Roasted Fall Vegetable and Lentil Soup

Happy Sunday everyone! I’m taking a study break, and I wanted to share a recipe for a soup I made earlier this week that turned out better than I expected. I was making some pumpkin cookies, and I was going to have some pumpkin puree left over, so I started thinking of way to use it, and settled on making some soup. I added the lentils to give it some protein and make it hearty enough for a full meal, and roasted a bunch of vegetables to add to the pumpkin. This is a recipe where an immersion blender comes in extremely handy, since once I had all the ingredients in my pot, rather than blending it in shifts, I was able to just whir my immersion blender through it all and it became wonderfully smooth. It’s a great recipe for a chilly fall evening, and I’ve been having it with some toasted baguette on the side for the last few days. Here’s the recipe!

Roasted Fall Vegetable and Lentil Soup

Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil (approximately)

1 acorn squash

1 sweet onion

4-6 oz carrots (I used baby carrots I had in the fridge)

1 1/2 cups split red lentils

4 cups vegetable broth

2-3 cups water (more or less depending your desired consistency)

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (this is what I had left in the can, you could do more or less, or omit if you don’t have it on hand)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425˚F and line a couple baking sheets with foil. Cut the acorn squash in half, drizzle with olive oil, and place cut side down on one of the baking sheets. Roast for about 30-40 minutes, until fork-tender.

Chop the onion and carrots, toss with olive oil, and spread out on the other baking sheet sheet. Roast for 20-30 minutes, until fork-tender.

While the vegetables are roasting, put the lentils, vegetable broth, and 2 cups of the water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow the lentils to cook until soft, then add the pumpkin puree.

Once the vegetables are roasted, add them to the pot and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Add more water if you want a thinner consistency. Serve with crackers or toasted baguette and enjoy!

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Roasted Vegetables over Polenta

I’m done with finals! Fall quarter is officially over. For the first time, I’m not getting kicked out of the dorms immediately, so I’m going to chill here for a bit before going home, which is great, since I get to hang out with my other friends who are done and also sticking around! The weather has gotten very cold around here lately, so today I have a nice warm meal for you! This is a very filling meal, and it also uses the oven, which helps heat up the house (although somewhat inefficiently).

I love roasted vegetables. Roasting anything automatically makes it better. I also love cornbread. However, polenta is also a bit like cornbread, and it quite tasty! I think if made plain it’s probably a little bland, so I made is savory and flavorful with plenty of spices, cheese, and vegetable broth. I just tossed the vegetables in a little olive oil and roasted them up, then spread that over the top of the polenta and sat down to enjoy my meal! Here’s the recipe.

Roasted Vegetables over Polenta

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

Polenta:

1 cup cornmeal

1 quart (4 cups) vegetable broth

1 cup milk

1 cup Parmesan cheese

Seasoning, to taste (I used Italian Seasoning and another seasoning blend I found at Ralph’s)

Vegetables:

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 yellow onion, sliced

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced

1 eggplant, diced

3 tomatoes, cut into wedges

2 small zucchini, cut into slices

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Toss the onions and butternut squash in 1 tbsp of olive oil, then spread on a baking sheet. Roast until tender, about 40 minutes.

Toss the eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes in the other tablespoon of olive oil and spread on a second baking sheet. Wait about ten minutes after putting the butternut squash and onions in, then roast until tender, about 30 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the polenta. Boil the quart of vegetable stock, then whisk in the cornmeal. Turn the heat down and simmer the polenta, stirring occasionally, until the vegetable stock has been absorbed, about 20 minutes. Add the cup of milk and stir for thinner polenta. Once most of the liquid has been absorbed, add the Parmesan and seasoning, and stir to distribute. Serve warm with roasted vegetables over the top. Enjoy!

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Look at all those yummy veggies!

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Lay down a nice bed of polenta

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Top with vegetables

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This dish makes a great fall dinner for those chilly SoCal nights. Yes I’m a wimp.

Honey Mustard Salmon and Roasted Vegetables over Quinoa and a Swim Workout

We’re moved into our apartment! I’m SO stoked to be living with my three amazing roommates, and I can’t for the fun to begin! The first thing I did when we moved all our stuff in the apartment was organize the kitchen, since I couldn’t deal with the explosion of stuff in my room. I also made this delicious meal for lunch yesterday, the first meal I cooked in our apartment! I saw a recipe in passing about quinoa salad with honey mustard vinaigrette, and I liked the honey mustard idea. Since we won’t have internet in our apartment till tomorrow, however, I made up this recipe based on taste-testing. It was the perfect meal to start off what I know is going to be a wonderful year.

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The best part of the apartment: our kitchen!
Happy coincidence: the apartment directly across from our kitchen belongs to three of my ultimate frisbee teammates! You can see one of them outlined in the light through the kitchen window. Yay friends!

I am mostly vegetarian, but I do eat salmon occasionally. Moving into our new apartment seemed like a special occasion so I decided to treat myself. I love roasted salmon, since when it is perfectly done, the flesh is nice and juicy and tender. I also love roasted vegetables, so I roasted some corn and peppers, and drizzled a nice honey mustard sauce over the top. Lay all that over a bed of quinoa, spinach, and avocado, and you have an easy meal that looks incredibly fancy!

Honey Mustard Salmon and Roasted Vegetables over Quinoa

Makes 5 servings

1 cup quinoa

2 cups spinach

2 green onions, chopped

2 ears sweet corn, cut off the cob

2 red bell peppers, diced

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 avocado, diced

2/3 lb (approx.) salmon filet

2 tbsp mustard (I used Dijon)

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp dill

2 tbsp honey

Directions

Cook the quinoa according to package instructions. At the very end, add the spinach to the pot and allow to cook until wilted. Remove and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 400˚F.

Toss together the green onions, peppers, corn, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes.

While the vegetables are baking, prepare the sauce. Combine the mustard, honey, olive oil, vinegar, and dill. Once the vegetables have baked for 15 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and place the salmon filet over the vegetables. Drizzle with the honey mustard sauce. Bake for another 9-10 minutes, until the salmon is cooked through. I cut my salmon into 5 equal pieces, so they cooked fairly quickly. If you keep your salmon in one large filet, it may take closer to 12 minutes, but make sure to check the salmon so it doesn’t overbake! Serve by placing down a bed of quinoa and spinach, place a few cubes of avocado and a few scoops of veggies over that, then place a cut of salmon on top. Enjoy!

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We’re off to a great start in the apartment, food-wise!

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Perfectly tender, flaky salmon. Yum! 

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I made a side of toasted herbed garlic bread to go with this salmon

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Baked to perfection

DSCN1300Now for the swim set I did today! Today I swam 6000 yards, which is the longest swim I have done in the past couple years. It felt great! It’s hot still here in LA, even though it’s now officially fall, so the water felt wonderful. I didn’t make it to the pool yesterday because of all the unpacking and organizing we were doing in the apartment, so today I did a little bit of everything, in Energy System Monday fashion.

Energy System Monday

200 SKIP

4×75 @1:10, 50 free build, 25 sprint kick

12×50 3x(fly/free, back/free, breast/free, free/free), Round 1 @:55, Round 2 @:50, Round 3 @:45)

100 easy

8x(100 IM @ 5 sec rest, 50 fast free @ 10 sec rest)

100 easy

6 rounds of 400

1) 100 pull @1:20, 6×50 kick @1:00

2) 200 pull @2:40, 4×50 kick @1:00

3) 300 pull @4:00, 2×50 kick @1:00

4) 300 pull @4:00, 2×50 fly/free @1:00

5) 200 pull @2:40, 4×50 fly/free @1:00

6) 100 pull @1:20, 6×50 fly/free @1:00

100 easy

4×75 @1:30, odds free increasing underwater dolphin kick off each wall, evens breast increasing number of pulldowns off each wall

100 easy

Total: 6000 yards

Time: 1 hr, 50 min

Roasted Herbed Salmon and Vegetables with Brown Rice Pilaf and a Temescal Canyon Hike

Today I got a full day off work again! My supervisor is amazing and graciously took care of any treatments today, so I got to go on the Temescal Canyon Hike with lots of my ultimate friends. We hiked about 4.6 miles, and it took us two and a half hours. We took the Temescal Canyon Trail up the mountain, which was mostly in the shade, did the Skull Rock extension, then took the Temescal Ridge Trail back to the parking lots, which was partially shaded but sunnier than the way we took up. It was a great hike, and gave us some nice views.

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The view from the top. That rock in the bottom is the top of skull rock, I was too busy clambering around it and forgot to take a picture of the actual rock. Whoops.

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We saw a hawk flying around!

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Nine happy hikers!

After the hike, I was quite sweaty, dusty, and tired. It was a moderately strenuous hike, with an elevation gain of a little over 1000 feet, so it was a good workout for the day. I took a little break after getting home to shower and laze around for a bit, then I got to work in the kitchen! I made one of my favorite simple recipes that my mom makes at home, which is roasted salmon with vegetables. I love roasted vegetables. Honestly, I love roasted anything, since it brings out the natural sweetness in foods, vegetables in particular. It’s also easy cleanup, since you bake everything in one pan, just adding layers as you go. I also had some chicken stock to use up, so I made a nice rice pilaf to go with it. You could also serve the salmon and vegetables with a nice, fresh, crusty loaf of bread, which is what we usually do at home. Either way, it’s delicious!

Roasted Herbed Salmon and Vegetables with Brown Rice Pilaf

Makes 5 servings

Ingredients

Rice Pilaf

¼ yellow onion, chopped

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tbsp olive oil

1 ½ cups uncooked brown rice

3 cups chicken stock

Salt and pepper

Salmon and Vegetables

1 tbsp olive oil

½ a yellow onion, chopped

1 sweet potato, sliced

1 pound green beans, broken into 2-3 inch pieces

1 red bell pepper, sliced

5-6 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 zucchini, sliced

1 salmon filet

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp lemon juice

5-10 fresh basil leaves, chopped

½ tsp dill weed

½ tsp sage

½ tsp thyme

Directions

For the rice pilaf:

Saute the onion, garlic, and rice in the olive oil in a large pot over high heat. Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 40-50 minutes, until all the chicken stock has been absorbed. Fluff the rice and serve warm.

For the salmon and vegetables:

Preheat the oven to 400˚F.

Toss the onion and sweet potato in the olive oil and place in a 9×13 baking pan. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are beginning to soften. Add the green beans, bell peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini, and bake for an additional 10 minutes. After the vegetables have been roasted almost all the way, place salmon on top of the vegetables, drizzle with the olive oil and lemon juice, and sprinkle the basil leaves and herbs on top. Bake for an additional 12-18 minutes, until the salmon is cooked through and easily flaked with a fork, and the vegetables are fully softened. Make sure to check frequently after 12 minutes, so you don’t overcook it. Serve over the rice pilaf. Enjoy!

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Some nice brown rice pilaf to top with your beautiful salmon and vegetables

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Mmmm… Perfectly baked salmon on top of soft, sweet, roasted veggies, over a savory brown rice pilaf. What a delicious dinner!

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Look at that beautiful flaky fish. Grab a fork and dig in!