Parmesan Polenta Bowls with Chard, Leeks, and Poached Eggs

My oldest has been away at a music camp for the past two weeks, and we’re getting ready to pick him up tomorrow.  The three of us here at home couldn’t be happier or more excited.  It’s strange being apart with such limited communication; I miss him.  I’ve already started making a list of some of his favorite meals to make once he’s home again with us.   Cooking, I’ll admit, has been somewhat easier while he’s been gone since I’ve only needed to please one of their palettes.  My oldest seems to have somewhat of an aversion to eggs, but my youngest loves them so there have been lots of eggs with our lunches lately.  She’ll happily eat anything as long as there’s an egg to go along with it, and these polenta bowls were no exception.  We eat lots of cold salads and sandwiches in the summer, but I find there’s still a place for warm bowls too.  No matter how hot the weather, my daughter always comes home a bit blue and shivering after being out for a swim.  Soft and creamy polenta with fresh greens and a runny poached egg was just the thing to sooth her post-morning swim lesson chill.

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Lentil Quinoa Chili

How about a warm and nourishing bowl of soup to balance out all of those holiday sweets?  With all of the cookie-baking and festive gatherings, I’m already having to pace myself.  This chili is an updated version of a lentil chili that Ryan’s mom would often serve during our dating years, and there are many happy memories associated with this recipe.   Here I’ve added quinoa for heartiness and fresh roasted green chilis for an extra layer of flavor.  Nothing against canned chilis, those are great in a pinch, but taking an extra few minutes to roast them fresh adds depth and really sets this chili apart.  Having big a pot of soup simmering on the stove in the midst of this hurried and often stressful month is always calming and quieting for me.  Hope it is for you too.

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