Thursday, December 29, 2011

Love Soup

Anyone who knows me knows I love to make soup. I love to eat soup and of course I always make too much but that's o.k. because I love to share soup too. So much to my joy and surprise, one of my favorite cookbook authors, Anna Thomas, has come out with a new book all about my favorite thing....soup. You might remember her first cookbook which was one of my most loved vegetarian cookbooks that came out in the late seventies and I still use to this day "The Vegetarian Epicure" Well  I just got my copy of "Love Soup" in the mail and I have been pouring over the recipes trying to decide which one to make first. I think that the Green Soup with Ginger is the winner. It sounds exotic and tasty. I wish all my friends were close by so I could invite you over to try some but you will just have to go out and get your own copy and make it yourself! This book is a treasure.So go forth and make soup!! The following photo and recipe was borrowed from - thanks Heidi.

Green Soup with Ginger Recipe

I made my own tweaks to Anna's soup, and my version is as follows. The main difference was that the soup was so pretty after cooking (see photos), that I decided not to puree mine at the last minute. But I did puree the leftovers (also delicious!), just a different soup altogether. It's up to you really. Anna also mentions that she sometimes adds a bit of miso or tamari at the very end to deepen the flavor, but you should add it sparingly, and taste as you go.
1 large yellow onion (250g)
2 tablespoons (30 ml.) olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
1 large sweet potato (12 ounces; 350 g)
1 large leek, white and light green parts (5 ounces; 140 g)
1 bunch spinach (8 ounces; 225 g)
1 large bunch green chard (12 ounces; 350 g)
3 tablespoons (30 g) chopped fresh ginger, plus more to taste
2 cups (500 ml) good-tasting vegetable broth
2-4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper
Chop the onion and cook it slowly in the olive oil with a sprinkle of salt, stirring now and then, over low heat until it is soft and golden, about half an hour.
Meanwhile, peel and dice the sweet potato and put it in a large soup pot with 4 cups (1 liter) water and a teaspoon of sea salt. Thoroughly wash the leek, spinach, and chard, chop them coarsely, and add them to the pot, along with the chopped ginger.
Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer the soup, covered, for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are completely tender. Add the caramelized onions when they are ready. When the vegetables are soft, add the vegetable broth (you can add less if you like a thicker soup) and decide whether you want your soup chunky, like this, or smooth. If the latter, puree the soup in a blender, in batches, or with an immersion blender until it is smooth.
Stir in 2 teaspoons of the lemon juice and a few grinds of black pepper. Taste, and correct the seasoning with additional salt or lemon juice.
Serves 5-6.
This recipe was adapted from Love Soup by Anna Thomas. Published by W. W. Norton & Company; September 2009. For those of you who want to get books signed, Anna is visiting quite a number of California book stores throughout October and November, more info here.

Prep time: 10 min - Cook time: 30 min

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Peace To You

Today all roads lead home. I hope the road you travel is clear and that your heart is light. May you, and those you love, have a wonderful holiday. Christmas Blessings

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Wonder of Fairies

I often referred to fairies when I was a teacher. I believed that the magic or mystery of the idea was not foreign to young children and in fact added much needed imagination to the everyday classroom experience. The fairies were responsible for quite a bit in my classroom, from changing the materials on the shelf to watching over how children were behaving with each other! I loved over-hearing them speak about the fairies, very matter of fact and without judgement.
I received a great deal of flack from other teachers and directors over the years as to the viability of my use of whimsy and fairy existence in a Montessori classroom. After all Maria Montessori was very opposed to the use of fantasy play and believed that children should be grounded in reality. I wonder what she would think today, with children over loaded with activities and tutors, sports and organized play, gadgets and TV. I know from my many years with children that the impact of all of those influences has been astronomical. So in some small way I wanted to recapture that wonder. What better way then with fairies?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Imagination Tree: Easy Salt Dough Ornaments

 One of my favorite things to make with children at this time of year is salt dough ornaments. There is something so magical about this simple recipe and activity. The children love getting their hands in the dough and rolling it but the finished product always seems to astonish them. Another fun project to make is snowmen. If you add a little extra fine white glitter to the dough you will get a wonderful sparkle to your creations. Use cloves for buttons and eyes, pine or rosemary sprigs for arms, cut orange peel for mouth and nose and felt or roving for a scarf and you have yourself one hip snowman! A good tip when making snowmen, make sure your dough is not too wet or they will sag and melt! To connect the balls, use cut pieces of straw in between to secure them!  I am so doing this today!!
 I am not too fond of wiggley eyes but the overall effect is cute.
I just love the pom pom ear muffs!!!! Acrylic paint was used for face and buttons (another option)

If you need a step by step demo and video on how to make these cuties go to: Make-a-3D-Snowman-Decoration-(Salt-Dough) 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Lauren Mills. Elfabet ~ Blog of an Art Admirer and History Lover

 I stumbled across this website while cruising the internet. It was a feast for my eyes.I am in the desert now so the holiday season seems misplaced. The dry,hot,crusty landscape does not evoke the feeling of "jolly holly Christmas"so when I saw this artist's work it made me smile. I don't ask for much......

Lauren Mills. Elfabet ~ Blog of an Art Admirer and History Lover

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Candy cane playdough - The Artful Parent

Candy cane playdough - The Artful Parent

It is safe to say that I miss being in the classroom this time of year. Even though for so many years I complained about the holiday season and how much we tried to cram into a little month, not having it now seems too calm. I love this website. The ideas are always fun and appealing. This one just makes me smile. I hope you'll try it.

Enjoy the season.