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Lentil Soup For The Soul

21 Feb

No one wants to think of winter anymore, but seeing as we just had a bit of more snow in New York I am in the mood for lentil soup! Here is one of my favorite recipes, which I found at allrecipes.com. I always change things around to suit my tastes, a little bit more seasoning here and there, and a little farfalle, bow tie pasta, to make it more interesting. Without salt and pepper this soup can be pretty tasteless!

Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup Recipe from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients

1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups dry lentils
8 cups water
1/2 cup spinach, rinsed and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons vinegar
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

Directions

In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery; cook and stir until onion is tender. Stir in garlic, bay leaf, oregano, and basil; cook for 2 minutes.

Stir in lentils, and add water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for at least 1 hour. When ready to serve stir in spinach, and cook until it wilts. Stir in vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper, and more vinegar if desired.

Ps. I add the bow tie pasta after letting the soup simmer for 45 minutes and let it cook for 15 more minutes, until the pasta is cooked. I then stir in spinach.

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New Year, New Year

3 Jan

I don’t know what it is about new years that makes even hardened cynics or those who have given up on everything have the hope that the new year will bring better things than the last. Each year is like a new cycle in time and each new cycle can be different than the last. I don’t know whether 2011 will be better than 2010 but we all might as well hope so!

Anyway, these are the things I am into this week

• Wearing a trench coat in January and not feeling cold. Last sunday we had the 6th biggest snow storm on record in New York City, this past sunday it was 50 degrees. It was cloudy and gloomy but still it was nice not to be freezing.

• Veniero’s Pasticceria & Caffe Desserts! Yesterday I headed down to Veniero’s for some amazing strawberry tarts! I highly recommend this New York institution (it’s been around since 1894), if you are ever in New York.

Veniero's

• Receiving random nice messages from friends and even strangers: always bringing some cheer to dreary winter days! The older I get, the more I realize it’s the simple things, like watching a child laugh, hearing a child say the innocent things only children say, or the random acts of thoughtfulness from friends that are the most capable of bringing happiness.

• Being able to knit for myself again: YES!

• Something I heart not: the end of the holidays – back to the humdrum of the rest of year.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

24 Dec

ORNAMENT

This year, like all years, I am very grateful to be able to spend another Christmas with my loved ones. Through the years, I’ve learned to cherish each Christmas because those moments with your nearest and dearest are the ones you never forget. I am Latin American; we have a special tradition derived from the Spanish of celebrating on Christmas eve. So, all our partying occurs on Christmas Eve or as we call it in Spanish “Nochebuena”, which translates into the good night. Indeed, all the yummy food makes it one of the best nights of the year! So wherever you are and whether you celebrate Nochebuena or you celebrate Christmas day: “have yourself a merry little Christmas.” To my friends who don’t celebrate Christmas be grateful you don’t have to deal with all the stressful Christmas shopping!

Anyway, on to the subject of this blog. Knitting! Yes, the stress of life gets in the way of knitting and my knitting hits bumps. Still, I knit a little almost everyday. But my Christmas knitting has been abysmal. I just haven’t had time to finish everything. Some gifts I totally gave up on and just bought something for the recipient. However, I am proud of some Christmas gifts, my favorites of which I will share when the recipients get them!

Hiatus

21 Dec

Dear friends,
My blog will continue to be on hiatus until wednesday evening or thursday. I hope you are all enjoying the holidays and last minute christmas shopping!

Rigatoni a la Vodka

7 Dec

Rigatoni a la Vodka
This was my first attempt at Vodka sauce and I got raving reviews.  I figure that I will perfect this recipe with experience but I loved it from the get-go.  For a first attempt it was delicious!  As you can see from the picture the pasta was overcooked (I wanted to serve this warm without having to reheat and let the pasta sit in water for a bit long). Still it was delicious and I highly recommend you try it and see what works for you substituting some ingredients or adding more or less of some ingredients.  I might make it creamier the next time  and add a little less of the tomatoes and a little more cream.  I think next time I might add more vodka :).   I will update on how this goes the next time I make it.   But for now the recipe is great as is.

Recipe

Serves 5

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Rigatoni Pasta
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 (3.5 ounce) links sweet lean turkey sausage
  • Bread

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  2. In large skillet, heat oil over moderate heat. Remove casing from sausage and add to skillet. Cook, breaking up the meat, until brown. Add garlic and stir until garlic is golden brown.
  3. Add tomatoes, basil, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.
  4. Add vodka and cream and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and add pasta, toss for 1 minute. Stir in fresh parsley and serve with bread!

I used this recipefrom allrecipes.com and made the changes above to suit my tastes.

Heart It

6 Dec

This is what I am into this week

  • My obsession with soup continues: this week it is lentil soup.
  • Natural hair: it has become an obsession of mine.  I have curly hair and I want it strong and beautiful in its natural state and to that end: gone are the straightening irons, serums, and hair dryers.  But now that I am all for natural, I want to dye my hair…. because things are never black and white 😀
  • I absolutely love running into knitters or spotting someone knitting on TV or in a movie.
    • This week, I went into my local Wholefoods for a cup of coffee and I saw three young women who seemed to have gotten together over breakfast to knit!  One of them was making what looked like a beautiful green sweater but I couldn’t fully decipher what the other two were making.  But it definitely made my day!
    • Oh and I was watching La Vie en Rose, the movie about  the life of French legendary singer Edith Piaf, and I discovered that she was a knitter!  At one point she is shown knitting and in another scene she offers to make a guy a sweater.  It was a fantastic Movie too!
  • Last but not least: here is my polyvore set of what I am into this week: essie nail polish, my favorite perfume Miss Dior Cherie, scarves and hats (because it is too cold in NYC)
Dec 5th Heart It

Thanksgiving Sandwich

30 Nov

I know, by now everyone is sick of Thanksgiving leftovers.  I’m still in a festive mood and wanted to share one of my favorite post-Thanksgiving meals.  (I really just want to share the picture because I love taking pictures of food, so I had to find an excuse to blog about it!) Besides its a Black Friday tradition for me:
thanksgiving sandwich

Thanksgiving Sandwich:

Bread

Turkey

cranberry sauce

Stuffiing

PS: Some people add butter or Mayo: I don’t the cranberry sauce is enough for me.

Heart It

29 Nov

This is what I am into this week:

  • 4 day weekends! Can we have them every week???
  • Black Friday Sales: I have never been a fan! Me wait in line from 4am for a tv and rushing about with so many people.  It all sounds so stressful.  I did however wake up at 7 to walk over to the Urban Outfitters a few blocks aways from me, which was having a sale from 8-10am.  Here’s what I scored: four cute dresses at $15 each and 2 skirts at $5 each.  I wasn’t planning on spending money (not more than 2o bucks), but well it was worth it!  Below is  a set of what I bought (except for a skirt ).
    Black Friday


  • Oh! I also got “Bridget Jones’s Diary” for $1.45 at UO.  I’ve seen the movie, but never read the book.  I’m looking forward to reading it!
  • Thanksgiving leftovers! Don’t you just love it when cooking or making snacks involves trying different ways of throwing leftovers together?  My favorite day after Thanksgiving meal? The Thanksgiving sandwich!

Heart It

22 Nov

Here is what I’m into this week:

  • DRESSES: The holiday season is almost here! Thanksgiving is in 3 days and all I can think of is dresses.  Nothing like wearing a cute dress to holiday celebrations.  Here are some from Modcloth.   They may not all really be holiday dresses but I would wear them all :D!
  • Holiday Dresses


  • Oh Knitters: my holiday knitting is happening but not at a good pace.  I have one gift I must complete by the 12th of December and I haven’t even started it! But at least there is some holiday knitting happening.
  • SOUPS, SOUPS, SOUPS: I’m still in love with soups, because there’s nothing like a good soup when its cold and gloomy out.  On Friday, I had a delicious Mushroom Ragout soup at a Thanksgiving potluck! It was fabulous!  Yesterday, I made a ham and potato soup which turned out to be a hit.
  • Boots: when the weather gets cold I live in  boots! I’ll share some faves soon.
  • THANKSGIVING: It’s one of those great American traditions, what is there not to love about Thanksgiving??? (OK for some people there are the family members they would rather not see and all that cooking which can be stressful).  But still the two days I look forward to the most are Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve (because I may live in the U.S, but I am  a proud Latin American and Chrismas Eve is when all the celebrating happens in our culture!)

Levain Cookies: I Worship Thee!

16 Nov

levaincookie

Want to try the best cookie ever???? It will set you back 4 dollars and it’s really the size of 4 cookies.  It’s “cakey”.  It’s sold warm and gooey; chocolate oozing out.  It will remind you of your childhood, when eating a chocolate chip cookie was heavenly and you didn’t care about getting chocolate all over your face.  What I love the most? It tastes just like it came out of your grandma’s oven (or how I would imagine cookies out of  a grandma’s oven would taste).  Needless to say, it is the best cookie I’ve ever tasted and I would gladly pay more than 4 dollars because they are just that amazing.  If you think four dollars is too much for a cookie, you have to try these.

Levain Bakery

167 West 74th St New York, NY 10023

T: 212-874-6080 • F: 212-874-6413

Hours: Mon-Sat 8am-7pm, Sun 9am-7pm

Note: They only sell four types of cookies.  My favorite is the chocolate chip walnut pictured above.  If you are not in New York City you can also order them online at their website.  (They are cheaper in store at 4 dollar per cookie).