this & that: july 2019

We are in full-on summer mode and we are loving it! I wish my kids would add sleeping in to the mix but they must love life so much they can’t wait to get at it again every morning - or at least that’s what I tell myself when 6:30 rolls around every morning and they’re (literally) springing out of bed. At first our utter lack of routine and responsibilities unnerved me - I felt like I had to impose a schedule and create a checklist just to keep some kind of regularity in our days. That totally tanked. Turns out homeschooling moms enjoy summer as much as the kids do. But we did end up finding a rhythm of sorts and it’s wonderful. Breakfast, outside play before it’s too hot, inside play while baby naps, lunch together, pool, dinner, evening walk... Same things every day. Simple and wonderful.

Now for some links!

Fun and interesting

Check out these perfectly timed shots: this, this, this, this, and this. I could look at this kind of thing forever.

This hovering backpack kind of blows my mind. It is mesmerizing!

“Very impressive starling murmurations” is kind of an understatement, imho.

These quizzes are so gimmicky. Unless they come out so right, haha. (I got snowy.)

Thought provoking reads:

Smash the Wellness Industry. Lots of good thoughts here. I’m not sure I agree with the author on the cause of the problem, but it’s definitely a problem and one I think women have to be conscious of and fight on a daily basis. “Women, can two or more of us get together without mentioning our bodies and diets? It would be a small act of resistance and a kindness to ourselves.” It seems simple enough, but I bet it would make big changes!

The babushkas who stuck around after Chernobyl. The risk of radiation poisoning vs leaving the only home you’ve ever known.

I got sucked in to this food blogger’s account of her experience of hyperemesis gravidarum and swore up and down afterwards that I would never again complain about my relatively slight morning sickness when/if I get pregnant again.

The durable feeling that a child is always at risk, but from the perspective of a physician.

For this holiday weekend:

How fireworks work. It’s time you understand it.

Assuming you go to a picnic this weekend, here are some best bbq sides that you can bring!

It’s good to reflect on the sacrifices made by the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

three simple game-changing tricks for your morning bowl of oatmeal

I hope I’ve gotten your attention. I hope you didn’t skip over this post thinking, “Blech, I hate oatmeal it’s so gross” or wondering why anyone would be excited about oatmeal at all. I used to not be excited about oatmeal, too. Now we have it every Monday and Friday and even my kids are happy about it. Here’s the thing: these tips are game-changers because they turn your bowl of oatmeal from a flavorless mess of gluey slop into something that is actually full of flavor, delicious, and doesn’t even need brown sugar. (Although you can still put brown sugar on. I do. Along with a lot of other yummy things. Read on!)

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Roasted garlic fennel and white bean soup

I think most of the country has a few more weeks until warm weather, so I’m offering this deep hearty soup as a small comfort in the long lingering winter. This soup was everything I wanted it to be on the cold and rainy day I made it: warm and comforting, creamy smooth, flavorful and filling. The roasted garlic and fennel give it depth and the beans give it substance so that with a slice of bread and a hearty salad you’ve got a very satisfying meal. I served it with salty crisped salami which highlighted the mellow sweetness of the fennel and garlic. I don’t think kids should always be a standard of a successful dish but when they gobble down a bowl of soup and ask for leftovers the next day I think it’s safe to say it’s a keeper.

roasted garlic fennel and white bean soup

Ingredients:

  • 12 cloves garlic

  • 2 bulbs fennel, sliced 1/2 inch think, fronds cut off and reserved

  • olive oil and butter

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped

  • 1 stalk celery, chopped

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 cans (about 3.5 cups) white beans (either cannellini or Great Northern)

  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • optional garnish: crisped pancetta, bacon, or salami and fennel fronds

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400. Coat the fennel slices and unpeeled garlic cloves in a couple glugs of olive oil. Lay out on a sheet pan and roast for 30 minutes, or until soft and just beginning to brown on the edges. Remove from oven and set aside. When cool enough to handle, roughly chop up the fennel and peel the garlic cloves (you can basically just squeeze the cloves right out of the skin.)

  2. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5-8 minutes. Add the chopped fennel and garlic and cook for a minute or two more. Add the broth, beans, and bay leaf and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and blitz the soup with an immersion blender, or in batches in a standing blender. Return to the pot and stir in the cream. Salt and pepper to taste. If desired, serve with a swirl of cream, a sprinkle of crisped bacon, pancetta, or salami and the reserved fennel fronds.