Winter is a time for hibernation for many folks. Sure, there are those who like to hit the ski slopes - we are not those people. We're happy to head out for a walk on a snowy night but we're just as happy to don sleep pants and lounge about in front of the fireplace.
December keeps one busy as a beaver with the head-on rush to Christmas and New Years. Once the decorations are stowed for another year, the tree dragged to the curb, and the gifts tucked away . . . January arrives. At times it is like running into a brick wall with the full-stop it can provide.
The natural solution is the sleep pants, fire, glass of vino one listed above.
We set 'winter goals' to combat this tendency. These are generally long put off tasks that will keep us busy and focused.= and help us beat the post-Christmas blahs.
The cleaning of the basement was the main goal for this post-Christmas Season. Our basement was beginning to look like an episode of hoarders. Boxes were piled upon boxes. Pathways through the piles were forming. Piles seem to multiply over night. Something needed to be done.
Of course the last weekend in January rolled around and nothing had happened - well, nothing except for the piles growing ever larger. We decided on Friday that we would have to correct this and went at the task with a vengeance yesterday (as if to conpensate for the fact that we had been lazy as all get out for the past few weeks).
When it came time for lunch I wanted something hot and hearty (I bet you were wondering how I'd pull this around to food weren't you?) I wanted something healthy. I wanted something chock full of vegetables to help with my Cooking Light challenge for January.
I decided upon this soup recipe that I discovered in a Better Homes and Gardens 'Eat Well, Lose Weight cook book which I don't recall ever having used before. It had lots of what I was looking for . . . carrots, onions (I added celery as well), kale (with its jolt of vitamin K and healthy serving of fiber), lentils, and tomatoes. Yes, it fit the bill!
Easy to prepare, this soup was on the table in less than an hour. It was amazing . . . healthy never tasted so darn good.
It was the perfect soup to combat a day of heavy work in the basement, beat the post-Christmas blahs, and to bid adieu to National Soup Month!
Kale, Chicken, and Lentil Soup
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup coarsely chopped carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups, non-fat, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
4 cups coarsely chopped fresh kale (about 8 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups cubed cooked chicken (about 10 ounces)
1 14.5 oz can non-added salt, diced tomatoes, undrained
2/3 cup dry brown lentils
In a large saucepan heat oil over medium-low heat. Add onion, carrots, and garlic (this is where I added 1 cup of chopped celery). Cook, covered, for 5 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are nearly tender, stirring occasionally.
Add broth, lentils and dried basil (if using dried as compared to fresh) to vegetable mixture. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Stir in kale and black pepper. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
Stir in chicken and undrained tomatoes. Simmer, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes more or until kale and lentils are tender.
Stir in fresh basil (if you're lucky enough to have some in your kitchen in the dead of winter).
Makes 6 - 1 2/3 cup servings.