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Saturday, June 28, 2014

chop-PEE-no

I've been daydreaming about this soup since T's godmother made it for us during Lent.  Every time I'd head to the store with the intention of purchasing the ingredients, I'd be discouraged by the price tag.  This past weekend I decided that we needed something a little special to get us out of our (actually my) food rut, so I splurged on scallops and shrimp.  Wegman's had some large bags of each at decent prices, so we have plenty for another batch.  Yum.  After following Giada's recipe with minimal tinkering, I decided that the following is an even better version.

3 Tbsp olive oil
2 large bulbs of fennel, sliced
4 shallots, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
4-5 garlic cloves, crushed
sprinkle of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups white wine
water
salt
3 cans of clams with juice
1 pound uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound of uncooked scallops

Sauté fennel, shallots, and onion in olive oil for 5-10 minutes.  Add crushed garlic, tomato paste, and red pepper and sauté for an additional 2 minutes.  Add tomatoes, wine, juice of canned clams, water (I added a cup at a time until it looked right to me), and salt to taste.  Bring to boil and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for a half hour.  Add clams and scallops.  Cook for one minute further before adding shrimp.  Turn off heat, and serve when shrimp and scallops are thoroughly cooked, being careful not to overcook the shrimp.

A couple of notes:

I went easy on the red pepper flakes so my most sensitive children could enjoy the soup.  My husband and I add extra to taste.

Z requested that I use an immersion blender to disguise all of the veggies.  I didn't, but if I had, I would have done it before I added the clams.

We didn't add fish(totally forgot), but that's also a possibility during fasting periods that allow fish.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

{a little wordy}







I got a new chain for my favorite cross the other day; the old chain had survived a couple of grabby babies before G yanked it from my neck last summer.  When I wear a necklace, I tend to leave it around my neck always, fiddling with the chain or the cross whenever I'm nervous.  After the long absence of its comfortable weight, the chain feels good--like I've slipped on an old shoe.

Today I was thinking about other things I've let sit inactive for a long period of time. (Like a certain blog?)  The world is so crowded with things to do!  Aside from the daily care of my babies (large and small), home, and relationships, there are books to read! Projects to sew! Sweaters to knit!  Lessons to prepare! I've had quite a bit of difficulty lately narrowing my focus to just one thing, mostly because I want to do everything simultaneously and. right. now.

I did manage to gather all of my powers of concentration to make a quilt for Z's first decade.  It wasn't quite finished in time for her birthday, but I sewed last hand stitch this afternoon.  She wanted it on her bed right away, but I think there are still a few threads to snip here and there.  Z helped make many of the fabric decisions, and most significantly the fabric for the backing.  It's challenging to give up the control of making to an almost ten-year-old.  She and I differ widely in our preferences. The backing fabric is from JoAnn, and definitely not one I was drawn to among all of the choices.  An older woman, far more experienced in quilting than I, saw us deliberating over all of the fabrics and took charge.  She examined our quilt sample and began to pull bolt after bolt from the shelves, explaining each choice.  While I was beginning to get nervous about the mess we were making, Z zeroed in on one particular fabric and proclaimed it "the one."  The woman was ecstatic about it and went on about how it would bring the quilt together.  I wasn't so sure, but decided to defer to Z, the quilt recipient.  She chose well, and the back does indeed look all the wonderful ways that woman said it would.

I've also recently gotten my first Soul Gardeningand have read and re-read it.  It's taken me four children to settle comfortably into the vocation of motherhood.  Notice I didn't say "excel at" or "love every day of."  But I no longer feel like I need to be raising children and doing something worthwhile on the side.  Raising children is the something worthwhile.  Period.

B, never the sports fanatic, is following the World Cup and referring to the Greek team as "we."  As in, still sweaty from his run, "Let me have the computer so I can see how we're doing!"  We tied with Japan, which is not good news.  And I suppose he's now Dr. B--officially.  He defended his dissertation in November, but walked at graduation mid-May.  Every time I see the photo of our family (taken by my mother-in-law) it puts a smile on my face.  It's so typical!  B is saying something to M and T, who are paying more attention to G.  Z has a 20 lb. book in her arms, and is the only one looking at the camera.  I'm...?  No idea.

The photo of Super G was taken by a friend at our playground.  I say "our," but it's just the one that our kids request every time we get together.  A few days after this photo, he had a cape mishap and had to get stitches in his lip.  Weirdly, it's in the same exact place that M had to get stitches a few years ago.  The photo was also taken a few days before his first haircut, so between the lip and short hair, he looks so different.  His words have absolutely exploded.  Every day brings a few new ones, and today he learned the Greek for "myself"-- as in "I'll do it all by myself, thank you."  I hardly know him!

Some of these photos are a bit of an Instagram rehash.  Sorry about that.  There just don't seem to be enough hands or moments to whip out the camera.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Finished Friday

It's been quiet in this space for far too long.

Part of that was the fullness of Christmas preparations followed by the dullness of January and February, which truly expanded my parenting skills set.  How to keep these busy boys of mine occupied?  Indoors?  For days at a time when the weather is too, too terrible to play outside?  Truly a Herculean feat.  The weather has been giving us glimmers of an imminent spring, which has allowed more outside time in the past two weeks.  Today, despite the cold and breeze, we took a walk around our beloved little lake, the path having been cleared of snow by the sunshine and weekend thaw.  Oh, to be out of doors again!

The other, and admittedly larger, part of why this space has remained quiet for the past three months is that I've needed some time for introspection.  You see, I have needed to confront several ugly aspects of my personality, and subdue them (with the help of God and the Saints, of course).  Whether out of exhaustion, or laziness, or blindness, or all three, I allowed things like thoughtlessness and a quick temper to overtake the good and fragile bits of myself, the bits that take much more cultivation to grow and flourish.
I'm not saying the ugly are gone for good.  No, the sinful chunks of me are too deeply rooted to be banished so easily.  But the ugliness has been acknowledged, and I am on the lookout for it, which is half the battle.  And rather than go into greater detail, I'll leave it at that, knowing that at one time or another, other thoughtful and self-aware people have had to go through the same process.

The sweater above has been finished for quite some time, but never made it to the blog.  It's T's, and he wears it regularly because I choose it for him.  (Z knit him a scarf last week, which he wears daily because she made it.  Sweet boy!)  I used this pattern, chose the bone buttons here, and the yarn is my go-to workhorse yarn.

I hope to visit this space more regularly, but who knows what life will bring?