Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Simple and Easy Pantry Lentil Soup, Another Book Review and the Food

Our morning started like always with my prepping veggies and fruit for Dan’s fresh juice. Then I made his favorite oatmeal with wild blueberries, cinnamon, powdered ginger and walnuts. Also in his lunch he got leftover bean soup, salad and trail mix.

Once Dan left for work I had a chance to do a few things for me. I got in some exercise time and then made myself a breakfast snack. This morning I had 3 carrots, 12 almonds and a dollop of cilantro hummus (probably ½ cup). I wasn’t feeling particularly hungry this morning and hummus was what appealed to me so I went with my gut.

Today was primary day in Maryland so I knew getting up I had to find time to make it to the poll. Politics is serious business to me so I don’t miss my chance to vote. I hope you all made it to the poll if today was a primary day for you too. Many people in other countries don’t have the opportunity to have a voice in politics I think it is important to exercise our rights. I will say being able to go to the polling place any time during the day is quite nice. I walked in and no one was at the poll but the election judges. When we used to vote before work we would be in line for an hour or more. It is much nicer to walk in, vote and walk right out. I am not much for waiting in line.

Since our polling place is close to the grocery store I stopped for another 5 pound bag of organic carrots, as well as celery and lemons. It feels like we consume more carrots than any people I know. *shakes head* With a little luck all the vitamins and minerals we consume are doing us some good. ;-)

Lunch was the end of the roasted veggie soup that I stirred a little salsa into and finished with a few pine nuts.

To accompany the soup I had a bunch of grapes.

Book Review: “The All-Pro Diet" by Tony Gonzalez

I am getting behind in reading my library books so I knocked another one out today. This time it was “The All-Pro Diet” by Tony Gonzalez. I choose this book because Tony Gonzalez was mentioned in the Cornell plant based nutrition program so I wanted to read what he has to say. He is not vegan but does advocate a diet very high in plant-based whole food with minimal meat. This book contains a lot more nutrition information than I expected so I actually read it twice to make certain I didn’t miss anything. I liked that he collaborated with his dietician to write the book.

Tony focuses on eating for athletes (since he is a professional football player) but there is also tons of information for the rest of us. He also includes a basic fitness program and guidance for how to get your mind in your right place. The book is categorized as follows:

Part 1: The Ultimate Nutrition Package

1. My Plan of Action
2. See the Goals
3. The 17 All-Pro Diet Principles
4. Prepare for the Hike
5. The All-Pro Diet Plan
6. Getting Started with the All-Pro Diet Meal Plan
7. All-Pro Recipes

Part 2: The Ultimate Fitness Program: Tony G’s All-Pro Workout

8. Eating for Performance
9. Primed for Peak Performance

Part 3: The All-Pro Mindset for Success

10. Introduction to the 8-Point Plan of Attack

What I liked about this book was the emphasis on whole foods. I also appreciated the emphasis on nutrition which is not typical of books like this. There is also a week of sample menus if you like that sort of thing. The author gives quite a few smoothie recipes which you know I love.

However you know I am not a huge fan of protein powder and certainly don’t think it should be a part of your daily food consumption as his diet seems to be. Protein powder doesn’t seem natural enough for me to be a regular food in our diet. In a pinch I am fine with protein powder but it isn’t going to be an everyday thing here. I would probably change my mind if I had any trouble maintaining muscle mass but since I don’t I find protein powder unnecessary. My only other criticism is that I would have liked to see more recipes which didn’t contain meat.

Overall I think Tony did a great job with the book. If your man wants to get in shape and doesn’t want to give up meat I think this is a reasonably sensible alternative. I will be recommending it to my omni male friends.

For an afternoon snack I had a small bowl of leftover roasted butternut squash, broccoli and red pepper stew. This is exactly why I always make intentional leftovers; I would be lost without them. Thank goodness for quick leftovers.

Speaking of intentional leftovers I needed to make more of those today to have something ready to pack for Dan’s lunch. Since he loves lentil soup I decided to make a pot of that today. Here is how I made the soup:

Simple and Easy Pantry Lentil Soup
Serves 8


2 ½ cups brown lentils
4 cups vegetable stock (preferably homemade without salt)
4 cups water (you may need another cup of water depending on how thick you like your soup)
6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced (allow to stand 10 minutes before heating)
1 red onion, peeled and finely minced (allow to stand 10 minutes before heating)
10 ounces frozen spinach, defrosted and chopped
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ cup red wine or sherry vinegar
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup fresh parsley minced, for garnish
1 cup fresh chopped tomatoes, for garnish
¼ cup thinly sliced green onions
2 radishes, finely julienned, for garnish
red wine vinegar to finish the salsa (about 1 tablespoon)


Combine the lentils, veggie stock, water, onions and garlic and cook until the lentils are soft. Then add the spinach, thyme, vinegar and black pepper to taste. Cook until the spinach is warmed through.

Combine the diced parsley, tomato, green onions and radish and toss to evenly distribute the ingredients. Flavor the salsa with a little wine vinegar to taste.

To serve top the soup with some of the fresh veggie garnish.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories 305.64
Calories From Fat (8%) - 23.42

Total Fat - 2.81g
Saturated Fat - 0.47g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 297.8mg
Potassium - 2430.68mg
Total Carbohydrates - 51.81g
Fiber - 15.13g
Sugar -2.25g
Protein - 25.82g


If you like lentil soup and you are looking for something just a little different this is a nice option. We happen to love lentil soup so I am always looking for variations. This one is based on what I had in the pantry since I am trying to work my way through the pantry to bring more in line with what two people need to keep on hand. Of course the items I used are things I knew would go together, I didn’t just toss it together without any thought. ;-) I like to add fresh food to top our soup. The contrast of cooked and raw is very pleasing to me. I am also fond of the temperature contrast of cold on hot. I added vinegar to the soup in place of salt to lift the flavors. You could also use lemon juice if you have that on hand.

In addition to being a pantry friendly meal I also like that this bean soup is reasonably quick. Lentils are something that you can cook for a little over 30 minutes and they are tender. That makes lentil soup a go to item for me quite often.

Hasn’t the weather been beautiful the last week or so? We actually seem to be experiencing fall this year which is very unusual for this part of the country. We seem to go straight from summer to winter and back most years. It is very nice to be enjoying such mild temperatures now. Hopefully it will stick around for a while.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Tuesday. I will talk to you again soon.


  1. The soup looks great--love the spinach :-)


  2. Courtney,

    Thanks, LOL. Had it not been for your suggestion I can't say I would have added the spinach. I need to pick up some fresh dill soon so I can make the other variation I had originally planned to make.

    The fresh salsa is what really makes this soup. Even my picky hubby thought this was one of my better soups. ;-)

    talk to you later,

  3. All yummy as usual. Hey I wanted to ask if you have ever used or heard of Better Than Bouillon? I sent my husband to get me some organic veg stolk yesterday and he came home with this. It's an organic veg base. I just wanted to know if you had tried it for soups. Sodium is HIGH though. 700 mg per 1 tsp.

  4. Carissa,


    I have seen that veg base before and heard good things about the flavor. But I didn't buy it because of the sodium content. Though boxed veg stock tends to also be high in sodium. Have you tried making your own? It is very easy to do. That is what I do so I can make it without salt.


  5. Carissa,

    I forgot to mention that I make large quantities of veg stock and then free it in one cup amounts to use later.



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