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Lentil Soup

After a cross-country ski adventure yesterday my husband and I came home to a 
hot bowl of lentil soup.  So good, especially after exercise.  It was so 
easy, too:

Lentil Soup
1 lb. dry lentils (sort, and rinse)
8 cups water
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onions
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Put all ingredients in a dutch oven, place in 300 degree oven for about 2 
hours or on stove (you'll need to stir it if it is on top of the stove rather 
than in the oven) for about 1.5 hours (until lentils are soft).  Remove bay 
Remove from pot in to a food processor or blender - be sure to do this in 
small batches so the hot liquid doesn't "blow up" on you and all over your 
kithchen - and blend to puree.  Add salt as necessary.  You can also put a 
dollop of ff yogurt on top if you want, or even ff sour cream.
Great with hot french bread.  
This makes enough to feed about 10 hungry people, I froze what we didn't eat 
in plastic cottage cheese (ff of course) containers.