Sunday, January 2, 2011

To Your Health

Happy 2011! I really hope your 2010 ended and your 2011 started better than mine. In the midst of a post-Christmas pre-New Year's party at my best friend's house, right in the middle of a crazy game of Cranium, while everyone else was just starting to feel their vodka-cranberry buzzes, I started to feel a sore throat coming on. By midnight, it had worsened, and by the time a woke up in the morning, I could barely swallow. Yuck. Despite my strengthening workout, Listerine rinses, chugs of orange juice and endless pieces of Fisherman's Friend, by the 11am, I had crawled back into bed. My body couldn't make up its mind as to whether it was hot or cold, and somehow, my legs were aching like crazy.

It's now the 2nd of the month in a brand new year, and the pain in my throat has moved to my chest and I'm constantly coughing into my sleeve (sorry to anyone who has to ride public transit beside me!). Geeze! How did I even make it through a New Year's celebration game of Monopoly and a sip of iced wine champagne at midnight? Caffeine, cold + flu medication, and a restorative soup, made with love. It was a soup of easily digestible lentils and veggies simmered in homemade broth and sipped slowly on the couch covered in blankets. I ate this lovely soup three days in a row. By the third day, I was feeling slightly better, and decided to participate. We added a few more veggies and even some yellow split peas for a little extra texture.

There are probably an endless number of ways to flavour this soup: crushed fennel seeds and basil, cumin and lemon, coriander and lime ... the possibilities are exciting. But what I've been wanting is something easy to taste, something familiar and warm, something soothing and friendly to help me get through my cold. So we settled for simple salt and pepper, a few sprigs of thyme, and the help of some homemade, flavourful stock. I'll try those other combinations when I feel better. For now, I'll go back to my soup and hope that tomorrow, my cold + flu pills will be enough to hold back 150 excited students.

Get Well Soup
serves 4

3/4 cup of red lentils, rinsed
1/2 cup of yellow split peas, rinsed
1 small onion, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 small can of tomatoes
2 sprigs of thyme
4 cups of flavourful stock

1. In a large soup pot, saute the onions, celery, carrots and garlic for about 5 minutes, or until things get fragrant and start to soften. Add the lentils, split peas and tomatoes and give it a good stir.

2. Cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until the tomatoes form a yummy, sticky coating at the bottom of the pot. Add your stock and scrape up the bits from the bottom. Throw in your thyme sprigs and turn up the heat.

3. Bring your soup to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a slow simmer. Cook, uncovered for about 20 minutes. The lentils should have broken down and the peas should be tender. Serve with bread for a nice, comforting meal.

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