Lentils, Monastery Style

Lentils, Monastery Style

It’s not uncommon after traveling or completing a big project I feel a bit depleted. Ever feel this way? I am sure you do, most of us do even if we don’t always admit it.  

I have a little secret weapon though to get me back on the move I wanted to share with you.
I make “Lentils, Monastery Style” from “Diet for a Small Planet” by Frances Moore Lappé. (I know – that’s real, old-school vegetarianism, right?)

My mom used to make this when I was a kid, and it was always one of our favorites — the cheese makes it feel like there’s a secret treat — and everyone I’ve ever made it for falls in love with it.
Lentils, Monastery Style
(serves 4 as a main dish)
In a large pot, sauté 3-5 minutes:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 or 2 onions, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
Add and sauté 1 minute more:
1/2 tsp. dried thyme & marjoram
3 cups stock or seasoned water
1 cup dry lentils, rinsed
salt to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tbsp. dried parsley)
1 lb. canned tomatoes
Simmer in covered pot until lentils are tender (about 45 minutes or an hour).
1/4 cup sherry
Have ready:
2/3 cup grated Swiss cheese.
To serve, place 2 tbsp. of cheese in each serving bowl and top with soup.
It’s simple and hearty and you can improvise on this recipe endlessly. It’s very forgiving.

You can add sausage or kale or ham or more veggies or whatever else you’ve got lying around. You can switch out the cheese – I love to use Goat cheese – or skip the cheese completely.

Although, of course, I am from the Midwest and the phrase “skip the cheese” has never once crossed my lips.

Here’s to simple comforts —

Women Who Workshop

Women Who Workshop

photo of lotus

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New Year. New Poem. Enjoy!
Women Who Workshop

A scarf from India
A top that’s Loose around the Middle
Very, very, very Sensible Shoes
And an Unceasingly Kind expression
(The uniform of individuality).

You, the Bright-Eyed.
You, the Generous volunteer.
You, still working out That Stuff with your dad.

In hotel ballrooms and
Church basements and
Yoga studios and
Campgrounds and
Korean spas and
Montana ranches, Bahamian Beaches and the
Herbalist’s office

You are becoming.
It’s so becoming.
You, becoming.

And you’ve learned to
Bring a sweater and a
Thermos of hot water and
Lots of extra tissues.

You have stood in a circle
You have lain prostrate
Your bookshelf groans with
Helping Insightful Books and
Your Journals burst with line
After line
Your becoming.
You’re becoming.
You are becoming.

(so tender-hearted)
With your Full-Moon Necklace and your
Chakra-Balancing Necklace and the
Beautiful Gold Ring that you
Hand-forged in that Post-Divorce Workshop
Out of the engagement ring from your First Marriage and the
Wedding band from your Second

Now you marry only yourself.
Standing before your Altar
You promise to
Honor and
From this day forward.

You recognize that some might call it an
To spend time and money on
The Issues That Challenge You.
But those people can screw off (compassionately)
Because the Rush of
Self-realization when you finally put That Betrayal behind you
The poem you wrote about your daughter that
Still makes you cry
(And OK, fine – that delirious eight-day affair with that Yoga Guy –
Sweet Heaven he was gorgeous – and so bendy – )
Cannot be matched by anything that can be
Found inside your own condo.

You have found freedom.
You have healed your Inner Child and
Embraced your Inner Queen.
You are even developing a side-long glance
Relationship with the word “Crone.”

You are curious – becoming – laughing – becoming – stretching –
Because as the wise woman said If You Stop Stretching You Die – sharing –
Because that’s what Heaven’s Children do –
Rejoicing in your growing awareness that no Workshop Intensive
In the world is better than your own becoming
Coming to be.

© 2011 Samantha Bennett