Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Not my Grandmother's Lentil Soup

I have always loved lentil soup. And after a few tries, I figured out how to make something like my grandmother's lentil soup. And then I learned to make it into my own creation.

This is because my grandmother really didn't use much in the way of herbs and spices. Her herbs and spices were exclusively onion, celery, salt and pepper except for special occasions, when she would take the dill out of the freezer (chopped fresh and kept frozen until needed).

I am also basically lazy. I like to throw everything in a pot, cook it, freeze it in portion sizes and then be able to just thaw and eat as needed. So this is a crock-pot recipe.

I will include instructions for making ham stock but this is not necessary. I make this with and without stock. The difference is whether I've bought a bone-in ham or not.

Ham Stock

Throw as much of the fat and bone and un-chewable parts of a ham as you can cut off the meat into a crock pot. Cook on low for 12 - 24 hours. Let cool. Put in containers in the fridge. When the fat congeals on the top of the containers, skim the fat, put labels on the containers, and freeze.

Lentil Soup

2 - 3 medium onions, diced small
olive oil for frying onions
2 - 4 carrots, diced
2 - 4 stalks celery, chopped
2 - 4 potatoes, cubed (larger than the carrots)
2 - 4 cups diced ham
One bag of lentils
ham stock and/or water to cover
2 bay leaves
red pepper flakes to taste (I use about 1 tsp)

Fry the onions in the olive oil until clear.
Put the onions, all the vegetables, and the ham in the crock pot.
Rinse the lentils and inspect for stones. Add to crockpot.
Cover with stock and/or water - you'll need to more than just cover it as the lentils expand when cooked.
Add the bay leaves and pepper flakes.
Cook on low until done but not more than 10 hours (the ham loses all flavor if you cook it too long).


Sunday, December 24, 2006

He caught me...

My sweetheart caught me ripping out something I had just recently started to knit. I didn't like the way that yarn looked in garter stitch. After I told him he could keep me entertained for a long time with just one ball of yarn, he replied, "She tinks she'll knit that again."

I think I'm smitten.

I recently had a most unpleasant knitting-related lesson (well, loosely knitting-related). My washing machine broke, so I had to go to the laundromat. You know I lost a sock. Can you guess which one? It was the one I can never, ever replace. It was one of the pair knit for me in the last Sockapalooza. I am ... resigned. And very, very careful to make sure I spin the drum three full times looking for stuff stuck in odd corners before leaving the machine.

We thought I had lost two of my sweetheart's socks. But no, one of them was in an odd corner of our very own dryer right here at home. So I only lost one from each of us, and his wasn't hand-knit.

People have asked me how long it would take me to knit a pair of socks. After sitting in the emergency room with my mother last night (she had a fever and the rehab place was right to be careful) for six hours, I knit half a gusset and half a foot in six hours. And remember, I knit two socks at once. So I think I could probably polish off a full pair in about 30 hours. Actually, it would probably take me less time than that, since I wasn't knitting uninterrupted that whole time.

So, as the English say, Happy Christmas.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


This is my thank you to my Secret Pal. Not only did she send me all this wonderful stuff...

But I've completely read the book already, and couldn't wait to wind the yarn!

Ah, yummy!

And a quick update on Mom. She came through the surgery with flying colors, but I don't know enough about what's going on with rehab and all that jazz yet.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Too lazy to post pictures

Just so you know I'm still alive...

My Secret Pal asked if quantities are limited at Zooba. Yes. You occasionally get notices that a book in your queue has been sold out before you got your copy. If you go to the very bottom of their home page you can read the note, "Powered by Book-of-the-Month®." I think this means that Zooba is the Book-of-the-Month outlet store, but I could be mistaken.

By the way, Pal, I've already finished reading Knitting Around. Thank you SO MUCH! I still need to post pictures of the wonderful package you sent me. That yarn is absolutely perfect. As soon as I finish the socks I'm working on, those two skeins you sent me are going on the needles. Yummy!

I would like to also say a very special thank-you to my other commenter at my last post. By reading her blog and by following links from her blog, I discovered there's a You Knit What 2 blog! I was very sad when You Knit What said they were retiring. Thank you Knitting Rose!

In other news, we went to Washington D.C. last week-end and took a sum total of zero pictures, missed our one opportunity to go to the Trio diner for breakfast, and spent an hour looking for a parking place after spending seven hours driving there. We also saw several old friends and met some new ones. We're glad we went.

Also, I have to finish reading a book in time for a book discussion tomorrow. Ah, yes, the book is: Inheriting the Holy Land: An American's Search for Hope in the Middle East, by Jennifer Miller. I'm at around page 100 and it's a very interesting book. It's a great follow-up to the movie Promises, which we saw in August of 2005.

And finally, my mother is going in for knee replacement surgery on Monday. She's going to be home just in time for Christmas. She's very excited about the prospect of having two legs the same length again and being able to walk without pain in a few months. I'm hopeful that this will improve the quality of her life.

'Till next time...