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Split Pea, Lentil, and Farro soup

Here's a hearty soup that's great for cool evenings and reheats well. After our first meal, I store the leftovers in mason jars, refrigerating some and freezing the rest. When reheating, add 2-3 tbsp water per serving and stir well.

Minutes to Prepare: 5
Minutes to Cook: 60
Number of Servings: 10

Ingredients

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 containers mushroom broth (8 cups)
1 container low sodium vegetable broth (4 cups)
1 cup Farro grain, pearled
1 cup dried green lentils
2 cups dried green split peas
1 tbsp garlic salt
Pepper, black or white, to taste

Directions

Over medium high heat, toast farro in olive oil until it smells nutty. Add first container of mushroom broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Add green lentils and second container of mushroom broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes. Add split peas and final container of veggie broth. Simmer, stirring occasionally, adding water as the broth is absorbed until peas come apart, approximately 45 minutes. Add garlic salt and pepper to taste.

Serving Size: Makes 10 1-cup servings

Book Recommendation - The Edible Front Yard by Ivette Soler

Yesterday I picked up a book while out shopping with Parker, and I've already flipped through it several times, and read all the way through half of it.

The book is The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-Less, Grow-More Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful Garden by Ivette Soler. I've been inspired for a while now by the concept of sustainable gardening replacing the modern water-wasteland of a lawn that is currently the neighborhood norm. It's also important to me to maintain a beautiful visual statement and have a pleasing sense of design and purpose to my front yard. When I saw this book, I gravitated toward it, and with a quick flip through the pages, realized this was going to be a wonderful resource for me.

Soler shares information on choosing plants that are not only edible, but also maintain integrity and visual appeal well through the year. She also gives design advice for creating a pleasing yard that works with your style of house, and gives suggestions for elements that will tie the space together during off-season months.

I loved the images of blooms of common plants that give great visual appeal, and was excited to see suggestions of the more ornamental varieties of plants that their common varieties are otherwise a little on the plain side visually.

Some of my favorite tips are to use lettuce and leafy edibles for borders, thyme to create a thick lawn-like bed of foliage, and to repeat plants for visual and design stability.

If you are interested in creating a garden space in your front yard, I suggest you check this book out. It's a great resource for any sustainable urban gardener, or anyone who is just tired of mowing and watering a lawn that doesn't give them much in return.

Mix and Match Recipes on a Budget

Canned:
Diced tomatoes
Black beans
Peanut butter
Jelly

Frozen:
Green beans
Corn
Mixed peas and carrots

Dried:
Rice
Pasta (shells are always good)
Flour

Fresh:
Eggs
Cilantro
Cheese
Butter
Lettuce
Apples
Bananas
Bread

Recipes (serve 2-3):

Veggie Soup
1/2 can black beans
1/2 can diced tomato and the liquid from the whole can
1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots mix
1/2 cup frozen green beans
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup rice
1/4 cup pasta
seasonings to taste
6 or more cups of water

Bring water to a boil. Add rice and canned tomato, reduce heat to medium. Cook 10 minutes. Add pasta, cook additional 5 minutes. Then, add the rest of the ingredients. Cook until frozen vegetables are hot, skimming off any foam from top of soup as you go. Season with salt, pepper, and herbs. Turn off heat, allow soup to sit to reconstitute dried herbs and cool. Serve with a slice of toasted bread.

Seasoned Vegetable Rice
1/2 cup rice
1/4 cup frozen peas and carrots
1/4 cup frozen corn
salt, dried garlic and onion, and dried herbs to taste
4 Tbsp butter, divided
1 1/2-2 cups water

Heat 2 Tbsp butter in a saucepan on medium until melted. Add rice, stir to coat and cook 2-3 minutes or until the rice starts to toast slightly and smell a little nutty. Add 1 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil, then bring to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove lid and add vegetables and seasonings, and bring back to a simmer. Stir occasionally until water has fully been absorbed, then check rice. If not fully done, add an additional 1/2 cup water and reduce again.

Let cool, then fluff with a fork. Serve just-hot. Reheat by adding 2 tbsp water and cooking on the stove, or in a mostly-closed container in the microwave.

To turn into fried rice, heat 1/4 cup butter in a pan on medium until melted, then add one egg scrambled with water to thin consistency. Cook until still slightly runny, then add seasoned vegetable rice. Add soy sauce to taste, serve hot.

Basic Roux
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Flour

Melt butter on medium-low in a sauce pan. Stir in flour with a whisk and heat until mixture begins to bubble and flour begins to smell nutty and turn toasty brown.

Makes enough to thicken 1 pint (2 cups) liquid - any liquid will do! Great to make sauces and gravies or to add to soups for a thicker broth.

Homemade Cheese Sauce
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Flour
2 cups milk, divided
1 cup shredded cheese, room temperature
1 tsp garlic salt
pepper to taste

Make basic roux and while still hot, slowly add 1 cup milk, whisking constantly. When mixture thickens and all lumps are worked smooth, add second cup milk. Remove from heat, then sprinkle mixture with cheese, stirring to incorporate until cheese is fully melted. Add garlic salt and pepper if desired.

Cheese sauce can be served with pasta, over vegetables, or mixed with salsa to make nacho cheese.

Homemade Croutons
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 slices bread, cubed
1 tsp salt, 1 tsp seasonings of choice

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place cubed bread in a wide bowl, then drizzle with melted butter, stirring constantly until pieces are evenly coated. Add salt and seasonings and stir to coat. Distribute on a cookie sheet and bake for an hour, stirring occasionally, until pieces are fully dry, crunchy in the middle, and toasted golden brown.

Easy Cheesy Casserole
1 cup dry pasta
1/2 cup peas and carrots mix
homemade cheese sauce recipe
1/2 cup homemade croutons, crushed into chunky crumbles
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to directions. Add peas and carrots to hot water and pasta, and cook 1-2 more minutes until vegetables are hot inside. Drain well. Return vegetables and pasta to the pan and combine with homemade cheese sauce, stirring to coat evenly. Transfer mixture to shallow baking dish. Top with shredded cheese, then crushed croutons. Place in oven uncovered until cheese is melted and croutons are browned. Let cool slightly before serving.

Corn and Apple Salad
1 1/2 cup lettuce, rinsed and chopped very coarsely
1/2 apple, diced
1/4 cup corn, defrosted
1/4 cup homemade croutons

Toss all ingredients. Dress with olive oil and balsamic vinegar or your vinaigrette of choice.

Grilled PB&J
Peanut Butter
Jelly
Butter, softened
2 slices of bread

Butter one side of each slice of bread. Spread peanut butter on the dry side of one piece of bread, and jelly on the other side. Close peanut butter and jelly sides together (duh, i know) and place sandwich butter-side-down onto a preheated skillet. Press sandwich with spatula, then flip when sandwich is sizzly and toasted. Cut diagonally (to feel like a fancy pants) and eat warm. Serve with coffee or milk.

Banana Nut and Seed Energy Biscuit



Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

This bar is a great start for a high-fiber, high-protein, vitamin and omega-rich breakfast, or a great satisfying snack. I like to eat these with a piece of fruit and a glass of milk an hour or so before going on a run, or when I'm running out the door with a travel mug full of coffee.

45 Minutes to Prepare and Cook

Ingredients

Salt, 1 tsp
Pumpkin Seeds, 1 cup
Wheat germ, 1 cup
Flax Seed, 1 cup
Whole Wheat Flour, 1 cup
Hemp Seed Nut (hulled hemp seed), 1 cup
Quaker Oats Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats, 2 cup
Chia seed, 1/3 cup
King Arthur 100% Unbleached White Whole Wheat Flour, 1/2 cup
Baking Soda, 2 tsp
Egg, 1 large
Banana, ripe, 3 medium (7" to 7-7/8" long)
Vanilla Extract, 1 tbsp
Canola Oil, 1/3 cup
Cashew Butter, 1/4 cup
Brown Sugar, 1 cup, packed

Directions
Preheat oven to 350.

Combine whole wheat flour, wheat germ, hemp seed nut (hulled hemp seed), flax seed, chia seed, pumpkin seed, rolled oats, white whole wheat flour, baking soda, and salt in medium-large bowl. In a separate, large bowl, mash 2 ripe bananas. Add oil and egg, and beat until combined. Add cashew butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract, and mix until combined and sugar dissolves. Slowly mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients, scraping down sides occasionally. Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes to hydrate oats and wheat germ.

Scoop 1/4-cup portions into a muffin pan or onto a cookie sheet, sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for 15 - 25 minutes (longer cooking time will make for a drier, crispier biscuit), then allow to cool enough to move to a wire rack to continue cooling. Makes 24 1/4-cup bars.

Number of Servings: 24

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