The Cooking Chronicles: Red Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk and Sweet Spices and Spinach Salad with Apples and Cranberries

When I told Mack we would be having soup and salad for dinner, he complained. “Why are we having two sides?” he said. Well, I wanted to augment the lentil soup with some veggies, and with some spinach in the fridge, it seemed like the easiest way to go. More than that, inspired by Chef Blair Lebsack’s goat yogurt dressing, I wanted to try my own variant on homemade creamy dressing.

Using some plain Bles Wold yogurt I had in the fridge, I whisked in some red wine vinegar and a touch of honey (don’t ask me for amounts, I have no idea). It was delicious! I threw in some apples and cranberries for colour and additional sweetness, and it amounted to one of the best salads we’ve had in a while. Even Mack, the self-proclaimed “weed hater”, liked it.

Spinach Salad with Apples and Cranberries

The red lentil soup with sweet spices was pretty good as well. With the fragrant coconut milk though, none of the spices came through. The earthiness of the soup was much appreciated on a cold night.

Red Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk and Sweet Spices

After dinner, Mack said that he stood corrected – as it turns out, two sides can make a right.

The Cooking Chronicles: Inspired Spinach Salad

At a Sunterra-catered dinner a few months ago, I had one of the best salads I’ve ever had the privilege to try. Atop a base of spinach greens sat sliced white mushrooms, bits of real bacon, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, and hard boiled eggs. The dressing of choice was a poppyseed raspberry vinaigrette. Much to my dismay, Sunterra doesn’t offer this specific salad in their deli, so on Saturday, I set out to duplicate it the best I could.

I copped out on the vinaigrette, opting to use store-bought Kraft Extra Virgin Olive Oil Signature  Red Raspberry Dressing, and to make life even easier, I used pre-washed spinach greens. Four sliced mushrooms, one crumbled bacon strip, a dash of grated parmesan, and two sliced hard boiled eggs later, my salad was assembled.

The eggs provided the needed protein to an otherwise light dinner, and the bacon added a lovely crunch and flavour boost. While the dressing wasn’t as good as Sunterra’s from-scratch dressing, the salad as a whole was quite good. This would make a great take-to-work meal.

Inspired Spinach Salad