Over Christmas I talked with my oldest child, Mager (pronounced with a soft G, like Major, but think more French than military), who asked me if I still had my bread machine. “You used to always bake bread; banana bread, pumpkin bread, all kinds of breads,” he said, as he smiled over at his pretty wife.
I had no idea he even really cared about my bread making. It’s funny what our children remember and what matters to them that we have no clue about until years later. When he and his brother were little, I baked a lot. I was never one to buy cookies or cakes from the store, I always baked them. I know it seems silly to some, but to me, as a twenty-something mom, there was a joy in baking or cooking any food for my kids. I used to go all out for their birthdays, making the icing and everything from scratch!
This was all before Pinterest and so I had cookbooks out the wazoo.
I made quiches often, and I loved baking pies and cutting out pretty shapes to place around the edges. It wasn’t to impress anyone else. It wasn’t to post on Instagram or Facebook: look what I did and here’s the recipe and blah, blah, blah.
It was for my family. Simple as that.
One of my goals for this year is to get back a little of that….that living simply for the sake of living, and leaving the phone on the charger pad. To be honest, I fell into a big hole of self-centeredness and stirred myself around in a vat of “hey, look at me,” for a bit too long.
It happens and it’s okay.
It was a lesson.
I love sharing on social media and I love hearing from my friends on social media. In this fast-paced world, it’s easy to let time get in the way of getting together, so it’s lovely to see how others are doing.
That said, I am moving past the need to post every day. While I’m quick to embrace the idea of change, I’m rather slow to implement it, so this will not be an overnight change for me, nor will it be a steady change, but I feel the change happening. It’s time.
The conversation with my son, coupled with discussions I’ve had with my husband about my craving to cook and bake and create again lends itself to this change, really. It’s as though everything is coming to pass as it’s supposed to. And isn’t it always that way?
There’s a season for everything. We need not bloom all year long, nor do we need to lay fallow all year long, but rather, we are here to ebb and flow. We gather information, we give in our experiences, and then we rest in our knowing and one day, it all comes together and we can only smile at the magic of it all….and realize we have always been exactly where we were meant to be, doing exactly what we were meant to be doing.
I’m sitting here finishing off a bowl of vegetable soup. It’s delicious and comforting as soups tend to be and I’d share the recipe, if I could write one for you, but to be honest, my best dishes happen when I just trust myself and add whatever comes to mind. I don’t measure. When my daughter asked to add salt, she knew to hold her palms open to me and I poured the salt into her little hands. I never measure unless I’m following someone else’s recipe. What I suggest for the best veggie soup ever is this:
- Grab a little helper with chubby hands and a sweet smile. If your little helper is prone to singing off-key, all the better!
- Grab an old pot…stock pot (I suppose some would call it, but to me, it’s the chili or soup pot).
- Start loading your counter with veggies you personally love. Don’t be afraid, just have fun and think COLOR. Today we used: fresh carrots, russet potatoes, and celery. Canned “chili ready” tomatoes (gives a little kick), dark red kidney beans, and whole kernel corn. Frozen peas and carrots, green beans.
- Prep and dice your veggies. Toss them in the pot with all other ingredients. The trick here is to let your little helper do some of the work. My helper placed all of the diced veggies in the pot.
- Have your helper pour chicken stock over all of it. Add your choice of seasonings. I can’t remember exactly, but we used a bay leaf, lots of garlic, salt and pepper, coriander, chili powder….Season it to your taste.
- Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for several hours.
- Enjoy with a grilled cheese sandwich and your loved ones. Maybe even have a read aloud afterward.
To me, food and family go together and my husband and I bought a big farmhouse table because of this fact. I love having all of my family around that table. Those really are my happiest days. Food brings us together and helps us create memories, but love is what holds us together.
Maybe cooking isn’t your thing and that’s okay. What do you enjoy doing? Share that love with those you hold dear to your heart. There’s no right way to love or to mother. Share yourself with others and let them know you appreciate having them in your life. That’s what matters most.
PS. My daughter and I dug out the bread machine and made fresh bread. Here’s the pic I sent to my son. He was stoked.
He and his wife just bought their first home a couple of days ago and were setting up the kitchen table we gave them.