Posted by: Hil | August 20, 2008

First Day of School


Today was the first day of the new semester, and I found myself craving routine with my foods.  So it was a day of old favorites.  Breakfast was, of course, half an Ezekiel English Muffin with peanut butter and nonfat Greek yogurt with peach slices.

Here are the contents of my lunch:  a typical assembly of a bean salad augmented with a variety of other healthy items.  Today’s salad was cannellini beans, asparagus, red peppers and pine nuts with pesto vinaigrette.  To go with: string cheese, apple sauce, apricots & pecans, v-8 juice, and ak-mak crackers.  At school, I rarely eat my lunch all at once…I like to grab whatever I’m in the mood for out of my lunch bag as I get hungry. 


Dinner was my all-time favorite poor student comfort food:  lentil soup.  Lentils are so inexpensive and I can usually get several meals out of a pot.

To start:  celery, carrot and onion chopped and softened in some olive oil.  I used red onion today because that was what I had, but I usually just use white or yellow onion.  If you want, you can add a splash of wine, sherry or flavorful vinegar at this stage.


Next:  Add a cup of lentils, a can of diced tomatoes, 2 cups of broth, and 4-6 cups of water (depending on how thick you want your soup).  Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes.


When the soup is just about done, add salt, pepper, cumin and oregano to taste.  It should smell great by this point.


I love the way spinach tastes in this soup, but there is one problem:  spinach doesn’t hold up well unless eaten right away.  The rest of the soup is even better as leftovers, but left overnight, the spinach becomes wilted and nasty.  So I came up with the following solution:  fill your soup bowl with spinach, then pour the hot soup over it.  It will wilt right down in just a couple minutes.  Really fill up the bowl, if you like–it doesn’t look like there will be any room left for soup, but it wilts up tremendously.




Parmesan is great as a garnish, but today I felt like being fancy and had some pesto.


And some cantaloupe for dessert.


Not a bad first day!



  1. Not a bad first day at all! Thanks for the step-by-step lentil soup making process… it’s one of my all-time favorites. Hope tomorrow is just as successful 🙂

  2. I love lentil soup but never thought of adding spinach! Great idea.

  3. Can’t go wrong with some “old favorites” – glad that your first day back went well!

  4. Wow- what a delicious day of food. Love the spinach idea. Your food is so amazing!

  5. Wow, I love the step-by-step for the soup, and what a great idea to stick the spinach at the bottom of the bowl! I never would have thought of that – so thank you! And I love how the cantaloupe looks like a mouth 🙂

  6. As simple as that breakfast is, it looks REALLY good. Maybe it’s the mix of colours with the bright bowl and the bright fruit and then the more neutral yogurt and muffin… no idea why I’m analyzing the colours but I was attention was automatically caught when I saw it!

  7. Kristie–there’s no shame in liking pretty colors in your food! I love having a mix of beautiful colors to look at while I eat. I love the textural contrasts of this breakfast, too: crunchy bread with nutty, smooth peanut butter and juicy fruit with tart, creamy yogurt. Food doesn’t have to be complicated to be beautiful.

  8. I love adding spinach to instant Miso soup too! It wilts down immediately as the hot water gets poured in. I’ve never tried making Lentil Soup from scratch before but I LOVE the Progresso canned kind. Maybe I should add spinach to that too! 🙂

  9. lentil soup is a gift from god – thanks for posting this! and the idea about the spinach is good – i so love how tiny spinach gets when cooked though, i can easily eat two huge bagfuls when they’ve been boiled/steamed/microwaved!

  10. wholefoodswholeme–I have such a love-hate relationship with spinach’s amazing shrinking ability. I, too, can eat TONS of cooked spinach. My body loves it…my wallet, not so much!

  11. a new day of school is the best! a good fresh start to everything!

    study hard 😉

  12. Thanks so much for the lentil soup recipe! I think I may give it a try soon. It looks delicious!

  13. […] things.  If we’re going over on our food budget, the first thing we do is make a huge pot of lentil soup and eat that for dinner several times over the next week.  (A pound of lentils costs about $1, and […]

  14. […] yummy for however long it takes the husband to fight through traffic.  Tonight, I switched up my basic lentil soup recipe by replacing the cumin and oregano with fresh sage and thyme, omitting the tomatoes, and adding the […]

  15. […] expected or (2) have just enough time to eat something before running to choir or a workout.  Lentil soup is the obvious no brainer:  vegetables, protein and fiber all in one big comforting pot.  […]

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