A Curried Lentil Bowl, a Dutch Baby, a Podcast Open Call

Welcome to Day 3 of Pantry, Project, Purpose. Thank you for all the nice notes and comments. Yesterday, instead of heading to my favorite coffee shop like I usually do, I made myself a pour-over, then spent the morning working on a freelance assignment. Later, I made a batch of tomato-bean soup; donated $$ to my local food bank; walked Abby to a soccer field with the intention of running, but just kept walking instead; made “Cheater’s Lasagna” for dinner (see instagram stories); and watched two episodes of the British murder mystery Broadchurch on Netflix with my cozy little Bean, above. (I really like the show, but be warned, it’s not exactly uplifting.) Here are three things for you and your families to think about doing today…

Pantry: Curried Red Lentils with Spinach and Yogurt

This is so easy, so delicious (so vegan if you omit the yogurt!) and a nice healthy note to hit in between all the pancakes and cookies and cakes your family may be baking? You can serve with pita/naan or rice or both. Also: If you don’t have coconut oil, olive oil is a fine swap. (Recipe updated, Spring 2022)

2 tablespoons coconut oil (or olive oil if you don’t have)
½ small onion, chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon madras curry powder
16 ounces red lentils (about 2 1/4 cups)
32 ounces (4 cups) vegetable broth
1 tablespoon red or white miso, mixed with ¼ cup warm water
5 ounces baby spinach
3-4 scallions, light green and white parts only, minced
4 heaping tablespoons plain yogurt
Handful cilantro, chopped

Melt coconut oil in a medium soup pot set over medium-low heat. Add onions, ginger, garlic, salt, and pepper, and cook until vegetables softened, about 2 minutes. Add curry powder and cook until aromatic and toasty. Stir in lentils until shiny with oil. Add vegetable broth and miso mix and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook until lentils are just softened and not mushy, about 15 minutes. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted, another 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove to a shallow bowl and top with scallions, yogurt, and cilantro. (Photo does not reflect spinach, and I didn’t have cilantro here so I topped with some kind of sprouts.)

Project: Jenn’s Dutch Baby

There’s a special place in my heart right now for recipes that require only flour, butter, milk, and eggs — like this favorite from my college roommate Jenn. Keep in mind that a Dutch Baby can just as easily be dinner if you swap out the berries and powdered sugar for some vegetables. I mean, why the heck not?

For 2-3 quart casserole/cast iron pan: 3 Tablespoons butter/3 eggs/3/4 cups milk/ 3/4 cups flour
For 3-4 quart casserole/cast iron pan: 1/3 cup butter/4 eggs/1 cup milk/1 cup flour
For 4-4 1/2 quart casserole/cast iron pan : 1/2 cup butter/5 eggs/1 1/4 cup milk/ 1 1/4 cup flour
For 4 1/2 – 5 quarts casserole/cast iron pan: 1/2 cup butter/6 eggs/ 1 1/2 cups milk/ 1 1/2 cups flour

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Add the butter to your pan (this is a large Le Creuset baking dish, but you can also use a cast iron skillet) and place in the oven while it preheats so the butter gets brown. Whisk eggs first, then whisk in milk and flour and pour into the hot buttery pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve with powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice.

Purpose: Make a Podcast

Pineapple Media, producer of many of your favorite podcasts, has an open call for kids stuck at home: Make a podcast! Head over to their site for the details.

The goal of the Project, Pantry, Purpose series to keep us sane, connected, and distracted. Please continue to comment below with suggestions for recipes, projects (for kids and adults), good deeds, stories, movies, games, puzzles, ideas. Or just tell us how you’re doing, what you’re up to, and how we can help.


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Hi! Any suggestions for a sub for the miso? I don’t have any on hand. Thank you! Appreciate this series!!


As a long time reader and never commenter, I just want to echo how much I have always loved and depended on this blog, and how incredibly appreciated these recent posts are to reinforce that we are all in this together and that joy , comfort, and kindness can be found in the slowdown. Please keep the recipes, book suggestions, tips, and community coming our way!

Mom of Boys

RE, I’m with you!

Here in the bay area we are on Day 9 of no-school-quarantine (we’ve been quarantining for longer than most because we have elderly parents to help). I feel like I’m in a bad version of the TV series “Chopped.” We have lots of maraschino cherries (hello cocktails!), anchovy fillets, broccoli (the least favored vegetable) and canned tomatoes and beans. But really we are very, very lucky to be healthy and otherwise okay. Checking on more folks today. And likely watching Washington this afternoon.

The blueberry yogurt cake was a hit here! Thanks Jenny. For dinner, chicken shwarma if I can get the chicken to defrost in time with hummus, pita and broccoli. One more day until the CSA box arrives (fingers crossed). Hoping the box brings us raspberries so we can make the dutch baby.


Thank you! Long time reader and fan of DALS. We appreciate the recipes and the ideas for what to do while we are home.

Wendy R

My kids are 1, 3, and 5. I’m making tentative daily schedules to keep them engaged and myself sane. We’re really enjoying the free books with accompanying videos and activities from scholastic.com/learnathome. My three year old is zooming through levels on the Teach Your Monsters to Read app. Mo Willems is a gem, and he’s doing daily You Tube videos. Plus we’re doing lots of baking, crafting, and getting outside when the weather is nice.


I was just looking at the fridge in despair, feeling TOTALLY uninspired about a vegetarian option for dinner tonight (can’t do pasta for the fourth night in a row), and this came along. Thank you, thank you thank you. Lentils for dinner and yesterday’s pound cake for dessert – perfection.


I have been reading your posts for a long time – first time commenting. Thank you for bringing some brightness into the internet these days. It is hard not to see all of the news stories and get sucked into reading them. I love the idea of your last few posts and appreciate you! My oven broke this morning as I was about to bake a banana bread – I did some googling and now know that a slow cooker works just fine… it just takes much longer (about 3 1/2 hrs). LOL
Keep these coming. Sending you and your family good vibes during this surreal time. Stay safe!


Love these posts! I too am a long time reader – very infrequent commenter – but felt I had to thank you for this inspiration. This gives us all a little direction when feeling totally uninspired by what is in our fridge. Stay well!


This series is giving me life right now. Thank you, Jenny! Keep ’em coming! Also, my son turns 8 on Sunday and we had to cancel his bday party and we are looking for ideas to celebrate. We can’t go anywhere or do anything, or have anybody over, sadly. I’m trying to make his favorite dinner, but with all the grocery hoarding here in LA, some ingredients are really hard to find. Any ideas, DALS family?? xx


Perhaps the traditional Australian kids birthday dessert Fairy Bread? We are not Australian but when my daughter was served this for a playmate’s birthday, she was SO excited. Bread+butter+sprinkles, fingers crossed you can obtain these items. Happy birthday to your son!

Lynn M Weglarz

I saw someone on TV – parents drove the kids to the birthday house. kids stayed in the car, birthday child on the front porch – all sang happy birthday. Not the same as a party – but one way to connect and social distance at the same time! The other idea I saw #OutsideAt5 – neighbours go to the end of their driveway with cocktail in hand and chat (yell) to each other. That sounded like fun! Like many other people, love your blog Jenny – first time comment. I’m especially enjoying the series. Stay health and stay away!


Thank you! I appreciate these posts so much. We are going to make the poundcake tomorrow!


Thank you for the daily fresh content
It’s bright spot for me – and is such a treat ! Please keep this series going as we weather this storm


Hello! I have adored this blog for a long time and love taking the time to read it especially now that I have more time. LOVE the book suggestions, recipes and pictures of your Boston! I am a mom of 2 teenage boys in Minneapolis and a teacher navigating the world of online learning for my students. During this time of quarantine I am taking time to teach my boys “Life Skills 101”. Yes, we try to do this as we are day to day doing our normal living, but now I am doing it intentionally. This week’s theme is laundry. How to sort, how much soap, air dry vs. dryer, reading labels on clothes, folding, putting away, what to do if dryer is full and you want to use it, etc. No, they don’t love it but they will some day.


What an inspirational and uplifting series! Thanks Jenny! And I can’t wait for your veg cookbook to come out!


Making your cider braised meatballs over grits tonight (didn’t have cornmeal)… they’re almost ready. Will be watching Tiger King on Netflix…. have been enjoying mostly avoiding media except for the NYT The Daily podcast… It’s really difficult to find time to cook and bake with two young children – but it’s the activity that’s keeping me the most sane. keep the posts coming! Thank you!