Visit Joy of Kosher to vote for me!
I know. I haven't exactly been posting regularly. I haven't been keeping you well fed or well read. See, I accepted a promotion at work (read more here) and I just haven't been able to find a balance that takes care of my readers (that would be you) and my eaters. That would be these guys:

But the balance is evolving. Think crock pot dishes and make ahead meals. Think photos taken on the fly with my always handy smartphone. Think award-winning and life-changing iPad photo apps.

Yes, it's been quite a shift from those days of food photography using a fancy DSLR, light kit, and tripod. But the point I'm trying to make here is that I think I'm on to something. I think I've found a way to cook, photograph, and blog once again.

Show me you believe in me! Cast your vote on Joy of Kosher today. It'll give me the push I need to keep going.

And just to show you I'm really back in business, here's a super easy soup recipe that's a weekday dinner staple in my household.

Super Easy Crock Pot Soup
This recipe serves a large brood of hungry people (at least 10 bowls). I tend to make super easy dinners during the week and I feel a lot less guilty serving scrambled eggs or mac-n-cheese if there's a big old pot of  soup to go along with my quickly thrown together meals. This pot goes up in the morning and cooks all day. And here's a great secret to make morning prep even easier: I prep all the veggies the night before and leave them in the fridge in a container or bag overnight. It takes less than five minutes to throw everything in the pot in the morning, and it sure is nice to come home to a fresh hot pot of soup. 

3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 zucchini, peeled and chopped
5-10 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed with the back of a knife (leave these out if you're too rushed; or throw in a whole unpeeled head of garlic instead; yes, I do mean a whole unpeeled head)
1/4 cup barley
1/2 cup white or brown rice
1/4 cup red lentils (you can substitute green split peas or brown lentils)
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon paprika
black pepper, to taste
grated mozzarella or Parmesan cheese for garnish

Combine all of the ingredients except the cheese in a large crock pot. (Read the recipe header for my quick prep-ahead tip.) Cover generously with water.

Turn the crock pot to high and cook all day (at least 8 hours).

Ladle into bowls, garnish with cheese, and serve.