Mushroom and Barley Soup

This is a great rainy day soup. It’s hearty but not heavy. In a large stock pot heat 1 tbsp. of safflower oil. To this add 1 tsp. of dried dill, 1/2 tsp. of celery salt and 1.5 tsp. of tomato paste. Heat this for a minute or until it starts to come together as a paste. Next add 1/2 cup of sliced carrots, 2 cups of white mushrooms, stems removed and the caps quartered, and 2 cups of cremini mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced.

This will look like an enormous amount of mushrooms, but fear not, they will wilt and be just enough. Saute the mushrooms in your pot for 2 minutes or until they have just started to wither. Then add 8 cups of vegetable broth and 3/4 cups of uncooked barley. Simmer for 50 minutes or until the barley has cooked.

This recipe makes enough for about 8-10 bowls of soup and it freezes well.

Who ate it?

Husband- Really liked it and was surprised at its rich mushroom taste.

Son #1- Tried it, but didn’t love it.

Son #2- Tried it and hated it.

Around our house:

For the last two years we have had quiet mornings of leisure as we got ready for afternoon kindergarten. But our luck had to eventually run out. Simply put, this back to school thing has been rough, leaving us all feeling like zombies.

Our current reality requires us to get Son #1 ready for grade 1 at school A and Son #2 ready for morning kindergarten at school B. That includes getting them dressed and fed, packing Son #1 a lunch and Son #2 snacks, and then walking to school A and then school B ( the schools are about 1 km from each other) and trying to do this all before 8:50am. It is chaos.

It has however, been very good for my soul.

As someone who has stayed home for the last 6 years and worked only very part-time in the evenings or in the summers, I have often had moments of complete and utter panic that I chose the incorrect path.

There were times when the boys were toddlers that I thought that they would be better off at daycare. At least there, the adults would react to their shenanigans with professionalism and distance, instead of the crazed monologues of an exasperated mother.

More recently, seeing  the boys mature and gain more independence,  I found I  had enough time to write an article or two. Every few days, I’d think I should be working.

Of course, it is a luxury to be able to stay at home with your children. For most families there is no choice. For us there was choice but also sacrifice.

I can stay at home only because we decided not to have certain things.  We don’t own a car. We don’t own a home. We don’t go on fancy vacations. Those are the big three but of course, the  economic reality of staying home trickles down to everything from clothing to eating out, to how often my husband plays golf.

And so sometimes we think- what if?

That’s why this week had such an impact. It showed us “what if.”

It made tangible the choice we made. What we gained with me staying home was a relaxed, stress-free 6 years. It gave us calm mornings and priceless days together.

That doesn’t sound like much compared to a mini-van or a house but after the exhaustion of only 4 days of this routine, it made us grateful for the last 6 years.

We literally “saw” our choice in action this week and that was good for my soul.

-Mom on a veggie mission

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