Lentils and Rice

This box of spanish rice has been my nemesis forever. I bought it at least a year ago when we were still living in Noe Valley. I have no idea why I bought it. Maybe for burritos or taco salads? Whatever it was for, it wasn’t used. We gave away almost all our food before the move and yet, it somehow found its way into the moving boxes, all the way across the country and back into our new kitchen just to stare me down for another 6 months. Resilient little bugger.

spanish rice

Yesterday it finally met it’s fate!

lentils and rice

Work is crazy for Michael right now as he prepares for a big meeting at the end of the month. Knowing he would be working late again last night I thought I’d make him something that would only get better with a little time in the fridge. Plus, he’d asked for a veggie stew this weekend and I didn’t make it for him so I used this to make it up to him.

I love the combo of rice and lentils and it was also the easiest recipe I’ve made in a long time. Saute veggies with spices, add lentils and rice, add liquid, done. I actually made and photographed a smoothie for a WalkJogRun article while this was cooking.

Feel free to add whatever rice you have on hand you absolutely do not need this specific box of rice but if you’re like me and have one hanging around, it might be a great time to finally use it.

Lentils and Rice (vegan, gluten-free)

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 onion, diced

1 carrot, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

1 broccoli stalk, diced

1/2 jalape√Īo with seeds, diced

2 tbsp minced garlic

1 tsp salt

1/2 tbsp turmeric

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp chili powder

1 box spanish rice and half flavor packet

1 can diced tomatoes

1 1/2 cup green lentils

2 cups veggie broth

3 cups water

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Heat olive oil over high heat and saute vegetables until soft. Add garlic, salt, turmeric, cumin and chili powder, saute another minute.

veggies and spices

sauteed veggies

Add rice, flavor packet, diced tomatoes, lentils, veggie broth and water to the vegetable mixture.

rice and lentils

Cook over medium high heat for 20-25 minutes or until all liquid has evaporated.

lentils and rice

I ate my plain. Michael told me this morning that he made sandwiches out of his and topped the mixture with cheese. He also brought it to my attention that I made A LOT of it, which is very true. If you’d like to make a smaller portion, cut the lentils and rice in half. You’ll also want to reduce the water to 1 cup.

lentils and rice

lentils and rice

Enjoy and Exhale!

New York, New York Part 1

I really love New York. Partly because my sister is there but also because of the energy. That city really is like no other.

We had an amazing visit and were really sad to see it end yesterday. I wish we could have birthdays all the time!

I’ll do my best to swiftly recap the weekend without boring you all but we crammed a lot in the two days so this may seem like a photo bomb.

We drove down on Saturday morning. I’m so used to the long state of California where you drive for 4 hours and are still in CA that it always surprises me when we cross state lines so quickly. It’s like you blink and you’re in Connecticut.

We quickly headed to brunch after dropping our stuff and Eli off at my sister’s place. I would show you brunch photos but to be honest that food was sub par and the service was even worse. We left the meal hungry and disappointed, not a good start.

We were on the Upper West Side so we explored that area for a bit and then stumbled on the Empire Hotel. Considering we’re all huge Chuck Bass fans and we were right there, we stopped in for a drink.

I loved this bar, classy, ornate and relatively quiet. Maybe that’s because it was 3 in the afternoon ūüôā

Empire Hotel

Here’s the birthday girl showing off the new watch her beau gave her.

birthday girl

Couple shot.

Michael and me

And a pic of the good company I was in! The conversation was just so exciting. Can’t you tell?

Phone Obsessed

After a drink we decided to go bowling down at the Port Authority. I thought it would be ghetto but it was super swanky! The lanes were really nice and they played top 40 hits with coordinated neon lights and huge screens playing music videos at the end of the lanes.

bowling sisters bowling

I managed to lose best out of two against Michael and am now washing a weeks worth of dishes. ūüė¶

I wish I had taken a picture of the snacks we had. The menu was great for being a bowling alley. We had a huge bowl of hummus with carrots and pitas and some edamame fritters.

We headed back to my sister’s after bowling to get gussied up for dinner. We had dinner at Monument Lane in the West Village. The restaurant was adorable. Loved the decor and the vibe. The food was hit and miss. The brussel sprout appetizer was amazing (you can kind of see it in the background), I hope to recreate it somehow. Michael’s fish was apparently very good and my veggie hash was fine but very expensive for some parsnips, carrots and sweet potatoes. It also reminded me of something very familiar…this!

vegetable hash

The company was lovely, of course.

Sarah and Me at dinnerMichael

This post is getting a little long so I’ll recap Sunday tomorrow which includes a delicious veggie burger and Jenga. That’s right you read correctly, Jenga!

Have a wonderful Tuesday.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Happiness Split Pea Soup

I saw this on my Facebook feed yesterday and it made me smile.

Choose happiness.

good day to be happy

The other thing that made me very happy was this recipe. I was coming off of the banana bread fails and we all know how gluten-free baking can squash my cooking self confidence. I needed my next recipe attempt to be rich, hearty and guaranteed not to fail me. Soups tend to be that thing.

I’ve said it before but soups are just so simple and easy to correct when something feels out of whack. This soup needed no correcting. I absolutely loved it. Michael felt it was lacking in lemon but it didn’t really bother me. I did, however, added a big squeeze of it to the recipe instructions right at the end for those who want that bright citrus flavor.

Also, I originally thought I was making a lentil soup but upon further examination realized that I did not use lentils but split peas. I think lentils could easily be substituted but the split peas were a nice change of pace albeit an unplanned one.

Happiness Split Pea Soup (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion

1 carrot

2 stalks celery

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp garlic, minced

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 tablespoon turmeric

1 tbsp tomato paste

6 cups vegetable stock

1 bay leaf

1.5 cups green and yellow spilt peas

3/4 cup frozen peas

1 can light coconut milk

Big squeeze of fresh lemon juice (optional)

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Chop your vegetables into bite size pieces.

chopped vegetables

Heat olive oil on medium high. Add vegetables and salt, saute until veggies start to get tender. Add garlic, cook for another minute until garlic is golden brown.

Next add curry powder, turmeric and tomato paste. Stir to coat vegetables.

Add vegetable stock. Some veggie stocks contain soy and gluten so read the labels carefully when selecting your broth. Drop in one bay leaf.

soup with bay leaf

Rinse and drain your split peas in cold water. Add split peas to broth. I used a mix of green and yellow but feel free to use whatever you have on hand.

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Add frozen peas and coconut milk.

soup with coconut milk

Bring soup up to a boil then reduce to medium heat for 25 minutes or until split peas are soft. Taste and adjust salt if needed.

Remove bay leaf before serving. Top with a big squeeze of lemon.

split pea soup split pea soup

Enjoy and Exhale!

Tofu Vegetable Spaghetti (Squash)

Holy cold. Someone remind me why we moved away from sunny, warm California to Boston where it was 5 degrees this morning? 5 degrees but feels like -11! Yesterday I googled ‘how cold is too cold to take a dog running?’ If you’re curious there’s no definitive answer. I put a running coat on Eli (yes he has a coat) bundled up in 5 layers and went anyway. Once we got going it wasn’t too horrible but we still came back after only 2 miles. It was the wind, not the cold that finally did me in.

When we got home I made a quinoa beet recipe that I wanted to share today but the photos are currently being held hostage on my new camera. I need to download some software ¬†before I can access the pics which hasn’t happened yet for a variety of reasons.

So instead of quinoa you get spaghetti. Actually spaghetti squash.

I made this recipe last week when we were trying to use up the last of our groceries. This squash was the lone hold out.

Tofu Vegetable Spaghetti Squash (vegan, gluten-free)

1 spaghetti squash, roasted

2 tbsp garlic infused olive oil

10 cremini mushrooms

1 head of broccoli

10 asparagus spears

1 cup broccoli/carrot slaw

2 tbsp garlic, minced

1 tsp red chili flakes

1 package of extra firm tofu, pressed

1 jar of tomato sauce or 1 28 ounce can of roasted tomatoes

2 tsp oregano

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 tsp garlic salt

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Preheat oven to 375.

Carefully cut the spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place cut side down on a sprayed cookie sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes. When a fork can pierce the skin without resistance it’s done.

While the squash is cooking heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan. Saute chopped mushrooms, broccoli, asparagus, broccoli slaw, garlic and red chili flakes until veggies starts to soften.

sauteed veggies

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Remove tofu from package and place between 2 paper towels. Press out as much moisture as you can. Once tofu is dry-ish (it doesn’t need to be super dry) heat remaining olive oil and place tofu in pan. Using a potato masher break apart the tofu. You can use a fork but I find the potato masher much easier. Cook tofu until it begins to brown.

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Then add the veggies and tofu together.

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I forgot to take a photo of the next part. Pour tomato sauce over the veggie/tofu mixture. Add oregano, basil and garlic salt. Cook until tomato sauce warms up. If you don’t want to use pre-made sauce you can use a can of tomatoes but you’ll need to add more salt, basil and oregano. You may even want to add a little tomato paste and sugar for a hint of sweetness.

When the sauce is ready, take a fork and run it down the flesh side of the cooled squash. The fork will create spaghetti like ribbons. You can make ribbons all the way to the skin. Place squash ribbons in a bowl and cover with sauce.

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This dish is deceptively filling, your eyes may be bigger than your stomach. Squash baby anyone?

Enjoy and Exhale!

Everyday Eats 2

It’s been a while since I’ve done an Everyday Eats post. I take photos for it almost everyday so it’s never far from my mind. But, I need enough time between posts or else you’d be seeing 15 pictures of taco salads. I’m not going to lie, I eat a lot of taco salads. I also eat a lot of tortilla chips. I don’t want to lead you to think I only eat veggies and quinoa all the time. I love chips. Michael loves chips. Together we can easily eat a huge bag of tortilla chips in a day or two if we aren’t careful.

Anyway, I digress.

If you missed Everyday Eats 1 you can find it here.

And now, Everyday Eats 2:

I’ll start with what else? A taco salad with lentils, cilantro, salsa and veggies. This Whole Foods salsa is the best salsa I’ve ever had. On Sunday we ate an entire container! We usually buy two at a time.

Taco Salad

If eating a whole bowl of coleslaw on its own wasn’t weird enough let me add that I ate this at 8 in the morning for breakfast one day. It had wasabi vegan mayo in it and was so strong that I haven’t had wasabi since.

vegan coleslaw

The portions on this look pathetic but I took the picture about half way through eating the broccoli. Simple sweet potato fries, broccoli and roasted tomatoes.

roasted vegetables

Curry chickpea salad with celery, tomatoes and what else…chips.

curry chickpea salad

Really simple vegetable, tofu, noodle soup that I make all the time when it’s cold.

veggie noodle soup

Leftover Chickpea, Curry, Coconut, Quinoa Soup with a bowl of lentils and veggies.

curry coconut chickpea quinoa soup

Trader Joe’s Veggie Gyozas with steamed cabbage, wasabi vegan mayo (pre-coleslaw) and tamari.

veggie potstickers with cabbage

Roasted potatoes, rutabaga and brussel sprouts.

roasted potatoes

Corn tortilla tacos filled with quinoa and sweet potatoes.

quinoa corn tacos

Another chickpea salad. I make this at least once a week for lunch. Always with lots of avocado.

chickpea salad with avocado

Do you remember Totino’s Party Pizzas? My brother used to love them as a kid. These taste like that but way better and they happen to be gluten-free. Glutino’s Brown Rice Personal Pizzas (not vegan) with a side of peas. I ate this the week I was sick, hence the big bowl of frozen peas as the only green you see.

gluten-free pizza

Taco salad number 1000 with chickpeas and leftover¬†Tahini Cashew Dressing…so so so good! Of all these Everyday Eats I recommend making this one the most.

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Healthy black bean dinner bowl with sautéed peppers, onions, corn and avocado.

healthy black bean dinner bowl

As you can see these aren’t very creative. They supplement all the other new and exciting recipes that I share with you all as feature recipes. These photos tend to be of lunches or quick dinners that I pull together before or after teaching. None of these meals takes more than 20 minutes to make and use the normal, everyday foods we already have in the house. If you want a specific step by step on anything in particular let me know.

If you’re on the east coast, especially in Boston today, stay warm. It’s 10 degrees out there right now! Cold enough that I walked through the mall to get to Starbucks from the studio today. Now I get why they made an indoor mall that stretches 5 city blocks.

Have a great Wednesday.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Potato Leek Soup

I made this soup when it was 50 degrees out two days ago, it was really good then but would probably have been better today with the snow coming down, making Boston a winter wonderland. Because we’ve only had snow a few times this winter it’s still really fun for me to experience. I love those first couple hours when it’s all white fluff that coats the trees and lightly swirls around you making it seem like you’re in a movie. Tomorrow I’ll be annoyed by the remnants of salt and gray slushy piles of old snow on the sidewalk. But I’m practicing staying in the present so today, hooray for snow!

Columbus Street in the snow

Snow covered trees outside Crossfit after this morning’s yoga class. I’m teaching another one tomorrow morning at 6:45am, you should get up with me. ūüôā

Boston winter

Downtown Boston in the snow.

Anyway, back to soup.

When we went shopping last weekend I bought two leeks. We also bought a ton of other veggies at the time and the leeks were pushed to the bottom of the crisper. As we made our way through the kale and carrots I spotted the leeks and knew just what to use them for. Soup of course. Potato leek soup to be exact.

I love soup for its ease and simplicity. You just dump a bunch of vegetables in a pot for an hour and call it dinner. Who wouldn’t want to cook like that?

Potato Leek Soup (vegan, gluten-free)

2 tablespoons earth balance or whichever butter you prefer

1 tbsp canola oil

1/4 onion, diced

3 stalks celery with leaves, diced

2 leaks, white and pale green parts only, chopped

2 tbsp garlic, minced

1 teaspoon red chili flakes

8 new potatoes, cut into dice sized cubes

1 russet potato, cut into dice sized cubes

8 cups vegetable broth

2 broccoli stalks, whole (optional)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1 bay leaf

1.5 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped

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Cut white and light green part of leeks into 1/2 inch pieces.

chopped leeks

Discard the green tops. Put leek pieces into a bowl of cold water.

soaking leeks

Leeks can be very sandy. Make sure to let them soak for a few minutes. The sand will fall to the bottom of the bowl and you can then drain the clean leeks.

Chop onion and celery.

veggie prep

Heat oil and butter. Add leeks, onion and celery. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes.

sauteed veggies

Add garlic and red chili flakes. Cook another minute.

While veggies are sauteing, chop potatoes. Add potatoes to leek/onion mixture.

Next add veggie broth. One note on veggie broth. I strongly suggested buying vegetarian bouillon cubes. They are much cheaper than veggie stock. I use one cube per 4 cups of water (the package says 1 cube per 2 cups but it always works out well for me with the extra water).

Add broccoli stalks to broth. I happen to have stalks lying around waiting to be juiced and I thought they’d add a nice flavor to the broth, which they did. Feel free to omit. If you do use them, remove before serving, but feel free to snack on them while getting the rest of dinner together.

Add nutmeg, bay leaf, salt and rosemary. Bring soup up to a boil then reduce to a simmer. I didn’t chop my rosemary as fine as I wish I did, as seen below. Make sure it’s finely minced, I found the bigger pieces to be a little annoying.

potato leek soup

I let the soup simmer for about an hour then turned off the heat and covered the pot. I reheated the soup a couple of hours later when we were ready for dinner.

potato leek soup potato leek soup

Served with toast and earth balance.

I thought about blending this but according to Michael there is something heartier and more filling about the chunks of potato and leek.

Perfect for today’s snow-filled day.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Lentils and Vegetables in Spicy Coconut Sauce

I had the leek post all ready to go for today then last night I made this dish and it was so delicious that I had to share it right away. I made it once before when we were still living in SF but with the move and a million other distractions it got lost in my mind’s recipe file. Thank goodness I found it again.

This dish also fulfills a request I got a few weeks ago from my sister’s friend Nisha, from work. She asked if I could do a quick tutorial on lentils and offer up a few dishes that includes them.

This is a great starter recipe for those that are just beginning to cook with lentils. It’s simple, quick and flavorful. Plus you can use¬†whatever vegetables you’d like.¬†I particularly love peas with coconut milk so that is my only non-negotiable in this dish, but, there really are no rules.

First up…

How To Cook Lentils:

The best thing about lentils is that they don’t need to be soaked like dry beans do. From start to finish they take about 20 minutes.

1 cup lentils, rinsed

2 cups water

1/4 teaspoon salt

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Rinse lentils and pick out any twigs or little pieces that don’t look quite right. Once the lentils are rinsed, place them in a pot.

Cover with water and add salt.

Bring lentils to a boil then reduce to medium heat for 20 minutes.

Cooking Lentils

Stir a few times during the cooking process. When the water has evaporated taste your lentils. They should be soft but not mushy. If they are still a little hard, add another 1/2 cup of water and let the lentils cook for a few more minutes. Lentils are very forgiving so don’t worry too much about them. Although overcooked lentils don’t keep their shape well, they still taste amazing.

Now that we’ve mastered lentil cooking let’s move on to the main event.

Lentils and Vegetables in Spicy Coconut Sauce (vegan, gluten-free)

1 tbsp garlic infused olive oil or regular olive oil

1 carrot, chopped

1 zucchini, diced

1 bunch bok choy, chopped

1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped

1 small head broccoli, cut into florets

8 asparagus spears, cut into fourths

8 brussel sprouts, cut into fourths

2 big handfuls of broccoli slaw, optional

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 can light coconut milk

1/2 cup water

2 tbsp garlic, minced

2 tbsp tandoori masala spice mix

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon garlic salt

2 tbsp white miso paste

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Make lentils according to the above recipe.

Chop all your vegetables.

Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat.

Add vegetables and saute for a 2-3 minutes making sure not to let the vegetables brown.

vegetables

Add coconut milk, water, garlic, tandoori masala, cayenne pepper and garlic salt. Stir to coat vegetables.

vegetables in coconut milk

Cover veggies with lid for 8 minutes or so until vegetables are soft but still have a little bite left.

Covered vegetables

Stir miso paste into vegetables.

vegetables in coconut sauce

Serve over a big pile of lentils.

Lentils and Vegetables in Spicy Coconut Sauce

I added a little hot sauce for extra spice or you can always increase the cayenne pepper if you want it spicier.

This meal will serve 3 big helpings.

Hope this helps answer your lentil questions. If you’d like more lentil recipes try my Lentil Sloppy Joes, Healthy Lentil Dinner Bowls¬†or Red Lentil Chickpea Hummus.

And as always, if you have questions on how to cook specific foods or have recipes you’d like me to develop please let me know.

Back with the leek recipe tomorrow.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Vegetable Soup with Chickpeas

As I mentioned¬†yesterday,¬†I was planning to make a vegetable stew last night.¬†Michael has been fighting a cold and I was hoping something hardy and veggie filled would take the edge off. But I accidentally added too much water to this recipe so it’s more soup than stew. It probably worked out for the best because what’s better for a cold than soup anyway?

Vegetable Soup with garbazo beans

The good news is this is a very forgiving recipe. Add whatever vegetables and beans you have on hand and don’t worry too much about the measurements (except reduce the water if you want it thicker). We are partial to chickpeas but I think red kidney beans would have added a nice silkiness to each bite and had I thought of it before we were halfway through our bowls I would have added a couple handfuls of kale as well.

The longer the soup sits, the better it tastes so I suggest making it over the weekend for easy lunches and dinners during the week.

Vegetable Soup with Chickpeas (vegan, gluten-free)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

1/2 butternut squash, diced

2 carrots, chopped into rounds

2 stalks of celery, diced

2 tbsp garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

1/2 tbsp sweet paprika

1 tbsp thyme

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

4 cups veggie stock

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, with juices

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 russet potato, diced

2 cups cooked chickpeas

salt

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Chop vegetables. Make sure everything is relatively the same size to ensure even cooking.

Soup Veggies

Chopped Veggies

Heat oil in a large pot. Saute onions, butternut squash, carrots and celery until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for an additional minute. (Excuse my tazo tea in the left corner!)

sauteed vegetables

Add bay leaf, sweet paprika, thyme and cayenne to vegetable mix. Stir.

Pour in vegetable stock, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Add diced potatoes.

Bring soup to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes. Lastly, add in chickpeas and simmer for another 15 minutes.

Vegetable Soup

Remove bay leaf and serve piping hot to the sniffling patient on the couch.

vegetable soup with chickpeasvegetable soup with garbanzo beans

Enjoy and Exhale!

Running and Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

How do weekends go by so fast? I feel like it was just Friday night. Sigh.

My weekend was wonderful as always. I subbed on Friday night and taught my regular classes Saturday morning. I am really starting to love my Saturday morning classes. The energy is so positive and happy on the weekends. I can’t believe I get paid to teach! Sorry, I digress, back to the weekend.

Saturday afternoon Michael and I walked down to Newbury Street and did a little shopping. Saturday night I had a holiday party for one of the studios I teach at. I made my Southwestern Quinoa¬†Salad. I didn’t have any limes so I made it with lemons and a little cayenne pepper. It was just as delicious as I remember it, maybe even more so.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

Sunday I was up early, per usual, and just about finished my Christmas shopping while I waited for Michael to get up. Thank you world wide web. After breakfast we decided to venture into a new neighborhood. There’s a reservoir in Chestnut Hill that gets rave reviews for runners and dogs so we headed out. The reservoir is about 1.75 miles around and right on the edge of BC’s campus. I was feeling really good and with Michael pushing me the first lap around we were going at about a 6:45 minute pace!! I did the second lap on my own and managed to keep it under 7 mins! I’ve never thought of myself as a speedy runner so I was pleasantly thrilled by these numbers. Maybe I’ve spent too many years running the big hills of SF where I all but gave up on timing myself.

Here’s the official time and distance from Map My Run and a picture of us at the reservoir.

Map My Run Us on Chestnut Hill Reservoir

After the run we explored Newton, a cute suburb of Boston and grabbed a coffee. Then headed to Whole Foods. I had tortilla soup on the brain and wanted to pick up the fixings.

I love tortilla soup but it’s almost always made with chicken so I never have it. I figured it couldn’t be too hard to make a veg version since it’s mostly about the toppings anyway. Turns out, vegetarian tortilla soup is really freakin’ good!

Tortilla Soup (vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free)

For the soup:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 white onion, chopped

1 large poblano pepper, chopped

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

6 cups vegetable stock

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Juice of 1/2 lime

Salt to taste

Toppings:

Sliced avocado

Sliced green onion

Cilantro

Tortilla strips or chips

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In a large pot saute onions and peppers until almost soft. About 5 minutes.

Poblano and onion

Add garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.

Add tomato paste, cumin, chili powder, garlic salt and cayenne. These measurements were rough. I added a bit more of each of the spices later on in the cooking process. Taste as you go.

Dump in vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium low heat for 15 minutes.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

Add black beans and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

Once soup is ready, top with lime, avocado, onion, cilantro, tortilla strips or chips. I was going to make tortilla strips but it started to get late and I was feeling lazy. Next time I will, but the chips were not a bad substitute.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

Just a few notes:

When I first tasted the soup, prior to letting it simmer for 20 minutes, it was very bland. Give it a little time for the flavors to merry and I promise it’ll come together.

The poblano and cayenne give a mild heat. If you want it spicier you can include a jalapeno or hot sauce.

You can also add a can of diced tomatoes with the juices if you want some tomato chunks but I didn’t think it needed it.

Lastly, do not skip the lime. I forgot it at first and both Michael and I felt like something was missing, once we added the lime the whole soup came to life.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

Enjoy your Monday and go make this soup!

A December Weekend

This morning I woke up to sunshine, blue skies, 50 degree temps and a bright sparkling river outside my living room window. We bought our Christmas tree this weekend so the house smells like the holidays and despite having been on hold with BofA for the past 30 minutes, life feels very cheerful and full. I’ve chosen optimism over last week’s pessimism. It was getting tiring feeling glum. I am incredibly affected by the state of the weather, can you tell? ūüôā

Regardless, the weekend was very nice.

It started on Friday night with a special class with one of my favorite San Francisco yoga teachers, Les Leventhal. He was in town for a weekend of workshops. Friday’s class was so heartfelt and warm with a dynamic sequence that included lots of standing twists and arm balances, my favorite. Being in his class again made me really homesick for San Francisco and its yoga scene but as class went on I became more and more grateful for the chance to be homesick at all. If I’d never left home, I’d never have known how wonderful it is. Wow, I’m all sorts of PollyAnna today!

Saturday was snow filled. White flurries came floating down as I made my way to my Saturday morning classes. After teaching, Michael, Eli and I headed out for a walk and coffee. I must say having a proper winter jacket makes the cold much more manageable. Imagine that.

Saturday evening we picked up our Christmas tree.

Christmas Tree ShoppingIMG_2635

Saturday night we met our friends, Kristy and Eric, for dinner at Cafe Sushi in Cambridge.

I had a slew of vegetable rolls.

First up, a piece of fennel and wasabi. Tasty.

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Then an asparagus roll on the left. Best of the night.

And a roll with assorted pickled vegetables on the right which was okay but I probably wouldn’t order again.

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After dinner we went to the Miracle of Science for a drink. They were playing old 90s R&B hits. The whole place was like a big bizarre dance party. The people watching was amazing. Below is a dark picture of Kristy and me.

Kristy and Me

There was lots of discussion about Kristy’s new hashtag #lifebetweentwofingers so naturally there are about 30 pictures like the below.

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And one sweet kissing one of course.

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I swear Eric was there too but I didn’t have a good pic and didn’t think he’d appreciate a blurry call out.

Sunday morning I woke up with a lovely sore throat. So,we ended up spending the majority of the day watching football on the couch while Michael played with his new Ipad and I drank lots of tea.

And that brings us back to this sunshine filled day.

Hope you can enjoy a dose of vitamin D as well!