I have such mixed feelings about the last week of October. On the one hand, I’m relieved that the most jam-packed, freakishly busy month of the year is almost over for Chez T., because by October’s end, we’re all exhausted.
On the other hand, I’m so sad to see October go on many levels. October is such a show-offy month for Colorado with the landscape bursting into red, orange, yellow glory. It’s nature’s equivalent of fireworks, and every time I leave the house (usually with Mozz-man in tow), it takes my breath away. By now, though, the zenith of that beauty has passed, and the trees are starting to look kind of lonely and naked, like they’re waiting for winter. And we know it’s coming.
You know what’s also coming? The holidays.
Usually I can take this realization with a grain of salt, because even though I know holidays=chaos, it’s okay because also holidays=time with family and loved ones. But this year. Gaaa, cue the heartbreak.
You guys, I don’t know how we’re going to bear this. I just don’t.
Thanksgiving is the easier to stomach of the holidays, because we’ll be in Maui–all of us–scattering ashes into the Pacific and taking early walks on the beach and remembering how much Hawaii means to our family. Something about those islands just calls to us, lures us back, begs us to drink it in and cherish each others’ company.
It also doesn’t hurt that I am famously scathing in my criticism of Thanksgiving vittles, so I am not going to miss the turkey, stuffing and other bullshittery at all. Daddy-o has already picked out our Thanksgiving day restaurant (because they serve his beloved ^^^ traditional fare) but I am ecstatic because I can eat poke instead. Hey, if a girl wants raw fish on Thanksgiving, she’s eating raw fish. That part’s gonna be awesome.
But holy shit, Christmas.
Christmas might kill us. Because of all of us, kids included, Mama loved Christmas the best. She loved everything about the season and the minute the Thanksgiving leftovers were eaten, she became giddy with delight. She decorated every inch of her house (seriously–it looked like an exploding Santa in there), and always came up to help me decorate mine, because I am incredibly decorator-challenged. She was the one who took painstaking care wrapping gifts, making them look as festive as possible. She was the one in charge of the goodies in the stockings and Christmas dessert.
I can’t really imagine Christmas without her, but we don’t have any choice but to plod through the season as best we can. We might do an okay job of it or we might do a super crappy job of it. I guess we’ll figure it out as we go.
Until then, we’ll focus on boo-ing and spooking our way through Halloween and getting through November. We’re in for a huge treat weather-wise this Halloween; temperatures are going to be in the low 70’s, which is ridiculously warm for us. Most times, the girls are grudgingly donning jackets and sometimes mittens and boots before heading out to collect their loot, but this year’s going to be lovely. Although both girls are bummed that the holiday falls on a Monday, and I don’t blame them.
I’m happy to report that this week has been hurl-free for me, but I am dealing with pesky bouts of indigestion and heartburn. I haven’t had heartburn like this since I was pregnant, and let’s face it, that was a long time ago. I daresay I haven’t missed it. I might have to make another batch of lentil soup to put out the fire in my stomach. All of the spices and aromatics in this soup really do go a long way to ease what ails you if you have a touchy tummy. It’s comfort in a bowl, and good for you. Plus, it’s quite a pretty fall shade of orange, don’t you think?
Hope you readers have a happy holiday weekend, and post those pictures of the kids on social media if you get the chance. I always love seeing what y’all come up with. I’ll see you in November!
Indian Spiced Red Lentil Soup
makes about 1 1/2 quarts
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon peeled fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
2 ribs celery, sliced into chunks
3 shallots, quartered
2 cups fire-roasted canned tomatoes
1 cup red lentils, rinsed and picked over to remove any pebbles
1 quart reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon salt
Salt and pepper to taste
Cilantro and plain Greek yogurt, to serve
In a large stockpot, heat oil or butter over medium high heat. Add garlic, ginger and spices (cumin through red pepper). Stir and cook until slightly toasted and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add carrot, celery, shallot and crushed tomatoes and cook for about 4 minutes. Add lentils and chicken or vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover pot and simmer for about 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender and lentils are falling apart. Remove from heat. Cool slightly and blend–either with a conventional blender or with a hand-held stick blender. You can puree soup totally or leave a few rough bits for texture. Stir in coconut milk and 1 teaspoon salt and return to heat to warm through. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve with cilantro and yogurt, if desired.