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As the days grow slightly longer, the mornings a tad more chilly, and our A/C bill becomes a little less anxiety inducing, it’s hard not to recognize the onset of cooler months.

I couldn’t be happier.

Fall and Winter are the happiest of seasons for me because of several reasons, most of which relate to my weight:

1.) I sweat. My nose and forehead sweat more than anyone I know beside my dad (who passed this charming attribute along to me I’m guessing). I think about the merest blush of heat and… my nose beads up… My husband thinks it’s endearing. I think it’s rubbish. Fall/Winter means a reprieve  of sorts.

2.) I sweat. This is a frustrating enough reason to list this reason twice (IMHO) but more specifically I mean my thighs sweat. This makes wearing skirts and other nice fluffy girly summer clothes impossible without some sort of “garment” which inevitably makes you hotter because now you have LAYERS! In the fall/winter I can get away with wearing dresses WITH the “garment” and not get over heated and add to problem #1… which is visible…

3.) I (strongly) dislike my upper arms. Fall/Winter (and -yay- even Spring) means time for my most favorite accessory: The cardigan!!! I’m a firm believer that everything looks more professional with the appropriate cardigan on top. Thus, as an art teacher I can wear clothing that I can get a bit mussed in the classroom then plop a cardigan over it and walk into a faculty meeting without being that colleague… at least overly so… the music teachers are always a bit less casual than me… (well, they are!).

4.) Because of 1 and 2 I find that I do not do outside activities – like hiking – that I typically enjoy because I get so overheated trying to keep up with my hubby that I start feeling sick and miserable by the end of everything. We try to choose moderate paths that are more for beginners but…. Now that the temp is starting to cool I’m excited to explore a bit more. And, not being miserable when I’m out and moving around is really great because I’m more motivated to exercise.

All-in-all, summer is my “just get through it” season in terms of wardrobe and… well… everything else. I like the rest of the year much better.

Unfortunately, the one downside is that my condo pool is about to close in October. Even worse is that I haven’t taken a swim at all in the past 4 weeks – WASTED time!!! When I work I don’t have an hour’s space during daylight with which to get in a swim and shower and when I’m off, because I haven’t quite settled into my new job yet, I’ve been busy and/or just exhausted. This weekend was the first time I HAD time and didn’t take it and I feel guilty, guilty, guilty about it… I made a promise to get back into some sort of swimming schedule this week. (AND THEN STORMS ROLLED IN!!! URG!!!)

So, in the spirit of the first signs of better times I offer you my lentil soup recipe. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it keeps for a couple of days in the fridge so makes for good left-over lunches.

The Perfect Lentil Soup

Prep Time: About 5 – 7 minutes
Cook Time: About 30 minutes
Serves: 4 (168 calories, 2.25 fat, and 14.5 protein per serving)

  • 8oz of cleaned (picked-over) lentils
  • 1 medium carrot (cleaned and diced)
  • 1-2 stalks of celery (cleaned and diced)
  • 6 cups stock (I used Edward & Sons vegetarian Chick-N bullion cubes and water)
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Thyme, Salt, and Pepper (to taste)
  • enough olive oil to lightly brown your garlic and onions

The Perfect Lentil Soup – recipe adapted from Mark Bittman’s, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

Directions

  1. Make the stock. Put it in a pot.
  2. Dump in your clean lentils. Add carrots and celery. Bring to a boil.
  3. Turn heat to low and stir every now and again so nothing sticks for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
  4. Lightly soften your onions in a tiny bit of olive oil in a frying pan (about 4 or 5 minutes). Add garlic for any additional couple of minutes but don’t over-brown.
  5. Add garlic and onions to pot.
  6. Season to taste with thyme, pepper, and salt.

Enjoy! At only 168 calories a bowl, you can allow yourself an extra spoonful as seconds without worrying about too many calories. Even with a small piece of baguette on the side and a tea you’re coming in under 500 calories for your dinner easy.

Of all the recipes I’ve been working with, this and the Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato pasta have really started making the rounds in our weekly or bi-weekly meal planning.

This soup is hearty, feels like comfort food, warms you up (but not too much), and leaves you with zero guilt and enough wiggle room for seconds. Ahh…. just one more thing to love about fall. 

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