Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Simple foods

Can I let you in on a little secret?  I am just a mediocre cook.  I have cooking envy of many of my friends, including my friend, Jan.   I long to cook with creativity and view cooking as an art form as she does at  Daily*Dishin. I wish I could make a tiramasu like her's.  (If only I had the nerve to attempt a tiramasu.)  My poor family usually has to settle for chocolate chips or a piece of fruit for dessert.  I's pathetic!

I am a simple person who has been called to a simple lifestyle.  When I cook for my family, I try to use simple, wholesome, ingredients in their original, God-given form, unchanged by chemicals and processing.  I also try to use recipes that are inexpensive and don't take a ton of time to prepare.  So, how did I go from cooking with ingredients like these:

To cooking with wholesome ingredients such as these:

It all started about four years ago.  I had gained a ton of weight, felt terrible all the time, and was seeing a doctor for reoccurring health issues.  I took a long, hard, look at what our family was consuming.  When I did the research, I found out quickly that what we were eating was not nourishing our bodies at all, but was actually harming them.  I began reading lots of books on this topic......lots.......

What I discovered, in a nutshell, is that our Maker has given us everything that we need to live a healthy, productive life, and heal ourselves through nutrition.  When we consume real foods, unadulterated by chemicals, we are giving our bodies exactly what they need to function. 

So the journey began to come up with healthy food choices that wouldn't make my family turn up their noses.  I began cooking with all natural products and making my own bread using 100% whole wheat flour.  It was a slow process, but definitely worth it for mine and my family's long-term health.

It's not always an easy journey.  At times, we still eat frozen pizzas and pop-tarts, but we're trying.  My rule of thumb is 80-20.  We try to eat healthy 80% of the time, and leave the other 20% open for splurges.  My man....well, he follows the 20-80 rule, but he's trying too...bless his little fast-food heart!

Here's a quick, easy, tried and true recipe that I make up quite often around these parts:

Mama's Southwestern Lentil and Black Bean Soup

             AKA: "Easy Weight Loss Soup"

(My kids call it: “Soup, Soup, Soup, Soup, Soup,"  because we eat so much of it!)
Printable Recipe
Introducing the stars of the show:

1 large onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic or 1 TBS minced garlic

2 cups dried lentils

2 cans black beans (Drained and rinsed) OR 2 cups cooked black beans or any beans of choice.

1-2 cans diced tomatoes with onion and garlic

2-4 cubes vegetable or chicken boullion or 2 cans vegetable or chicken broth/stock

1 TBS ground cumin

1 TBS chili powder

2 TBS Braggs Amino Acid (optional)

Kale (as much as you want in bite-sized pieces)

The Production:

Sauté the chopped onions and garlic in a small amount of olive oil in a Dutch oven or soup kettle. 

Add lentils and at least 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for @ 20 minutes.

  Stir in the remaining ingredients except for kale. Add water to reach desired consistency. Reduce heat and simmer for @ 15 more minutes.

Straight from the garden.  (Store bought canned tomatoes will do too!)

Beans were cooked in the crockpot and then frozen for convenience.  This is a mixture of black , pinto, and great northern beans.

Braggs Liquid Amino Acid is a much healthier choice than soy sauce.

Stir in kale, turn off the heat, and pop the lid on until it reaches the desired tenderness.    I like mine tender, but not too soggy.  (Can you cook kale al-dente'?)  If needed, add salt and pepper to taste.

Kale has been my best friend lately.  My body must be craving the vitamins C and B6 needed to boost immunities!

  Delicious served with brown rice and hot sauce and a little splash of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar.

I make this soup every Monday and always have it on hand. I eat it for lunch everyday and sometimes for dinner as well. I have lost @ 10 pounds in 1 month and I owe it all to healthy eating, and primarily to the consumption of this soup!'s what's for dinner.  Eat your heart out Jan!  I know it's not tiramasu, but's the best I got!


  1. LOOOOOOVE soup, soup, soup, soup, soup! :) Thanks for sharing your ideas and tips.

  2. We have taken a similar journey in our home. We stumbled across the wonders of simple healthy eating the way God designed when we did our first Daniel Fast about three years ago. We Couldn't believe how much better we felt and looked too... Since we both dropped tons of weight. I sometimes can't believe I use to consider fruit the lil' cups w syrup... Poor Kayleigh exsisted on those for her first 18 months. Thanks for sharing the soup recipe... Can't wait to try!

  3. I just finished the Daniel Fast last week. I always feel amazing when I eat the way that I was made to. Enjoy the soup!!

  4. Saw this and carried around the recipe for a couple of weeks until I finally had it with me at the grocery store. Finally made it today. Yummy! Thanks for sharing!

    1. You're welcome! SO glad you enjoyed it. I make it every week and usually have some on hand. It helps me to eat healthier and snack less!

  5. This soup sounds amazing! Lentils and kale = 2 of my favorite things!

  6. Mine is cooking as we speak. I can't wait!!!

  7. Made this today, added celery and 2 carrots. I couldn't help myself, it's just not soup without some carrots. It's delicious. Can you please tell me how you build your THM E meal around this soup? I'm not sure what the serving size should be and what to add to it without overdoing the carbs. Thank you so much!

    1. I love carrots in this soup! They add a nice color and texture. As far as serving size, I always have one nice sized bowel (@ one to one and a half cups), topped with a little low fat cheese and 0% Greek yogurt. (both totaling < 5 g fat) I am not a carb counter, but just from experience know this is in range, because I've lost 35 pounds since Janurary on the THM plan, and I've eaten a lot of this soup as an E meal! I hope that helps! Thanks for stopping by, Lyssa!

  8. Can you make this in the slow cooker?

    1. It's not my recipe but I bet you can that's what I'm going to do..:)