2011 is here... let's catch up!

Well, the holiday season overwhelmed me as usual, and I didn't post nearly as much as I'd hoped to.. i.e. at all. Shame on me! But, I have set a goal for 2011 that I know I can meet.
I will take plenty of photos of lunch preparation and consumption with my (sort of) fancy new phone, and include the pics in weekly posts with at least one recipe from that week's menu.
Sound good? Good!
Before we start with this past week's photos though I want to mention our fantastic holiday dinner that took place way back in November. It really made the holidays come together for me, and it brought the BCS community together in ways we couldn't have imagined while planning it. First of all, the turnout was incredible. We estimated that at the busiest point of the night we had about 150 folks eating and mingling in the Senior Center! Sarah and Lourie braved the kitchen in the early morning to prep and roast three enormous turkeys - which turned out absolutely perfect and delicious. We had help from wonderful parents as the day went on, boiling and mashing potatoes, slicing bread, carving turkey, setting tables, chopping fruit, raw veggies, and setting out all of the incredible dishes that families brought with them to share - hot soup, salads, cheese platters and a mountain of heavenly desserts.
Everyone ate more than heartily, and we still had enough to send leftover packages home with several lucky folks. The spirit of community and love was truly in the air, and we are already planning how to make it even better next year!
But first we have a year's worth of regular old family dinners to enjoy! Our next is coming up on February 10th. I'm making veggie lasagna and we're talking about kindergarten registration! My husband will be there to take lots of photos so we'll have a great post about it in a few weeks.

For now, let me say how happy I am to be back in the kitchen! I am lucky, lucky, lucky to love my job so much that I was actually looking forward to returning after the long holiday break. How could I not look forward to puttering around in the bright BCS kitchen, chopping, slicing and bubbling, turning this...

and this...

into this,

and this!
Sometimes simple soup and a sandwich is just the thing, isn't it?
And so, here is my recipe for what I've decided to call "It's So Tasty! Vegetable Soup", based on
the exclamation of one of my toddler friends upon eating it last week. This is a very easy, basic, kid-friendly soup, and can make use of either whatever fresh veggies you have lying around that need to be used, or frozen veggies that have been hanging around the freezer. At BCS the kids like it best served with grilled cheese sandwiches or cheese quesadillas!

It's So Tasty! Vegetable Soup

this recipe will make plenty for a family of four, and can be stretched with a little extra broth or water and salt/pepper/garlic if necessary...

1 lb pasta cooked according to package directions, drained and put back in dry cooking pot with a bit of butter or margarine to keep it from sticking ( semolina or whole wheat, any fun shape will do)

1 small yellow onion, chopped

3 good sized carrots peeled and sliced thinly

1 15 oz bag of frozen peas, defrosted

some olive or vegetable oil

6 cups of vegetable or chicken broth

salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste ( for this size batch approx a teaspoon of each is a good start)

Put a large pot on medium heat, add a few teaspoons of oil and the onion and stir it around for a few moments, until it starts to smell good. Add a few shakes of salt and pepper if you like, then add the carrots. Stir them around for a few minutes, being careful not to let them stick or brown up too much on the bottom. When the oil seems absorbed and the veggies are hot, add the broth, turn the heat down to medium/low, and let the pot simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the carrots are quite soft.
Add the peas at this point, and turn the heat up a bit so everything heats up evenly. After about 5 minutes add as much or as little of the pasta as you'd like, and the salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.
Ladle into bowls and enjoy!

****This is the very basic recipe. Please note that you can use pretty much any vegetable you like in addition to or in place of the ones suggested here. I often like to stir some fresh chopped spinach in a few minutes before serving at the end so it just wilts, or add fresh or frozen corn, little cubes of potato, thinly sliced red cabbage, green beans.... whatever you and your kids like. Red or white beans also work very well ******

Take care and come back next week!