We finally made it to the grocery store, yesterday. First time in almost 2 weeks. We’ve had a bit of weather that just wasn’t conducive to being out and about.

It’s definitely age-related… Back in my youth, I’d be on the roads in a snowstorm half-lit with bald tires heading to the store because we had the munchies or were almost out of beer. Now, common sense coupled with a profound fear of meeting a 2024 version of my youthful self in the middle of an intersection keeps me put.

Fortunately, a well-stocked freezer and pantry kept us well-fed.

The nice thing about not shopping for 2 weeks is we can now actually see into the freezer and cupboards! There’s nothing languishing in a far corner, dying of freezer burn. No packaged goods with a Use By date of July 2019. It’s all ready to be packed out, again!

Another fun thing about not shopping for a while is getting creative with the things you have – like last night’s soup. We had every ingredient but one in the house – and the one ingredient we didn’t have was being delivered by Imperfect Foods.

I rarely follow a recipe for soup – it’s soup, after all – but once in a while I see something that sounds interesting. I really like the flavor combinations of Moroccan food and this one hit all the buttons.

The original recipe called for a can of chickpeas and no chicken, but… we have several pounds of dried chickpeas from Palouse, so I used them. Also, since the recipe said to use chicken broth, I added some chicken. Leave the chicken out and switch the broth to vegetable broth and you have a lovely Vegan soup…

Moroccan Lentil and Chickpea Soup

adapted from America’s test Kitchen

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 oz chicken breast or thigh, cubed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Saffron
  • 3/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 4 ounces Swiss chard, stemmed and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper

Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent and starting to brown, 7 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add garlic and ginger, and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Stir in coriander, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, and pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add chicken and brown lightly. Stir in 1/2 cup cup parsley and cook for 1 minute.

Stir in broth, water, and chickpeas. Cook until chickpeas are almost cooked through. Add tomatoes and lentils; increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and gently simmer until lentils are just tender, about 20 minutes.

Stir in pasta and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in chard and continue to cook, partially covered, until pasta is tender, about 5 minutes longer. Off heat, stir in lemon juice and remaining 1/4 cup parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I did make a vat of this – lunch for several days!!

And since we were having soup, I decided we needed some fresh-baked bread.


The recipe for the bread was actually a sun-dried tomato and olive bread. I didn’t have any decent black olives in the house, so I just made it without the olives and tomatoes.

This is a really easy go-to recipe that is excellent plain, or made with any number of add-ins. Light crumb, chewy crust… Gotta love it!

And I really do like weighing ingredients – it is just so much easier.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Olive Bread

adapted from the BBC

  • 500g/1lb 2oz strong white flour
  • 15g/½oz salt
  • 55ml/2fl oz olive oil
  • 20g/¾oz fresh yeast
  • 275ml/9fl oz water
  • 170g/6oz black Greek olives, pitted and chopped
  • 55g/2oz sun-dried tomatoes

Mix all ingredients, apart from the olives and tomatoes, in a large bowl. Take care not to put the yeast in direct contact with the salt when they are first added to the bowl.

Knead well with your hands and knuckles until the dough is elastic, smooth and shiny. Cover with a piece of cling film and leave to rise for one hour.

Divide the dough into two and add half of the olives and sun-dried tomatoes into each.

Mould both the doughs into rough round shapes and press firmly down. Sprinkle white flour lightly over the top and mark them with a cross.

Place them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper (silicone paper) and prove for one hour in a warm place.

Bake at 220°C/425°F/Gas 7 for 30 minutes until golden-brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.


Two loaves of bread – one in the fairly empty freezer.

Bring it on, Mother Nature. We’re set!