Things around our parts these days have been blustering.  In case one, I mean windy.  If any of you are reading this post from the European coast, then you know what I am talking about.  It is darn windy.  Crazy windy.  I’m scared it’s going to blow down our building windy.  Mr. F says I should be used to it since I am from Saskatchewan.  Yes, I will not deny that it gets windy there, but this has gone on for days.  3 days and nights to be exact.  It’s an ocean wind and that, my friends, I am not used to.  We have seen some pretty funny stuff though.  Umbrella’s popping the wrong way, people being blown off their bikes, grandpa’s holding on to railings so that they won’t get blown away and waves actually crashing on the sides of the canals.  It is out of control.

Other things blustering lately is the feelings of getting closer to the birth of the baby.  I am excited all over!  Just over 2 weeks until the due date.  We can basically count days now, people.  Days until we are holding the new baby Danks.  All these Braxton Hicks contractions are getting my hopes up and getting me ready for the big day.

Finally in case #3, our housing situation.  The wind has been blowing us in all directions around our great city of Delft.  Looking at new apartments, old apartments, row houses, semi-furnished, unfurnished, furnished, ished, ished, yeesh… One weird thing that I can share with you is that unfurnished here does not mean no furniture like the Canadian standard.  Unfurnished here means, no lighting, no drapes, no paint and no flooring.  Yup, people strip up their flooring when they leave and bring it to their next house.  Because they have to!  So strange – to us anyways.

With all this blustering happening, doesn’t the kitchen just need to help us bring it all down to a calm level?  I say yes!  And this level I am talking about is a warm bowl of fragrant soup, well stoup, in this case.  I first heard this mashed-word on the Rachel Ray Show.  It has quickly entered by vocabulary because this is the type of “soup” thatI love.  More stuff, less broth.  Yes, I like broth just as much as the other guy, but when I am eating soup as a main course, I need some substance.  That is why I love stewy soups.  Get it – stoup.

This stoup could also be called a chili, but call it as you must, it is delicious and satisfying and calming.  I was going to write this post all about how I am intrigued by lentils and how a large portion of the world eats them as a staple and I never ate them until I was an adult, but now I guess I just did.  And kale is super good.  Kale, lentils, ground meat, fresh thyme and rosemary.  This is a good one.  It makes the house smell like Provence (or the spice mix anyways) and fills your belly with warmth and takes you to the exotic with the lentils aspect.  Make it on one of your blustering days to warm you up and calm you down.

Kale and Lentil Stoup – adapted from the Rachel Ray Show

200g sausage or ground pork (you could go ground turkey or chicken here too)

a couple handfuls of mushrooms, sliced (cremini are good)

1 bunch kale

o.25 cup tomato paste

1 onion

a palmfull of destemed chopped leaves of fresh thyme and rosemary (you can substitute this with Herbs de Provence)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 box of chicken stock (4 cups or 500ml) + 2 cups of water

1 cup of green lentils (I only had red and it was just fine!)

Start by browning the meat and the diced onion.  quickly rinse and slice up the mushrooms.  Toss these in for some browning along with the garlic and herbs when the meat is nearing the end and the onions are not translucent yet.  When the onions go translucent, stir in the tomato paste until everything is covered.  Let is cook for about a minute.  Finally, pour in the broth, water, kale and lentils.  Stir until well combined and let simmer for 45 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and then fill up some big bowls.