Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Lentil Vegetable Soup will provide a warm welcome on a cool day.

Recipes with exotic ingredients definitely have their place in the food world, but in the everyday, hustle-bustle world of most families, not so much. I want ingredients I can put my hands on easily or, at the very least, find in my neighborhood grocery.

Peruse any number of cookbooks and it only takes a second to spot the unworkable recipes. My daily life does not include much pheasant or shark.

There may be several delicious exotic soups and stews, but in my book, there’s nothing better than a comforting lentil and vegetable soup, especially in the fall.

Keep in mind when or if you make this, that I tend to favor hearty, thicker soups, the kind my family used to call “stick to your ribs” meals.

Here in the South, fall may not be as well-defined as other places, but you know those cooler days are coming. That’s when soup really is at its most appealing. Good for not only the cool days, but a nice time to stock the freezer with a good variety.

Julie Kay is a columnist for The Advocate. She can be reached at