My baby brother graduated with his bachelor’s in criminal justice yesterday. So proud! I can still remember very well the day I helped him fill out college applications and now, he’s soon to be entering the “real world”. I remember thinking I wanted to be in the “real world”, too. I falsely believed I was “over” the quizzes, homework, and exams of college. And now, what I would give to go back!! College was the best 4 years of my life and I wish so much that I could relive those years again…and again…and again. Even with the tortures of biochemistry…and that says something!
I struggled in some classes, but I am fortunate in that test-taking and other academic skills came naturally to me. I’m a big nerd at heart and truly enjoy learning new things. My brother never quite had that knack for academics which makes his achievement all the more rewarding.
He was so nervous for the ceremony, he didn’t sleep the night before. His stomach was in knots. Poor guy also stresses and worries about e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g! But there was nothing to worry over. The Chicago morning was beautiful, as was the Navy Pier ballroom where the ceremony was held. It was time for him to relax and enjoy.
We arrived with plenty of time to spare….well over an hour to spare. If there were a coffee shop around, I would’ve made a bee-line straight there, but I did the next best thing – browsed Pinterest for recipes on my phone. Being that it’s January and temperatures are dropping into single digits in the Midwest for the first time this week, I wasn’t surprised to see a lot of soup recipes.
I can’t pinpoint why, but soup hasn’t been as appealing to me as it has in past years. I’ve been very selective about the soup recipes I’ve made, though I did find several that I now want to try. Something new.
Lentil soup isn’t new to me, but some of the ingredients in this recipe are. I love the massive amounts of smoked paprika with the red pepper flakes and fire-roasted tomatoes. So much flavor punch from all very healthy ingredients. The added touch is the bacon which you can certainly omit to make this a vegan meal. My favorite part of the recipe, however, is the ability to make it in the crock pot by throwing it all together (even easier if you omit the bacon!). Enjoy!
Slow Cooker Lentil Soup with Bacon from The Lemon Bowl
2 slices uncured bacon, thinly sliced
1 cup lentils, rinsed and sorted
2 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
½ tsp red chili flakes
1/2 tsp salt
15 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
32 oz low-sodium chicken broth
In a frying pan over medium-high heat, cook bacon slices until brown and crispy then remove from pan and set on a plate lined with paper towel to drain.
Add all ingredients including the cooked bacon to the slow cooker and heat on low for 8-9 hours or high for 4 hours. Stir and serve hot.
Yield: 5 servings (~1 1/2 cups each)
Nutrition Information (per serving): 177 calories; 1.6 g. fat; 3 mg. cholesterol; 396 mg. sodium; 28.6 g. carbohydrate; 12.4 g. fiber; 11.6 g. protein
Result: This broth had great flavor – the paprika, red pepper flakes, and fire roasted red pepper…it was the perfect vehicle for the otherwise bland lentils. This recipe is easily made vegan by omitting the bacon, though I did enjoy that added flavor 😉 Enjoy!
Other than Wednesday, this week looks pretty tame. 🙂 Good thing, the weekend FLEW by.