Monday, October 14, 2013

A Short Post to Get You in the Spirit of Autumn

It's been a while since I've posted a recipe and I'm sure you've been starving ever since.

Here's a great vegetarian soup you'll love. I mean it. There's cream and cheese in it.

Creamy Vegetable Soup

3 carrots
1 green pepper
1 yellow onion
4 potatoes
1 head of cabbage
2-3 tbsp of thyme
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp of butter
3 tbsp of flour
1 1/2 cups of half and half (or, if you're feeling decadent, heavy cream)
2 cups of shredded cheese (any kind you like. A mix of cheddar and mozzarella works well)

1. Chop carrots, green pepper and onion and sautee in olive oil for 5 minutes
2. Add peeled and chopped potatoes and cook for 5-10 minutes
3. Add bay leaf and season with thyme, salt and pepper
4. Pour in 8 cups of vegetable broth and cook for half an hour
5. Add chopped cabbage
6. Cook for another half hour.

7. Make a roux by melting 3 tbsp of butter in a small saucepan. Add 3 tbsp of flour and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Add a cup of hot broth to the roux and blend together. Add roux mixture back into the soup.
8. Add the half and half and cheese.

You could make it vegan by leaving out the cheese and half and half but it would then most likely be half as tasty.

Once the cheese is melted, you have a delicious and healthful soup.

Cyd wanted to sit in the tiny fairy chair and kept falling off.

On Sunday, we went on our annual pumpkin picking trip. We've been visiting our "pumpkin lady" since Fiona was two-years-old. Back then, there was a field of pumpkins and it was the perfect setting for the quintessential fall photo. Here are a few I've taken over the years:

If this doesn't scream "FALL IS HERE", nothing does.

Over the years, the field was reduced to a small corner next to the barn. 
But, against all odds, I persevered in my attempt to capture the moment of the season. Because if you don't take a photo of it, how do you know if it really happened? You don't.

 This year, it was a small corner INSIDE the dark barn. My photo opp was in jeopardy. 
So we carted the pumpkins outside and I got my damn photos after all. 

I'm sure there are bigger, better pumpkin patches in the area, but we've grown attached to this place and its people. Who else grows white gourds in the shape of graceful swans? Who else will round down when weighing your gigantic pumpkins? We have our traditions and our loyalties and we'll be there again next year, even if I have to Photoshop a few pumpkins in my photos to enhance the memory.

Peace, love, and autumnal goodness. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

There is a Reason for Fear

Cyd is seldom afraid. She is the four-year-old free spirit who rides roller coasters and jumps off bridges. She is Firestar.

But she's been taking swimming lessons with her fellow preschoolers and she is "hesitant", per the note from her teacher. Last week, she refused to participate in swim class and ended up freezing on the sidelines. Her teacher believes she is being recalcitrant, but in reality, she is afraid.

So we decided to go swimming at the Y to practice. She dabbled in the shallow end and then I carried her over to the three foot deep part of the pool so she could hold on to the side of the wall and practice kicking. 

She wouldn't let go of me. I promised her that I would hold her as she held on to the wall but she clung so tightly I felt the fear seeping from her tiny body and sink deep into my heart. 

I will never be the person who lets go. It's tempting, wanting to show her that she is safe, floating on her own with her life jacket on. But I can't lose her trust in me just to prove to her that I'm right. 

A few minutes later, safe and sound in the shallow end, she was splashing around, experimenting with laying on her back, floating in 10 inches of water. Her face went under for one millisecond and she started choking. 

She was drowning.

Water got in her lungs, her lips turned blue, her face turned white and her eyes were bulging as she tried to catch her breath. 

My heart shattered in a few million pieces as I stood there, right in front of her, helpless, as she let her lungs clear. The fear in her eyes was tangible.

When she got her breath back, she looked me straight in the eye and said, "Maman, I will never do that again." I don't know if she was referring to the swimming or the choking, but she was adamant.

What I know for certain is that I will never question her fears ever again.