What to Eat When You Quit Your Job: Homemade Lentil Soup

Wow, what a response to my news last week about Doug’s taking a year off from work. Your questions and comments made me feel very cared for. I’ll try to answer them all, but to touch on the most common questions, we’ll be paying bills with our cash savings (leaving our retirement savings untouched), and we don’t have a guaranteed job for Doug to return to later, but he routinely gets job offers, so I’m not too worried about that.

I think I’ve adjusted to the decision, and I’m ready for it. My hair, however, is not. For some reason, big life changes call for a new haircut, and in an adventurous move while I was sitting in the stylist’s chair last week, I decided to cut about six inches off my hair. Wavy/curly hair always takes a while to adjust. It wasn’t until I got home and looked in the mirror that I remembered having my hair at this length kind of makes me look like Jennifer Gray in Dirty Dancing, which really wasn’t the look I was going for.

On a positive side, every time I look in the bathroom mirror I get to say my favorite movie quote of all time: “Nobody puts Baby in a corner!” Doug let me try the famous lift from the movie a few times, which was hilarious and fun and probably really bothersome for my downstairs neighbor. I would make a video for you except I know the internet never forgets, so you’ll just have to imagine it.

The tension from having one foot out the door while working out the last few days at his job necessitated some home cooking, specifically soup. What could be better than red lentil soup to help us feel simultaneously well-fed and budget-savvy?

I followed the red lentil soup recipe from Orangette, and it was exactly what we needed that night. We topped it with some crushed-up Kettle chips, because that’s as fancy as I get with soup. We listened to “Time to Say Goodbye” by Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli. (Have you heard it? It’s magnificent.)

It feels like such a relief to be able to talk about his leaving work, and I have some more news for you: remember I talked about writing that book, the one about blogging and managing the time it takes? It’s ready, and I can’t wait to release it. Wednesday’s the big day, and you won’t want to miss it.

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. Oooh, thanks for the lentil soup recipe!

    And again, congrats on your decision. Your blog led to a whole discussion this weekend between a friend and I – we are captivated and will be following along to see how it works out for you and Doug.

    Marcia Francois, Organising Queen´s last post…And the winners of the 3 Simplify your Life e-courses are

  2. I wish you well with your year! Three years ago my husband quit his job to go back to school full-time. It has been quite an adventure for us. He graduates in May and then, time for a new adventure as he looks for a job in his new line of work!

    Margaret´s last post…NoNoWriMo- the beginning

  3. awesome – I’m excited for Wednesday :)

  4. So looking forward to reading the ebook. After writing this morning’s post I think I may need it more than I thought :/. If you want help promoting it please let me know.

    I’m really excited for you guys. And totally unrelated… I made french lentil soup with bacon and onions and garlic from our garden yesterday. The whole pot fed our family plus two guests and only cost about $2.25 for lunch. Lentils rock my world.

    Shannon´s last post…On My Heart- The Business of Blogging

  5. Yum!

    I Live in an Antbed´s last post…Psalm 148

  6. I opened my Google reader to this recipe this morning. I have another red lentil soup recipe on the stove this afternoon, one with curry and fennel. Yum. Also, Debbie at Words to Eat By has a fabulous Lentil and Brown Rice soup that is really hearty and good for you, http://wordstoeatby.blogspot.com/2004/11/lentil-brown-rice-soup_10.html.

    Tepary´s last post…Belated Blogoversary

  7. And Doug is your Patrick Swayze (sp?)… how romantic. That was my favorite movie in junior high.

  8. Two things – I LOVE that Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli song too and I NEED that book!

    S x

    Sarah Klass´s last post…School’s back!

  9. Please post a picture of your haircut!

    Thank you for the recipe.


  10. WOW 6 inches!!! It has taken me 2.5 years to grow my hair a wee bit past my shoulders. I had about an inch taken off & almost had a heart attack!

    I cannot wait to check out your ebook! :)

  11. I;m so happy for you and your family! I hope this time is everything you’re hoping it will be :)

  12. Mmmm…lentil soup is one of our standby meals. I usually double the cumin, though…I’m a cumin nut! And try some parmesan on top…mmm I think I know what I’m making tonight!

    Good luck with all your new adventures…I’m excited to see what God has for you!

    Kait Palmer´s last post…100th Post And The New Name Is

  13. I’m so excited to read the book! Thank you for sharing with all of us. You guys will do great! I’m looking forward to going with you on your new adventure.

  14. I love that song! Our friend who sang at our wedding really wanted to sing it because he does it so well, but we felt it was slightly unsuitable for a wedding! ;)

    Becca´s last post…Back to Earth

  15. I have been thinking about trying cooking with lentils lately. This recipe will go into my must try list, thanks!
    This savings you’ll be using…was that originally intended to be savings to buy a house or “emergency fund” or have you been saving all along for an unexpected opportunity? Hoenstly it has never occured to me to have enough savings to live for a full year. Some of this financial stuff seems so “Duh! Why haven’t we been doing this?,” but I come from people in debt up to their eyeballs, our parents always have over $500 a month in car payments, etc, so we are just kind of learning in our 30s what we really should be doing. I really like your insight!

    Heather´s last post…Menu Plan Monday

    • The savings were for unexpected opportunities like you said. That’s a good way to put it. I’ll try to write more about it later.

  16. Congrats! I look forward to hearing about your book… and soup is an excellent solutions to times like the one you’re describing. I made a super quick trader joe’s tortilla soup last night. Yum!

  17. Hi Rachel~
    I have been reading your blog since I did a Google search last Spring about living in small spaces with kids. One of your posts came up and I was hooked. =)
    I’m excited for you and your family with this new path of exploration in light of Doug’s extended break. Yea! You are putting some ideas in my head as well. In your most recent post, you mentioned your plans to live off of your cash savings. I was wondering if you might write a bit about your philosophy on Savings and some practical steps that have helped you get to this place of “enough” financial freedom. It seems to help you approach this next year with somewhat of a safety net in place instead of living paycheck to paycheck. Does that make sense?
    I would love to hear more of your thoughts on this.

    • Hmmm, let me think about that a bit.

    • Mika (Poland) says:

      I completely agree with Stacy and I think that it would be very inspiring and practical advice for many of us. Following some of your advice, I changed my telephone plan and a bank, to save some money, because my financial situation has changed and I can’t work for some time. I am really looking forward to your thoughts and ideas of assuring financial safety to our families.
      Best wishes

  18. What an exciting time for you! I’m so glad you had the “Dirty Dancing” stuff to amuse you and kill some tension! Looking forward to hearing about what the next year brings!!

  19. Thank you for posting a link to that song! I have loved that and another one from that album but never knew who sang them. Best wishes on your year (and your hair LOL)

  20. I loved Jennifer Grey on Dirty Dancing! She was so “perky”. We are rediscovering some great movies from our youth as our teenage daughters are now interested in them. Everything old is new again.
    I have a vision of Doug spending his year off nursing his back!Good luck to you all – it will be wonderful for your bubs to have that quality time with you both.

    • Love it!…. I’ll spend the year off working on my foot work. My back feels great, Rachel weighs about $1.05,

      I’ve had the time of my life….

  21. I’m wondering if I can get a petition for getting that lift of yours onto youtube. Anyone else with me? If not video, please, a picture at least! (Could you please wear cut-off denim shorts rolled up while you do it?)

  22. Rachel, Doug,

    Here to new life, new hair cuts (it will grow back)!, and dancing dirty dancing song, I can only imagine.

    I suspected from reading your blog for almost 2 years that, you probably have savings to use during this time. We are in same boat and we are emptying our reserve almost, and hoping something comes up soon.

    Have a back up plan just incase. Whatever you decide as a family, go for it. You will be happier for it.

    Zengirl @ Heart and Mind´s last post…Honoring Beautiful People with Beautiful Heart!

  23. Jennifer Gray was hot in DD. Let’s see the hair already! LOL.

    jill´s last post…We learn that Nico is not a big fan of pumpkins

  24. There is no way I’m posting a picture or video of that! Not a chance.

  25. Blessings to you as you enter a new adventure ;) Hope that book sells like hotcakes, because you sure have good info to share!

    angelvalerie´s last post…why I wish I lived on an island some days…

  26. I’m so envy you!!! (in a good way). We (my husband and I) both dreamed of quitting our job and went to live somewhere else, just soak up experience, another culture and do almost any thing that we want. But we had too much debt and house loan so, it will have to be things in the future. However, for you, it’s the right time to do it (house loans can really tied you down). I wish the best to both you and Doug and keep on blogging.

    Junn´s last post…30 going 30

  27. Congrats to both of you… seems well deserved, and you’ve certainly got it together.

    Thanks for the recipe (I loooove lentil soup!) and I’m looking forward to that book coming out!

    Tara´s last post…Battling the Burnout

  28. Old Doug in BC says:

    Rebecca, made that soup last night, cut recipe in half, cause only had one liter of chicken stock, and there are just Marie and me to feed. Excellent! And YOUNG Doug….good luck man. At 54, after being in the same biz for over 25 years, our business quit us! Like as in we lost everything when we went bankrupt. Starting over again @ 54 is not something I would recommend. We farmed out our youngest kid to one of his sisters, sold our house, and left that city. After the bank was through with us we had less than two
    thousand bucks left! Doug, send me an email and I will tell you how we made out, and what caused the going broke bit! Long story, but quite interesting. 30 years later we can look back and reflect. Cheers, Old Doug in BC

  29. Sounds like you guys are off to an awesome start of your year. Enjoy it!!

    Amy Lynne´s last post…Homemade Chinese Dinner