet potatoes directing me like traffic cones and without fail I find myself paging through the seasonal recipes thinking how delicious everything sounds, how I would love to fill my home with all of this yellow and orange food filled with the flavors of squash, apples, maple, and cinnamon. In reality, I buy an expensive magazine, drool over it, then fail to actually make any of the recipes before fall is over.

This year however, I pulled the magazines out of my cabinet, bookmarked the recipes that looked good, and told myself I really, really would make one this year. My opportunity came last Thursday, when I had taken the day off work because my good friend, Lindsey, is visiting from Portugal and I needed to spend time with her. “Does a pumpkin-lentil soup sound good?” I asked her when I was trying to decide what to cook that night. “Umm, yeah,” she said. Joe got home when I was in the middle of cooking and said he wouldn’t touch it because it sounded weird. (I secretly thought it did, too, but I wanted to try it anyway.)

When Lindsey and I sat down to eat, I found that the soup was hearty and earthy – almost like a bean chili. The pumpkin added a creaminess to it, but it’s taste was very subtle among the cumin and beans. The spinach added just the right amount of brightness to the flavor, and a good texture to keep the soup interesting so every bite was a little different. Lindsey enthusiastically said that she liked it a lot (despite her confession that she had agreed earlier only because it sounded “healthy”) and asked for the recipe so she could make it for her husband back in Portugal. “Please taste some,” I asked Joe – and when he acquiesced, he admitted that it was a lot better than he thought it would be and agreed that I should make it again. Given how easy it is to throw together, I will definitely add this one to the weeknight recipe book. Continue reading “Easy, Delicious, Cheap – Bean and Lentil Soup with Pumpkin and Spinach”

Presidents’ Day Weekend: Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette

This weekend, my family came from Ohio to visit Joe and me in Milwaukee. Because I had taken some (very needed!) time off work to see them, I also made sure to take time to cook a lot of good food. I used this opportunity to make breakfast every day, since I actually had people to cook for who will eat eggs (Joe does not.) Eggs-in-Purgatory-Style Baked “Huevos Rancheros”; Bacon, Feta, and Scallion Frittata; Breakfast Burritos; I could eat eggs for breakfast, lunch, and midnight snack daily and not get sick of them. However, I know most other people do not share my enthusiasm, so I also made dinner the last 2 nights: a mouth-watering butternut squash galette and an easy! delicious! cheap! black bean soup. The black bean soup I have already made several times over the last couple months and will likely make several more times. The galette – well, I have only made it once before and I admit the only reason I don’t make this all the time is because I fear preparing winter squash. Every time I face my fears though, I realize that it’s really not as difficult as I’m making it out to be and what effort there is, is well worth it in taste. This has become a winter favorite at home. Continue reading “Presidents’ Day Weekend: Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette”