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  1. Wednesday, April 23

    The Only Lentil Soup Recipe You’ll Ever Need {Plus More Pretty Dishes}

    One of the very first recipes I ever made was lentil soup. And it was terrible. It was just not a good recipe and, as an inexperienced young cook, I had no idea how to make it better. Sadly it convinced me that lentils were a bad thing. Then, about a year later, my friend Amy made lentil soup and insisted that I try it. She swore it was the best ever. I was skeptical but gave it a go and, much to my utter amazement, I discovered that lentil soup can be wonderful. I owe it all to Amy. If I ever win a lentil academy award, she’ll be the first person I thank. After the Weinstein brothers, of course, because that seems to be an academy award thank you speech requirement, especially when lentils are involved. (Sorry, I think that was a case of stream of consciousness gone wrong.)

    the only lentil soup recipe you'll ever need from @janemaynard

    The moral of the story is that I have had this lentil soup recipe hidden away on my blog since Day 1, when I added a bunch of random recipes to the site from my recipe box (you know, the real live recipe box with notecards inside). But I’ve never actually written about this recipe because, well, I have no idea why! It’s about time because it really is a gem of a recipe. Plus, the soup looked gorgeous served in my new Q Squared dishes, which I was planning to write about anyway, so it was kismet!

    the only lentil soup recipe you'll ever need from @janemaynard

    As you know, I’ve started working with a great company called Q Squared NYC. When I first received my Montecito dishes, I didn’t think I could love any of their other dishes more. But for Easter I decided to use the Heritage line for all of our serving dishes and decorated the table with a blue and white theme to match, including the flowers. The table was simple and so pretty, if I do say so myself. And I really fell in love with the Heritage dishes. I don’t know, I might even love them more than Montecito. It’s just so hard to decide!

    heritage line from q squared nyc by @janemaynard

    Last night when I was photographing the orange-hued soup that complemented the blue in the dishes so beautifully, the girls started fighting over who would get to use the fancy bowl. I think I’m going to have to buy more of these dishes because I don’t think I’m the only one who loves them. Even Nate commented on how pretty they were after dinner on Easter and he’s a guy.

    heritage line from q squared nyc by @janemaynard

    In addition to the color and pattern, the Heritage dishes have a really great texture, with sort of a hammered look to them. I tried to capture this in the photography so hopefully you can see it. The dishes really are stunning and, like the Montecito line, you can tell they are really high quality. I could go on and on and ON about these dishes.

    heritage line from q squared nyc by @janemaynard

    One last note on the recipe: you probably won’t like other lentil soups after trying this one. At least not as much! Honestly, whenever I have lentil soup at a restaurant I just end up disappointed. I now save all my lentil soup-ing for home, it’s just better that way. Oh, and one more last note: this soup is easy to throw together and is done in 30 minutes!

    the only lentil soup recipe you'll ever need from @janemaynard

    Without further ado, I give you the soup! Everyone say thanks to Amy!

    (>> Find out more…)


  2. Thursday, March 22

    Apple Ham Paninis

    I really love paninis. I’m always a sucker for a hot sandwich, plus paninis make for a quick and easy dinner on busy weeknights. And my kids {almost} always eat them! My friend Natalee was raving about two panini combinations she discovered recently, so of course I had to give them a try. I’ll share one of them with you today and the second one tomorrow!

    Today’s is simple and delicious. Ham and havarti cheese combined with the sweet-yet-tart crunch of granny smith apples is delish. And this panini really, truly is fast and simple to prepare. That’s my favorite kind of recipe!

    Apple Ham Paninis
     
    Sweet and tart apple ham paninis!
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Sandwich
    Cuisine: American
    Ingredients
    • Sliced sourdough bread (I didn’t have sourdough, I used sliced wheat country bread)
    • Whole-grain mustard
    • Deli-sliced ham
    • Havarti cheese
    • Thinly-sliced granny smith apples
    Instructions
    1. Spread mustard on two slices of bread. Stack the cheese, ham and apples between the slices, then cook in a panini press. If you don’t have a panini press, just do what I do and smush the sandwich between two frying pans (click here for details). Eat and enjoy!