Nothing too deep or profound, just a few rambling ideas to go along with my recipes, which is exactly what would happen is you pulled up to the bar in my kitchen to visit with me while I cooked anyway...
So what are my thoughts about turning 50? My thoughts today are simply this:
There have been countless times over the years (even before I was vegan) when I've had friends over for dinner, or been asked to make something for a family get-together, potluck or bake sale, and I would fret for DAYS about what to make! Would it be fancy enough? Healthy enough? Colorful enough? Tasty enough? Use enough trendy, expensive ingredients?
But I have learned, after sweating bullets and torturing myself with endless hours concocting masterpieces in the kitchen, that people really just LIKE when you keep it simple.
Sure, my 21-layer 6-types-of-chocolate-vegan-cheesecake was a HUGE hit as well. But I honestly get more compliments (and I admit to liking those just as much as the next person!) when I've made something homey and straightforward. Something SIMPLE! And it's endlessly easier on my budget too!
So in keeping with the theme of simplicity today, here is one of my easiest and most budget-friendly meals, completely approved by friends and family alike. Seriously, what is more PERFECT than a simple bowl of warm, cozy soup on a Fall afternoon?
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped carrot
- 2 stalks chopped celery
- Note: Use 3 cups total, of finely chopped veggies, using whatever vegetables you have in the 'fridge. Turnips, sweet potatoes or parsnips work well, and they do NOT have to be in perfect condition; This is a great way to use up the older, starting-to-wilt, ratty veggies; (Obviously, as long as they aren't actually starting to spoil, mold or rot.)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 pound dried split peas
- 6 - 8 cups liquid
- Note: Use any combination broth and water that you prefer (I often just use water and season with random herbs, sometimes add a little white wine, or even tomato juice, again, use anything you have on hand)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon Bacon salt OR 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
- Lemon (optional)
Add the split peas and 6 cups broth/liquid to cover ingredients; season with salt and pepper. (Or put everything in a crock pot).
On the stove, cover, bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer and cook until there are no peas left, just a green liquid, about 2 hours, stirring from time to time.
In a crock-pot, cook on high for 4 hours or until done as described above.
You may need to add more liquid as the soup continues to cook.
Once the soup is a green liquid, remove from heat, stir in Bacon Salt or liquid smoke and let the soup stand and cool just a bit, so it will thicken.
(Optional) Stir in a squeeze of lemon juice and garnish with lemon zest.
I LOVE this served with toasted sourdough bread or grilled 'cheese' sandwiches.