Monday, August 29, 2011

Late Summer Squash Soup

Last night Ricky was blending up some squash he had cooked for Silas to eat this week, and he noticed that it made a nice creamy puree. He remarked that it would be really good to eat just the way it was, which inspired me to make a soup with the puree as a base. It was quite tasty and late summer-y tasting, but the best part was using the mountain of squash we had! Of course, tomorrow there will be more. Squash is relentless like that.


Ingredients:

  • yellow crookneck squash (5)
  • 1 Tbsp butter (I used Smart Balance spread)
  • 1 cup chicken stock  
  • 4 roasted Anaheim chile (unless they're super spicy, then you might want less)
  • corn (I used 1 bag of frozen)
  • grated cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Boil or steam squash until soft. Blend until creamy and smooth. (If you do this step ahead of time, the soup is very quick to prepare.) In a large pot, melt the butter. Add the squash puree, chicken stock, and corn. Stir and let simmer over medium heat. While it's simmering, chop the chile into small pieces. Add to the pot. Let simmer for about 20 minutes to combine the flavors. Taste, add salt and pepper as needed. Serve with grated cheese on top, if desired.

the first of the Fall rituals


 The smell of roasting green chile is in the air, and even though it's still 100 degrees out, it signals the start of Fall around here.


This year, we thought it would be fun to go to Hatch and get our green chile from the source, and eat some really good Mexican food. The Pepper Pot (where Anthony Bourdain apparently had the best enchilada of his life) did not disappoint.  I had the best stuffed sopapilla of my life. So there.


Then we stopped here for our forty pounds of roasted goodness. Half medium and half hot.


Nicky didn't enjoy the roasting part as much as we did, but finding a giant Spiderman piƱata for his birthday party pretty much made his day. He'll be five in less than a month!


Both littles passed out on the drive home, so we put them in their beds, covered the table with a trash bag and spent the next three hours peeling and bagging chiles while watching Friday Night Lights on Netflix.


Now with the freezer full, it's on to September. We're planning a camping trip with our church, a visit to Pie Town for Ricky's birthday, and the Spectacular Spiderman party Nicky's been waiting for. The mornings and evenings are a little cooler, school is in full swing, and even though this summer felt oddly short, I'm ready for more of the sights and smells of Fall.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

to hear better

I hear the edge, sometimes, in my voice.
It's that same ragged edge I hear sometimes at the grocery store, that I heard in my own mother's voice. It threatens and pleads, and sounds a little shaky at the end.
It's our way of saying we need help, sometimes. It's not at all attractive, but it's real.

Sometimes I come to the end of my rope. I think I will scream if I pick up one more upturned shoe, wipe one more crumb, remind one more time. I think, how did I get so old?

Comparison is the thief of joy, someone said.

I am struggling today, Friend. I am not finding the peace, not hearing the whispers. Oh, they are probably there, it's just all the clang and clatter in my mind drowns them out. I am the whirlwind, overshadowing the still small voice in all my self-importance.

Anne Lammott says the two best prayers she knows are help, help, help and thank you, thank you, thank you.

It's not at all attractive, how consumed I am with my first world problems. How I feel my husband must see me sometimes. How I escape easily into the company of strangers while a strange anxiety keeps me from picking up the phone. The things I've thought to myself when I hear that edge in another woman's voice. How we live, alone on our islands.

I so want to be a person who lives a life of yes. Yes, I have time. Come over, we'll move the laundry aside, don't mind the dog hair. Have another cup. Yes, I'm not too tired. Yes, I'll read the story.

How do I go from I just can't to a life of joyful yes? I need more of the Vine, because I am spent.

I'm driving Nicky to school and time stands still for a bit. He sings me the days of the week, the months of the year. He tells me the story of the Prodigal Son. "He spent all his money on silly things," he says earnestly.

There's a whisper. I have to drive for a while, to hear better. At home, I clear clutter, evidence of the souls who live here, and ask for help.

And I think what my Friend is trying to tell me is that I have an inheritance too, and it is precious, and it can easily be spent on silly things. But even more than that, just that there is love. Love is waiting with open arms.

Love is not constrained the way I am, and offers itself to me.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

projects here and there

With Nicky in full-day kindergarten now I'm finding myself with more free moments while Silas naps. Also, the changing of the seasons always seems to give me fresh energy (or at least the idea in my mind that the seasons are changing). I had some serious fun with projects last week. It just feels so good to change little things sometimes. I really wish I came up with these ideas myself, but all credit goes to Pinterest. Have you tried it? It's like crack for crafty people. But look, it led to productivity!

The pantry before:


and after! Still messy, but I'll get to that. I think this is going to be quite useful.


Yay chalkboard paint! I'm resisting the urge to basically paint all my wall space with it.


Project # 2: frames for Nicky's art/treasures/masterpieces:


This was mostly from stuff I had lying around, but I did buy one cheap picture frame to hold bigger things. I just need to find some little clothespins or something like that to hold Nicky's handiwork.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

right now Silas is....

crawling, crawling everywhere


pulling himself up, checking out new surfaces, pulling interesting things down


thrilled with his newfound independence


pulling Nicky's hair every chance he gets, also loving when he gets to play in Nicky's room


sleeping through the night about half the time, and waking up super early these days....


eating everything in sight
 (including dog food, plants and paper)


really wishing he could play with my camera

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

the night before kindergarten


Tomorrow's a pretty big deal.


We had a celebratory dinner: macaroni and cheese (his request, with sneaky squash in the cheese sauce), a veggie tray, and chocolate cake. 


After-dinner activities included climbing on Papa, protecting the cake from Penny (she was determined) and one last name-writing practice.


Then, cake time! This year's emphasis: Pay Attention and Have Fun. A big goal. 


I think I'll work on that as well.


and finally, bath, brush teeth and climb into bed.


Always the game inventor, this boy. Points for me if I catch him on camera, points for him if I don't. These are my two points.


Good night.

Monday, August 1, 2011

good things

All week I've been taking pictures of food. It just strikes me as such a pretty thing lately, especially with summer in full bloom and all of it's vibrant offerings. For me, this is a way to remember to be grateful, and to make it special, like I wrote about before. It really is the little things that make the day.

Here are a few recipes we really enjoyed this week:

1. I Ain't Chicken Chicken with Watermelon, Feta, and Arugula Salad. Eaten outside, with cold iced tea, watching the clouds roll in, enjoying a little break from the heat wave. The chicken might make a little more sense for fall, since it had to be roasted in a very hot oven, and smelled like Thanksgiving. It was so, so good though.


Nicky's version. One of these days I will get this boy to eat salad.


2. Toasted nine grain bread with melted mozzarella, green peppers (from the garden, yay!), roasted red peppers, and dijon mustard, with this cranberry walnut coleslaw. One of those last minute dinners that came together well. Love when that happens.


3. the breakfast Ricky made for us on Saturday morning. I love Saturdays with him. We had such a nice day, starting with this lovely meal, then school supply shopping for Nicky, Hawaiian food for lunch, a trip to the theater to see Cars 2 (I spent the last half in the truck driving Silas around so he could go to sleep). It was our last Saturday all together before Nicky starts kindergarten.


Nicky and I made these cute Angry Birds pom-poms. I love that he has just as much fun throwing them at a stack of cups as he does when he plays the game on our phones.


3. Harvest from Saturday morning. The first real butternut squash. I'm thinking of ways to use these this week.


4. Carnitas and Mexican Coke. The crock pot is such a good friend to me. 


More and more I'm thanking God for the little things in life. Days with a lot of space in them are good. There needs to be room to spare in my life. I need to pause more, not less. Spending time preparing food really helps me with that. It's one of those everyday, sometimes mundane tasks that is so spiritual for me if I choose for it to be. I'm starting to see how domestic tasks really lend themselves to contemplation, meditation, prayer (all the same thing perhaps, at the end of the day)....I want more of that. More of the simple joys.
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