Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Look Back, A Look Ahead, and An Easy Lentil Soup Recipe

2012 was a mixed year. There was certainly lots to be thankful for, but it was also a year that proved to be stressful and unsettling. In the end, I had to remember that every challenge, every life test, ultimately makes us the people who we are.

Looking ahead, I don’t want to set lofty New Year’s goals. Instead, I want to renew my commitment to making healthy choices every single day. This includes some form of daily exercise as well as lots of fresh, unprocessed plant foods. And, of course, it also means the occasional treat.

While my exercise level certainly decreased a lot while I was going through a difficult time in my life, I did manage to stick to several long walks per week. These walks did so much for body and mind. They were my me time, helped me think, breathe, calm down, and provided some much needed physical activity.

Over the past few weeks, I heard and read a lot about the Fitbit Zip, and I decided to give it a shot and ordered it today. Tracking activity and, hopefully, finding some new motivation sounds like a good idea to me. I’ll also continue to lift weights (I’ll have to increase the weight and challenge myself a bit more) as well as take barre classes, which do wonders for my back.

As far as food goes, my plan is to plan more while working within a tighter food budget without sacrificing quality. I hope to blog about some new, healthy, and thrifty meals.

To make life easier, I also plan on using my slow cooker more. The other day, I threw together a very simple lentil soup. The soup turned out very thick and was more like a stew, but we enjoyed it a lot.

Slow Cooker Lentil Soup/Stew

Ingredients
  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 32 ounces vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Directions
  • Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker.
  • Stir.
  • Cook on high for about 4 hours.
  • Enjoy!

We spent the past few weeks with my parents. I am beyond grateful that they are both well enough to make the long journey to visit us. We spent a few days at the beach, went to the Farmers’ Market, went on walks, talked and laughed a lot. Here are a few pictures.


Wishing you a Happy & Healthy 2013!

Be well,
Andrea

28 comments:

  1. oh that soup looks great! happy 2013!

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  2. Greta said
    i wisch you and your family a good and healthy good year.
    Schön euch alle glücklich zu sehen, ein nicht selbstverständlicher Höhepunkt zum Jahresende.Bei uns ist regenwetter,da könnte so eine Suppe ganz gut schmecken.

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  3. happy new year Andrea! Hope 2013 gets better and less stress! :)

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  4. LENTIL soup, YUM! And even better that it's made in the slow cooker, my new obsession :)
    Glad your parents were able to come and visit, that's wonderful. Happy new year to you and your amazing family, Andrea!

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  5. Happy New Year! I am glad that you had your family close!
    I am looking forward to even more delicious recipes (such as this lentil soup) in the future. I definitely could reign in my food budget more so I look forward to any tips. :)

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    Replies
    1. I'll definitely work on saving money and will share any tips!

      Happy New Year, Kristen!

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  6. Hi Andrea, I hope 2013 is a good year for you. Good for you for sticking with the exercise while you were riding through those tough times. You have such a darling family. I look forward to watching your son grow this year, and seeing what you cook up. Lentil soup is a favorite in this house! :)

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  7. Hi Andrea! You know, I've always wondered in cooking was ever stress-causing for people who like to cook. (As a person who doesn't like cooking too much, it is for me!) I guess it's just the time element that makes it so. The lentil soup sounds good in that it looks easy to assemble, and then press the button!

    I enjoyed your family photos. I'm sure that was nice to see your parents. Getting to the beach sounds awfully nice, considering that it was really cold when I went to the gym yesterday, and then when I walked the dog, I felt nervy cold on my fingers and rather stupid for talking the long route. :D

    Wishing you a great year!

    :-) Marion

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    1. I generally love to cook, but when things get busy I, unfortunately, tend to plan less, which can make things stressful. My plan for this year is to get back to planning, which I hope will help make cooking fun and save money. And I really love my slow cooker and have to use it a lot more! There is nothing better than coming home to a good and healthy meal that cooked itself! :)

      Happy New Year, Marion!

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  8. Glad you got through 2012 - it was a rough one for us too - hopefully no more hospitals in 2013 - which would be a record - every year since 2007 my husband has had something happen to him that requires a lengthy hospital stay. Fingers crossed!

    Yep, planning is the key for me too. Even though I don't have little kids, it seems like if I don't get my act together it doesn't happen.

    Hugs and here's to both of us having a better 2013!

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    1. Planning makes such a difference!

      Wishing you, Tony, & your family a Happy & Healthy 2013!

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  9. There is nothing better than time spent with loved ones! I am so glad that your parents could make the journey to come see you!

    Great healthy choices for the new year Andrea. My slow cooker gets a work out this time of year. It makes life so much easier.

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    1. Thanks, Tami! I know you have some great slow cooker recipes!

      Hope your foot heels soon! Wishing you a happy & healthy 2013!

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  10. I see a lot of loving, smiling faces in the photos above - you have a beautiful family! I am so happy to hear your parents are doing well. And, of course, the kid's smiling face always brings a smile to mine :)

    Best of luck with your healthy goals for the year - I know you will meet them! Love this recipe (even if lentils aren't photogenic ;) ).

    Happy New Year, Andrea! It's so nice to get an update from your life :)

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    1. Thanks, Jessie! Happy New Year to you!

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  11. Hi Andrea, glad to see you blogging! I'm so sorry you had a rough year and hope 2013 will be better :)

    I am using my slow cooker right now. Can't wait to try your lentil recipe. I need to use it more too.

    I love my daily 3 mile hike with my dog - really feels great.

    Happy New Year!

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    1. Thanks, Stacie! And, yes, daily walks/hikes are great!

      Happy New Year!

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  12. Happy New Year Andrea! And I think committing yourself to living a healthy life every day is the best resolution and one of the few that will last.

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    1. Happy New Year, Fran! Yes, making healthy choices every day does work. And if today doesn't go so well, you can always recommit tomorrow... :)

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  13. I love lentils, nice soup recipe!

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  14. Love the photos! It looks like a special visit :) The soup looks great...I'm bookmarking it. I have green lentils in the pantry...do you think those would work, too?
    Happy New Year!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! Yes, it was a very special visit.

      Yes, I think you could do this with green lentils. I used red ones because that's what I had around.

      Happy New Year!

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