It is 19 degrees outside. I just finished making a roasted cauliflower and poblano pepper soup for tonight. It's from my Mesa Grill Cookbook, and the prescribed serving suggestion is to float goat cheese taquitos on top. Who am I to deviate from such lusciousness? However, the soup is so smooth I may veer from the recipe and forgo the extra splash of cream at the end. Even with the small amount of cream, it is still perfect for January when one (in this case, ME) is trying to atone for holiday indulgences. Basically, it's just a vegetable and broth smoothie, but the roasting brings out some big flava in the veggies.
I love soups. I make them every Thursday afternoon. My daughter has a LONG dance lesson on Thursday night. I drop her off and have grown-up girl time with one of the moms over a glass of wine. After our meeting of the moms, I watch the remainder of Maren's lesson while I knit or read. Then we go home to soup--already made and warming in a crockpot. It almost feels like I didn't have to cook. And I never resent having to run the kids around. I've made it into a fun ritual for myself.
My friend Jodi and I are reading The Not So Big Life (Sarah Susanka) together and doing some of the exercises. It was a cosmic coincidence that she was listening to the book on tape over the holiday while I was snuggling up and reading Susanka's first book, The Not So Big House. (I am an armchair architect. Or a design enthusiast who has interests in sustainability.) Susanka's most recent book is more of a self-help book that came out of her work designing homes that are meaningful to the owners without giving in to the monstrous footprint of the of the starter castle. The consciousness that Susanka applies to the design process advocates smaller houses with more impact, intentionality, and functionality. (Think Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian Houses.) Foremost in the design process is a blueprint that coincides with the owners' lifestyle. How will the space be used for hobbies? Will entertaining be a factor? Do they want to highlight a collection or a special piece of furniture? Are books and reading a way of life. What about music, art, and dance. Do they work from home some of the time? What is important?
The questions in Not So Big Life the question is not--does this space work for the life I want to live? Rather, it asks the question Does my life work for the way I want to live? It is an important questiont hat I revisit often. I feel I have done a really good job of living out some of my ideals and finding balance in lots of areas in my life. My Thursday night ritual is a perfect example of that. But I am always on the lookout for ways in which I can customize space and time and make them work for our family. I'll let you know what I discover in this process.