Thursday, May 2, 2013

Simple Egg Drop Soup and Simple Lives

One of the most important lessons I've learned as a parent is to manage my expectations. It's so easy to get frustrated, both with our children and with ourselves, when we begin with expectations about how things should be.  I'm trying to let go of my expectations so I can be a more present person. It's an exercise in patience, but I do realize that they are often the source of negative feelings.
I write a food blog, and I love to cook, so I've come to expect meals to be little events. I like putting time into cooking, giving it my full attention, and enjoying the fruits of my labor.  But now that I have a child, I am not as interested in spending so much time cooking, particularly on weeknights. Someday I will be able to share the kitchen with her more (though she's becoming more and more involved as she becomes more able) but for now, I want meal preparation to be quick and easy.  It's sort of hard to let go of cooking something special and elaborate on a regular basis. I love my chicken enchiladas, but that's a weekend dish now. I have had to change my expectations about what makes a good weeknight meal.
It's very important to think about the words you use to describe your choices. They have a real effect. You could easily call much of our weeknight eating mundane or dull, but I'm learning to find joy and freedom in simplicity. I'm realizing that taking things off the table, reducing options and relying on simple basics, is incredibly liberating. It frees me up to focus on the things that are important to me.  And now that we aren't expecting meals to be anything other than tasty and healthy, we're always satisfied.
I have started baking bread on Sundays. Ellie loves helping with the dough and it gives me two loaves to use all week.
This week I made one loaf into a cinnamon raisin loaf, and it was delicious. The toast slathered in butter was pretty incredible.
I've been keeping butter around at room temperature in this butter crock.  You just have to be sure to change the water daily and it will last for quite a while.
Today I'm going to share one of the fastest meals we've been making. It comes together in about the same amount of time as it takes to make a salad. It's cheap, tasty, and reheats well.
Depending on what else you're serving, this should feed four people. We usually do 1-2 eggs per person and have lots of leftovers.

Egg Drop Soup

1 yellow onion, chopped
6-8 c. chicken or vegetable stock
1-2 tbsp. soy sauce
4-6 eggs, beaten well
green onions or chives to serve
Fry it in butter or oil until it's translucent. (Not quite ready here)
Add a little water or stock (or beer!) and scrape the good stuff off the bottom of the pan. You could add garlic, too.

Fill the pan the rest of the way with stock and bring to a boil. Let it boil down a bit and then season to taste, adding soy sauce and pepper.
In a bowl or measuring cup, beat the eggs. 
Remove the stock and onion mixture from heat and start to stir it so that the liquid is spinning in the pan.  As it continues to do so, slowly pour in a thin stream of the beaten eggs. You don't want the soup moving so quickly that the egg just mixes in to the liquid. You need the eggs to almost look scrambled. Continue, doing this in batches, stirring again to get the liquid moving, until you use up all of your eggs. 
Serve garnished with green onions or chives, and maybe a drizzle of sesame oil and chili sauce.
That's it.
I've made a simple realization about my home recently.  I used to look at pictures of houses (pinterest) and think about the things I could buy to make my house look the way I wanted it to. I've slowly realized that I can do much more for my home (and my sanity) by removing things instead of acquiring them. I realize how simple that sounds, and I'm sure I 'understood' it before, but I'm really starting to live it now and it feels so good. 
It really started with having Eleanor. I had an idea of how I want her space to be set up (her room has been updated since this post. I'll try to share soon!) and I realized that the rest of our home should be the same way: spare, uncluttered, useful. Everything should have a place and things that don't fit should be removed. In so many ways, becoming a parent has pushed me to become the person I want to be. I still feel inadequate often, but it has done me so much good. I have so much that I want to learn because I want to teach it to her, but for now I'm concentrating on our surroundings and our use of time. 
I cleared out the front closet, getting rid of lots of coats and shoes. It feels great to look at a closet filled only with things I actually wear.  
I'm hoping that less stuff is going to help me spend less time cleaning and more time with this kid. I can't wait for warmer weather again. We pulled the wagon out for the first time since the fall and gave it a run around the backyard. 
I hope things are going well where you are. Are you experiencing this crazy weather? We were in shorts and sweating early in the week and now I'm bundled up and still chilly.
Thanks as always for dropping by, and please check out Simple Lives Thursday.

 1. Our Windmill-- A Sustainable Pump by Live Ready Now! "We dug our well last year with the goal of using a windmill pump. Our idea of living sustainably means we aren't dependent on the availability of fossil fuels or grid power to exist."
 2. Kale Paneer (gluten free) by Stealthy Mom. "Saag Paneer is a creamy, spicy dish of green (saag) and homemade cheese (paneer). It was one of my favourites when dining out in college and a rarely seen delight here in the Midwest. "
 3. How to Plant a Cottage-Style Window Box by Livin' In The Green. "What brings to mind the cozy look of a cottage more than a window box?"


Foy Update said...

This week since the weather is so wonderful, at least here in Indiana, I am sharing so recipes for spring asparagus and a bright pink potato salad that I learned how to make as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama. Hint: the bright pink is from one beet. You can’t really taste the beet, but it sure is pretty!
I’d also like to invite you to a blog hop I do with a couple blogger friends called Eat Make Grow. This month’s theme is Picnics! We’d love to have you share your portable food, picnic ideas and outdoor crafts with us.

Link up, Buttercup!

karrey said...

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." (William Morris)

I'm trying to integrate this into my thinking about household things, and it really helps cut through the BS, kneejerk reactions I have towards keeping clutter in the house.

Alicia said...

Thanks for sharing, and I will participate in Eat Make Grow. It's a great hop!

Karrey, I love that quote. I stuck a post-it on the fridge recently that said "Do I use it? Do I love it?" and it's been surprisingly compelling to follow. It's so easy to identify ourselves with things.

Susi, your perfectionist personality has its benefits and its drawbacks. I've witnessed some of the incredible things you're able to give your daughter (and everyone you love!) so I think you're drawing the balance quite well. And yes, more hours in the day would sure be nice. But it's also important to just accept our limitations and teach our children about forgiveness, especially of ourselves. Maggie is such an able little girl. I wish we were closer. Please know that I read every post on your blog, even though I'm a failure at commenting.

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