Checking the Sauerruben

We just went into the basement to look at the sauerruben and check its progress.  My four year old’s assessment:  “That looks utterly revolting.”  I think it looks pretty good, but am not sure how to tell if it is actually fermenting properly.  I will taste it in another week or so, hopefully it won’t be revolting but delicious.

About Love

As I was lying next to my daughter as she fell asleep this afternoon for her nap I was thinking about the nature of love.  Most specifically I was thinking about the love I have for my children and the love I have for my husband and how they are different.  I came up with this analogy; it is imperfect but it does pretty well. 

My love for my children is like titanium.  It is incredibly strong:  can’t be dented, broken, chipped, crushed, or otherwise damaged.  My love for them will never diminish and nothing can make the love come apart (which is not to say that I will always like them or like their behavior, just that I will always love them.)  This love is simply a fact and there is not a lot of need to monitor and baby it along.

On the other hand, my love for my husband is gold.  It is strong but can be dented, changed, mutated.  And a strong enough force can actually break or melt it.  So it is important to take care of spousal love, to protect it and polish it and keep it safe.  Just one more way of saying that having children should not take all of my focus – my husband gets some, too.

So, just the two of us went out to dinner and talked and ate and laughed.  Then home again to the children feeling a bit more like beloved and loving adults than just harried and impatient parents.  Ah, love in all its forms, ain’t nothing else like it.

Love of food, too...

Soup and Bedtime

Why, oh why must bedtime be such a struggle?  It never fails, come time to brush teeth and get in bed, that’s when the badly behaved monsters come out.  Not just the kids, I take full responsibility for my part – impatience, thy name is mama at bedtime.  I hate it.  Each night I promise myself, no yelling tonight, no frustration and then just when I think we might make it to sleeping child time without an outburst from me and naughty testing from them – bang.  I end up hating myself once again and they go to sleep with the taste of negativity.  They never seem to remember in the morning, but of course I do. 

At least tonight’s bedtime ritual started out ok, with their usual snack before bed.  It was bowls of fresh, hot soup.  Who eats soup in the summer, you might ask?  My great-grandfather claimed nothing was better than hot soup on a hot day as it makes you sweat and then you cool down.  There may be something flawed in that logic but nonetheless hot soup always has a place on our menu.  Try this great soup using fresh vegetables; it is a great way to use the sorrel you got from the CSA and don’t know what to do with it. 

Sausage, Lentil, and Rice Soup

  • 1 lb raw turkey sausage, without casing
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 3-4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper (any color), chopped
  • 2 cups chopped or julienned sorrel or spinach
  • (you can also use corn fresh off the cob, shelled peas, chopped green beans, chopped kale or chard)
  • 1 large can chopped tomatoes
  • 3-4 tomato cans full of water
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 1 cup rice
  • oregano and basil (fresh if you’ve got them, dried otherwise)
  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • drizzle of olive oil to cook sausage

Cook sausage in the bottom of a large soup pot in the oil, chopping it up so you get little bites.  Add in the chopped onions and cook a couple more minutes.  Add the tomatoes and scrape the bottom of the pot to get up all the fond.  Add the water, rest of the vegetables, lentils, and rice.  Cook until the lentils and rice are soft (a couple of hours should suffice.)  You can transfer the soup to a crock pot and leave it for several hours at this point.  When soup is basically cooked, add in herbs, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper.  Cook another half an hour then readjust salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with a green salad, fresh bread, nothing at all, iced tea – whatever strikes your fancy.