I spent the weekend before last (good to see I’ve been on the up and up in posting – sorry!) trying to finish my never ending list of “projects” at my apartment. On the to-do list was picture hanging, closet re-organizing, reupholstering barstools, re-vamping my bookshelves, and buying more flowers and plants for my deck.
Want to know what I accomplished off of that list? Buying and potting the plants for my deck. That’s it. And I think I realized why. Almost all the other tasks were “re”-tasks…reupholstering, reorganizing, revamping. Revisiting things that are already kind of in place and in existence. When choosing between things that are already somewhat done and functioning okay, versus watching Mad Men… well. A trip to Lowes for flower shopping and potting the new flowers was all that actually won.
So far I have the hydrangea I’d been planning on getting, a Hibsiscus plant, a tomato plant, petunias and a peony. I have a hanging basket over the railing that I want to fill with herbs and lettuces. I can’t wait to share my set up once it’s done. I miss my garden, but apartment living this year at least affords me a container garden. Though my to-do list is still rattling in my brain, at least I can take some time to sit out on the deck and plan tackling those projects surrounded by pretty things!
In the meantime, I highly recommend this soup. I had a package of lentils I’d picked up on a whim at Trader Joes. I wasn’t sure what to do with them and a google search brought me to this recipe from Fitness Magazine. I have to tell you, the balsamic caramelized onions that you put in the individual bowls at the end absolutely makes this soup something amazing. I think it’s just light enough for spring and so delicious!
- 4 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 9 ounces lean sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- Pinch dried thyme
- 1/2 cup brown rice
- 3/4 cup red lentils
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 5 cups spinach leaves, loosely packed
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large heavy-bottom pot over medium-high heat. Add half the onion and saute until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the balsamic vinegar. Transfer the onions to a bowl and set aside.
Warm the remaining olive oil. Add the sausage, remaining onion, celery and thyme and saute over medium-high heat, breaking up sausage, until onion is translucent and sausage begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and lentils.
Add the chicken stock, tomatoes and their juice, bay leaf, garlic and paprika and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until rice and lentils are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove and discard garlic and bay leaf.
Stir in the spinach until wilted. Season to taste with black pepper and remaining balsamic vinegar. Ladle into bowls and top with onions; serve.
NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per Serving: cal. (kcal) 413, Fat, total (g) 12, sat. fat (g) 2, carb. (g) 50, fiber (g) 14, pro. (g) 28, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet