I wondered if I should even write up this recipe, given that it’s so very, very simple. Garlic, carrots, sweet potato, a pinch of salt, and water. But in the interest of preserving this very fleeting era of little childhood, I can’t help myself. For this is Sierra’s favorite soup (and also now liked by her sister). I think I made it for the first time about two years ago, not so coincidentally the last time she had a real fever (and I’ve just jinxed my/her self) and I wanted to make something extra nourishing. The name came about because she was two going on two and a half and hatches were started to be battened down in the face of her disappointments and post nap angsts — one afternoon I’d presented her with a perfectly lovely chicken soup with rice for lunch when she’d in fact been hoping for “different soup”, aka this little orange number. The name stuck around and so has this soup.
When I started feeding Sierra solids about three years ago I was so excited. Her first taste of “real food” was a pureed vegetable soup, a la marocain, because I’d been told that Moroccan babies’ first food was typically a vegetable soup. She made a terrible face and to be honest it took a very long time for her to come around to the idea of food. The girl loved her milk.
I made sure she had a decent amount of variety in her diet once she made her peace with the concept of eating, and she did OK. She then got more choosy, with periods of not eating much at all, and for the time being has settled on not liking everything but being a pretty good sport about most of the items I present her with. It did take her a long time to really eat real food consistently but we got there eventually. She’s even tried and liked some new items lately, namely mandarins, peas, lettuce, and sushi (vegetarian). I’ll confess I probably don’t introduce as many new ingredients and tastes as I should but our meals are for the most part balanced, nutritious, and vegetable based. I try to not make a huge deal about whether or what she does or doesn’t eat and figure it all works out for the most part (and yes, we do go out for ice cream!).
Meanwhile her little sister has been eating solids for about four months now, even though she currently sports just three teeth. So far she has not refused anything I’ve given her, which is interesting and also completely different from my experience with Sierra. The other night I fed them salmon, brown rice, and sauteed broccoli and was rather amazed to see Elspeth eat it all (salmon of course having a bit of a strong taste!) alongside her sister. Who knows how she’ll be in the future, but for now we’re having a lot of fun with it.
It’s the first day of winter here, the shortest day of the year in the southern hemisphere, and I could see my breath as I walked briskly home from dropping Sierra at school. This is our second winter season in seven months and I’m hoping more of my sweaters arrive in our big shipment sooner rather than later. Warming soups and roasted vegetables have been on the menu for the last week, especially since my husband has been out of town (I always tend to do a lot of really simple meals, even more so than usual, when it’s just us three — scrambled eggs and soup and vegetables and whole grains for dinner, with yogurt for dessert). I often have grand ideas about what semi elaborate meals I’d like to cook … but let’s be real: I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in ten months. I like vegetables prepared simply. We’re getting by. Something I’ll work on over this next year as I hopefully get more sleep is getting more creative with meals again.
When I don’t an iota of energy left come 5 pm (we’re on the early bird schedule here) and everyone is breaking down in that last push toward dinner/bath/bedtime, I am always glad I have a container of different soup stashed in the fridge. It’s also perfect for lunches, and we do that about twice a week, sometimes with a quesadilla or a pile of tuna or just crackers and cheese. If I’ve made a vegetable Sierra won’t touch, like asparagus, I will give her a small portion of different soup to make sure she’s getting a few vegetables along with her chicken or bite of steak. I figure that even if my kids aren’t necessarily the most adventurous of eaters at the moment (like their mother I suppose!) they at least eat a decent amount of vegetables and fruit. Hoping this will set them up for a varied and mostly healthful diet in the long term. It goes without saying that I love this soup too — I might just add an extra pinch of salt to my own bowl because I keep it very low salt for the little ones.
If possible I like to use organic vegetables in this soup, especially since I’m giving it the baby. I can’t do everything organic, but try to get organic dairy (milk), vegetables, and some fruit.
Makes about 4-5 kid-size portions.
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 clove of garlic, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
Pinch of salt
1 medium-large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
Water to cover the vegetables
In a medium heavy pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute, then add the carrots and a pinch of salt, sautee about 3-4 minutes. Add the sweet potato and enough water to cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook until vegetables are soft. Remove from heat and puree until smooth with an immersion blender or in a blender or food processor.