Category Archives: storytime

FriendshipWorks (and So Does Enchilada Casserole)

Meet Chester:

He's not always this blurry.

Chester is a good friend of mine. He’s lived in South Boston for all of his 84 years. He is a WWII veteran. He enjoys bacon and eggs, a good Western movie, baseball, listening to the radio, and talking about how expensive everything is. He dislikes modern music, doctors, throwing things away, and how expensive everything is. He has diabetes and is legally blind. I’ve visited him often for about three years, sometimes to help out around the house, but mostly just to chat.

I met Chester through a great organization called FriendshipWorks, a Boston-based nonprofit that matches volunteers with elders and adults with disabilities. On the surface, Chester and I don’t seem to have a lot in common. But get us talking and the conversation usually turns to food.

Tonight I brought Chester dinner. He’ll eat pretty much anything, although he tends to favor pastries, candy, white bread, processed foods, and red meat. As you might imagine, none of these pair well with diabetes, so I jump at the chance to make and share a healthy meal with him. Tonight’s dinner was brought to us by the brilliant mind of Angela Liddon over at Oh She Glows. It was her Naughty and Nice Enchilada Casserole, baby, and man was it good.

This is a bad photo of a good casserole.

Click the links above to check out Angela’s site and get the full recipe. Some slight alterations: I used store-bought taco seasoning mix and enchilada sauce. THE SHAME. For the pasta, I used Eden Organic Flax Rice Spirals. I topped the casserole with crushed tortilla chips (Laurel Hill Multigrain) and fresh avocado.

For what it’s worth, this recipe has received the coveted Chester Seal of Approval. He didn’t even notice there was no meat in it.

Lots of veggie goodness.

Any ideas of what to make for Chester next?

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Filed under just because, nutrition, storytime, vegetarianism

Easy Lentil Tomato Soup

I originally titled this post “The Bay Leaf Incident of 2012,” but “Easy Lentil Tomato Soup” seemed a little more blog-friendly and less ominous. I shall begin with a photo:


Despite the Bay Leaf Incident of 2012, I did not die upon consuming this soup.


Looks harmless enough, right? WRONG. Lurking within that blurry bowl of Lentil-Tomato Soup is something that until this weekend I assumed would cause immediate death – blended bay leaf. That’s right. I slaved over a hot stove creating a lovely soup, only to forget the crucial step of removing the whole bay leaves before using my immersion blender. I was certain I would kill myself and my unassuming dinner partner, who had placed blind faith in my ability to make a non-lethal soup.

After much hand-wringing and brow-furrowing, I did what any functional adult would do: I texted my mother.


“Am I going to kill us both if I serve soup in which I accidentally blended a bay leaf?’

Mom responded with the sanity that I was lacking.

“Not unless either of you are allergic to bay leaves.”

Oh. Thanks Mom.


So long story short, I learned a valuable lesson. Accidentally blending bay leaves into your soup, while not recommended, will not lead to paralysis, stroke, nerve damage, or sudden death. Mostly it will just result in a strong bay flavor and tiny floating pieces of leaf in your soup. If you’ve learned nothing else from this blog, please retain that.

I still want to share the recipe with you all, as it was actually quite tasty. I was inspired by an Alton Brown recipe I came across awhile ago. By the way, leave it to Alton Brown to publish a recipe calling for “Grains of Paradise.” I’m almost certain that is not a spice at all, but the title of an obscure John Steinbeck novel.


Easy Lentil Tomato Soup

Serves 2-3 people


2 tbsp olive oil

2-3 minced garlic cloves

1 small-medium sweet onion, chopped

1/2 cup chopped carrot

1/2 cup chopped celery

A few pinches of salt

1 can cooked lentils, drained

1 cup peeled, ground tomatoes (canned)

1 32-oz box vegetable stock

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

2 whole bay leaves … do not blend


Directions

  1. Heat up the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and salt and saute for about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another 2-3 minutes. The onions should be soft and starting to brown.
  2. Add everything else and stir it up.
  3. Up the heat until the soup starts to boil. Then reduce to a simmer and let it do its thing for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat. REMOVE BAY LEAVES. Blend using an immersion blender, regular blender, whatever.

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Filed under recipes, silly, storytime