Wednesday, October 1, 2008

late afternoon soup

An overused phrase I like to share with non-moms to describe my new life is: "the hours are long, the months are short," and the longest hours of the day are between 4 and 6pm. By 4pm, Sam has been up from his nap for a couple of hours, had his second lunch, and exhausted the day's favorite toys. If it's a day we're staying home, I can count on extra crankiness and neediness during these hours, often causing me to curtail dinner preparation and just throw together something easy. Obviously I'm not alone in this; I have new appreciation for the previously-snubbed concept of 30-minute meals. Where I once spent considerable time and attention on dinners with multiple dishes, perfectly paired and totally from scratch, I now focus on a good healthy toddler dinner for Sam, and whatever scrap of energy I have left goes towards something pretty simple and/or store-bought for us adults.

I do realize that things would be easier if I made everybody the same food. As summer salads evolve into fall soups, I'm hoping to find more crossover. With that in mind, I spent this morning peeling and chopping veggies for a huge pot of fall soup. Inspired by our (still) healthy supply of homegrown summer squash and 5 leeks grown by a fellow gardener, I incorporated leeks, celery, carrot, ginger, garlic, zucchini, yellow pattypan, and two butternut squashes, with some white wine, butter, canola, salt and red pepper flakes. Blended it in a flash with my new immersion blender and it is not only yummy but also quite pretty! For Sam's serving I added a splash of half-and-half, for flavor and extra fat and protein, which caused some excitement. Sam saw the cream carton and started pointing and exclaiming "Coffee! Coffee!" In his toddler dialect this actually sounds like, "Boppy! Boppy!" but it is no less exciting since Sam continues to try to get sips of our morning coffee no matter how long we've been refusing. Adding "coffee" to something he could taste? Oh, yeah. I served it with homegrown tomato slices (rejected) and leftover sunbutter and jam sandwiches (rejected). As for the soup, Sam tried it, liked it, and even had seconds...amazing.

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