During my recent vacation, I spent a bit of time in my kitchen. I not only organized a few cupboards and drawers, but tried out a few new recipes, including one for a savory stew. I saw the recipe demonstrated one morning on the Today Show and was intrigued by its ingredients. Once picky Matt Lauer tried a spoonfull and deemed it "Delicious!," I was convinced to give it a try.

Ellie Krieger, a host of a Food Network show, was the demonstrator. It's a thick lentil, quinoa and vegetable stew with an Indian flavor with warm spices and fresh garlic and ginger. My mouth started watering just by the thought of those flavors coming together in a soup.

Over the next few days, I gathered up all the ingredients the recipe called for. I have to admit I had to find the red lentils, red quinoa and kale at a larger grocery store, out of town. I haven't tried subsituting regular lentils and quinoa for the red varieties, but may do so as our local grocery store does carry those.

As I perused the shelves of the larger grocery, I was a bit awed at the variety of quinoa available. There were boxes of regular, pre-washed, black, red and tri-colored. I picked the red because that's what the recipe called for, but I may try the tri-colored next time or, as I said before, the regular variety.

My mother always advises that when finding a new recipe to try, one should follow the directions as written the first time. Then, if one exercises the cook's perogative and changes an ingredient, at least there is something to compare the changed recipe to in order to determine if it was a good addition or a bad one.

So, I did my best on my first try and only made one substitution, chicken stock instead of vegetable broth. I already had the chicken stock in my pantry, so figured it was an acceptable swap. I also added more carrot than the original recipe called for and added a couple of stalks of chopped celery, but how can more vegetables be a bad thing?

Oh, and I did use sour cream for a garnish instead of Greek yogurt. I had the sour cream on hand and the only Greek yogurt in the refrigerator was raspberry-flavored!

Once all the vegetables are chopped, the soup comes together quite quickly, so even though I had saved this recipe to make during my time off work, I have since made it on a week night for supper.

The second time I made the soup, my leftover kale had wilted and looked too sad to add into my soup. I contemplated substituting spinach, but I thought that might be too tender for the rest of the soup. In the end, I just left out the greens, but I did miss them, so I'll make sure I have kale on hand next time I make this soup.

I also increased the amount of lentils and decreased the quinoa, as that's the more expensive ingredient. However, I won't make that change again either as it did change the texture of the stew.

The serving size for this soup is two cups and it is very satisfying. The heat from the spices warms you up from the inside out. It's a lovely soup to help ward off the chill and it smells heavenly when simmering on top of the stove.

I don't consider myself to be a great cook, but I love to cook and I love to experiment with new recipes, especially when it's something that can warm me up during the winter.