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Monday, June 30, 2014

June, the Gardener's patient month.

Today is June 30. Summer is truly here. Kids are out of school, the days and nights are hot and steamy.

I have decided that June is the patient month for the gardener. The time of mostly watching and waiting. 

My lettuce is in full production now, and our salads are lush, but simple unless we buy vegetables to add. I wander through my garden now, pull a few weeds, add a few things, and mostly watch the progress of it all, but there's not much to do, much to harvest. It's just time to watch, wait, and turn to other things. 

In a few short weeks we will be eating green beans, cucumbers, peas, tomatoes, and more. But now is a time of quiet in the garden. These quiet interludes in life are good, to be savored.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Secret to Great Vegetable Soup

Not all vegetable soups are created equal. 

If you love soup as I do, you know this. 

The best vegetable soups have bite sized pieces of vegetables that are tender and succulent, ready to soften in your mouth with each bite. The flavors blend gently and it's this beautiful dance across your palate.

For years I've wondered how to create this kind of vegetable soup and finally realized the answer. I'm sure this is not really a secret, it's probably been scattered across blogs and cookbooks everywhere. But it was a revelation to me when I figured it out, and I had never seen it written just straight out, so here it is, for you.

Saute the vegetable first, all of them. 

That's it. Simple, right? 

Many recipes have you saute the onions and garlic, sometimes the celery, then add the stock or broth and at various points other vegetables. Don't listen. Saute them all in the beginning.

I use a tablespoon or two of olive oil most of the time. You could also use butter, bacon fat, or coconut oil, depending on the flavor you want to achieve. But do saute everything until it softens a little, then add your chosen stock or broth and other seasonings and cook just long enough for the vegetables to soften a bit more and you're done.

If you're patient, put the soup away until the next day and allow the flavors to blend and you'll love your soup even more. That's not a secret...everyone knows soup is better then second day.

Try it this way, you'll thank me.



Sunday, June 8, 2014

Dear Blog...Sunday, June 8, 2014....Gone, and Not

I haven't been much of a blogger these days.

In all honesty, I haven't had much to say. How many times and in how many ways can I say I'm a busy, tired, sleep deprived working mom of awesome kids who misses her own departed mom keenly, before it gets boring and redundant?

Not too many.

But this morning I woke up thinking of my mama just the same. Had my tea, cycled through some laundry, and found this quote, the lyrics from a Patty Lovelace song, in my facebook feed:

"Mama whispered softly, Time will ease your pain. Life's about changing, nothing ever stays the same."

Of the many things I want from myself, the ability to take an attitude of acceptance toward loss and change is pretty high on the list. I have only to watch my children, almost 10 and almost 3 (wow!), and I am forced to acknowledge the inevitability of change. We cannot hold on, we can only appreciate the moments we're living, and love as fully as we are capable.

I feel like I'm getting closer. And once again I encounter paradox and wish for a moment that life were black and white, clear cut, simple. How does one fully acknowledge the loss of someone so important, while simultaneously embracing the concept of change and letting go. What the heck does that even look like?

Occam's Razor: "among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected."

In other words, stop over-thinking this Diana, it probably looks like exactly what I'm doing right now. Which is mourning her when I need to, and also recognizing her continued presence in my life.

This weekend I made yogurt, did face paint (fancy healthy stuff she bought for us) and paper chain dolls with the girls, packed up some Lemon Balm Mint Tea from my garden last year to send off to my cousin with the new baby, read Harry Potter and Sesame Street while cuddling my girls, was interrupted in writing this at least 5 times by various family members but came back to it, and probably did a half dozen other things, just like those, that were truly her, her gifts to me that still live on, through me, and maybe someday through my girls.

I can't hold her or hug her, or talk to her (though I sometimes do still), but she does live on, and in the calm that has begun to follow her loss, I'm beginning to really know and feel the truth in this. 

I have some thoughts brewing on other topics that I hope to write about soon, but we'll see. I'm still that busy, tired mom. Until then, wishing you days and weeks as rich as full as mine have been these days.