Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Smoked Paprika Red Lentil Soup

If you are feeling comfortable with making a particular dish, soup in this case, how about varying it up instead of reinventing the soup wheel? I added smoked paprika, vegetarian broth and potatoes to my red lentil with turmeric soup and not only is it crazy delicious, but it is also so similar to the other soup that I end up having all the ingredients. Smoked paprika gives any dish an earthy, Mediterranean flavor so make sure to keep it in your spice rack. Be careful and read the label because some are spicier than others.
Smoked Paprika Red Lentil Soup:
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large potato, diced
3 medium sized carrots, diced
2 quarts vegetable broth
2 cups red lentils
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp olive oil
In a large, heavy sauce pan over a low flame, heat up the olive oil.
Add in the diced onions and saute until translucent, about 10 minutes. Keep stirring so they don’t burn or get brown.
Add in the minced garlic and stir for a minute.
Add in the vegetable broth, carrots, potatoes, lentils and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Add in the seasonings, taste to make sure the vegetables are tender and either pulse in a food processor or leave chunky.
Serve with a crusty bread and salad.
For more great recipes visit takebackthekitchen.com

My Take on the Oscars…the Good, the Bad and the Confusing…

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 12.01.48 AM.pngLet me first say for the record that I am a total and utter entertainment junkie. When it comes to the Academy Awards, I try to watch all the nominated films so that I can sit on my couch rooting for all my favorites.
Tonight was no exception. My entire family started out watching with me and I tweeted and Facebooked the entire experience — much to their chagrin. If you missed the show, have no fear. A good portion of it was pretty boring but there were some amazing highlights. Here’s my fave five Oscar winning moments from the couch…
1. Ellen Degeneres as host – She is by far one of the funniest hosts on the planet. Between taking a selfie with a dozen A listers, to ordering pizza for the first few rows of stars, to her kooky costumes, she made the show and kept things flowing.
2. Lupita N’yongo’s Acceptance Speech – Moving, inspiring, beautiful. What more can I say? She’s a gorgeous actress and her performance in “12 Years a Slave” was powerful, emotional and raw.
3. Idina Menzel, Bette Midler and Pink – Incredible standing ovation performances by all three performers. The only slip up was when John Travolta butchered Idina Menzel’s name. Next time, he should wear reading glasses!
4. Matthew McConaughey wins for Best Actor – He looked spectacularly debonaire in his white jacket and his speech was absolutely amazing. Here’s an excerpt: “There are three things that I need each day. Something to look up to, someone to look forward to and another is something to chase. I want to thank God because he is someone I look up to. To my family, that’s who and what I look forward to. To you dad who taught me what it means to be a man. And my mother who demanded that we respect ourselves. (Matthew also said some amazing things about his gorgeous wife and their children) You are the people in my life I want to make the most proud of me.” I heart you Matthew McCounaughey. That is all.
5. Best Picture Goes to “12 Years a Slave” – Hands down, the most powerful and emotional movie of the year. Brad Pitt was a producer and had a small role in the film so he was incredibly gracious when he accepted the award, quickly saying a few words and then handing it over to Steve McQueen who gave the acceptance speech. I loved seeing his mom waving from the back row and his final tribute too. “I dedicate this award to the millions of people who have endured slavery and still endure it today.” A truly memorable way to end the show.
Now it’s time to get some rest while all the stars and their publicists celebrate.