Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Little Lights & Vegetable Soup

Someday I'll take care of myself. Maybe not today.

When Paul is worried about stuff, he can't sleep. He's got stuff to worry about. He woke me up in the middle of the night, asking me if I was okay. What a funny question. I love sleeping. Of course I am okay. Are you?

I wonder why Megan doesn't sleep with any covers on. She looks cold. Her legs peek out from underneath her cotton pants. It worries me, especially with winter coming.

I have the most odd spider bite on my side. Sometimes that happens out here in the mountains. It's not very comforting. Some spider's been crawling on you in your sleep.

I'm so shaky and jittery in the morning. My hands are not very steady. Maybe my body is still waking up. Maybe it's dehydrated. I should probably drink some water. Not right now.

I am getting my hair cut today.

I put oil in some of our food for dinner. It totally wasn't even worth it. No, it didn't even taste better. The kids didn't even like it. I won't be making that recipe again.

I need to go clean my kitchen. What relentless work. I am relentlessly cleaning my kitchen. That sounds very repetitive. Not very fun to read. Oh, well. My brain thought it.

Essie didn't finish her homework yesterday. But it was totally worth it. I am such a kid still. I don't like homework, and sometimes that rubs off on Essie. But we had fun.

This was our fun.

Alana is like a little light.

A glowing light we held in our hands, talked and cooed with. It was like holding a piece of heaven.

I wish she were mine.

Mother's aren't supposed to want more children. Squelching.

So many little hands want to touch. My children love this baby. But she is beautiful. She talks so much it makes me giggle. Do you want to hear me giggle?

Push play.

We get to have Alana today, too. I could have her every day. I know it wouldn't be right. She needs her Mommy. But I miss that light she brings into my home. My heart. It is tangible, almost. I never felt so much peace.

Did you know that it rained last night? I wish I could take a picture of the smell of rain for you. Take a big, long, drinking breath. You can smell it. Pine needles. Fresh rain. Wet earth. God is awake.

I get nervous about hair cuts. Petty little salons where girls walk around so made over they aren't even human anymore. No, I shouldn't say that. But they are so hard to talk to. Relate to. They are Moms too, I guess. Sometimes I am able to penetrate their marble shell. Sometimes they open up and tell me what is really going on in their hearts. Usually it is pain.

I have a lot of errands to run after my haircut. I don't like running around with freshly cut hair. It always feels wrong after someone else styles my hair.

That doesn't matter.

My blender is broken. Take that back to Costco. No yogurt yesterday at Trader Joe's. Check again today. If only I weren't so dependent on their delicious yogurt. Baking. Kids. No, don't bake your kids. That's not even funny!

Blatant questions from a woman at Trader Joe's. "Are these ALL your children?" Oh, no. Am I about to get it. "Yes." And then in a Dang, Girl! voice, "You look incredible!" I smiled too big. It showed. My excitement showed.

How do I even fit this recipe into this post?

It powered me yesterday. It powered Paul. Helped us survive when all the kids and I could think about was baby Alana. Did you know she is my namesake?

Her name is Alana Ashlee. I am still in disbelief about that. But when I let it sink in, it makes me giddy.

That didn't fit the recipe in very well.

But when you want to veg up.

When your feeling kinda' heavy. I suggest a good vegetable soup like this one. I wouldn't have been as happy yesterday without it.



I should cook more out of this cookbook. It always makes me feel so healthy and energetic. Yes, I will cook more from this book.

Vegetable Soup
Modified from Mary McDougall's New Cookbook.

But you can shake it up however you want, and add whatever veg is in your fridge. I do did.


1/4 cup water
1 large onion, chopped
1-3 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
1 cup cut celery
One 14 oz can diced tomatoes, with their liquid
2 quarts of water (if cooking on stovetop) (if using pressure cooker, 1 quart water)
2 tsp vegetable chicken-like base concentrate (totally optional, just adds flavor)
1 cup (about 4) coined carrots
2 cups coined zucchini (last time I used butternut squash, didn't have zucch.)
2 cups shredded cabbage
2-3 cups quartered and thinly sliced potatoes (I like gold potatoes, leave skins on)
1-2 cans beans (garbanzo and black are my favorite)
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp basil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup green beans (I left these out)
1 package frozen, chopped spinach, or 3 large handfuls of chopped, fresh spinach


Place the 1/4 cup water in a large soup pot. Add the onion, garlic, and celery. Cook, stirring, over medium high heat for five minutes.

Add the carrot, zucchini (or butternut squash), potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, spices and beans. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. You can add cooked pasta at this point, if you want. I don't.

Add the frozen vegetables (if using fresh spinach, wait to add until next step). Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes. Stir in the fresh, chopped spinach.

Or if you are like me, throw it all in an electric pressure cooker, on high, for 8 minutes, and then eat about two massive bowls of it. Yummy. Filling.


  1. Whereabouts are you located (you don't have to give me your address, or anything :) ) Just curious--north, south, east, west?

    I love all the McDougall recipes--always winners.

    1. I am about 20 minutes East of Albuquerque. Located in the "East Mountains," in a little town called, Tijeras. (Means "scissors" in Spanish).

  2. This post is so heart-warming! I love the beautiful pictures of you! You radiate a cetain natural light, it's no wonder the woman at the grocery store complemented you! I miss baby Alana too-- after seeing these pictures. Are you taking care of her since Catie is back to work? It's so hard being in Utah sometimes when some of my favorite people in the world are in New Mexico!! Guess what? I am trying to print out all the recipes from your blog so I can just try to follow this diet along with you! I think I'm at a place in my life where I can better commmit to it! You are such an inspiration to me :)Hey, Ash, one more thing, do you think you could start posting daily meal plan ideas? Like different ways that you eat in a full days time? I know you posted once the ideal day in your diet, but I know you eat much different than that some days, ideas?

    1. Thank you, Aimee!

      Yes, Catie is back at work, but hopefully temporarily.

      Your job of printing would be so much easier if I had my recipe index fixed. Maybe that is what I will do this morning!

      What I can do, is start posting what I ate yesterday, and ideas. Although I ate it yesterday, you could eat it tomorrow. Know what I am saying?

      That's awesome you want to try it out. Even if you just ate 2 plant based meals a day, I think you would really enjoy it. But you actually are probably already doing that, huh?

    2. I am just hoping to eat much more plant based :) I still get free food from work and home though :) But hoping to influence the at-home meal plan to be more plant based as well! I think I will wait on your recipe index to print, good idea :) And thanks for the meal plan, writing what you ate yesterday is awesome!

  3. I absolutely love the seventh picture down of you.. You look so beautiful and happy! And truly like the true Ashlee! And the one of Essie! Oh that is so cute.

    1. Thank you, thank you!!! I almost didn't post that picture.

      I finally got the video of Alana posted. It's a bit shaky, but oh well. It's fun.

      The one of Essie just shows her pure delight. Ess is just an amazing girl.

    2. She really is! Give her a hug from me and tell her she is so special to me! So do you take care of Alana everyday?

    3. No, I take care of Alana three days this week. I don't know about next week at all.

  4. When I try to watch the video of Alana, it blanks out and says "this video is private."

    1. Oh, wow, thanks for telling me, Aimee! I will fix that.

    2. Okay, it should be fixed, can you try it again and tell me if it works?

  5. How I radically miss you all there! I would go and visit once a month if I could! And then demand cooking demonstrations! Every creation I have had of yours always tastes great! With no headaches or other side effects I normally get from food! I would love to hold Alana and help clean your house, help do laundry and watch the kids play. It feels we are wrongly seperated from family in Albuquerque, all my kids cousins are there but one!