I’ve started some very bad habits with little grandson Henry. I know better, but he’s just so adorable and irresistible, and when he wants ketchup on his toast, I give it to him. (I confess to liking ketchup with my eggs and toast.) When he wants more dressing on his salad, I give in. He doesn’t actually talk yet, except to say “twactah” (tractor) and something like “please” but his intentions are clear. He has a finely articulated pointing finger.
Henry stands next to me when I’m making cream cheese frosting for cinnamon rolls, and I put a little dab on a spoon and he’s in heaven (just a little). I don’t give him batter with raw eggs – I do have some standards, though my own kids ate buckets of it and they’re OK. Henry also loves foods that are actually good for him, that don’t send his glycemic index into the stratosphere, like yogurt with berries, or soup. He loved Katie’s home-made chicken noodle soup, and he devoured the applesauce we made last week. Believe it or not, we’ve gone through almost a bushel (or as my son-in-law reminds us, $50 worth) of Honey Crisp apples! We made one pie, a number of jars of applesauce, two apple crisps, and then there’s the grab-and-go for a straight-up apple snack. For the little guy, I’ve sliced them up, smeared with peanut butter and decorated with raisins. These apples have disappeared! The apple bowl is looking a little meager. We may have to go pick more this weekend.
We’re all sharing space until Katie’s and Bill’s part of the house is done (communal living at its best, but we’re managing), and the best part is that Henry is always nearby. I have to be careful when I’m cooking -- he toddles around the island, happily making many revolutions, with no real destination. He’ll have a turkey baster in one hand and a spatula in the other, which is important because I need his help. He’ll suddenly change directions and squeal in delight that he’s surprised me. His loopy blonde curls bounce as he tries out this new walking thing. Sometimes he walks stiff-legged with his arms forward (for balance?) so Katie says maybe he should be Frankenstein for Halloween!
I’d forgotten how lovely it is to have a baby in the house. There’s nothing like walking in the door and having that little face light up when he sees me. How often does that happen in life? Not often enough, that’s for sure. So, I soak up all this time with gratitude and awareness, telling myself to stop and notice because, as any mother of grown children will tell you, it goes by all too fast and it’s important to remember.
I’m going to try something new on Henry: butternut squash soup. I love it so I think he’ll love it, though it may be a little strong for his yearling taste buds. Whether it’s nature or nurture, he’s already developed a taste for the sweeter things in life. I told Katie we’re going to be cooking very healthfully from now on so Henry doesn’t write a book about obesity stating “It all started in my grandmother’s kitchen…” Yikes. This butternut squash soup is a perfect kick-start to some delicious, healthier, eating. I can’t credit one source – it’s a conglomeration of many recipes honed into one perfect bowl of warm, soothing deliciousness, perfect for a cold autumn day.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP
2 tablespoons butter
1 butternut squash, about 2 lbs., peeled, cut into 1” cubes (or equivalent in frozen, cubed squash)
2 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 yellow or white onion, chopped
3 cups vegetable stock
2 cups apple juice or cider
1 cup light cream
Nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste
In large saucepan on medium/low flame, melt butter and cook onion and apple until soft, about 10 minutes. Add squash, stock, and apple juice or cider. Cook until the squash is tender. If you are lucky enough to have an immersion blender, blend. If not, remove solid pieces from soup and puree in food processor or blender. Return squash to pot, blending well. Stir in cream. Heat thoroughly. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
Serve in warm bowls, with a sprinkling of cinnamon.
Photo credit: http://img4.realsimple.com/images/food-recipes/recipe-collections/0412/butternut-squash-soup_300.jpg