A Warm, Toasty Treat!

It’s November, which means my mind is on food again. I thought I’d share with you a couple of my current fall recipes to season the season. I posted my Stone Soup recipe, which is a favorite year-round, but this time I thought I’d give you a meat-less soup to try. Realm rarely lets me get by with a meat-less soup, or any soup that doesn’t end in “ili” and start with “ch.” The secret to getting your meat-loving husband to eat soup is to serve it with something that contains a little bit of meat. That’s where a hearty bread spread comes to the rescue.

100_1703
Yes, another one of my fabulous photos. You can’t get enough, I know.

Vegetable Lentil Soup

2 medium carrots, sliced
2 medium celery sticks, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, minced
2 cups dried lentils
1 ½ cups chicken broth
6 cups vegetable broth
½ cup water
salt & pepper
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp thyme
1 tsp paprika

Add all ingredients to a big pot, except lentils. Bring it to a boil. Add lentils. Turn it down to simmer, and simmer on the stove for an hour. (Or realize you only have about 15 minutes before your hungry husband will be home, and crank that baby up to a raging boil!)

Hearty Italian Cheddar Bread

French or Italian bread loaf, sliced in half length-wise

2 tsp Italian dressing mix
1 cup chopped, fresh spinach
3 tablespoons butter, chopped in pieces
¼ cup of cooked ground beef
2 pieces of bacon, crumbled
¾ cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Mix the last six ingredients together. Spoon beef mixture onto the flat sides of each half of the bread loaf. Broil bread in oven for 5 minutes and serve with soup. (You can use any kind of meat you have: turkey, chicken, pepperoni, etc. Be creative.)

I used homemade flatbread instead of a store-bought loaf. That’s good, too. For gluten-free folks, you can top rice cakes with the spread and toast them in the oven, too. They come out crispy-browned on top and very, very flavorful.

Your tummy will totally appreciate this!

Wooed by Smoke and Flame

I’m married to the grill master of my dreams. We’re having beautiful weather here, and Realm has been grilling out once a week. He’s a charcoal grill connoisseur. We tried gas once. The flavor’s not the same.

By Brian Chu (Own work) [CC-BY-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
My favorite cologne for Realm is eau de Grill. I can smell it in his hair when he walks in from the porch. Some people sniff markers and glue; I tiptoe up to my husband and breathe in smoky bliss. He thinks it’s funny. I think it’s delicious.

He cooks steak to perfection…and herbed salmon, honey Italian marinated chicken, shish kabob—Oh! Shish kabob with garlic and onions, mushrooms, zucchini, and tomatoes is my favorite! I eat up all the cloves of garlic and onions before they reach the table. (My scent is eau de Halitosis.)

Of course, there’s the occasional burnt fare. Realm hates when this happens. I lurve it! The only thing better than grilled meat is charred grilled meat! I’m not saying I want ash here, but a burger that’s blackened is so yummy.

Realm and I just celebrated our 18th anniversary. Our marriage is an adult now. I’m very much in love with him. I think one secret to a happy 18 years is having a husband who knows how to woo his wife long after the “I do.” I like flowers. I like chocolate. But there is nothing like, “Honey, I cooked dinner.”

Heads Up, Little Piggies

school lunch
school lunch (Photo credit: bookgrl)

The first thing I thought of when I read “Be Kind to Food Servers Month” was  ball-shaped instant mashed potatoes plopped onto my plate by a lady behind a cafeteria counter with a hairnet and a mustache. I shouldn’t tell you that because my grandmother was the head cook for a school cafeteria for many years. Before I knew this I had the impression cafeteria ladies couldn’t cook. The truth is: the recipes are strictly regulated by policies and budgets. My grandmother told me she used to cheat, and her food was so good the powers that be overlooked it. And she doesn’t have a mustache, so I believe her.

Not just the cafeteria lady deserves kindness. There are a host of servers who bow to our demands and whims in eating establishments everywhere. And what about the food servers who don’t see a paycheck for their trouble? Remember the mom from A Christmas Story who hadn’t had a hot meal in 15 years? Yeah, don’t be mama’s little piggy; give your food server an extra helping of kindness.