Maybe it's the gorgeous green color, but I find that split pea soup has that springtime appeal. I like adding hard-boiled eggs to make this a hearty, one-bowl meal.

I'm really hoping that these April showers bring some beautiful May flowers because the weather this past weekend in Northern California has been terrible! We've had lots of cold rain and wind and all I want to do is nestle by the fire and eat belly-warming stews. Maybe it's the gorgeous green color, but I find that split pea soup has that springtime appeal. I like adding hard-boiled eggs to make this a hearty, one-bowl meal. So I've added a dozen eggs to my shopping list this week, which I'll hard boil to have on hand for my soup. I'll use the rest to eat whole as snacks and to whip up an "egg-cellent" egg salad for on-the-go lunches.

Grocery list:
1 bag green split peas
Cocoa powder (I like Green & Black)
Dark chocolate chips
1 quart milk (skim, soy, or reduced fat is fine)
Pure maple syrup
2 quarts vegetable broth
2 yellow onions
1 bag large carrots
1 loaf whole-wheat bread
Canola oil mayonnaise
Sweet relish
4 stalks celery
Dozen eggs


Rainy Day Split Pea Soup With Egg
This is a filling soup full of protein from the peas and the egg. I love to make it and freeze extras for future rainy days!
Serves 4

2 cups green split peas
6 cups vegetable broth
2 yellow onions, chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4–1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 large carrots, chopped
4 eggs, hard boiled and roughly chopped

1. Heat the olive oil over medium/low heat in a large saucepot. Add the onions and cook on low for about 20 minutes, or until the onions have started to turn a golden brown color—just be careful not to burn them! Your goal is to caramelize the onions for maximum flavor. Be patient; it can take a while.

2. Once the onions have turned golden, add the split peas, carrots, broth, and spices, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 35 minutes, until the peas and carrots are tender.

3. Carefully pour soup into a food processor or blender and whirl on high for a few seconds so everything is smooth and pureed. Pour soup back into the saucepot, season with more salt if needed, and ladle into 4 bowls, topping each bowl with a handful of chopped egg.

Egg-cellent Sammies and Carrot Fries
These sandwiches are perfect for your little one's lunchboxes (and yours too)! Carrot fries are a tasty alternative to plain old carrot sticks—especially for picky eaters.
Serves 4

8 slices whole-wheat bread
8 eggs, hard boiled
1/3 cup canola oil mayonnaise
3 tbsp sweet relish
4 stalks celery, chopped
4 large carrots
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and then spray with nonstick cooking spray. Peel, then slice the carrots in half, then each half into fourths so you have long carrot "fries". Bake fries for about 15 minutes on each side or until tender and golden.

2. In a large bowl, mash the eggs with the back of a fork and add the mayonnaise, celery, relish, salt, and pepper. Mix until well combined and then spread between the bread and serve with the carrot fries on the side.

Hearty Health(ier) Brownies
Since dark chocolate is full of healthy antioxidants, I always choose the dark stuff over milk chocolate when baking brownies. I use olive oil for some extra heart-healthy benefits.
Makes 12 brownies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tbsp pure maple syrup

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray an 8 x 8 baking dish with nonstick spray.

2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate chips and stir until combined.

3. Add the olive oil, milk, and maple syrup, and stir gently only until combined. Don’t over mix.

4. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 45–50 minutes. Let cool before slicing into 12 squares.