Friday, October 29, 2010

This Moment: Clouds


Just a little moment from the past week that I want to pause and savor. Check out all the simple, special moments being shared every Friday at SouleMama.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Simple Autumn Supper: Butternut Squash Soup

I've been developing this recipe over the past month, and have discovered many variations that work -- but this one is the clear winner. Its texture is sublime, and the flavors are like autumn distilled into a soup. Truly heavenly -- and perfect for a Meatless Monday!

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large apple, any variety, cored and cut into chunks
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 white onion, coarsely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 stick of butter
24-32 ounces chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
(optional) small amount of goat cheese

Melt the butter in a large heavy pot (I use my Dutch oven) over medium heat. Add the squash, apple, sweet potatoes, onion, shallot, and celery and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. When the onions are softened, add enough stock to cover all of the vegetables. Put the lid on, but make sure it's vented -- I put mine on diagonally to allow steam to escape. Lower the heat a bit and simmer until all the vegetables are tender -- 30 to 40 minutes.

Puree the soup either using an immersion blender or by removing in small batches to a regular blender. Return to soup pot and add salt and pepper as necessary (if your stock is already salty, you may not need any additional salt -- I only add pepper).

For added creaminess, add a dollop of goat cheese to each bowl as you serve. Autumn in a bowl!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sound Science

This week, our science topic is "sound." We're learning a little bit about how sound travels, the silence of outer space, and demonstrating how the human ear works. Today we did two really fun experiments out of our new book,The Usborne Big Book of Experiments.

Can you hear me now?

The first was to build a two-cups-and-a-length-of-string-a-phone. Which probably has a better name than that, but you get the gist. The kiddos were amazed that it actually worked. The particularly neat thing was that they could literally feel the vibrations of the string, which was a great demonstration of sound waves.

Drum and candle

The second involved building a sort of makeshift drum, and then using the air vibrations created by the tapping of the drum to blow out a candle. I couldn't even count the number of times we relit the candle and repeated this experiment. A winner for sure!

Tap tap