Lunch at Work: Three Bean Soup

5 02 2012

Okay, I looked at the calendar, it says it’s February but you’d never know it with the weather we are having. Soup for lunch is a staple for me in the ‘winter’ but this winter is a bit funky. Enjoy it while it’s here but be a little concerned about what it means in the bigger scheme of things. Anyone that doubts climate change should go outside for a walk on February 5, in a light jacket. I saw kids playing basketball at the park across the street yesterday.

We go to Costco about once a month to pick up our toiletries and such. More and more organic foods are arriving there which is super exciting. I noticed a few months ago a new addition to the TruRoots products, sprouted bean mix.Until recently Costco was only selling their quinoa but now has the bean mix and chia seeds. Nice. The bean mix is super good and quick. The beans have been sprouted and dried so you can have cooked beans in about 15 min. It has lentils, mung beans and adzuki beans in it. I made up this super simple soup and have eaten it a lot for lunch this ‘winter’. I skip the onion completely but if you want, add it in with the carrots and celery for a proper mirepoix. The veggie stock has onion in it anyhow.

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
  • 2-3 large Carrots
  • 2-3 stalks Celery
  • 2-3 medium Parsnips
  • 2 cups TruRoots Bean Trio
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Small bunch of Parsley
  • Sprig or two of Thyme (remember you can keep parsley, thyme, rosemary etc in the freezer)
  • 5 Pepper Corns
  • 2 cubes of low sodium Veggie Stock
  • 9- 10 cups of filtered Water
  • 1 can of Diced Tomatoes, drained
  • 1 medium Zucchini
  • Sea Salt and fresh ground Pepper to taste

Prepare the veggies by chopping them small. For soup I like to cut my carrots and parsnips into half-moon like shapes, celery the same, unless it is quite big, then I might cut it lengthwise first. Heat the oil in a soup pot, add the carrots and celery and cook on medium heat until they start to soften. Add the parsnips, beans, spices, stock and water. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 15 min. Check the beans for softness. Add the tomatoes and zucchini, simmer covered again for another 10-15 minutes. If you think you need more liquid, add a bit more water or next time add less beans. This ends up being a thick and hearty soup which I like at lunch. Experiment, add other veggies of your choice.

My Sunday-post-primary-practice-yoga-ladies were talking today about the cost of food and the ‘healthlessness’ of our society these days. An important element to this is that we have lost our means of being resourceful people in regards to eating. I hear all the time that vegetables are expensive. I don’t say they aren’t but in relation to what? Being compared to processed foods like KD and ichiban, not a fair comparison. It’s what is more nourishing that matters. This soup costs less than $10 and it feeds me for five or more days (I added it up below). I’m full and have done good for my mind and body. The other options? Probably the same price at way less value. And if you’re buying lunch every day, totally different story. This post is for my Sunday ladies, love our time together. 🙂

Eat well, be well,

Nat

  • Bean Trio $15 (enough for about 6-8 pots of soup)
  • Bag of organic carrots $4
  • Organic celery stalks $3
  • 1 Organic zucchini $2
  • Bag of Organic parsnips $4
  • Organic Parsley, Thyme $4 (and freeze left overs for later)
  • Bay Leaf, pepper corns $4
  • Box of organic veggie stock $5
  • Can of organic tomatoes $2
  • Oil of some sort, salt and pepper – nil (I assume most people have something of the sort)
  • Water – nil
  • 1 hour of time
  • Total: $43 and you have ingredients to make more soup or other things. Don’t buy organic and maybe save a bit more, but not much these days. Shop local and within season.
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Next Time You Buy Tomatoes

8 10 2011

I can’t type fast enough today. This is a quadruple rant post. A couple of weeks ago I read an article by Chris Hedges called Tomatoes of Wrath. If you love food and want to be more conscious of choices, read the article. I was going to post about my sweet tomatoes that I am still plucking from the vine, all cozy and covered up at night, but there are more important things out there today. There is a simple tomato recipe below though.

I know we can’t solve all the worlds problems in a post or article. I don’t write these things with any of those delusions, but it is important that we as citizens of the world understand more about where our food comes from and the impact our choices have on other people and nations. AND just because the tomato article is in the US doesn’t mean it doesn’t impact us. It does. When we (a collective humanity) permit regulations and laws to go unchecked we give permission to repeat the same offences. Not convinced? Love the rose-coloured glasses? That’s fine. I do recommend reading Chris Hedges’ book Empire of Illusion and Chris Parenti’s The Face of Imperialism. That’s just a start. Truthdig.com and Commondreams.org are also two sites important to add to your regular web time. Harsh reality or a more balanced approach to understanding the world? Inquire.

Then yesterday CBC, our beloved CBC, has Kevin O’Leary from Dragon’s Den interview Chris Hedges about Occupy Wall Street. It was deplorable, embarrassing and if you are as pissed as I am (and a gaggle of my friends are) write a letter to the CBC Ombudsmen as I did this morning asking for the removal of O’Leary from their ‘news programs’. He is NOT a journalist. ombudsman@cbc.ca

Link to Chris Hedges/Occupy Wall Street interview on CBC: http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/News/Business/1239849460/ID=2149202610

A respectful interview with Chris Hedges/Occupy Wall Street for a Russian news channel. Short but insightful: http://t.co/fCbiJSn2

Why Occupy Wall Street is important: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wK1MOMKZ8BI&sns=em

So much going on this week, the twitterverse was a buzz of Steve Jobs passing. He offered creativity to the world we need. A favourite Jobs quote: “from creativity comes everything”. Last week a colleague at work shared this with me, thought is was a sweet homage (pun intended).

Three apples that changed the world: 1st one seduced Eve, 2nd one fell on Newton, 3rd given to the world, half bitten by one Steve Jobs.

Simple Tomato Salad 

Mix together 5 fresh garden Tomato’s, chopped, like for greek salad. 1/2 tbsp of chopped fresh Oregano . 1 tbsp of some good Olive Oil. A sprinkle of Course Sea Salt. This is a simple salad in Portugal. If you go there, buy their dried full leaf oregano to bring home, it is more delicate. I have never looked for seeds to grow on my own here, maybe next year. You can use your regular dried oregano as well.

If anything, go to your favourite farmers market today, buy some tomatoes, think about the folks that picked them for you, where they came from and how much better we can do as a human community.

Now to finish harvesting the garden and giving thanks.

Eat well, Be Well,

Nat





Hungarian Lesco

19 09 2011

How was your weekend? Mine was filled with cooking, eating and visiting. It was nice to spend time with friends and family and have few things to achieve. What I love about this blog is sharing traditional recipes with you, ones that are passed down through the generations. Today Tony and I made Lesco (Lecho in English, pronounced lech-oh). Lecso is a Hungarian pepper stew. I am lucky to have a husband that finds this to be a comfort food like I do. He was on and on about making some for winter, so we headed out to the farmers markets Saturday in search of sweet yellow Hungarian peppers, paprika and onions. Now when I say we made lesco, we made A LOT of lesco.

A sink of peppers and tomatoes

While at yoga T washed and prepped the peppers, 25 pounds of Hungarian peppers and a pound or two of hot banana peppers. I got home and it was straight to work. In two hours we chopped, sautéed and stewed. We kept some aside for dinner and packed the rest up in freezer bags for winter.

T prepping hot peppers (gloves a must for contact wearers 🙂

My mom taught me how to make lesco a couple of years ago, she learned from grandma and developed our family recipe I grew up eating. This was my first attempt on my own, easy peesy, and it tastes just like moms :).

Sauteing Peppers

Here is my family recipe for Lesco (I’ve given you a smaller portion size here):

  • 2 bags sweet Hungarian Peppers (the produce bags you get from the grocery/market), seeded and chopped
  • 5 hot Banana Peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 2 medium or 3 small sweet White Onions, chopped
  • 5 medium Tomatoes or 8 Roma or 1 can Whole Tomatoes
  • 4-5 tbsp Hungarian or Spanish Paprika (sweet, red and full of flavour)
  • 3/4 – 1 c Sour Creme
  • Olive Oil for sautéing
  • 2 tsp Sea Salt

BIG pot of Lesco

Blanche the tomatoes, remove skin, chop. Saute the onion in olive oil until transparent. Add 1-2 tbsp of paprika and 1 tsp salt, mix. Add the tomatoes to the onion mixture, warm through. Set aside. In the meantime or after the onions are done, saute the chopped hot peppers in one pan and the sweet peppers in another large pot in olive oil. That way you can add the hot peppers to the mixture a bit at a time. Saute peppers until al dente. Add tomato-onion mixture to the sweet peppers, mix over low-medium heat. Add small portions of the hot peppers and taste until you have a heat level you like. If you don’t like hot, do add at least one hot pepper, it gives it flavour. Add 2-3 more tbsp of paprika, 1 tsp or more of salt to taste. Stew low-medium heat for 15-20 min. Add the sour creme, stir well.

Lesco Packed up for Winter

Eat fresh with fresh sour dough bread, mmmm. We had ours for dinner and packed the rest up for the freezer.
If you are in Calgary and want Hungarian paprika, I found gorgeous paprika it at the Crossroads Market, at the Hungarian Deli.
What traditional foods bring you comfort?
Eat well, Be well,
Nat




Lunch at Work v.4 – Coconut Lentil Soup

12 03 2011

Lunch at work got you down? I started a new contract a few weeks ago, and phew, it has been busy. I wasn’t off that long, but throw Christmas and January in there you really do fall into a sleepy state in the dark of winter. Getting back into the swing of things took a few weeks. I think the biggest challenge is that we have been in a cold snap here in Calgary. You know, I’m okay with it, I didn’t think it was that bad until March came. Then I was like, ‘ok, I’m done with this weather’. We have holidays coming up and the weather is sunny and above zero here today so things are looking up!

I have been packing soup almost every day to lunch, and my pick the last three weeks (yes, a bit of a habitual eater) has been lentil soup. It is nourishing, rich in fibre and protein and easy to consume on the go with the right thermos. Throw some cut veggies and whole grain crackers on the side, hunger is gone, energy sustained.

I have tried a few versions of Lentil Coconut Soup this past month, but my favourite is the one below. It honestly takes all of 30 minutes to make. I don’t remember where I got the original recipe from. Unless it is in a book I have, I google recipes until I find a few I like, save them all, try them and tweak the recipes to my liking. That’s the fun of cooking and experimenting in the kitchen.

2 cups Red Lentils
3/4 inch Fresh Ginger (2 cm), peeled and chopped
1 small Onion, chopped
1 Garlic clove, chopped (or a touch of garlic powder, or omit altogether)
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
1 tsp Turmeric
1 2/3 cup Veggie Stock (1 -2 cubes of low sodium variety in hot water)
1 can (398 ml) Crushed or Diced Tomatoes, with liquid
1  can (398 ml) Coconut Milk
2 cups filtered Water

  • Rinse and drain lentils (I have been finding red kidney beans in my Indian ones I have, too funny)
  • Heat the coconut oil in a pot and sauté ginger, onion and garlic until softened
  • Add turmeric, hot veggie stock, coconut milk, water, tomatoes and the lentils; bring to boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes
  • Take off the heat, puree the soup using a hand-held blender (or in a blender carefully, read the last post on this here)

Seems weird to blog about such trivial things as to what I ate at work. I hope that all my blog friends are paying close attention to what is happening in the Middle East. Our people, our human relatives are striving all over the world to voice their rights. Rights that we take for granted in our country and more importantly, don’t pay attention too. What is happening in Wisconsin is an extension of the struggle that goes on in Egypt, Tunisia etc. As well, today, we watch the unfolding disaster in Japan. The feats of our engineering have saved thousands of lives in comparison to what happened in Haiti last year, an earthquake of similar magnitude. High rises swayed instead of collapsing. Although, those same feats of engineering and science have us holding our breath as we monitor the breakdown of a nuclear power plant. If only we stopped fighting one another and embraced our human-ness. The trillions of dollars in debt we have from our previous poor decisions over the decades has put us in even greater risk as we figure out how to survive and support one another. Priorities.

Be well, Eat Well,

Nat