Easy Vegan Curried Vegetable and Lentil Soup Recipe

This easy Vegan Curried Vegetable and Lentil Soup is full of veggies and packed with a lot of flavor. Living in Southern California, it’s easy to forget that soup makes a great meal. It doesn’t get very cold here, and usually you think of making soup when it’s cold. But it’s been cold and a little drizzly lately…the perfect time to make all the soup. Because we all know it’s not going to stay cold very long. So here’s a new soup recipe to add to your list.

You only need one pot to make this comforting healthy vegetable lentil curry soup. It’s a vegan soup that even meat eaters will enjoy. It’s an easy, hearty and satisfying soup with a mild curry flavor. The great thing about this recipe is that the prep time is only about ten minutes. Then you put it on the stove to cook and simmer for about an hour and half.

To begin making this recipe, you will need olive oil, onion, curry powder, cumin, tomato paste, vegetable stock, green lentils, broccoli, carrots, parsnip, celery, parsley.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook the onion, curry powder and cumin for about 4 minutes or until onion softens. If you prefer spicier dishes, more curry powder can be used.

Stir in the tomato paste and vegetable stock and bring to a boil stirring occasionally.

Reduce the heat to low and add the lentils. Cover the pot and simmer for 40 minutes.

For the finally cooking period. add the broccoli, carrots, parsnip and celery.

Cover and cook 30 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender.

Finally, stir in some fresh parsley. This adds a pop of fresh and makes the flavors so vibrant. Now you can serve it up! Just add a side of crusty bread and you will have a warm and hearty dinner the whole family will love.

Best of all, if you have leftovers, you can store this soup in the fridge for up to 5 days. It tastes great..maybe even bet reheated. Make sure to add a dash of fresh parsley…because YUM!

Print

Easy Curried Vegetable and Lentil Soup

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 2/3 cup green lentils
  • 3 cups broccoli flowerettes
  • 2 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1 parsnip peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Cook the onion, curry powder and cumin for about 4 minutes or until onion softens.
  • Stir in the tomato paste and vegetable stock and bring to a boil stirring occasionally.
  • Reduce the heat to low and add the lentils.
  • Cover and simmer for 40 minutes.
  • Add the broccoli, carrots, parsnip and celery.
  • Cover and cook 30 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender.
  • Stir in parsley and serve.

Notes

This is an easy, hearty and satisfying soup with a mild curry flavour.
If you prefer spicier dishes more curry powder can be used. If you have leftovers store this soup in the fridge for up to 5 days – it tastes great reheated!

Best Tips for Monster Jam 2020 at Angels Stadium

For us, this time of year is all about Monster Jam! The boys look forward to going to Monster Jam all year long. And the wait is finally over. Monster Jam is coming to Angels Stadium in Anaheim on January 11th & 25th, and February 8th & 22-23rd. We go as an entire family – mom, dad, boys and girl. even grandma and grandpa usually go with us. Monster Jam is great for the whole family…and I would love to share some of my BEST TIPS for Family Fun at Monster Jam.

Best Tips for Going to Monster Jam

Tip #1 – Make a day of it. We always have the most fun when we do the whole experience. Pit Party, Tailgating and then heading to official Monster Jam show.

Tip #2 – Plan ahead and don’t run late. Angels Stadium is big and there will be a lot of people trying to get into the venue. Whether you are going to the Pit Party or just the main Monster Jam show, plan on getting there about an hour early. Lines can be long getting through security and you don’t want to miss the show.

The Pit Party

The Pit Party, happens a few hours before the Monster Jam show. It’s a separate ticketed event and these tickets sell out quick. Tickets are $15 per person. The Pit Party is where you can get up close to actual monster trucks and even meet the drivers. There are also booths with hands-on activities, game booths and food vendors. this year, the lines to get into the pit party were extra long due to security, so we only got to enjoy it for a short time.

Tip #3 – get to the pit party when it opens. This is one of the best parts of Monster Jam in my opinion.

Tip #4 – Bring something to get signed by the drivers. It’s really fun to wear a Monster Jam shirt or bring a Monster Jam poster to get signed by the drivers during the Pit Party. I have also seen people bring toy Monster Jam trucks and also notebooks to get signed.

Here are some of the photos from our visit to one of the Monster Jam Pit Parties.

I really like to get Dani’s photo with girl drivers so that she can see driving monster trucks is not just for boys. This is Brianna Mahon’s monster truck, Whiplash. She was the only female driver of the evening when we went. Unfortunately, we got to the truck a little late and Brianna had to run out. But we still got Dani’s photo with Whiplash!

We all really enjoyed the Pit Party, and so did our grandparents!  Then we headed back to our car for a tailgate dinner….because that is what you do at Monster Jam.

Bring a Picnic to Tailgate at Monster Jam

Tip #5 – Bring food to Tailgate. I love to make our Monster Jam extra special, so I buy special picnic foods to enjoy between the Pit Party and Monster Jam show. My yummy picnic includes cold cut sandwiches, deli style chips, dips, pasta salads, homemade cookies, brownies and drinks.

TIP #6 – When Tailgating, bring a folding table for the food, and some beach chairs. You can open your trunk and enjoy your picnic dinner right in the parking lot before the show.

TIP #7 – You can also bring food into the stadium…as long as it is not in bulk. Unopened water, gatorade, juice boxes, empty reusable water bottles are also allowed into the stadium. I like to bring snacks such as peanuts, popcorn, candy and licorice for the kids to enjoy during the show. Because they always beg for food inside no matter how much they’ve already eaten.

After dinner, head into Angels Stadium to get ready for the show to start. It’s very exciting to see it all ready and set-up for a Monster Jam competition. The show is super loud once the trucks get going, so it is really important to protect those kids ears from the noise…even adults need ear plugs. Of course the baby had a really good pair pf headphones to protect her ears.

TIP #8 – Bring Earplugs for everyone, and noise cancelling ear phones for kids and babies. You can usually find them at Walmart, Buy Buy Baby, and Amazon. Vendors usually sell them outside of Angel Stadium for a premium price, and of course they sell them inside the venue.

TIP #9 – Dress for the weather. Monster Jam happens whether is warm or cold, rain or shine, so make sure to dress appropriately. Ponchos are great for rainy weather, and jackets, scarves, hats and gloves are great for cold weather. You can also bring a light blanket.

The Monster Jam competition began with a head to head competition race with trucks racing against each other. then they had a new race, called the “two wheel” competition. where trucks tried to do tricks on jut two wheels. It’s amazing to see what some of these truck can do. There will be a few wrecks…which always makes the crowd go wild!

Tip #10 – Have your cell phone ready with the Monster Jam App. Fans were able to vote for the trucks using their cell phones, so you can get in on the excitement and vote for your favorite drivers. It’s pretty interesting to see the scores the kids give to the drivers, and hearing their explanations on why they deserve each score given. I love that everyone gets to participate, it make the show even more fun.

The last race of the night is a freestyle competition. All of the trucks pretty much wreck themselves by going all out on the tricks and speed. Almost all the trucks ended up without shells, and trucks will even do backflips!!!!! It AMAZING!!! Get ready for the crowd to go wild.

By the end of the night, we have so much fun that the little kids are usually all tuckered out. 

I should also mention that our family feels that Monster Jam gets better and better every year. Last year was the best we had ever been to!  The driving was awesome, the tricks were amazing, the crowd was ecstatic, and the show was very entertaining.  Monster Jam surely didn’t disappoint, I’m so glad that I got to experience it with my boys AND my little girl.

Discount Promo Code for Monster Jam Tickets

Tip #11 – You never know how fast Monster Jam tickets will sell out, so I suggest getting tickets early…especially pit party tickets (those sell out the fastest). This year there are five chances to see Monster Jam in Orange County! Last year there were six, so if you want to go, make sure to get your tickets soon before they sell out.

Tip #12 – Use discount code MJMOM20 for $5 off each ticket.

Lastly,

TIP #13 – If you can only afford seats at the top…it’s okay!  I just wanted to mention that all seats at monster jam are great! You can see everything up there. Some people prefer sitting up high. Seats down low are great for being up close, but you can’t always see everything. So there are benefits up high as well as down low.

Discount 2020 Disneyland Tickets for Southern California Residents and Out-of-Towners

Everyone is always asking me where to get discount Disneyland tickets, and honestly, there are rarely sales or discounts. But right now you are in luck! Beginning January 7, 2020 through May 18, 2020, kids everywhere along with Southern California residents can get special discounted Disneyland tickets.

Special Discount Disneyland Tickets Offer for Southern California Residents

For a limited time, Southern California residents can visit the Disneyland Resort theme parks for $67 per day with the purchase of a three-day, one-park per day ticket. There are also Park Hopper options available. The great thing about the three-day tickets, is that you do not have to use them in thee consecutive days and there are NO BLACKOUT DATES. You can use them on three separate days as long as you do all three visits by May 20, 2020. They will take a picture of each attendee to attach to each ticket on the first day of use, so you aren’t able to use them for different people. More details about this special offer can be found here.

Disneyland Ticket Discount for Kids Everywhere

If you are outside of Southern California, here is a special discount for your kids. For a limited time, guests can get discounts on Disneyland Resort park tickets for children ages 3 to 9. You can purchase a three-day, one-park per day ticket for just $67 per day. More details can be found here

Plus, in addition to the discounted tickets, Disneyland Resort is having some great hotel deals for those looking to extend the magic of their visit. Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. Head over here to check out these Disneyland hotel deals.

What’s Happening at Disneyland Resort this 2020 New Year.

With your park admission, enjoy these thrilling and distinctly Disney experiences, which are must-do’s in early 2020 at Disneyland Resort:

  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance: The newest attraction inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will debut at Disneyland park on January 17, 2020. 
  • Lunar New Year: January 17, 2020 through February 9, 2020, you can attend the joyous Lunar New Year celebration at Disney California Adventure park. It commemorates the Year of the Mouse!
  • “Magic Happens”: The all-new “Magic Happens” parade comes to life for guests at Disneyland park beginning February 28, 2020. 
  • Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival: Beginning February 28th through April 21th, the popular Food & Wine Festival returns to Disney California Adventure. It offers food festivities for guests of all ages to enjoy inside the park.

For those of you who have been waiting for the chance to go to Disneyland Resort, I hope that this is a great option for you. It allows you to visit the parks three days which will allow you three days of Disney awesomeness. Happy Disney Days!

Spending the Day with Kids at Knott’s Merry Farm

Taking my kids to Knott’s Merry Farm is one of my absolute favorite things to do during the holiday season. I LOVE Merry Farm! It just feels like the Christmases I had when I was a child…there’s just something special in the air. And the decorations are so beautiful and rustic, good old fashioned Christmas beauty. I just can’t get enough of it.

There are so many fun things to do at Knott’s Merry Farm with kids that I wanted to make sure to share our favorites so that you too can make sure to do the same with your kids!

Top Ten Things to Do with Kids at Merry Farm

Get a Merry Farm Souvenir Mug. The first thing you want to do when you head into the Park for Merry Farm is to purchase a 2019 Merry Farm Souvenir Mug! This way you can feel extra festive all day sipping on hot cocoa with all the holiday toppings. With a Merry Farm Souvenir Mug, you receive free refills of coffee or hot cocoa on the day of purchase, plus $1 refills on future visits through January 5, 2020…how cool is that! I recommend filling it up at Santa’s Christmas Cabin, because I think they have the BEST hot chocolate there.

And while your at it, why not also get a special holiday treat! This year Knott’s has outdone themselves with cute Christmas Treats. Check out these Winter Mint Macaron Snowmen, and the Egg Nog Christmas Tree Cheesecakes on a Stick!

Snoopy On Ice. Every year we look forward to going to this beloved Christmas show featuring our favorite beagle, Snoopy! It is a mix of your favorite Christmas songs, new and old, plus the Peanuts Gang and of course, some very talented ice skaters. It’s the real deal!

It all takes place in the Charles M. Schulz Theatre on the west side of the Park. You’ll want to get in line early for this popular show as it often reaches capacity. And there are no saving seats, so make sure your entire party gets in line together.

Visit Santa. Head over to Santa’s Christmas Cabin and visit Santa Claus himself! Knott’s Santa Claus is very special and spends the time to talk to your child and get a photo. You can purchase Santa photos, but you are also allowed to use your own camera.

Decorating Cookies. You can decorate Christmas cookies in Mrs. Claus’s Kitchen located next to Santa’s Christmas Cabin. For only $6, you get two cookies, frosting, sprinkles, Hershey’s chocolates and a cute box.

Calico Christmas Tree Lighting. This is a very special tree lighting that takes place every evening in Calico Square. Every night they pick a different family to help light the tree. There is a special way they light the tree…but I don’t want to spoil the surprise, so you need to go to the show a find out for yourselves.

Make Christmas Slime. If your kids are anything like mine, the love slime. But I do NOT like them making it at my house. Way. too. messy! But did you know they can make Christmas Slime at Knott’s? Head over to the Crafters Village where the kids can make their own slime. While the kids are doing their thing, you can gift shop. There are so many great vendors with unique and wonderful gifts at the Christmas Crafts Village.

Home for the Holidays. This is Knott’s Berry Farm’s brand new Christmas show that is simply AMAZING! It takes place on the Calico Mine Stage in the heart of Knott’s. Imagine an old fashioned Christmas with singing and dancing, colorful costumes, Christmas trees and the most beautiful house that opens up on stage right before your eyes! The show will have you filled with Christmas spirit as it ends its’ finale will falling snow!

Snow and Glow. Experiencing the snowfall on the streets of Calico is a magical experience. During Merry Farm, snow falls hourly each evening with and twinkling lighting up the streets. This year it has been better than ever, and even feels like there is more snow! Since this show happens multiple times each night, you can bring your kids to different areas of Ghost Town for each snow fall. Try the areas by the Blacksmith Shop, Birdcage Theater and the Old Schoolhouse. My kids just can’t get enough of the Snow and Glow.

A Peanuts Guide to Christmas. This fun little Christmas show take place at the Camp Snoopy Theatre. It’s great for all ages and features a delightful mash-ups of holiday songs with some of our favorites from the Peanuts gang, and of course Snoopy! I like this show because it has easy seating and accessibility. Kids love it because they Peanuts gang sings a lot of familiar Christmas songs that they know.

Visit Snoopy. You can visit Snoopy and some of the Peanuts Gang at the Peanuts Meet and Greet Area in Camp Snoopy. They are all dressed up for the holidays and ready to give you a big hug and take their photo with you. You can find them there throughout the day and also after each showing of A Peanuts Guide to Christmas.

I hope you get to visit Knott’s Merry Farm with the ones you love this holiday season. I also hope this Top Ten list makes it easier to visit Knott’s Merry Farm with kids. There’s so much to enjoy and hundreds of memories to make – and don’t forget about the rides! You’re going to have so much fun that you will want to get Season Passes for 2020. Did you hear? It’s going to be Knott’s 100 Year Anniversary. You won’t want to miss this next year of fun.

Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year.

Orange County Gifts of Experiences

If you’ve been running around trying to figure out those last minute gifts, let me give you a few ideas! I’ve always have the hardest time getting my kids to tell me the things that they would like for Christmas. The reason is, we just aren’t home very much. We’re constantly on the go doing things together because we prefer experiences over things. That’s what spend most of my money on, although not all the experiences we do together cost money, we do a variety. My hopes is that my children will have the best memories of the experiences we’ve shared together when they grow up.

Here are some ideas of Experience Gifts that you can find right here in Orange County.

Knott’s Season Passes – This is my number one pick. They are not only a fantastic deal, but you can go everyday of the year. There are no blackout dates, and Knott’s has different Seasons of Fun so you can have many different experiences throughout the year.

Defy Extreme Air Sports / Orange County – DEFY Mission Viejo is your extreme indoor recreation experience that’s a mix of parkour, Cirque du Soleil, trampolining, and ninja warrior courses! This holiday they are offering exclusive stocking stuffer includes a gift card in increments of either $25, $50, $75, or $100. This stocking stuffer is the ideal gift to get kids off technology and one that provides a unique, cool experience for everyone in the family.

Hello Kitty Grand Cafe – Offers a super cute menu featuring freshly baked cookies, cakes, donuts, seasonal goodies, and handmade hot and iced drinks, plus Hello Kitty Cafe merchandise! There is a sweet seating area to enjoy the experience. If you make a reservation at the Bow Room, you can enjoy a traditional Afternoon Tea service with a supercute Hello Kitty twist that includes fresh seasonal fruit, savory tea sandwiches, yummy sweets and a pot of tea from a vast selection of fine tea options.

K1 Speed – America’s Premier Indoor Karting Company. Compete for the fastest lap against friends, family and other racers. First time drivers will receive a mandatory briefing session on rules and safety. After each race, you’ll receive a race result sheet that allows you to compare your times and overall rank against other drivers.

Pretend City – Pretend City is an interactive children’s museum that builds better brains through whole body learning experiences, educational programs, and creative exhibits. It’s super cute with kid size restaurants, shops and service building that they can pretend play in.

Escape Room Era – A fun place to experience escape rooms where you will uncover interactive games with clues to find, riddles and puzzles to solve, and a mission to accomplish within one hour. These rooms will test if you are a team player and a creative thinker. Ignite your curiosity. Heighten your sense of FUN. Super fun for tweens, teens and adults.

Great Wolf Lodge – Great Wolf Lodge in southern California provides indoor water park fun and dry-land experiences for your entire family. Enjoy kid-friendly indoor activities, dining, shopping, and more all under one roof. Choose from over 600 suites, each featuring free access to all the water park’s 14 slides, four pools, and more. Near Los Angeles in Garden Grove, the water park is a warm 84 degrees all-year round.

Blue Man Group – BLUE MAN GROUP returns to Orange County for a limited engagement on their new North American tour. It’s everything you know and love about BLUE MAN GROUP—signature drumming, colorful moments of creativity and quirky comedy—the men are still blue but the rest is all new! Featuring pulsing, original music, custom-made instruments, surprise audience interaction and hilarious absurdity. On January 7th and 8th they are hosting Kids Nights on Broadway and kids can go FREE! Use code BLUEKID when purchasing and when you buy one ticket at full-price, you’ll get another ticket FREE.

iFly Indoor Skydiving – An indoor skydiving flight experience that’s equivalent to the free fall of outdoor skydiving from 14,000 feet! For 50 seconds you will be flying in the air and experience what free falling skydiving is really like! However, without the worry about the weather, lengthy delays, travel time or having to actually jump out of a plane! Kids as young as 3 can experience iFly, it’s so much fun!!!! And it’s safe.

Sender One Indoor Rock Climbing – Climb buildings and towers; or race your friend’s to the top in Sender City — an interactive climbing center great for kids and adults. This gym also offers bouldering, and 50ft rope climbing walls, including the iconic “Ice Cream Cone” feature. Round out your training on the fully-kitted MoonBoard & hangboards.

Discovery Cube Annual Membership – A membership to Discovery Cube will give you a year of fun! You can use it to experience all 3 of their Campuses. It’s the best way to experience all the new exhibits all year round. Your Discovery Cube membership comes with numerous perks including members-only programs / Special Pricing, events and exhibition previews.

Whale Watching Cruise at Newport Landing or Whale Watching Cruise at Dana Wharf – Select from several whale watching cruise times daily and year round. Whale watching & dolphin cruises view giant blue whales, finback whales, gray whales, humpback whales, minke whales, several species of dolphin and much more. 

Why Experiences Make Great Gifts

Sharing experiences together is one of the things that makes us human. It’s part of our nature. It is a fact that we can start to degrade as a person when we aren’t sharing life and its experiences with others. Studies by researchers reveal that people self-report that happiness from material purchases fades in time, while experiences become an ingrained part of our identity and actually become more valuable to us as time passes.

I can totally agree with this. The past few years, our family has focused on experiences and we’ve never been happier. And don’t think it all has to be expensive and money based. You can simply make some coupons to go to the beach, or hiking, or to the park. It’s the exploring and time together that creates the amazing memories. Happy Holidays!