Fall is here. There is no denying it. The trees are not only turning colors but losing leaves. There is a chill in the air when the sun goes down which means that it is time for soup. I had a version of this soup with my parents at the Macaroni Grill several years ago. My Mother loved it so much that they took me out for a bowl; I recreated it at home and it is now a staple fall menu item. I have to confess that most of the great recipes in my life were either inspired by or taken from my parents. They treated food not only as a meal, but as an expression of love and adventure. A bowl of this soup with an outdoor fire or a good movie and you will have a memory and a meal in one.
Sausage and Lentil Soup
1 pound Italian sausage
1 large onion, chopped
5 med carrots, skin on, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
4 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 c lentils
salt and pepper to taste
3 to 4 pints of beef broth, from the bone if you can find it. I get mine at Walmart
In your soup pot, brown the sausage until slightly crispy. Drain most of the fat. Add the vegetables and sauté on med high heat. Start with onions, once they are soft and the rest of the vegetables. When they all have a lovely, vibrant color, add the lentils and garlic. Stir until mixed. Add the broth and simmer on med to med low, as needed, for one hour or until everything is soupy, in a good way.
*If you want the Jim Gaffigan version, you could sneak in some chopped kale.
The photo above was taken by my very hipster 16 year old daughter, Claire, while we were on our first family vacation two years ago. Those are my hands and the hands of my youngest child, Finn, then three years old. I am amazed at how artsy and serene we look; mother and child holding hands. It looks like some magical moment captured at some magical location and then benevolently shared on Pintrest to inspire the lower achievers to try harder. But I know the truth, I lived it. The truth didn’t look like a magazine ad or the cover of a novel, no indeed, it looked like this:
I should preface that I am the mother of eight children, ages 5 to 19. We bit the bullet this year and took our first vacation as an entire family; a family of ten. Ten people at the airport, ten people at the beach, ten people everywhere we went. This picture is symbolic of my life, there is ALWAYS something to see. Happily, we did not attract too much attention that day because there was a dead, bloated seal just a bit further down the beach. All four of the little boys looked like this. But honestly, why would you use a shovel and pail to make a sand castle when you can turn it into an entire beach warrior ensemble?
Truth be told, I prefer the second image to the first. It is full of life and humor and I can not help but smile when I see it. I am beginning this blog because a friend of mine is forcing me to…Juliana, and because I think that it is time to write about the less perfect parts of life. The messy, unscripted, unphotogenic moments that seem to slip by unnoticed and unshared. I used to think that I needed to write about important things like politics, and I spent many years doing just that. What I took away from those years was that all of my insights and warnings amounted to not even a hill of beans. I still write about politics, but I no longer think that I will change the world or even the mind of one single person. So, Life in Post-It Notes is my chance to pull away the curtain of doom and look at life through the eyes of the woman on the beach that day. I hope you will join me. I have an imaginary margarita waiting for you.