Like many aspects of our life, my family's weekday mealtime routine is a bit unconventional.
My husband works in the late afternoon and late into the evening, so breakfast is an extremely leisurely affair, involving baking, cocoa-drinking, story-reading, music-making, and, in good weather, a trip to the park or another outing of some kind to blow off some steam and get everyone stoked for lunch.
Lunch is the main meal of our day, and it happens in the early afternoon. The spouse who has not taken the kids out in the morning is usually the one who prepares the food, and once we've finished eating and cleaning up, and the kids and I have begun to shamble through the remainder of our day, my husband goes to work.
I relish our days together as a family, and I recognize that they are a luxury that not many families are able to enjoy, particularly in the fast-paced and expensive city where we live.
The corollary, that we worry about our finances perhaps a little more than some of our friends and neighbours, feels like a small price to pay for all of this time with our babies. They are growing at lightning speed, and soon enough (sooner than I care to acknowledge), the demands of a more conventional schedule will impose themselves.
The only slight drawback of our daily routine is that the evening meal my children and I have together tends to be a touch on the uninspired side: these days I rely heavily on French toast and cheese omelettes, roasted vegetables, and - more often than I care to admit - granola with applesauce.
This soup is one that is currently in heavy rotation on weeknights. It's not overly glamourous, but it covers all of the basics; and it's dead easy to make, which has its advantages at the time of day that every mother I know refers to affectionately as 'the witching hour.'
Day's End Alphabet Soup
I chop all of my vegetables in the food processor, and I aim for two cups of each. I always have carrots, onions, and celery on hand, which is why they are specified here, but I encourage you to be creative!
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
4-5 carrots, finely chopped
6-7 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 tsp cumin seeds, coarsely ground
1 tsp celery salt
6 c low sodium chicken broth
3/4 c alphabet noodles
In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute 5 minutes, then add remaining vegetables, cumin, and celery salt. Saute until veggies are tender. Add chicken broth and bring to a fast simmer. Add noodles and simmer 6-8 minutes, until noodles are cooked.
Makes easily a couple of dinners' worth.