What is it about a blustery day?

The wind, she was blowing right through my window this afternoon, rustling the curtains all playful-like and mischievous.  Papers were blowing from their places on the table, my dog was sniffing the air suspiciously...Autumn must surely be knocking!  Fingers crossed, anyway...the past several months have made for a real humdinger of a summer, and the season just keeps extending its stay like a shameless house guest.

Hoping to summon a temperature drop with Fall-friendly food, I recently prepared a batch of what I like to call Kitchen Sink Soup.  It's colorful, fresh, and beyond good for you.  Over the years I've sort of developed a basic recipe, but the great thing about it is that it can change according to whatever might be in the fridge or on the shelves at any given time.  Got some extra spears of asparagus lying around, or maybe one little lonely ear of corn lingering in that bottom drawer?  Don't know what to do with the 1/2 yellow pepper and 1/4 red onion left over from a salsa recipe you made a week ago?  Chop, and toss 'em in.  Scraps and odds-n-ends all welcome here.


1 large white onion
3 cloves garlic
1 carrot
1 celery stalk with leaves

-Chop all of above ingredients nice and small, and then sautee together with olive oil in a big soup pot until they get a little soft.

1 can low-sodium diced tomatoes
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into smallish chunks
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup dried barley
1/2 cup dried lentils
7 or 8 cups vegetable broth, low-sodium if possible
1 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste

-Add this second group of above ingredients and seasonings and bring to a boil! Let them bubble for a few minutes, then reduce heat and simmer until barley is cooked.

1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 bunch fresh kale, chopped

-Add these greens in last, since they tend to disintegrate when overcooked. Heat covered until soft, and then the soup is ready to serve with some bread. And perhaps a little fresh parsley sprig on top, if you're feeling fancy.

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