Turkish Lentil Soup, the polar plunge, and other weekend things

The Polar Plunge is here!!

As if we did not already know.

Winter and I have a hard time being friends. I hate being cold. I hate it! I also tend to live in very drafty houses. So when I realize there is snow on the ground and my phone tells me its 14 degrees outside, I skip church. (Sorry Mom, it's too cold!)

Coming back from California, it feels as if this weekend and last week have had days and days between them. And now I have to do adult things and buy a shovel despite that I was just an adult and bought a rake the weekend before. Oh the madness.

I guess I am too hard on winter (though it is hard on me me). Winter does have its perks. For instance, I am not constantly trying to finish all these outside projects when it is winter. (Sure I am legally suppose to keep my sidewalk clear but with no shovel I don't feel super inclined to clear it for the maybe one person who will walk by my house). When the world is covered in snow, I do not have to worry about my garden. All I have to do is cuddle up with a blanket, make some coffee and read until my hearts content. Things will wait until spring. Winter weather means vacation from the depends of the garden.

The arrival of winter also means the arrival of holidays. This year, I decided that I was not going to be a grinch about Christmas. So far, so good. I've just been focusing on what I am excited about and that seems to be helping. Also, Levent and I are going to have our own Thanksgiving dinner together and I am really pumped about that. I have a list of new recipes I want to try and there is totally zero pressure because all of our friends are out of town or are bound to the beast that is Hesston College at Thanksgiving time. It may be a disaster (since the last time I tried roasting a bird we almost burnt the house down). But if it is, who cares. We'll just eat mashed potatoes instead and that sounds like a good day to me.

Winter also means soups. I get overly excited about some part of seasonal cookery and for winter it is soup.  Because of the polar plunge, on Friday, Levent and I made his Turkish Lentil Soup which is so delicious (and probably the best we've ever made it thus far).

We've devoured it this weekend. Yep. It's been pretty great.

Yeah, so what winter!  
Turkish Lentil Soup

2 Cups red lentils
8 Cups water or broth (I used half chicken broth half water)
1 t cumin
1 t paprika
1 large onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Juice of one (or more) lemon
1/4 c tomato paste

1. Wash the lentils. Add to broth/water and bring to a boil. Cover for 1/2 hour, stirring occasionally

2. When lentils are tender, add dry spices to the pot.

3. In a skillet, saute onions and garlic in olive oil until golden brown. Then add to the soup.

4. Puree the soup with an immersion blender. Then add tomato paste. Simmer until the paste is fully mixed into the soup.

5. Turn off heat and add lemon juice.

6. Serve with additional lemon wedges for garnishing