In an earlier post, I admitted that I am a sentimental fool. I tend to hold on to things for the memories they evoke. Decluttering, organizing and staying organized require great effort on my part. But now, I have a reason to turn over a new leaf. Monsieur and I have decided to combine households. This is a huge step for the both of us as it is something that we have never done before. I thought that I would feel stressed about making room for another but, as Monsieur said, there is a sense of liberation in purging and decluttering. And as the kitchen is the heart of the home, it seemed natural to start my organizing efforts there. As luck would have it, I picked up a couple of vintage Le Parfait mason jars recently.
It has always been a dream of mine to have a pantry with shelves laden with jars of all sorts of foodstuffs. The kitchen is small with not a lot of cupboard space but it does my heart good to open a cupboard door and see rows of jars filled with staples like lentils and rice. And it is so much more organized than having open, half used plastic bags stuffed on top of each other, or worse falling out and spilling their contents all over.
I am going to keep my eye out for more of these jars. I adore the vintage script and the fact that they are French. Admittedly, I giggle whenever I read the words on the side, "Le Parfait Super (!!!)" Exclamation marks are my own as by no means am I perfect or super in the kitchen.
Upon decanting all the lentils into one of the jars, I decided to try out the recipe on the back of the packet. The result, lentil soup, came out surprisingly tasty as, up until now, lentil soup has never been a favourite of mine.
A few slices of crusty ciabatta bread made for a simple, nutritious meal.
Here is the recipe off the back of the packet. I tweaked it a little as I didn't have any ham on hand.
Ham and Lentil Soup
1 tbsp (15ml) canola oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 cup (250ml) diced ham (I used 5 strips of bacon)
1 cup (250ml) rinsed green lentils
6 cups (1.5l) chicken stock
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped (I eliminated the red pepper as I am allergic to it)
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
chopped parsley for garnish
Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat and saute onion, garlic, celery and ham for 5 minutes (I poured off some of the bacon drippings, reserving some of it for sauteing the vegetables). Add green lentils, chicken stock, bell pepper and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until green lentils are tender. Makes 8 servings. I did add ground pepper, a pinch of salt and dried oregano for added flavour. So here I would add to the original recipe, season to taste.
It was so heartwarmingly satisfying to shop for a meal from a much more organized kitchen cupboard or pantry. If you have any suggestions to help maintain an orderly kitchen and pantry, please let me know! There will be many more life changes coming soon and we can't wait to discover and learn new ways of living and being.