A Bowl Of Friendship

About a year ago a friend of mine emailed a recipe. I love it when people email recipes without me even asking just because they think I’d like it. I loved it!

Recently I was cleaning out my closets and kitchen cupboards when I pulled out my cookbook (yes, I still have a physical cookbook). My cookbook is made up of recipes in my grandmother’s handwriting, my first ever Thanksgiving dinner recipe from a Parade magazine 15 years ago (that is still my family’s favorite) and a collection of other tasty snippets that I’ve collected over the years.

In the process of clearing things out, I found this amazingly delish Black Bean and Lentil Soup Recipe. I love preparing food….I love the hiss of sauté and the soft bubbling of liquid. Through the process of cooking this rather simple recipe, I realized that it means so much more. This bowl of soup warmed my stomach and my soul because it was given to me by a sweet friend.

Sometimes it’s the most simple things that remind us of the importance of our relationships no matter how great or small. Here’s the recipe. Enjoy, my friends.

Black-Bean-and-Lentil-Soup

Lentil & Black Bean Soup
1 Large Sweet Onion
2 Cloves garlic (I use my garlic press, but you could chop)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
2 tbsp tomato paste
4-6 cups water, 2-4 tbsp vegetable bouillon (just follow the
recommendations
on the jar for your broth, or buy broth)
1 cup uncooked lentils
2 cans black beans

Sautee chopped onion and garlic in pot with oil (I use coconut oil) with
chili powder, cumin & paprika until onions are translucent. Add broth (or
water and bouillon) and bring to a boil. Add lentils and simmer 25
minutes. Add black beans, salt & pepper to taste. Simmer another 10 minutes.
Garnish with cilantro if you have it.

So This Happened Over Winter

It’s been a REALLY long winter. According to the calendar spring started last Thursday, but according to my thermometer, that’s a big fat lie. This winter my dog and I gained 8 pounds each, we broke snow and cold records across the state and there are still piles of snow covering my garden. To add insult to injury, it’s snowing right now (again) for the third season in a row. My very insightful son said to me this morning “This would be really pretty if it was November, but now it’s just mean.” As usual, he’s astute, straightforward and right on. I’d like to think he gets that from his mom.

Despite the cold, lack of sunshine and my personal irritability, winter can also be kind of nice. Cold days and being snowed in are good ways to enjoy some (forced) downtime, unless you’re into extreme winter sports and love the snow…which I am not because my favorite outdoor winter activity is going inside. The thought crossed my mind that maybe spring won’t come I embrace winter and the good things that happened. So, here are a few of my favorite winter moments.

Snow and ice can really be quite pretty.

Winter in the Park
Winter walk through the park, before the ice froze.
After the ice storm
After an ice storm, the snow fell.
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Frozen nature is beautiful.
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Ice on Lake Michigan.
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Snowbanks taller than my 2nd grader!

I played A LOT of indoor soccer with a pretty cool group of people. We started off really bad, but now we don’t suck. We aren’t great, but at least we don’t suck and I’ve found my groove and starting scoring some pretty sweet goals. It’s great exercise once you get past the fact that I’m twice the age and ten times less the skill of the other players in our ‘beginner’ league. Ha! Beginner league my arse….I’ve learned soccer players LIE just because they are more concerned about winning. Case in point: scoring a goal with your head, backwards, is NOT a beginner move. It’s been a lot of fun though!

Can't play outside, but playing inside is dangerous! That's a soccer ball imprint on my leg.
Can’t play outside, but playing inside is dangerous! That’s a soccer ball imprint on my leg.

Winter is a great time to visit our local indoor botanical gardens. The humidity feels good and it’s always decorated so nicely.

A trip to the Botanical Gardens was needed!
A trip to the Botanical Gardens was needed!
Watching the water and birds in the warmth of the tropical gardens.
Watching the water and birds in the warmth of the tropical gardens.

I grew amaryllis and paperwhites all winter and had blooms from January up until the first week of March.

Amaryllis Nymph opening up!
Amaryllis Nymph opening up!
Pleasantly surprised by Minerva. My least favorite in photos, it bloomed beyond my expectations.
Pleasantly surprised by Minerva. My least favorite in photos, it bloomed beyond my expectations.
My favorite Amaryllis - Lagoon!
My favorite Amaryllis – Lagoon!

I cooked a lot. Maybe that’s why I gained the 8 pounds (or it was for survival, I needed the extra weight because -14 degrees could kill a thinner person). On top of cooking a lot, we also ate a lot of really yummy food!

Comfort food….simmering bacon jam!
Comfort food….simmering bacon jam!
Warming up with a giant goblet of his favorite caramel salted browie sundae!
Warming up with a giant goblet of his favorite caramel salted browie sundae!

At the end of the day, there was nothing warmer than the fireplace and a plush heating blanket.

London Le Chat warming up in his favorite spot in the house.
London Le Chat warming up in his favorite spot in the house.

What were your favorite winter moments?