Universe in Chaos (French Fridays with Dorie: Orange Scented Lentil Soup)

Under normal circumstances, I am a predictable person.

If I am making breakfast at home, it is almost always a peanut butter/ banana/ almond milk smoothie - with oatmeal and flax seed. (It's the only way I'll eat bananas).

If I get breakfast at work its either oatmeal or an English muffin with bacon, egg and cheddar. Unless it's Thursday - Thursday is breakfast pizza day.

At the diner, it's an omelet with mushrooms and cheese, home fries and toast.

If you stick two shirts in front of me - one brown and one brightly colored, I am probably going to pick the brown.

If I have a choice of between turning right or left onto a road, I am probably going to turn right.

Plates always get loaded in the left of the dishwasher and odd shape dishes get loaded in the right. Glasses go on the upper left - bowls and utensils on the upper right.

There is a certain order in which my Universe makes sense to me.

But Alas, since my Universe doesn't make sense every day, it must follow that the order I seek is not always there to be found.

It is those times - when nothing seems to be as it ought to - that I veer from the tried and true and push out of my comfort zone. I will take items that have been on the back burner of my wish list and turn them into reality.

I buy the bright pink shirt instead of the earth toned shirt.

Major purging happens (i.e. spare room, closet, pantry, cupboards).

Vacations get booked. Projects that I have been hemming and hawing over finally get done.

When my Universe is out of order - crazy kitchen projects get done. Laminated pastry. Crazy layer cakes. Three-day projects. Pickling, marlmalad-ing, yogurt-ing. Pasta making.

My Universe must have really been upside down last Saturday.

I got a library card. Joined a co-op. Booked a vacation (Squeeee!). Had a shamrock shake - living on the edge with that one...

Cooked from a cookbook that I had been wanting to cook out of for several months.

Finishing the remainder of my cooking challenges for the month of March.

Finally replaced the towel that has been covering my bathroom window since I bought this house six and a half years with a real curtain (I don't know why I was so afraid to commit to a curtain. What's up with that?)

Crossing off items on my "I want to" list.

Creating order in the midst of chaos by eliminating the stress of "things left undone". Sometimes, I underestimate the power of "getting it done".

At the end of the day, my mind felt a little freer and I was happy to be able to sit down and enjoy the simplicity of a bowl of soup and a comfort of a slice of bread still warm from the oven.

Flavorful, but not too fancy. 

There is something to be said for the simplicity of a good bowl of soup. Sliced vegetables are sauteed to the desired color. Lentils, broth and seasonings are added and the whole mixture is simmered until the lentils are tender.

The finished product can be pureed (I ran mine through the Vitamix). Or not.

You can garnish (I swirled in a spoonful of parsley labneh). Or not (Culinary Kid ate hers straight up).

It can be as complicated or uncomplicated as you want it to be.

When you put it in that perspective, soup sounds an awful lot like life - it's all about the choices.

Peace out.

This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie. A slightly adapted version of Orange Scented Lentil Soup can be found on the Food 52 site (they traded the ginger root for fennel).


  1. Sounds like you have been busy! I just ran out of time in my chaotic universe to make this - perhaps next week. It certainly looks good.

  2. Can you send some of your energy my way, Cher! Such a cute post (I'm darn predictable, too!) and perfect soup.

  3. Uh oh - it really IS the Crazy World of Cher!!! I'll take some energy too! Sounds like this soup hit the spot amidst all that craziness! (where are you going on vacation???)

  4. I go through similar patterns in the kitchen, with the purging, and with the colors in my clothes!
    Such a smooth soup Cher. I didn´t puree it. But your parsley cheese sounds like the right topping. And I love to have a piece of that bread with it! Enjoy the weekend my friend

  5. Your Posts are just getting better and better. As I read, I always think, "That's me. That's me." My inclination and background and mindset was always to lean to the more ritualistic and predictable but, I must admit, it's never worked. My Life has just always been, admittedly, messy. Sooooooo, I've just decided to run with it because, what's the choice. You appear, like me, to be hard-working, organized, caring, blah, blah, blah, so just hang out their on the Limb every so often. It feels damn good. Yesterday I spotted a McDo billboard for their Shamrock Shake - if I get five more boxes packed today, it's going to be my reward. Library cards save you money. Brown shirts are classic. You'll all miss the towel curtain. At Disneyland, if you turn Left as you enter, the crowds are less. Love your soup.

  6. You made me feel so good for you...love crossing items off lists...and a vacation! WOW! Such a lovely soup. I chose not to puree...yours looks delish. I'm out for a Shamrock shake!

  7. Cher, nice and comforting bowl of Lentil Soup amidst a very busy life! Like Kris, I also chose not to go down the "puréed route" but kept the soup chunky - but that is just personal preference and nothing beats a bowl of soup and some really good bread alongside.
    Have a good weekend!

  8. Way to go really crazy with the shamrock shake. They were making leprechaun popcorn at the popcorn store in Pittsburgh, couldn't do it.

    Must windows have curtains?

  9. I need one of those weekends. When we moved into our apartment we bought cheap (I think that they were actually less than 5 euros each) curtains at Ikea, just as a "temporary" solution until we could find some nice ones that we liked. That was 5 years ago and they have yet to be replaced. And not because we love them. Oh how I need one of those weekends.

  10. Your soup looks so well pureed! It must be that vitamix. Must figure out a way to get the hubby to buy me one of those. Glad to hear you have booked your vacay. We just did that last night, too. It's a giddy feeling!

  11. Glad it all worked out especially the soup... very humorous.

  12. It's always nice to sit down at the end of the day with a feeling of accomplishment and tying up loose ends. Having a nice bowl of soup makes it even more satisfying!

  13. I also have lists that I keep! My husband accuses me of accomplishing one and adding two more! Oh well!
    Your soup looks perfect and is so thick and smooth…I’m sure due to your vitamix!
    I had to laugh at your dishwasher routine…I also have a particular way I load. Since my husband retired, he likes to clean up after dinner. I had to learn to bite my tongue when he loads haphazardly!! I’m just grateful that he likes to help! Have a wonderful weekend, Cher!

    1. I just read you will be at the IFBC in Seattle! So looking forward to finally meeting you. It looks like there will be a East Coast contingent!! So excited!

  14. I have kitchen curtains that have been waiting years (I am embarrassed to say how many) to be sewed up. Right know, we have mini blinds. Oh well, on to the soup. This was a nice bowl of soup. We enjoyed it a lot. Have a nice weekend:)

  15. Sounds like you've been busy - in a good way! This really is a terrific soup to sit down with after a long day: simple and comforting and quite tasty. Yours looks terrific, and I bet it was awesome with that homemade labneh! Nice work with that!

  16. Perfect after a very busy day my friend :D


  17. Tricia and I went to a pasta making demo last Sunday at Sur La Table and they used a
    Vitamix to prepare one of the sauces. It is quite a machine. Great post, as usual, and
    your soup turned out well. We are so excited about going to Seattle and meeting
    everyone. Have a great weekend.

  18. I wish that I could get through my list as you did. Mine just seems to grow and grow. I agree that soup soothes all chaos, though. The calm in the storm. Have a great week.

  19. We loved this soup in our house too! After reading your post I feel like I better get busy with my list!!!

  20. Here's hoping your universe settles down for you soon!

  21. First off- yay !!!! Nana and I are SO excited we can look forward to catching up with you in person at the IFBC. I have to say that I thought for sure it would involve either Italian food shopping in Troy, NY or a coffee catch up in Saratoga Springs...but hey, Seattle works too ! We are pysched. Kudos for knocking out all the projects. There must be a curtain fairy waiving their wand around as I finally bought curtins for my sunroom which is seen by basically every room on my first floor. Just could not commit in the DOZEN years we lived here. I almost felt sad when the boys said how much they liked them (but almost grew up without them :) Done and better late than never. Enjoy RunnerGirl's break :)And yes, your soup looks wonderful. I am very much enjoying "soup season" this year ~

  22. The bread next to your soup looks excellent - Irish Soda Bread? Congrats on getting so many things checked off your to-do list! I wish I could say the same. For every one thing that I finish I think I add two more.


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