It’s amazing how quickly stuff can accumulate. I’ve been in my current condo since 2006. It was my first place so all I had when I moved in were the basics. My budget was pretty tight in the beginning, so I stayed with the basics for awhile. As time went on and I got more comfortable, I started buying some of those “nice to have” things. Then I started buying the “don’t really need by it’s so darn cute” things. Now as I’m decluttering and simplifying for my next move, I’ve realized that I’m bursting at the seams with stuff.
I know most of it is unnecessary, but just putting things in a box is difficult. It’s easy to become attached to stuff. Memories and emotions get all mixed up with possessions. I know that by choosing to sacrifice square footage in order to be in a better location, I’ve also made the choice to simplify. I need to start embracing that.
Simplicity can be a very good thing, like this one pan meal of roast chicken and vegetables. Low on effort and dirty dishes but high in flavour, this is one of my favourite things to make when life gets a little too hectic. Just chop up some root vegetables, toss them with oil and pour them in a pan, put some seasoned chicken on top and roast. I used chicken legs, but if you’re feeding a crowd a whole chicken be used in the exact same way, just use a deeper pan.
Roast Chicken and Root Vegetables
- Chicken Legs
- Potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- Carrots, cut into chunks
- Leeks, cleaned and sliced into large pieces
- Olive Oil
- Garlic Powder
- Salt and Pepper
- Preheat oven to 400
- Put the potatoes, carrots and leeks in a pan. Drizzle with some olive oil, then season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Toss until the vegetables are evenly coated ( I used my hands)
- Season the chicken legs with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Coat with a small amount of oil, then sprinkle with paprika.
- Place in the oven and roast for about 40 minutes, until the vegetables are softened and the chicken is cooked through. (Test the chicken by piercing it with a knife and seeing if the juices run clear)
I received a comment on my Roasted Tomato post that got me thinking. Tiffany of Como Water wrote that January is 1/12 of my life and I should find a way to enjoy it. I had never thought of it that way. To me winter has always been something I need to survive to get to the good stuff. I decided to try to figure out what it is about the winter that bothers me so much. Basically it comes down to two things; the dark and the cold. It’s pitch black when I wake up in the morning and its pitch black when I leave the office at night. The darkness is depressing and tiring. And then there’s the cold. Yuck. I’m one of those people who thinks a hot humid day is heavenly. The cold makes me, well, cold. And tense. Every time I step outside I can feel all of my muscles contracting, and they stay stuck that way all day.
So what can I do about this? My first solution is to spend some time outside and enjoy what little sunshine there is. I’m thinking walks at lunch could cover this. The second solution is to stay warm. If I’m going to enjoy my walks I need a good coat (can you say Canada Goose?).
And I need nice warm bowl of soup when I get home at night.
My first soup of the month is Curried Carrot and Lentil. It was kind of an experiment as I had no recipe to follow, but I think for the first time a non baking experiment has worked for me. The carrots and red lentils are a great base to the soup, the curry and cayenne and some nice heat, and the coconut milk adds just the right amount of creaminess. I think it’s perfect to come home to on a cold January night.
Curried Carrot and Lentil Soup
- coconut oil or olive oil for frying
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 carrots, sliced
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated (can be substituted with powder)
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
- 3/4 cup lentils
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups coconut milk
- plain yogurt for serving
- In a large soup pot, sautee the onions and carrots for 3 – 4 minutes until the onions have softened.
- Add the mustard seeds, curry, and ginger. Cook, stirring to keep the onion from burning, until the mustard seeds start to pop.
- Add the cayenne and lentils, then add the broth and coconut milk. Bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes.
- Let cool, then puree with an immersion blender or blender until smooth.
- Serve topped with yogurt.