Tag Archives: lentils

Feminist Coming Out Day, and the BEST Curried Lentil Soup Recipe

So I’ve been absent. Horribly absent. But I have an excuse, I SWEAR! Ok, it’s just the ‘I-was-too-busy-to-blog-wah-wah’ excuse you’ve heard already. However, on the bright side, today was the last day of winter term classes- just a few more assignments, and it’ll be SPRING BREAK LIVIN’ Y’ALL.

spring break 1

Ok, that’s definitely not what my break is going to look like. It’s going to look a little more like a constant date with this:

cleaning products

Seriously, my apartment is begging for a deep clean.

In the mean time, in honor of International Women’s Day and Feminist Coming Out Day, I need to write a letter to the two people who birthed this woman. If you get grossed out by excessive sentimentality, feel free to skip ahead.

Dear Tangela and Jesse,

It would be impossible for me to give thanks for everything you’ve done that’s made my life possible. However, at the age of 23, I realize there’s one thing for which I am most grateful, and for which I must attempt to give thanks:

Thank you for not limiting my definition of happiness.

You allowed me to be myself, and in doing so left the world at my disposal for interpretation. I have never felt as though there is only one version of happiness- I never felt that if I didn’t get married, have children, or pursue a specific career that I would be less than what you wanted me to be.

This freedom of interpretation has allowed me to have several painless awakenings over the year- not the least of which include my sexual neutrality, fat positivity, and (at times) radical feminism.

You did what every parent should do, but what seems to be extraordinarily difficult. Your ability to forgo your own versions of happiness in favor of my own personal exploration means more to me than words can ever say.




last week I made the most DELICIOUS curried lentil soup. Because I’ve been living under a rock since last Friday, this recipe (and the corresponding photographs) have been living in the Jessamyn archives. Let them be liberated!

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Curried Lentil Soup

Yield: 8 servings (time to bust out the tupperware, y’all)


1 cup dry lentils, rinsed
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, or 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
8 cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth
1/2 cup dry couscous
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

8 oz mushrooms

Combine lentils, onion, celery, mushrooms, garlic, cumin, and broth in a large pot. Bring to a simmer, then cover loosely and cook until lentils are tender, about 50 minutes.
Stir in couscous, , curry powder, and black pepper. Continue cooking until couscous is tender, about 10 minutes. Add salt to taste.

This recipe is hella simple. However, the secret to perfect lentils (whether they are in a soup or served plain), is a three step process:

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1. Carefully look them through for rocks, dirt clumps, mishapen dark beans, or any other non-tasty items.

2. Rinse your lentils.

3. SOAK SOAK SOAK. For at least 15 minutes, but you can let them sit for hours. My favorite thing to do is look them over, rinse, and let them soak in a bowl full of water for an entire day before cooking. The lentils will absorb lots of water, and they will be super soft and creamy as a result. Trust me, if you want to have perfect lentils, you will not skip this step.


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Um, guess what I found at The Dollar Tree?

frozen berries

Yeah, that’s right: frozen berries. They had a variety: strawberries, peaches, blueberries, etc. I got peaches and blueberries. I was really just shocked by the refrigerated and frozen food sections in the DOLLAR STORE, but that’s probably just me and my bourgeois attitude. Apparently this is old news- however, I was still really excited.

Also, how is it that The Dollar Tree has extensive online shopping options, and Michaels Arts and Crafts barely has a store locator? I am just filled with questions today….

Happy Feminist Coming Out Day, Y’all!



Filed under food, recipes

A Textbook Cheapskate: The Benefits of Buying in Bulk

For those of you who don’t know, I am a textbook Cheapskate. Here’s my somewhat crude, yet probably accurate, definition of this term:

Cheapskate (CHEEP- skEIGHt)- One who can always rationalize spending less on necessities, or simply going without items they need, because they are in a constant state of financial panic.

I mean, in my opinion, being a cheap skate is totally forgivable because it usually stems from actual financial trouble. However, it can occasionally stem from stinginess and being a Scrooge. But look at it this way- If I KNOW I can buy headphones on ebay for less than a dollar (PLUS shipping- AYO!), why would I give Target ten dollars for the same product? Even if it does take the ebay headphones three weeks to arrive. From Hong Kong. Through USPS.

Since we’re on the subject, my ebay headphones arrived yesterday.

(Please Excuse The Poor Photo Quality- We here at Jessamyn Industries are Struggling with Rudimentary Point and Shoot Skills.)

I am abnormally rough on my headphones, and I typically have to buy a new pair every 4-6 months. As mentioned, these were found on ebay for a delightful $0.65. With free shipping! Yes, they may have been shipped from Hong Kong, and it might have taken three weeks for the magical package to arrive. And maybe (just maybe) the sound quality makes Lady Gaga sound like she’s singing “Monster” from the interior of a cyclone. But DAMNIT, I found $0.65 headphones. Be Jealous of Me!

(Whatever, I’ll probably have to buy the Target headphones anyway. RAWRGRRR.)

Anyway, being a cheapskate can result in a tendency to purchase products that are not only bad for you but bad for the environment. This is especially notable in the food industry (Is there any other reason why McDonalds owns almost the entire world?). However, my affinity for being a cheapskate has helped me develop at least one good food purchasing habit: Buying In Bulk.

And I’m not talking about buying 12-dozen gallon pallets of almond milk from Costco or Sam’s Club (although if you have an army of children, this is a perfectly acceptable life choice).

I’m talking about the bins of dry goods in your local health food store- buying in bulk is basically like playing the game Oregon Trail in real life. Am I right that scooping grain totally feels like being in a frontier general store?

Anyway, here are three of my favorite bulk items.


1) Lentils

Lentils are probably my favorite bean. They are so versatile, and are an excellent staple to have on hand when you’re running low on food.


2) Whole-Wheat couscous

I can’t say enough good things about couscous. It’s filling, and a small portion of dry grain results in a heaping serving of couscous. One time, I was SO EXCITED about my new bag of couscous that I spilled the entirety of the bag on the floor of my car. Trust me, that experience was WAY less funny than the anecdote has turned out to be.


3) Brown Rice

Next to macaroni and cheese (my food savior), rice is my favorite food. It probably has something to do with my heritage (eastern North Carolinians are renowned for impressive rice appetites.) However, in case you didn’t know, white rice? Not very good for you. Most people who don’t like brown rice have been forced to eat it when it wasn’t properly cooked (which, in defense of the offending chefs, is not an uncommon circumstance). I’ve found that brown rice (especially rough, organic grain) cooks better after it has been rinsed a couple of times and soaked for a few minutes prior to cooking.

In general, buying in bulk is significantly cheaper than buying pre-packaged items. It also uses significantly less packaging, creating less waste.

The list of items I prefer to buy in bulk extends way past these three items (quinoa, black-eyed peas, whole-wheat flour, etc), but these are just a couple of ‘can’t-live-without’s. What Are Your Favorite Items To Buy In Bulk?

By The Way, What Kind of Earbuds Are You Using? Maybe I should take advice from others instead of using ebay as my guidebook :).

Also, though I usually buy most of my bulk items from the Whole Foods Market in Winston-Salem, if you are in or near Greensboro, NC, run (or walk or bike) to Deep Roots Co-Op Market for all of your bulk food needs. Deep Roots is a co-op which truly exists as a product of the GREENsboro community, and they always have really fresh bulk items.


Filed under food, grocery shopping, grocery stores, meal planning, shopping