Back to Basics: Soup & Bread

So, I have this awesome French Bread Sourdough and its overcast and icky outside so I thought why not make some soup! I made a very basic lentil soup tonight that you could add on to to suit your fancy. Lentil soup is very economical because, let’s face it, lentils have gotta be one of the cheapest protein sources around! And for 13 grams of protein per 1/4 cup serving size—lentil soup is a protein powerhouse. I made mine with onion, canned tomatoes, organic veggie broth and spices. I think the best lentil soup I’ve ever made was when I added the roasted butternut squash in the mix, but I didn’t have one of those today so I opted for a simplified version. The spices give it a hint of flavor and heat and the tomatoes mellow it down. Perfect for dunking that homemade bread into!

Kitchen Sink Lentil Soup

Serves 4 (I kept 2 servings in the fridge and froze the remainder for another time)

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes

1 cup green or black lentils

3 cups organic veggie stock, or water if you are in a pinch!

1 bay leaf

1 tsp tarragon

1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, depending on how much heat you want

1/2 tsp thyme

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp paprika

In a saucepot, heat up the oil on medium heat. Add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes or until it is all soft and translucent. Add the garlic, tarragon, thyme, paprika and cayenne pepper and saute for another couple minutes. Add the can of tomatoes along with the veggie stock, bay leaves and lentils. Cover and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes or so until the lentils are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


With my soup I toasted up 2 ounces of my bread and topped it with a smear of Earth Balance spread. I also made a large spinach salad with red pepper and broccoli slaw (look for this in the pre-cut veggie section of your produce dept! So good!) and topped with Annie’s Woodstock Dressing.  A very filling, healthy meal!


This afternoon I worked some on the blog (check out the new, easily found recipes on the sidebar!) and did some laundry. I snacked on a granny smith apple while I worked. I didn’t need too large of an afternoon snack today because I had a higher-fat lunch than usual (with the chips!) and I ate an early dinner. An apple seemed like the perfect solution!

** I’m very sorry that I couldn’t post all the recipes that I had on this blog originally, but please understand that I’m really not supposed to post any recipe that I didn’t make significant modifications to because then it wouldn’t really be my recipe after all. The recipes I have posted are concoctions of my own, my family or recipes I have loved and modified myself. There will be much (!) more to come along with a new baking section in the upcoming days, so please bear with me while I work to continually better this blog! In the meantime, please welcome BlogHer, my new sponsor. To support this blog, I would greatly appreciate viewing (clicking) on the ad because that’s how I make my grocery money! 🙂 Thanks everyone!!

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  • erica
    March 4, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    the blog looks great jenna! i can’t wait for more of your own fabulous recipes.

    i’m planning on making this lentil soup tonight for tomorrow’s dinner, (it looks so great!) but i only have french lentils on hand. will those work?

  • Cara
    March 4, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    Love the new feature! Looks like a pretty tasty meal as well! Mmm.

  • jenna
    March 4, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    French lentils will work wonderfully! I only had green on hand so that’s what I used.

  • Patricia
    March 4, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    Hey Ladies!

    I had a hummus feta whole wheat wrap for lunch today… and I’ve been soooo hungry all afternoon. Does hummus hold everyone’s hunger for a long time?? What could I add to my lunch to make it more filling?

    Just wondering…

  • ibex hk
    March 4, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    looks great-I just clicked on the ad…I had no idea that that’s what I had to do to get you some $. I’ll get on that, yea for grocery $!! have a good night baking 🙂

  • VeggieGirl
    March 4, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    Lentil soup is incredible, all-year-round – especially with a thick slice of freshly-baked bread!! :0)

    The latest updates to your blog look terrific, Jenna – keep up the great work, my friend!!

  • erica
    March 4, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    thanks jenna! i’m also going to make your beginner’s rolls to have alongside the delicious soup.. i’m excited already! 😀

  • Beth
    March 4, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    Patricia – did you put anything else in your wrap besides hummus and feta cheese?? I would suggest adding some spinach, cucumbers, carrots, etc. if you want to go the vegetarian route. Otherwise, a few strips of chicken or some turkey would surely make it more satiating.

  • AshleyP
    March 4, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    The website changes look great! I definitely clicked.

    I finally tried a Luna Tea Cake today, and I loved it! I have a different flavor to look forward to for tomorrow. Also, it is official: I am giving up diet soda!! I don’t need it, or really want it, it’s just an ingrained habit that I’m ready to get rid of! I’m not quite ready to commit to giving up very occasional gin and tonics yet, but I think I’ll get there 🙂

  • Ashley H
    March 4, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    Hey jenna do you have any advice on storing things in the refrigertor I am always afraid that I will try and store something and when I go to eat it it will be gross or I wont know how to reheat it right! Help please! 🙂

  • Romina
    March 4, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    Lentil soup is so comforting. My mom makes it all the time and I love it! Can’t get enough of them. And they’re so full of iron. =)

    I’m still on the hunt for the Woodstock Dressing, I think it’s hiding from me!

    I’m glad to see your mini disclaimer. It drives me crazy when people post other peoples’ recipes (even if they give credit). It’s not fair to people who do it for a living and put so much time into cookbooks to see bloggers post them over the internet.

  • ashley
    March 5, 2008 at 12:07 am

    Ok, question on how to accuratley figure out how much I should eat per day (and if this is how everyone else does it) , I just want to make sure I’m doing it right. So if my bmr is 1396 I take that, plus my lifestyle (which is sedentary) and then my total energy requirements (from online calculators) is about 1560 (dep on calc, this is calorie king est. how accurate was cal king’s estimation for everyone else who used it? was is correct for you) and then 1560 is how many calories i should be eating daily to maintain weight if I didn’t do any exercise right? and then let’s say I workout and burn 300 cal, then it would be 1560+300=1860 cal is how much I should be eating for that day to maintain, is this correct?

  • Sarah
    March 5, 2008 at 12:29 am

    Yum! Your soup looks amazing! And homemade bread on the side sounds so delicious…:)

    This is off-topic, but does anyone have any good baked bean recipes OR any good ‘off the shelf’ canned varieties they recommend? I used to get the Bush’s baked beans, but theres so much sugar in them. I know they have a “no sugar added” variety, but it also contains splenda, which I don’t think really belongs in a good bowl of baked beans!

    Any recommendations (either homemade or not)?

  • M.E.
    March 5, 2008 at 12:31 am

    Hey does anyone still have the recipe for “chicken” salad that Jenna made using the Quorn cutlets… I think it was adapted from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch

  • erica
    March 5, 2008 at 1:00 am

    here’s the “chicken” salad recipe! 🙂

    “Chicken” Salad…Skinny Bitch Style~~Adapted from “Skinny Bitch in the Kitch”
    Makes enough salad for 2 sandwiches
    1/2 stalk celery, chopped
    1/4 cup chopped red onion
    1/4 cup nayonaise (soy based mayo—vegan, I used Dijon-style)
    2 naked Quorn “chicken” cutlets chopped (you could use any chicken cutlet substitute…I happened to have Quorn on hand)
    1 tsp curry powder
    1 tsp lemon juice
    pinch of salt and pepper
    small handful of red grapes, sliced in half
    1. In a small bowl, combine the nayonaise, lemon juice, curry powder, salt and pepper. Mix to combine.
    2. In a larger bowl combine the chopped “chicken” cutlets, red onion, celery and grapes.
    3. Add the dressing to the salad and toss gently to combine. Chill in fridge.
    About 152 calories per serving

  • Mom
    March 5, 2008 at 1:08 am

    Ashley P ~ Good Job giving up diet sodas!!!!! I was “Hooked” on one diet coke a day out of the can… I stopped cold turkey! Drink only H2O now nonstop! What a change I have seen and I can not even imagine drinking a diet soda again. Trust me. In a couple of weeks you will not even be able to imagine drinking (let alone liking) soda. Diet or not!

  • Ashley
    March 5, 2008 at 1:27 am


    Were these dried lentils? Thanks!

  • Mel H
    March 5, 2008 at 1:31 am

    I love love baked beans and I buy the Kroger organic kind and they are really good. I’m sure your grocery store has a brand of organic beans!
    About the diet coke thing..I used to drink at least a can a day and now i drink only about 1 every couple of weeks. I didn’t cut back intentionally (even though i needed to!) but I stopped buying them to save some money!! I actually really love water now and drink so much more!! I do love my occasional coke though!

  • jess
    March 5, 2008 at 1:47 am


    I Love the fact that we now have recipe links! Way to go on all your hard work. I have most definately been clicking the add because I love to see the creations that you make with those amazing groceries and the recipes you have made and shared have really helped me establish a healthier relationship with food (workin’ on it, anyway- and no gals, I don’t know about ensures/boosts, sorry).

    Something that could be amazing… any chance we could get pictures along with the recipes? I mean, I know I’ve SEEN pictures of all of them at various points in the blog, but I Love it when cookbooks have pictures- def. makes me crave the food even more 😉 haha. I know you’re super busy, but it’s just something to think about.

    Have an amazing day- sorry it’s icky out but at least your bread sounds EPIC (speaking of unforgettable bread, think I’m gonna go make some whole wheat rosemary foccacia courtesey of, oh yeah, YOU! Thanks again for everything you do.


  • Kel Lee Leee
    March 5, 2008 at 2:03 am

    Jenna or anyone else, are you apple to post the sweet potato apple soup recipe? I bought all the ingredients yesterday and didn’t copy the recipe! If you can’t that’s fine, I guess I’ll just have to search for a new one 🙁

  • luce
    March 5, 2008 at 2:14 am

    hey jenna,

    thanks for this great recipe! fyi, you might want to check the rules with your advertisers – i know most have rules against asking readers to click on their ads, but maybe blogher is different. i wouldn’t want you to stop getting that extra grocery money 🙂

  • erica
    March 5, 2008 at 2:15 am

    Kel Lee Leee –

    Roasted Sweet Potato and Apple Soup
    Serves 3

    2 large sweet potatoes (to equal 14 ounces) chopped into 2 inch pieces
    1 large carrot, chopped into 1 inch pieces
    1 large shallot, chopped
    1 large Fuji apple sliced into 8 slices with core removed
    2 cups organic chicken broth
    1 cup water
    1 tbsp canola oil
    1 tbsp butter

    1. Mix together the sweet potatoes, apple slices and carrot chunks. Toss with the canola oil and put in a roasting pan.
    2. Roast for 30 minutes at 400 degrees until tender.
    3. Sauté the shallot in the butter in a large sauce pot. Add the roasted veggies/apple and add the chicken stock and water.
    4. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until everything is totally tender.
    5. Transfer to a blender and process until silky smooth.
    6. Season with salt and pepper and serve!

    About 275 calories per bowl


  • rae
    March 5, 2008 at 2:20 am

    i clicked an add for groceries!

    funnily enough–the add i clicked was for “Duck Prune Bread” which looked grotesque and out of place on this blog! ha. the irony.

    anyway, i hope it helps!

  • bri
    March 5, 2008 at 2:22 am

    Kel Lee Leee, I just made the Sweet Potato & Apple soup a few nights ago… it was very yummy! Here you go:

    Roasted Sweet Potato and Apple Soup Serves 3
    2 large sweet potatoes (to equal 14 ounces) chopped into 2 inch pieces
    1 large carrot, chopped into 1 inch pieces
    1 large shallot, chopped
    1 large Fuji apple sliced into 8 slices with core removed
    2 cups organic chicken broth
    1 cup water
    1 tbsp canola oil
    1 tbsp butter
    1. Mix together the sweet potatoes, apple slices and carrot chunks. Toss with the canola oil and put in a roasting pan.
    2. Roast for 30 minutes at 400 degrees until tender.
    3. Sauté the shallot in the butter in a large sauce pot. Add the roasted veggies/apple and add the chicken stock and water.
    4. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until everything is totally tender.
    5. Transfer to a blender and process until silky smooth.
    6. Season with salt and pepper and serve!

  • Kristin
    March 5, 2008 at 3:09 am

    I’ve got a general question for all blog readers: Anyone know of any fabulous, not too expensive restaurants, possibly a bit healthier, that offer vegetarian/eclectic options around the Boston area? I’m looking for something yummy to try when I go to a concert later this month! I love all sorts of cuisine, so any suggestions you have!

  • Betsy
    March 5, 2008 at 3:31 am

    yay lentils!!

    the website additions look wonderful. congrats on the blogher ads! I’ll click for groceries!! 😉

  • Katie
    March 5, 2008 at 3:59 am

    Hi Jenna!
    Could you ask your mom to post her shredded BBQ chicken recipe again? I tried it and it was delicious and was hoping to try it again!
    Thank you!

  • BethT
    March 5, 2008 at 4:49 am

    Jenna, I was wanting something lentily – decided to make this. Yummy!

    One question – yours looks much more brothy than mine. The lentils absorbed a lot of the liquid in mine. Any thoughts on why this might have happened?

  • Katherine
    March 5, 2008 at 4:59 am


    Can i PLEASE have your corn bread recipe from a while back??? I have a friend in need of a good recipe and i think the one you made would be a great option – it looked delicious from the picture!

  • erica
    March 5, 2008 at 5:01 am

    I saved basically all of Jenna’s recipes apparently!

    Whole Wheat Cinnamon-Maple Cornbread
    Makes 1 loaf
    3/4 cup whole wheat flour
    2 1/2 tsp baking powder
    Healthy dash of ground cinnamon (I never measure…just throw it in!)
    1/2 cup organic yellow cornmeal
    4 tbsp butter or Tran’s fat free organic margarine
    About 4 tbsp of pure maple syrup (eyeball it)
    1 egg
    1/2 cup almond breeze
    Dash of salt
    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
    2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Mix well.
    3. In another bowl (a bit larger), add the butter and cream til smooth. Add the maple syrup and egg and beat again. Now, add the flour mixture and the soymilk, alternating between each one until the batter is smooth.
    4. Spread batter into the loaf pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes, until golden
    For those of you that have a food scale, I worked this recipe out to be 77 calories/ounce. I eat way more than 1 ounce of bread though and I’m sure most others do as well. Let’s just say it’s about 140-ish calories per normal sized slice. This cornbread is slightly sweet (the way I love it!!) and PERFECT spread with honey butter!

  • nicole r
    March 5, 2008 at 6:25 am

    Hey Kristen–

    I actually live in boston—where is your concert? some of these may be a trek depending on where exactly you’ll be

    -ive heard RAVES about Grezzo, in the North End. It’s a raw & vegan restaurant that’s apparently phenomenal.
    -Elephant Walk (border of Brookline & Boston)–it’s French Cambodian, and they have both veg & vegan menus. It’s AMAAAAZINGGG
    -Brown Sugar Cafe — closer to Allston on Comm ave–Thai food that’s completely delicious. They’ve also got veg & vegan
    -Upstairs on the Square (Cambridge) — another place I havent been but am D Y I N G to go…not particularly vegetarian, but they’ve got a few things
    -Sonsie–Newbury st.–i love this restaurant. just really really GOOD food. and it’s actually all pretty healthy as well. you can tell they use a really minimal amount of cooking fat and are really careful about how they prepare food. it shows, since this is one of my favorite restaurants.
    –Steve’s (Greek!!) also on Newbury, and if you like Greek food, you MUST go
    –The Otherside Cafe — on the “opposite” end of Newbury…it’s a bar/coffeehouse with great soups, sandwiches, and salads. their tea menu is almost absurd

    those are some of my favorites, enjoy your visit!!

  • VeggieGirl
    March 5, 2008 at 12:25 pm


    Definitely check out this resource for vegetarian-/vegan-friendly restaurants, in the Boston area:


  • Lindsay
    March 5, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    Jenna ~ mm those lentils look really good and would be perfect for the rainy/miserable weather we are having!! I love the new additions to the site ~ keep up the great job!