My Marvelous Meatball Soup

We may have seen the last of the cool weather in Northern California, so I wanted to close the season with one more gathering around soup bowls. In the valley where we live, summer temps can reach 102ºC...HOT.  Today it was in the high 80's, still tolerable, but around 3pm I had to get the a/c going.

I realized that it has been forever since I made Mom's meatball soup. Rolling the tiny meatballs was an activity I liked participating in. Mom taught me how to roll two at a time, since we'd make about 150 of them sitting on the pink vinyl couch in our spacious kitchen, with a low table in front of us.

There was al,ways something going on in the kitchen. We had two live-ins since our house was a two-story with 6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, 3 living rooms, a formal dining room a laundry room and kitchen.  (Makes me pant to think about it).

My 4 aunts and uncle lived just 4 miles away and dropped by often.

So deciding to make this soup today was a trip down memory lane.  I seem to be doing that often these days.

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground lean Grass-fed Beef (or Lamb)
  • 2 tsp. Wheat germ or Oat Bran
  • 1/2 c. organic Parsley, chopped fine
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 c. chopped organic Tomatoes
  • 1/2 c. Tomato sauce
  • 1/2 c. chopped organic Onion
  • 1 organic Carrot, shredded
  • 1 large organic Carrot, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1/3 c. Brown Rice
  • 2 Tbs. Parsley, chopped (as topping)

Mix meat, seasoning, wheat germ, parsley, onion and shredded carrot well.

meatball soup1
meatball soup1

Form into tiny meatballs, a little larger than a hazelnut.

meatball soup2
meatball soup2

Heat 6 cups of water in a large pot, and drop meatballs in a few at a time.

meatball soup4
meatball soup4

As it starts to boil, turn down heat and skim surface until clear.

meatball soup5
meatball soup5

Add tomato sauce, rice and round carrots, cover, and cook until rice is done, about 35 minutes, depending on rice you use.

Season with salt and pepper and a generous dash of cinnamon.

meatball soup6
meatball soup6

Cook 5 minutes longer, and add some chopped parsley.

Enjoy with a side salad and roasted sweet potatoes.

~ Sahtein (double health!) ♥

Are You a Bean? or ... the Lentil Love Affair

Da Facts

The lentil (Lens ensculenta) is a legume that grows in pods containing one or two lentil seeds.  They are believed to have originated in central Asia.

Lentils have been eaten by humans since Neolithic times and were one of the first domesticated crops.  In the Middle East, lentil seeds have been found dating back more than 8000 years.

In the Old Testament, Esau gives up his birthright to Jacob in exchange for a bowl of lentil soup. The Greek playwright Aristophanes called lentil soup the "sweetest of delicacies." Lentils have been found in Egyptian tombs dating as far back as 2400 BC.

In India, the lentil is known as dal or daal. For many centuries, lentils were considered to be "the poor man's meat." In Catholic countries, those who couldn't afford fish would eat lentils during Lent instead.

There are many varieties and colors of lentils, including brown, yellow, black, orange, red and green.  Beluga lentils are black and one of the smallest varieties of lentils, having an appearance similar to caviar.

French green lentils are small, delicate, and flavorful and hold their shape after cooking better than many other types of lentil. The most common lentils used in the United States are green and brown, since these varieties are best at retaining their shape after cooking.

The optical lens is named after the Latin word for lentil, lens. Unlike most other beans, lentils don't need to be soaked before cooking.

More Facts

With about 30% of their calories from protein, lentils have the third-highest level of protein, by weight, of any legume or nut, after soybeans and hemp. Proteins include the essential amino acids isoleucine and lysine , and lentils are an essential source of inexpensive protein in many parts of the world which have large vegetarian populations.

Lentils are deficient in two essential amino acids, methionine and cysteine. However, sprouted lentils contain sufficient levels of all essential amino acids, including methionine and cysteine.

Lentils also contain dietary fiber, folate, vitamin B1, and minerals. Red (or pink) lentils contain a lower concentration of fiber than green lentils (11% rather than 31%). Health magazine has selected lentils as one of the five healthiest foods. Lentils are often mixed with grains, such as rice, which results in a complete protein dish.

   References:

Randy Sell. "Lentil". North Dakota State University Department of Agricultural Economics. Archived from the original on 2009-06-21. Retrieved 2011-12-14.

Raymond, Joan (March 2006). "World's Healthiest Foods: Lentils (India)". Health Magazine.

Da Story

As a child and up to now, lentils have been one of my favorite beany legumes! There are two traditional Lebanese lentil dishes that Mom made quite often, and that I devoured... 1) Mjaddara : a lentil and rice mash that is better than chocolate fudge; and 2) Shawrabit Adas: 'Lentil Soup' with Swiss Chard and Cumin.

Both dishes were on the Top of my Comfort Foods list.  On wintry days when I visited my Uncle Yusef's house where Tehta (Grandma) lived, we'd huddle around their kerosene stove in the 'winter room', sitting on long cushions that bordered the wall, and eat bowls of Mjaddara with pita bread, pickles and shredded cabbage salad. My 3 cousins and I would listen to the adult conversations, poking fun at whoever was featured in each story, or play silly word games.

Lentils are versatile.  You can add them to salads, to chilies, and soups.

Click on the Recipe Names to go to the recipes.

~ Sahtein!

Spinach-Avo Soup

This recipe is packed with diabetes, cholesterol and cancer defense!It's not cooked so all the nutrients are preserved.

  • 4 c. organic baby Spinach, well rinsed and dried
  • 1 c. water
  • 3 cloves roasted Garlic, or 1 large clove, raw
  • 2 tsp. freshly squeezed organic Lemon juice
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. black or cayenne pepper
  • 1 ripe Avocado, cut in half and pitted
  • 2 Tbs. crushed dry-roasted Hazelnuts, or lightly toasted Pine nuts
Place Spinach, water, garlic, lemon juice and spices in a blender. Pack leaves down and blend until smooth. Scrape down sides if needed.
Spoon avocado out of its skin.  Add to blender and process until smooth.
Taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish with nuts.
Makes 4 servings.
~ Bon Apetit!

Knockout Cannellini Bean Soup with Kale

Very yummy, filling and worth adding to your Recipe files!  This can be made with Organic Free-Range Chicken Broth if desired.

Cannellini Bean Soup with Kale

Serves 6.

  • 1 Tbs. extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 c.  organic Onion, diced
  • 1 c. Celery, diced
  • 1 c. organic Carrot, diced (1 cup)
  • 1 tsp. fresh Rosemary, finely chopped (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
  • 1 tsp. fresh organic Basil (1/2 tsp. dry)
  • 1 Tbs. of chopped Garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • One 14.5 oz can organic diced Tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp. Cumin
  • 4 c. organic Vegetable Broth
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 4 packed cups organic Kale, cleaned and sliced
  • Two 15 oz cans Cannellini beans
  • 1 Tbs. fresh Lemon Juice
  • 3 Tbs. of grated Rice or Almond Cheese

Pour olive oil in stock pot over medium heat and wait 1 minute. Add the onion, celery, carrots, rosemary and basil, and sauté over low to medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook another minute.

Add tomatoes, cumin, vegetable broth and bay leaf. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Wash the kale well. Remove and discard the lower half of stalk, then slice. Add kale and beans to the pot, bring back to a low boil and simmer, covered, until kale is tender (about 5 to 10 minutes).

Turn off the heat, remove bay leaf, add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Top each bowl of soup with 1/2 tablespoon rice or almond cheese if desired. Serve with a nice whole wheat loaf of crusty, whole grain bread. (I like Trader Joe's Tuscan Whole Wheat Tuscan Pane - 4g fiber to 23 carb). Click here for 'good carb' formula.

~ à votre santé!

Boost Your Immnue System with Mushroom Soup

This homemade soup captures some of the anti-cancer features of more expensive immune-enhancing soups.  Unlike Sun Soup, it is inexpensive and tasty. Medicinal mushrooms have been shown to improve specific immune markers and contribute significantly to healing processes by stimulating the body’s immune system. They contain high concentration of fiber and act as prebiotic, antioxidant, and antibiotics. They hold anti-hyperlipidemic, hypotensive, and hypoglycemic ability in addition to helping many health conditions such as asthma, ulcers, and kidney inflammation.

Read more about the health benefits of mushrooms here.

Mega Power Mushroom-Lentil Soup

  • 1/4 lb. shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/4 lb. maitake mushrooms
  • 1/4 lb. oyster mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 c. dried mung beans (pre-soak)
  • 1 1/2 c. dried French lentils (pre-soak)
  • I/4 head green cabbage, sliced in strips
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 leeks, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 4 c. purified or spring water
  • Sea salt or Tamari to taste

NOTE: If you cannot find fresh mushrooms, dried mushrooms are widely available, in the market or over from the Internet. Pre-soak until they are soft, then sliced. Also pre-soak the mung beans and lentils.

Peel the garlic cloves, crush them with flat side of knife.  Wait 10 minutes, and then mince them.

Add the garlic and all the remaining ingredients and cook at a slight boil for two hours, stirring occasionally. Season with reduced-sodium tamari (soy sauce). Try pureeing in a blender. Refrigerate surplus after eating.

Consume one cup of this soup per day, 3-4 times per week.  You may add any other fresh, organic vegetables.

~ Bon Apetit!