Archive for November, 2015

Buttercup squash soup, childproofing and other autum delights

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It seems that blogging has become a seasonal activity – it was just summer, and now it is fall (coming up on winter). I hope for more often, but life as mommy is busy!

Above is the spooky soup we had for dinner on Halloween night. I was making it in between trick-or-treaters (including our own, for the first time), so I kept it very simple. Just two ingredients: one roasted buttercup squash and one can of coconut milk, pureed in the blender. It was really tasty, and perfect for enjoying with our wonderful wizard.

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I’ve written before about how much I love buttercup squash. Here are more recipes for using it in risotto and an even simpler soup (click on the link).

Besides squash, autumn is treating us well. We’ve been in the garden picking dahlias, exploring the many wonders of falling and fallen leaves, and enjoying lots of walks and hikes in nearby parks and forests.

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I love this time of year. There is something very special on the west coast in the shift between summer’s abundance and the more subtle, sparse nature of plants and trees as we move into fall and winter. What I love most, and what is unique about this place in comparison with other places in Canada, is that the plant world is still – is always – growing and beginning and teeming with life. Mushrooms coat forest floors and spring-time sights like magnolia trees with fuzzy buds and snowdrop leaves poking through the soil are already here, even though the trees haven’t lost all their leaves yet. Magical for young eyes, and old.

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You’ll see the word “simple” twice up above – this is the theme of cooking and other indoor pursuits these days. I have thrown in the towel on tidiness and housekeeping – “toy explosion” is our new style. Thankfully we have a dog to help clean up the floor, otherwise it would be “toy and Cheerio explosion.” I am not complaining, though. We are having so much fun, and it is a non-stop source of wonder to watch our little one grow and learn at what feels like the speed of light. Kids are messy, but so amazing. And, as much work as it is to chase after a big baby, it feels like a piece of cake compared with the challenges of caring for a newborn (recall the many, many all-nighters and a steady diet of peanut butter sandwiches).

We are well into the childproofing zone now, so along with simple soups I am working on simple solutions for safety and saving our dishes from being smashed to smithereens. You’ll see in the background of the photo below that there is a little person’s kitchen in front of our stove. A lovely friend of ours passed this along after her kids were done with it, and it has been life-changing. That might seem like high praise, but opening up all those doors – cupboards, an oven, microwave, stove – and exploring all the play food takes a long time…long enough to cook dinner or make a batch of muffins or cookies. And placing it in front of our stove has solved another set of problems – fire, hot surfaces, the finger-pinching warming drawer.

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It also distracts from all of mommy’s cupboards, although we did have to add some reinforcements this week: homemade cupboard locks (see below). I made them with some buttons and leftover felt from the Halloween wizard hat – a quick stop-gap measure one morning when curiousity was particularly active, but they actually work really well. Not to mention the added benefit of making me feel very crafty and proud of myself. 🙂

I have not been writing as much as I should/would like to, but I have been reading quite a bit. We go to the library at least once a week to peruse kids books and music, cookbooks and novels, and sometimes join baby sing-a-long time. I’ve fallen in love with music from folk artist Elizabeth Mitchell, who has the sweetest, melt-your-heart songs for listening to with kids, and I’ve been reading my way through Caroline Adderson‘s ouevre, which is a fabulous array of smart literary fiction and clever children’s books. Also, Diane Schoemperlen (whose work I never tire of and could read again and again) and Patrick Dewitt (who I will always admire because of the way he writes about horses and brushing your teeth).

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I started this blog six years ago (!!), and when I began one of my main goals was to have a way to mark in stone all the tiny, but beautiful things that happen in my life. Squash soup, fabric scraps, walks in the forest, library books and second-hand toys are the little things I will remember from this fall. Simple pleasures and small victories.

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November 23, 2015 at 11:19 am Leave a comment


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