As a full-time working parent with a daily commute, the moments I have to spend with my children are fewer and farther between these days. After having been a stay-at-home mom in their early childhood, it's not easy to see them less and know that I'm missing out on time with them.
I have an amazing support network right now with my mom and my grandmother helping out this summer, but that doesn't soften the blow that full-time working struck a couple of years ago.
That being said, the time I do spend with my boys is precious and wonderful, and here are some of our best moments over the last few weeks:
Swimming. On the weekends and sometimes at night after work during the week. We all enjoy the physical activity and interaction. My boys never head to the pool without a ball to toss back and forth. They have a serious ball addiction
Chess. My 14-year-old son and I have been playing non-stop chess through an app for the iPhone called Chess with Friends. I think we've played about six games in the last week. We're sharpening our minds and connecting on a different level. I love it!
Baseball Games. My 9-year-old son has been playing summer baseball, and I love the evening games once or twice a week, even though the heat is killer right now. Not only is it a blast to watch him play, but it's excellent family bonding time for us, their grandparents and even great-grandparent. We even bring Annie to most the games so she can get out and have fun. Every child within a mile attaches themselves to her.
America's Got Talent. I've really enjoyed watching this show with my boys each week. We discuss talent, and what we liked or didn't like about certain acts or the judge's behavior. It's great bonding and conversation!
I don't take the moments for granted. I cherish them and look for more. Every moment that I'm away from my boys, I'm working to make money to improve their lives or set a good example. I'm not perfect, I have a lot of flaws, but of one thing there is NO doubt. I love my boys.
Even though I'm not much of a cook, I entered the Knorr Recipe Contest for a chance to win a trip to BlogHer 2011.
The main reason I don't cook much these days is because I'm working full time and commuting quite a ways, which leaves very little time for cooking.
BUT, I really enjoy cooking, when I have the time and energy.
So, for this contest, I decided I'd take a different angle and present a cooking team made up of me (the blogger) and my grandmother (the cook).
I let her choose the recipe (I don't like squash but this was amazin!), and we went to work:
First we went to the grocery store and bought our ingredients, including:
Then we assembled all the incredients back in my grandmother's kitchen:
Cooking with my grandmother is fun, because she shares stories and teaches me things about cooking I didn't know...and she cracks me up.
She doesn't close cabinets or drawers as she cooks. I go behind her shutting everything.
Now, our special ingredient was Knorr's Homestyle Stock.
See recipe below for cooking details...but needless to say, we ended up with some delicious Butternut Squash Soup! It was pretty easy and ended up being super tasty!
1 lrg. Butternut Squash (3 lbs) 1/2 lb Italian sausage 1 lrg. onion, chopped 6 cloves minced garlic 1 TBSP sage 1 tsp marjoram 6 cups of chicken stock 1-2 TBSP olive oil 1 tsp lemon juice 1/2 cup of cream 2 TBSP butter
Cook the squash first: You can do this in the microwave or a conventional oven.
Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Then place two squash halves face down on plate with 2 TBSP on water on the plate and microwave for 15 minutes or so, until it sticks tender with a fork.
In the conventional oven, cover the two squash halves with foil and cook at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes.
Scoop out the cooked flash and set aside. Discard peel.
Start the soup:
Put 1-2 TBSP of olive oil in a 3 quart saucepan (to keep from sticking). Remove sausage from casing and mash into saucepan, cook until golden brown. (about 4 min) Add 1/2 TBSP butter. Add chopped onion to sausage and cook until onion is wilted and has started to carmelize. (about 6 min)
Add 6 cloves of minced garlis, 1 TBSP sage, 1 tsp of marjoram and cook about 1 min. Then add cooked squash and the 6 cups of chicken stock. Stir and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 min.
Next, blend soup in a food processor or blender. Then return soup to saucepan and add lemon juice, cream, butter & dash of seasoning. Adjust seasonings as needed.
Overall cook time: 1 hour Feeds: 6-8 people
***Knorr Homestyle Stock used to make chicken stock. Each tub makes 3 1/2 cups of broth, can be diluted with almost any liquid, from water to fruit juice. Uses carefully selected ingredients, including herms and vegetables, slowly simmered to perfection.