Well the good news is that Charlotte is still alive. She managed to survive an entire shelf of books cascading down on her face yesterday. I really hope this doesn’t instill an eternal hatred of books in her. I can hear her now, lying on a couch when she’s in her 30s, telling her psychologist about how her parents literally forced literature on her. She’ll have the scar on her face to prove it.

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Are any of you guys book fanatics? I’m kind of obsessed. I go through a lot of books. (Reading them, not injuring small children with them.) If you ever read an amazing book you should tell me about it. What are your favorites?

My friend Sarah reads more books than anyone I know. She used to go to the library every 3 weeks and get the maximum number of books they allowed her to check out, and read all of them before they were due. She even read forbidden books. When Harry Potter first came out, her parents thought it might not be appropriate, so they wouldn’t let her read it. But she secretly checked it out anyway and read it with a church magazine wrapped around the book so they wouldn’t know. Heinous!

This Tomato Lentil Soup is all kinds of amazing. I pretty much ate nothing else until all the leftovers were gone. Apparently they serve it at Cafe Zupas. I’ve never been there, but Eric got a kit to make the soup somewhere. The kit came with a spice packet, which I recreated so that I don’t have to buy the kit every time I want to make this. And now you don’t have to buy it either.

I know it is the middle of summer so I probably shouldn’t even be making soup, but honestly it is so light and delicious that you don’t even notice that it’s 90˚ outside. Tomato soup is often wussy enough that you need to eat a grilled cheese with it to fill you up, but the addition of lentils in this recipe makes it quite hearty; all you need is some crusty bread for dipping. Get your summer soup on people! And don’t forget to enter my giveaway!

Creamy Tomato Lentil Soup

Source: adapted from Cafe Zupas

2 tablespoons butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/4 teaspoon cumin
black pepper to taste
8 cups low sodium chicken stock
12 ounces red lentils
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
3 ounces (half of a 6 oz. can) tomato paste
2 cups cream
sour cream or plain yogurt for garnish, if desired

Melt butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrots, and sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

In a small bowl mix the sugar, salt, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, and black pepper. Add spices to vegetables and stir to coat.

Add chicken stock, lentils (do not pre-soak them), diced tomatoes, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in heavy cream and simmer for another 3 minutes. Garnish with sour cream or plain yogurt, if desired.

Makes about one gallon of soup.

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  1. Hi there,

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I actually made the kit from Cafe Zupa last week (I got it on a work trip out to Utah). It was delicious! And I was lamenting the fact that I didn’t save the recipe or figure out what was in the spice packet that came in the kit. I was so happy to find your blog post on it!

  2. I’ve never been much of a soup person (horrible I know), but this looks good and healthy! I’ll have to save it for some good weather for soup day. And glad to hear your daughter is ok. Sounds like you have a rambunctious child as well.

  3. Looks delish! I am a big reader, but I’ve stopped buying physical books now that I have my Kindle…I kind of miss looking at my recent reads on my bookshelf, but I suppose I can say it’s for safety’s sake! ;)

  4. Poor Charlotte! The good thing is that she probably won’t remember a thing. I think I need to meet your friend Sarah, because I love books and libraries. (Although librarians give me the willies. They are so stern looking.) My favorite book of all time is ‘How Green was My Valley.’
    Are you are Goodreads? It’s one of my favorite places on the Internet. Here’s my account so you can see the other million books I’m in love with right now.

  5. First of all …you haven’t been to Zupas??? It is my favorite place in Utah to eat! I love their salads, and their soups…cauliflower and lobster bisque (sp?) are my favorites. Yumm! You must go, and take your mom, since she’s in the area! (We’ll be there soon too!)
    Secondly, I’m pretty sure Charlotte will forgive the attack of the books since she will certainly fall in love with them.
    Favorite read : “the Guernsey literary and potato peel pie society”…you’ve probably already read it, but it is so worth mentioning! Oh! I got the book you referred to me, now I just need to read it. :)

  6. Looks good Karen! I only have the regular brownish/greenish lentils. Can I use those?

    And, was Charlotte trying to climb up the bookshelves? Perhaps she was reaching for “Pride and Prejudice” or “Little Dorrit” – two of my favorites!

    1. Yeah you could definitely try it out with brown lentils. I think it would taste very much the same, it just might not turn out with such a pretty color. Let me know how it goes! And no, Charlotte wasn’t trying to climb the bookshelf. It was my fault, I was trying to get a book out of our completely broken bookshelf and it all came crashing down on us. I should have moved her out of the way before attempting to get the book.

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