This week’s meal “alms” is a real treat – a very monastic one at that!  Soup and bread.  It’s a mainstay here.  I’d say, if I have a specialty, it is soup!  Perhaps I get that from my mom who makes the best bowl of soup in Pennsylvania! 

Lentil Lenten Chili

Lent wouldn’t be Lent without a hearty supply of lentils.  So good for you, filling, and easy to prepare in a variety of ways.  I hope to feature my favorite Lentil soup soon (Creamy Lentil Barley).  But this week, I’ll share just a very hearty and healthy lentil chili


  • 2 c. red lentils
  • 1 c. canned pumpkin
  • 4 c. veggie stock (I use water and add some Vegetable Better than Bouillon paste)
  • 2 cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans beans, drained and rinsed (I usually use black beans, but kidney or garbanzo or chili beans or a mix also would be good)
  • 1.5 c. cooked wheat berries (My dad sends us bags of these from St. Vincent Abbey’s Grissmill in PA.  I’m sure they are available online or maybe at a healthy food store…thought I’ve never seen them at Fry’s.  I boil them for about 30-45 min till tender.  They are great in salads too.  Full of fiber.  You could probably substitute cooked farro or cooked barley)
  • 2 jalapeno (chopped)
  • 1 bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 2 carrots (chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 2 TBSP Chili Powder (or more depending on your preference)
  • 2 TBSP Cocoa Powder (the baking kind, unsweetened)
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 2 tsp Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (when I cook in the slow cooker, I usually just add the salt and pepper right before serving)

Optional Topping Ingredients

  • Chopped Red Onion
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Lime Juice
  • Sour Cream or Cottage Cheese
  • Cilantro


Throw all the ingredients in your slow cooker on low for about 6 hrs.  If it gets too thick, add some more stock.  Enjoy with your choice of toppings!  Great to throw some in the freezer too!  Enjoy

Seed Bread

This photo doesn’t really do justice to this delicious bread!

Mother Marie Andre and Sr. Marie St. Paul’s mom, Barb, sent us this recipe from a newspaper clipping some years ago.  It is so unique and so delicious!  Sr. John-Mark Maria is the queen of making this bread.  The few times I’ve tried, it has been crumbly.  But I’m more of a cook than a baker and detest having to be precise with recipes.  Suffice it to say, if you follow the recipe and measure the ingredients, you will hopefully end up with a mighty good loaf of gluten-free but super yummy bread (and so filling too! – probably all the fiber!!)!  It’s wonderful toasted in the toaster oven. 


  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup  flax seeds
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats
  • 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 4 Tbsp. psyllium seed husks (3 Tbsp. if using psyllium husk powder)
  • 1 tsp. fine grain sea salt (add ½ tsp. if using coarse salt)
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp. melted coconut oil
  • 1 ½ cups water

1. In a loaf pan combine all dry ingredients, stirring well. In a measuring cup, whisk maple syrup, oil and water. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix very well until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes very thick (if the dough is too thick to stir, add one or two teaspoons of water). Smooth out the top with the back of a spoon. Let sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours, or all day or even overnight.  We find that it is best to leave it overnight if you have the time.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F
3. Place loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan, place it upside down directly on the rack and bake for another 30-40 minutes. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool completely before slicing.
4. Bread can be stored in sealed container or ziploc bag for up to 5 days. It freezes well but be sure to slice it before freezing.  Then you can just pop it in the toaster oven.

Pimento Cheese Spread

I’d never had pimento cheese until I moved to the South.  This recipe is courtesy of our wonderful friend Wesley…  And yes, she’s from the South originally!  She makes us this spread sometimes and it is the best we’ve ever had.  She was kind enough to send us the recipe for the blog.  Thanks, Wes!  It’s wonderful on the Seed Bread, on any bread, and it’s really good on crunchy crackers too. 


  • 8oz Sharp Cheddar
  • 8oz Monterrey Jack
  • 4 oz diced pimentos drained
  • Start with a 1/2 to 3/4 cup good mayo get it to the consist you like
  • 1/2 red onion diced
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • If you like sweet pickle relish add some or chopped jalapeños


Always grate these blocks of cheese yourself (don’t buy it shredded in a bag).  Combine all ingredients and let it sit in fridge overnight. It will be ready to go the next day!