The Best Lentil Soup Ever

Although I hate to see summer winding down, and the weather getting cooler, I do enjoy some elements of Fall....the crisp air, wearing sweaters and ankle boots,  apple picking, pumpkin patches, watching leaves turn burnt orange/red/yellow, and....soup!  Nothing is simpler than throwing some onions, garlic and other veggies, broth, spices, beans, and perhaps a little meat in a pot, letting it all simmer for a bit, and Voila--a scrumptious nourishing meal! And talk about the best leftovers-- soups and stews always taste better after a day or two.  

One of the great things about being back home in Detroit is that there's no shortage of yummy Middle Eastern restaurants and one of my fave Middle Eastern dishes to order is lentil soup.  I enjoy many different lentil soup recipes, but the Middle Eastern version is my favorite. I love the cumin flavor and the bite of the lemon juice in this version.  And the best part is that you can whip this soup up in about an hour. Add a salad and a baguette or cornbread, and dinner is good to go!

Middle Eastern Lentil Soup

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups of dry lentils (red, yellow or green is fine!)
  • 4 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 1/2 tsp - 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • juice of half a lemon 
  1. Heat olive oil in a pan and gently sauté the chopped onions for 5 minutes until translucent.
  2. Add the chopped garlic, cumin, turmeric and continue cooking for a few minutes more.
  3. Stir in the lentils, add the stock, cover the pot, and let simmer for 30-40 minutes or until lentils are soft.  Stir a few times while cooking to prevent lentils from sticking to bottom of pot.
  4. Blend ingredients with immersion blender or conventional blender until somewhat smooth. 
  5. Stir in salt and lemon juice and serve!

Celebrating Black Breastfeeding Week

August is officially National Breastfeeding Awareness Month.  All over the country, mothers and supporters are doing latch-ons, walks, and blowing up social media to celebrate and advocate for breastfeeding.  There has been some controversy about Black Breastfeeding Week (August 25-31, 2016) and whether it is really needed, racist, or both.  Anyone who works as a breastfeeding professional in a Black community would find these notions absurd.   African-Americans have the lowest breastfeeding rates and Black babies die at a rate 2-3 times higher than White babies.  Increased breastfeeding rates could reduce infant mortality rates by as much as 50% and reduce high rates of chronic illness plaguing young Black children (e.g. asthma, type-2 diabetes, obesity). You can read more about why Black Breastfeeding Week is needed here.  

In celebration of Black Breastfeeding Week, I was inspired to create this Breastfeeding Matters t-shirt (with the help of my artist mom) to help normalize breastfeeding in the Black community and encourage Black mamas to feel proud to breastfeed. Click here to order this t-shirt; it's available for a limited time, so act fast!  

Breastfeeding Mama's Muffins

There are plenty of lactation cookie recipes on the to change things up, how about a lactation muffin recipe?  This recipe, adapted from Practical Produce Cookbook, features sweet potatoes, which are considered helpful for increasing your milk supply.  To beef-up the milk-making properties, I added more oats and some ground flax seed, raisins and cardamom.  Even if they don’t increase your milk supply, these muffins are great healthy snacks to have on hand when you don’t have much time to cook in those early postpartum days.  Even better,  prepare ahead to make things easier after your baby’s born: make these muffins a few weeks before your due date, freeze them, and enjoy later.  Just remember that any galactagogue (i.e. food/supplement to increase milk production) is useless, if you’re not stimulating and emptying your breasts frequently (8 or more times every 24 hours).

Breastfeeding Mama’s Sweet Potato Muffins


1 cup mashed sweet potatoes

1 cup milk

1 egg, beaten

1⁄4 cup butter, melted

3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup whole wheat flour

¾  cup quick oats

1⁄2 cup light brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 1⁄2 teaspoon cardamom

1/4 teaspoon salt

½ cup raisins

¼ cup ground flax seeds


Beat sweet potatoes, milk and egg until smooth; add butter.

Combine flours, oats, sugar, baking powder, spices, salt, flax seeds and raisins.

Stir the dry ingredients into sweet potato mixture just until blended.

Divide batter evenly among paper-lined or greased muffin tins.

Bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes. 

Makes 1 dozen regular-sized muffins.  Enjoy!

Breastfeeding Survival Pack Giveaway!

Everyone knows that "breast is best" and most expectant Mamas want to breastfeed their babies.  However, most Mamas quit breastfeeding prematurely, as they are ill-prepared for how challenging breastfeeding can be.
But with the right support, education, and mindset, breastfeeding doesn't have to suck (no pun intended, lol).

The Breastfeeding Survival Product Giveaway includes over $600 of my favorite tools (all created by mompreneurs) to give you more ease and confidence so you can reach your breastfeeding goals.

Sounds lovely, right?  Click here to enter the giveaway.

You can earn 6 entries (or more, if you share with your friends) and greatly increase your chances of winning! Know someone who is pregnant and planning on breastfeeding?  Please share this giveaway with them too.

Cold Turkey or Nah?

my son was a lucky fella...i breast fed him for 2 1/2 years.  although he doesn’t have any recollection (as far as i know) of this special time, i do.  and i have mixed feeligns about it.  on one hand, i was in awe and proud of my body’s ability to feed my baby. i am convinced that he gained a strong immune system, enhanced brain development through breastfeeding.  my son had a very big vocabulary at 1 years old and i’m sure breastfeeding had something to do with it.  and even though i didn’t gain much weight during my pregnancy (about 25 lbs), i lost those pounds very quickly within the first month postpartum.  

yes, breastfeeding is a beautiful and great thing.  it also comes with its challenges, however.  when i was pregnant and reading in preparation for breastfeeding, i was convinced that baby-led weaning was the best way.  “my baby will let me know when he’s ready to wean and that’s just fine with me”.  i never knew that one day, my son would walk up to me, lift up my shirt, pull out my breast and proceed to suckle, as if he were going to the fridge and getting a glass of orange juice.   he was probably 18 months or so when this behavior started and that’s when i decided that i wanted to lead the weaning process.  no longer would i be treated like the receptacle for his favorite beverage on demand.  i wanted my body back. and my breasts.  i figured that the least he could do was ask politely for my milk before going for it, but no.... i started to resent this behavior and one day i stopped him in his tracks as he proceeded to reach in my shirt. he responded with “these are mine!”   whah?  the audacity of my child!  to think that my breasts were his property.  i guess i can see how he could think that way.  after all, my milk was his first food, the thing that provided the most nourishment, physically, mentally, and emotionally.  this milk was made for him and him only.    

in any case, i felt like gaining some control over my breasts again.  i was starting to feel like a cow, a refrigerator, not myself.  and i wanted the old me back.  at least a little.  so i started to restrict access to his milk.  i tried to do the weaning gently.  but i envied those women who figured out how to cut the milk off cold turkey.  without emotionally damaging their child.  that was my fear.  since my son was eating regular food, i knew he didn’t really need my milk for nutritional purposes.  and i found that during the day, he was mostly too busy exploring and playing to want breastmilk.  but if he found me sitting in one place for too long (talking on the phone with an old friend or surfing the internet), that’s when he would attack me.  but as long as i wasn’t distracted, he didn’t attempt to access his milk.  bedtime was another thing.  he had gotten used  falling asleep at my breast, so it was hard for him to learn to fall asleep on his own.  finally, we figured out that his father had to take over bedtime rituals in order to change this habit.

the last frontier was morning time.  often i would wake up with my son attached to my breast.  in order to break this habit, i had to start setting my alarm to wake up earlier than him.  

the weaning process took about 1 year from start to finish.  i often wonder if i had just went away for a long weekend without him, would that whole process have been more brief and less dramatic.  

now that i’m pregnant again, and will be going through a breastfeeding period with this new little one. i am re-thinking this whole thing.  what would i do the same? and differently?