Thursday, January 20, 2011

A walk to the beach. Reflection's, and a lentil soup recipe today

Jacqueline Howett is the author of The Greek Seaman. A seafaring novel, on KIndle.

Hi from Clearwater Beach, Florida.

I have just got back from walking the beach. Today I walked it a bit, while its warm and the sun is shining in a blue sky. Usually I just like to go and sit a while in the sand on my sandals and listen to the wave’s splashing up, or shuffle my bare feet in the water and playfully search a dolphin spotting.

Clearwater beach, Florida where I now live is still a paradise and I thank God every time I’m down at the waters edge among the tropical birds. The pelicans are so funny the way they land in the water, with a nose dive, beaks first.

 I still miss the small fishing villages of Maine, the classy northern energy of fashionable shops, bookstore cafes and fine restaurants from around the world. I use to say Portland was like a mini London in just a handful of streets, and the nostalgia in parts of country life there on my drives pass wooden homes hanging washing on the line and the autumn leaves in color connected the soul to something deeper, something forgotten, but those winters, forget it. I left when I found I was shoveling snow for the first time just to get out of the house. This was my backyard in Maine.
Maine will always hold something special and dear to my heart as it was the first place I lived after coming from Europe. The snow at first looks beautiful until you drive in it and it truly is a picture, but most of the time during the summer you think about the long winters cold that's coming again.
Water has to be in my life somewhere wherever I live. You can give me a tiny duck pond, I’ll stop and gaze for hours if you let me. A bag of old bread would be my excuse, ‘Gone to feed the ducks.’ Hey, that sounds like a title for a novel.  Water is my great escape and has a magical healing to clear the mind or evoke visions. I now live just two streets away from the beach. One street in the other direction is the intercostals. Sometimes when many coconuts hit you on the head, after so many years here, it can feel like Chinese torture in ninety degree heat. You just can't walk about  during the later part of the day, that can be very unpleasant. Then there is the hurricane season, and so far, we have been lucky. I love it when it rains, but last nights thunderclaps kept me up. Overall, I can’t complain when the rest of the country is in snow or slush. Sometimes the weather  is in the 30's or 50's then shoots back up to mid 60's or 70's.
Here's a hearty lentil soup recipe for lunch today. To warm the cockles of your heart.

Ingredients Lentil Soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onions, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1  cups lentils - soaked, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 1 bay leaves
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 sprig fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Directions

    1. In a medium stockpot, saute the onions in oil until they are glossy. Stir in garlic, paprika, celery, carrots, and saute for 10 minutes.
    2. Once the vegetables have sauteed for 10 minutes stir in tomatoes, chicken stock, lentils, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Stir well, then add the wine and bring the mixture to a boil. Slowly reduce the heat and cook for 1 hour on low to medium heat; or until the lentils are tender. Toward the end, add a handful of spinach if desired. 
    3. Sprinkle the soup with parsley and Parmesan (optional) before serving.
    4. Enjoy with crackers or bread and butter


  1. A walk on the beach sounds lovely. I don't live near any beaches, but I can relate to the whole snow thing!

  2. Those are great pictures!

    Thanks for the recipe!

  3. I dream of Maine. It's definitely on my list of places to vacation. Though I have to admit, walking on the beach is one of my favorite activities. And with temps in the 30s today, I'm just a tinge of green with envy!

    Thanks for the soup recipe. I'm off to the grocery store in a couple hours, and I've already got these ingredients on my list. Sounds so yummy!

    Wishing you a happy weekend!

  4. Yum! I think I'll try this recipe. :)

  5. Thanks for your comments and links. Yeah, lentils are loaded with lots of iron, just as spinach is. Especially if you are anemic, its a good idea to make this recipe, a habit. Then you are loading up on the antioxidants from your carrots, celery and tomatoes, olive oil, garlic. In fact everything in this soup is good for you. Twice a month I cook it. I like to spice it up also with indian spices on my third bowl or hot--hot.