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Recipe Bonus: High Protein Curried Lentil Soup

Nothing is better in the fall than hearty soup.  This recipe is hearty, but oh so healthy!  I found the original recipe on Closet Cooking’s Blog for Curried Red Lentil Soup.  I tweaked this for my own taste buds.  Feel free to do the same!  The recipe is as good or better after a day or two in the refrigerator.


The finished product garnished with plain Greek yogurt and cilantro

High Protein Curried Lentil Soup


2 T olive oil

3/4 c chopped onion

1 c chopped carrot

1/2 c chopped celery

1 T chopped garlic (used pre-minced or dehydrated if you are in a hurry!)

1 T chopped fresh ginger (again, use the ginger of your choice if looking for convenience–I like frozen cubes I recently found at the co-op)

1 T Curry powder–I use Garam Masala a northern Indian curry blend and Madras Curry Powder–combined to get around 1 T)

1 cup lentils (red are pretty, but any you have are yummy)

3 c chicken stock or veggie broth (additional water added to desired consistency)

1 28 oz. crushed tomatoes

1 T chili sauce (sambal oelek or similar)

1 19 oz. can chick peas (drained and rinsed)

1 c quinoa

salt & pepper to taste

For toppings:

chopped cilantro

Plain greek yogurt

To prepare:

Heat oil in pot you will be cooking the soup in.  Add veggies and saute until tender.  10 minutes or so.

Add the garlic, ginger, and curry.  Stir until veggies are coated.  Smell the deliciousness!

Add the lentils, stock, tomatoes, chili sauce, and quinoa.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the lentils are tender and the quinoa is cooked.  About 15 minutes.  You may need to add water at this point to make it the desired consistency.

Add chickpeas, salt and pepper and warm up.

Garnish to taste with cilantro and yogurt.  Pat yourself on the back for making a super healthy meal!

Other Cooking Closet Recipes I will be trying soon:

Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa and Roasted Califlower and Aged White Cheddar Gratin–maybe both for Thanksgiving sides?

Man Jewelry

I’m taking a stab at man jewelry.  I’ve been seeing a lot of the macrame bracelets on the arms of a variety of men–from Kayne and Jay-Z to my local car salesman. Semi-precious stone mala beads, diamond encrusted beads (just assuming Kayne), and metal trade beads all seem to be components of choice.  The trend must be here to stay if there is a NY Times article about it!

Kanye sporting the layered bracelet look

How cool can this guy get?

I’m not heading down the diamond route, but want to make something attractive, tough, long lasting, and masculine.  Also, maybe with enough good vibes coming off of it to make the wearer feel creative.

My first attempts at a more manly look. Agate and obsidian and lava, amongst other stones.

So far, my stash includes black lava, bronze/silver/brass bicone metal from Ethiopia, ocean jasper, moss agate, black onyx, natural bone, and snowflake obsidian beads.  My guess is that I will have a lot of cross over purchases–maybe women buying for their men, but then wearing them themselves!  A great source for the beads on line is Happy Mango Beads.  They have an interesting selection, high quality and good prices.  What more do you need?

Going to your local music fesitval? Class? Work? You may need these.

If you like Kayne’s multi colored Coachella bracelets, check out this link to Burkman Bros.  Rock on!

Latest Cookbook in the Rotation

“The Daily Feast:  Everyday Meals We Love to Share” is exactly that.  This cookbook is authored by the Graber family, Esther Rose Graber and her six daughters.  I picked up an autographed copy (one of my collecting quirks–autographed cookbooks) at Found, the Graber family gallery in Goshen, Indiana.

I guarantee your price per recipe used in this cookbook will be low!

I love the way the book is set up.  Each family member has a section with 3 meal plans:  a favorite soup supper, a favorite family supper, and a favorite guest dinner.  I also love that the recipes are straightforward, have a normal number of ingredients, and explore the world of spices, flavors, and traditions.  The families travels have taken them to exotic locales and it shows in their cooking.  As our world gets smaller, it isn’t strange or difficult to stock kaffir lime leaves or garam masala any more and this cookbook provides plenty of opportunity to use more exotic ingredients in a context of every day cooking.

I’ve recently made The Turkish Style Chicken Kabobs, Turkish Ottoman Rice Casserole, and the Wilted Spinach Salad.  My son gobbled this up and didn’t seem the wiser that I had mixed components of the family supper with the guest dinner!  I’ve also been in a soup mood, so I made the Potato, Kale and Sausage Soup (using super spicy sausage and extra kale)–another hit with my son. Later this week I plan on making the Thai Ginger Chicken Soup–adding some veggies–thinking green beans and butternut squash and the Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake for a friend’s birthday.

Wow, writing all of that down made me realize how inspirational this cookbook is too.  The recipes are fun, easy and delicious to make and I am thinking about hosting a fall dinner party.  You can’t ask much more from a cookbook!

5 New Favorite LA Restaurants

Here is an somewhat eclectic list of 5 restaurants I just tried in Los Angeles that I highly recommend.  All for different reasons and moods and listed in no particular order:

1.  Axe–On one of my favorite streets on the planet, Abbott Kinney, in Venice, Axe (pronouced a-shay, of course) was a fun, hang out and share good food kind of place.  Although we had a reservation, we waited for awhile in the back courtyard–but I was glad to have done that—it was a serene area away from the more bustling inside..  Depending on the occasion, it might be wise to request a seat out here!  Seated next to the grill, we were almost overcome with hunger smelling the chicken thighs roasting and you better believe we ordered and devoured some of those puppies when our time came!

Empty at 3 pm, but I bet it starts hopping the minute we leave…

2.  Wurstkuche–we visited the one in Venice on Lincoln at around 3 pm.  It was very empty and we were very hungry, so it was a good fit–food was delish and fast and the beer selection almost too vast to decide.  Belgian fries with many dipping sauces, brats of every variety–I had the duck, and Belgian beer.

3.  Ink.  Yes, I am hopping on this band wagon.  After reading reviews, I think there are some haters out there. But we really had an energizing evening, filled with great wine and inventive food.  They do take Open Spoon reservations, which is convenient, but only 14 days in advance.  I actually set a reminder on my calendar as I was planning for my trip!  Glad I did.

Wall art at Wat Dong Moon Lek Noodle

4.  Wag Dong Moon Lek–OK.  If I’m picking favorites and if there is one choice that I will most definitely be repeating it is Wag Dong Moon Lek–a Thai restaurant in Silver Lake.  Don’t let the strip mall fool you!  This place rocks.  The mint lemonade was so refreshing as was the watermelon slushy.  I felt like I was the “meal winner” (do you play that game in your household?) with the Panang Curry.  For $8.99!!!  Seriously.  In LA.  Perhaps the cheapest, most fulfilling meal we had the entire week.  I can’t get the tastes out of my mind!

800 Degrees Pizza near UCLA’s campus. Don’t be afraid of a line out the door. It moves quickly!

5.  800 Degrees Pizza–So many pizza toppings, so little time.  It’s a good thing I don’t live nearby as I would have to try them all!

Fall Meanderings: Goshen, Indiana

I’m not sure what I expected to find on a recent jaunt to Goshen, Indiana, but I guarantee I didn’t expect to find the level of sophistication in the food and shopping offerings!

The Goshen Courthouse on a beautiful fall day.

My best find of the day was a store called “Found.” —All puns intended….

Plan on a good hour or more to explore all of the goodies at Found.

Just read the sign on the store window.  What more could you want?  My friend and I spent well over an hour there, had lunch, did more shopping, then came back and spent another 45 minutes.  I still don’t feel like I absorbed all of the interesting details and stories that are associated with the items in the store.  After leaving and unwrapping my purchases at home, I felt as if I’d been on an overseas adventure and was bringing home souvenirs!

Interior of Found. Transported me to China, Cambodia, Ethiopia. Not what I expected in Goshen!

Notice the icons in the picture above.  These are handpainted and came from Bulgaria, as did some amazing metal boxes.  The craftsman creates these boxes for the Bulgarian National Museum in Sofia and also for the Graber family, the proprietors of Found.

Another interior shot. Words just cannot describe the depth of the offerings here. Pictures help!

Found is also a venue for the Graber family art.  Ten Graber family members contribute, including sister Jane who makes the most detailed miniature stoneware which is wheel thrown and hand painted.

Jane’s pottery displayed by one of those amazing icons.

Next up was lunch!  In our brief, didn’t even scratch the surface, day, we discovered two great spots for lunch.  Word of warning—they close early!  Kelly Jae’s Cafe closes at 1 pm at lunch time and Venturi’s pizza was luckily open just slightly later.  I know we missed out by not making it to Kelly Jae’s in time, but the silver lining was the amazing pizza of the day at Venturi’s–a fig paste, goat cheese, Gorgonzola, prosciutto, arugula, balasamic, truffle oil, and walnut delight!

This is what we missed by dawdling at Found. Next time!

But this is the delish pizza we ate. Happy mistake!

Goshen is ripe for a return trip.  I would love to go back and explore the antique mall again–where I found a few items I collect and a few more that I might start collecting.  Also, the Old Bag Factory is always a destination.  Next time!!!

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