Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Cozy Meal for a Wintry Evening

Wintry days mean early darkness and long, quiet evenings by the fire. For humans, just like the bears, hibernation seems to fit more closely into the pattern of life during this season. And there's nothing nicer than a hot comfort food for a time like this. Homemade soup and crackers for supper during the winter months is so soothing. Savory stews and simmering hot soups with hearty spreads on crackers or breads make a simple and delicious supper. Do you need an idea for your supper menu tonight? How about this one?

Hearty Split-Pea Soup

1 onion, chopped
1 tomato, peeled and chopped
2 Tbsp. oil
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. McKay's Chicken-Style Seasoning
1/2 Tbsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. sage
6 cups water
1 cup split green peas
4 potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 carrots, sliced

In a large kettle, saute the onion and tomato in oil. Add seasonings and saute mixture a few minutes more. Add water and split peas; cook about 30 minutes until vegetables are tender, peas are soft and almost mushy, and soup has thickened. Serve hot with sesame crackers.

Serves 6

Sesame Crackers

1/2 cup water
6 Tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups whole grain gluten-free flour blend (millet, quinoa, brown rice)*
1/2 cup sesame seeds

Blend water, oil, and salt in blender at medium speed until well blended. Pour into bowl and add flour and sesame seeds. Mix well, then knead in bowl or on lightly floured surface until mixture becomes like dough. Divide in half, then sprinkle with salt and more sesame seeds. Roll out on waxed paper to thickness of thin wafers. Cut into squares and bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes or less. Watch carefully; they brown easily.

Simple Bean Spread or Dip

1 - 15 oz. can kidney beans, mashed
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup black olives, chopped
1/2 tsp. cumin powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 cup mayonnaise*
salt to taste

Blend all ingredients well and chill. Serve as a spread on the sesame crackers. Yum!

*I like Vegannaise --- the best tasting mayo yet!
*A commercial gluten-free flour blend can be used as well. For non-gluten-free individuals, use whole wheat flour.

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