I am alone today.
I was alone yesterday, too. Kidzilla is in school for the second day in a row with no snow day or delayed start. The Hub’s ankle is feeling better and he went back to work yesterday. I and the Rotten Cats are quietly and peacefully doing our thing.
I miss them, though, even if I do enjoy the solitude and the time to get things accomplished. My productivity is different when they are home. It’s not non-existent; it’s just different.
As I sat here yesterday, I was a bit nervous. Kidzilla was on a field trip – her first without one of us along as a chaperone. That drew a lot of my attention; I am prone to worry about such things. It was a short trip and there were plenty of teachers, of course. My Mom assured me it would be fine and that the school hadn’t lost any kids to date. (Like she never worried her head off when one of us was on a trip without her. Sure.) Of course it would be fine, but I still said an extra prayer or two that all would be well and that Zilla would behave herself.
This trip was a first. And it’s just one more in a long string of firsts, but I started thinking about all the other firsts Zilla’s had lately and it occurred to me that she is growing very fast. Too fast. All of a sudden, there are so many things that are different…
She reads. A lot. But lately, she curls up in a chair with her long legs slung over the side and disappears into a chapter book all by herself. Wasn’t it just yesterday that she climbed on my lap and said, “Read, Mommy”?
She is finding her way around my kitchen with much less help. She pours her own cereal and even pours her own drinks, when the containers aren’t too full. She can reach the counters and the pantry shelf without help or a stool. She knows where the chocolate is.
She helps me plan menus and makes her own meals. Well, some of them. She does things like select her own lunch items for school and she knows my rules – fruit, vegetable, protein, grain. At home, she makes her own lunch. Recently, she put together a lunch good enough for any corner deli. She did it with no help, only supervision, then put it out on a cool place setting. She was very proud of herself and I would hazard a guess that her sandwich tasted particularly good to her that day.
She has started taking showers at night, not baths. Some nights she even heads up to get ready for bed without being told, just because her body tells her it’s time. She makes her own bed and keeps her rooms neat. She starts her homework right after school, checking off assignments as she finishes them.
And lest anyone think our girl is perfect, she also gets herself into trouble often enough for her remarkably teenager-like ‘tude and what I like to call “playground mouth.” She has been known to roll her eyes, “humph” at either or both of us to express her displeasure, and has slammed a door or two for emphasis.
It’s exciting. It’s sudden. It’s sort of surprising. I suspect it shouldn’t be – we knew this would happen. But yet it is surprising. And scary as hell.
Another thing that surprised me recently is how her culinary taste is changing. Zilla is a willing and adventurous participant in the kitchen. She has a rather mature palate for a little girl. Certain spices, though, still do not appeal to her.
So I was pretty shocked when she gave a rave review for this Creamy Spiced Cauliflower Soup.
First of all, nobody loves cauliflower. Well, maybe people do, but certainly not in the way that we love a good hot pizza or chocolate or red wine. But this was not your average cauliflower soup.
What sold me on this soup was the color. Usually cauliflower soup is so very…white. This looked warm and golden. I was pretty sure the Hub would eat this, but Zilla worried me. This has turmeric, coriander, cardamom, cumin, red pepper, black pepper, and fresh dill. Any one of those can be a bit mature for young taste buds. Together? I was certain I would need a less adventurous alternative for Zilla.
But once she got over her own surprise about the ingredients, she loved it. And I’m not talking about the spices…
I have become quite comfortable making new recipes with flavors my family may not have tried before. When I try one, I will often say it’s a “guinea pigger,” as I did the night we had this soup for dinner.
“Mom!” Zilla shouted as she came down the stairs into the kitchen. “Why would you put a guinea pig in the soup??? That’s dee-skusting!”
I assured her that there were no guinea pigs in the soup. (In fact, this one’s vegan!) Comforted by the fact that there would be no guinea pigs swimming in her bowl, my daughter enjoyed a very grown up soup for dinner. We served it with a seven-grain sourdough bread and apple slices the first night. On leftovers day, we topped it with herbed feta and chives.
The recipe comes to us from Produce on Parade, which is a very sweet little blog filled with beautiful vegan recipes and an adorable rescue dog. (Jen, if you haven’t seen this one, you have to check it out.) The recipe was quick and easy and the only items I had to purchase were the cauliflower and some coconut milk. We skipped the fresh dill garnish and used dried because the market didn’t have any fresh on hand. We added a bit of paprika on top as well.
Click over to Produce on Parade, say hello, and grab the recipe. It’s easy, it’s inexpensive, and like all great soups, tastes even better the next day.
*Nobody tells me I put the same photo in here twice? Thanks, guys… I’m leaving it.