Same Old, Same Old

comments: 185




















I'm still trying to cook. Remember when I used to cook? Oh, those were the days, those were the days!!! My fragile mojo for cooking has left me again. This is getting to be a thing. My people need to eat. I think I feed them pretty well, but I'm not inspired. I don't seem to care so much about what I eat. I slurp the dregs from Amelia's discarded mango-peach pouches, eat the second half of a toddler-handled banana that I catch in midair as she hurls it toward the table, and lick raisins off my hand — that's breakfast. Lunch — I don't even understand what people eat for lunch besides pad Thai. Dinner: Okay. I like dinner. I search the archives of my mind, remembering that I used to cook dinner, and if not cooked then surely I assembled it, at least. Roasted chicken from New Seasons, shredded and turned into tacos with avocado and black beans. Swedish pancakes for Sunday breakfast, with most of the pancakes saved to make spinach crepes for dinner. Vegetarian mushroom sauce? I can do it. Serve over pasta with a small mountain of ricotta cheese.

Mushroom Sauce

2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 cups mushrooms, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey

In a large pan, melt butter and saute onions until soft. Add mushrooms, garlic, and spices. Cook until mushrooms are soft but still have a bit of bite to them. Add tomato paste, tamari or soy sauce, and honey. Simmer ten minutes. Add pepper (and salt, if needed) to taste.

This was my friend Ann's recipe, and I've had it for over twenty years. Very simple, very tasty, not very tomato-y, just how I like it. I'm quite sure it probably came from a cookbook but I don't know which one. If you recognize it, please let me know.

Rainy days, rainy days. Rain in the forecast as far out as I can see. It's soup-making weather if ever there was, and now I'm on a mission to pull together a freezer-full of it. "Don't touch Daddy's phone, Amelia; it's very, very important to him and he loves it more than anything," I say as she reaches for it sitting on the landing railing, about to throw it down the stairs. "That's because I don't have an iPad," says he, wryly, scooping the phone out of her reach as I (in the dark, in my nightgown) surf Pinterest on my iPad like a hungry bat, looking for good soup recipes. Ha! Well played, sir! It's 6:00 a.m., a rainy, still-dark morning, and I'm seeking inspiration in pictures of steaming soup bowls and crusty bread. My new plan is to plan better. I'm actually going to plan dinner before dinnertime. No, really, people actually do this! It's like a real thing that people do! Today I'm going to make black bean soup. I've decided that, and it's only 10:30 in the morning. Winning.

What's your favorite soup? Would you link me to an actual recipe so I can put it on my soup board?

I'm setting the TiVo to start recording a season pass of Barefoot Contessa. I used to watch this all the time but not for cooking inspiration, necessarily. It was more of just a general stress reliever. Cooking shows in general, but especially Ina's and Nigella's. Ubiquitous but so appealing to me. They are the right pace for me. Their voices and methods sooth. Even the way Nigella massacres things with that mezzaluna (the woman will not cut even the simplest things with a knife, I swear) I now find charming and encouraging. I have so many of their cookbooks. Perhaps I should start reading them instead of Anderson Cooper's memoir, which is (I'm only halfway through) unbelievably depressing (though, don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of AC).

Knitting: Knit knit knit. For that, I'm onto this garter sideways sweater (that photo is the sleeve — see where you fold it down?) which I should get cracking on as Amelia could be wearing it right now (though I can't resist buying her Zara coats — ack). I plan to line it with some Liberty, or something lightweight and flowery. The sweater-coat I made her last year turned out to be an awesome thing, and it's too small now (sniffle). Also, very pilled. (Alpaca.) That's okay. Clothes too small? Music to my ears! I'll make more!

Also: The sweetest bunny mittens, made for Meems by my dear friend Gillian. Amelia would not take these off this morning, though it made it hard to pick up every leaf and stick on her walk as she likes to do. No matter, such cuteness is worth the extra effort. She was delighted. Man, I love age two.

And: Wee Chickadee. My first Ysolda pattern. Inspired by kimlynn's version. I love the single color against the blue. I'm using a very, very pale pink (though it probably just reads as a rosy white against this blue). Fingering-weight yarn, am I nuts? Once I finish the yoke, though, it's just gobs of stockinette, so I think it'll be fine. I always think that. Until, of course, I get to the sleeves. By the way THANK YOU for all of the bind-off suggestions. After reading through them, I think on my next ribbed bind-off I'll try a tubular. I'll let you know how that goes. I did wind up finishing the second sleeve of the Bloomsbury, so thank you so much for the inspiration to get that done. I needed it.


Danielle G says: October 29, 2014 at 10:26 AM

love this recipe (and the hidden bean protein): Hearty Tomato Soup With Lemon & Rosemary

This is my family's favorite soup. It's vegan, but no one would know and absolutely beyond ridiculously good. Every time I make it, I get excited, and then worry that I'm remembering it as better than it was. And then I taste it... and realize that it's EVEN BETTER!

This soup. I want to bathe in it, or at least eat it all day every day until it's gone. Good with a little crushed red pepper, and don't skimp on the parm!

Our favourite soup (which I throw in the slow cooker sometimes, but really, is done more quickly on the stove top), is from the Looneyspoons cookbook. It's corny and fully of punny recipe titles, but I return to it over and over again.

I make this quite often. Usually with spinach or kale.

This is one of my favorite fall soups!
That mushroom pasta sounds wonderful and I have a bunch of mushrooms at home. I think I may try it tonight.

Oh, your *same old" looks new and fresh and good from here!
Mimi and her mini toys are darling.
It would be so lovely to sink down deep into soup weather and mittens~
Have you caught any "Heartland Kitchen?" Amy Thielen is in the Midwest and making me
homesick with the good food, garden fare, and low key style.

I loved last years' sweater coat--you should definitely make another one!

I made this soup last week and it was even better than I thought it would be:

Enjoy the fall!

Yeah, she's a leftie it looks like. We're a good creative bunch us lefties.

This is one of my favorites. If you are not a fan of beets it may not be for you...

Our favorite soup is this We make it with or without chicken I have put some nice sausage in there. I know how you feel about being uninspired about cooking I am going through that right now. I usually come here for inspiration :)

Favorite soup is here
Add coconut milk and a little maple syrup and you will not be disappointed.

I've never been able to pinpoint why I love Ina Garten so much, and you nailed it. Her voice is soothing. So is her manner, her environs, her recipes, even her hands. When I had terrible nausea with my second pregnancy, and couldn't stand to eat or look at food, still at 4:30 in the waning fall daylight, I would lie on the sofa and watch Ina.

Those crepes look delicious! I've been craving soup lately too. My favourites are this vegetable barley version (incredibly flavourful, extemely comforting) - - and the Pioneer Woman's french onion soup (declared by my partner to be the best thing I've cooked EVER) - Also love a cheesy vegetable chowder... Please keep us posted on your soup adventures!

You described my feelings about coming exactly. I used to love cooking. The love comes and goes. But as you said, my people (all 6) need to eat too. Is not easy to pull together a home cooked, whole foods type meal in 30 minutes . The cooler weather makes it easier to throw stuff in the slow cooker. If I could just think about dinner for 20 minutes in the morning, it would probably save my 5'o'clock sanity!

Terry Clocker says: October 29, 2014 at 11:27 AM

Alicia, last Friday night I made this soup & bread from Alexandracooks. Although I enriched with cashew cream instead of sour cream. It was delish & a hit!

Kristen from MA says: October 29, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Oooh, thanks for including a vegetarian recipe!. :)

Those mittens are adorable!

You're a wonderful homemaker! I bet you cook more than the average mama!

Heather Pool says: October 29, 2014 at 11:44 AM

We love Winter Tomato Bisque, from Country Living Magazine a few years ago. It will come up in a google search. It has fresh and sundried tomatoes, herbs and onion. Goes together easily.

Soup is my absolute favorite food!

Favorite tomato soup (goes perfectly with grilled cheese!):

Favorite veggie soup:

My favorite broccoli soup (I have Rachel Allen's cookbook, which is lovely):

I can't wait to try the mushroom deliciousness! It looks perfect, as does her sweet little sweater. I might be the world's slowest knitter, everything takes me forever. I love seeing how you seem to breeze through all those sweet little girl knits!
We've been loving epicurious's butternut squash ginger soup. I add a generous glug of cream to it for good measure!

I made this soup last week and it was delicious.

There used to be lady at the senior center who knitted Santa mittens. I would buy for adorable nieces and nephews.

My mom's lentil soup is my go-to. I hope you love it as much as our family does!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at