So after this lovely, middle-aged-style surgery of mine, the doctors and nurses gave me strict instructions not to bend over or do any heavy lifting for 6-8 weeks. I laughed so hard I almost fell off the gurney, and that wasn’t even the Morphine talkin’.
Ahem. Medical professionals: I have three kids living at home, and do you know how much bending and lifting it takes to get them fed, laundered, bathed, groomed and entertained?
I do believe there’s some athletic activity involved.
Try to fill a dishwasher or a laundry machine or, even worse, a clothes dryer without bending over. Try to lift a heavy skillet* out of a cabinet. Try to force shoes and socks on a recalcitrant child who does not fancy going to the dentist today. Ass Painus Maximus, that’s what it is.
My main men, hubs and Awesome Stepkid R. have been incredibly good about taking on these tasks for me. I mean, jaw-droppingly good. I envisioned them being solicitous for a while–a day or two, perhaps–and then, like the sneaky little reptile men they are, they’d slither back into their comfort zone where lunch magically arrives and the Clean Underwear Fairy makes a tri-weekly appearance.
But not my guys–they saw me through. Although I must say, those lucky lizards had wicked backup. Mama and Daddy arrived bi-weekly for laundry duty and emergency grocery store runs. It took a village, people. No reptile behavior in sight, unless you count me, wailing in my bed with my painkillers and People magazines. Not a meal was actually cooked, but we were fed, and fed well. Thank God for sandwiches and Stouffer’s. Laundry happened. The girls arrived and departed to school on time–and, bonus points!–did so without looking like circus performers or the Artful Dodger.
I am so dang lucky I can’t believe it.
I do harbor a healthy suspicion that they were this competent because if they weren’t, I’d convince myself that I needed to do things on my own steam, because hey, I wasn’t really that out of it. I imagine them cringing at the image of moi, high on painkillers, screeching into the Kindergarten parking lot,wrapped in blood-crusted gauze pads, clad in shower shoes and sunglasses, blasting the Pearl Jam and hollering, “Yo, Yo, Miss Linda! Any signs of my Rascal in there?”
I think that’d put the fear of God and Social Services into anybody.
Whatever the cause, I’m grateful for my guys and my beautiful parents. When I finally was well enough to enter the kitchen again, though, it was kinda scary. Note to self: don’t make grocery lists on painkillers. We had 7 boxes of sugary cereal, Kraft macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, mandarin oranges, and a drawer of veggies I’d forgotten about that were hearty enough to survive my convalescence.
I came up with this soup. It tasted pretty good after a few weeks of takeout Chinese and leftover pizza.
It’s also good for you, thanks to that magic potato vs cream addition that on paper, shouldn’t work, but it does.
Magically Creamless Cream of Vegetable Soup
serves 6 or so
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
3 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped (3 cups)
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 cup broccoli, chopped
2 cups cabbage, sliced
1 diced tomato
3 diced carrots
6-7 cups reduced-salt chicken broth
3 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 2-inch piece parmesan rind
Heat about 1 tablespoon oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onion and saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; saute another minute. Add everything else into the stockpot, crank the heat until it boils, and then turn down the heat to a simmer. Cook, partly covered, for 45 minutes.
Remove thyme or rosemary sprigs and the parmesan rind. Blend in batches, or use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. Taste for seasoning. If desired, garnish with croutons (highly recommended), a dollop of Greek yogurt, and chopped parsley.
*God, I love my Le Crueset skillet, but it’s a lethal weapon. If hubs ever really did something horrible, I could K.O. him in a minute with that thing.