Homeschool How to: Managing the kitchen

Some time ago, a friend was visiting for a play date in the afternoon with my kids.  As she spent the afternoon with me, I cleaned up the lunch dishes and began making dinner.  She commented, “You must feel like you never get out of the kitchen!  You have to make breakfast, lunch and dinner every day!”

The truth is, when you are at home with the kids all day every day, sometimes the cooking does get to be a chore.  For me, it is not so much the cooking as the ideas that become a challenge.  I don’t want to feed my kids peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day, although I don’t mind it once a week.  I want to include vegetables and fruits, and I want lunch to be fairly quick.  So coming up with ideas for lunch is an important part of my homeschool management.  This winter, we have been eating lots of soup for lunch.  When I make the soup, the kids can make cornbread muffins or potato rolls to go along with the soup if there is time, or we can toast a loaf of store-bought bread if there isn’t much time.  Soup, with bread and fruit beside it, is a quick, healthy lunch for my family.

This Sunday, Shandy took Max on his “date”, and since Daddy wasn’t home, that means everyone else gets leftovers for dinner!  Lucy and I took advantage of our lazy afternoon to make 3 different soups for our lunches this week.

(Sorry, Iphone pictures — Daddy had the good camera.)  From left to right, we made sweet potato coconut soup, spicy cauliflower soup, Thai fresh pea soup, and blueberry baked oatmeal for Monday morning breakfast.  I chose these recipes because they had relatively few ingredients, similar cooking times, and didn’t require too much intensive effort.  Multi-tasking on recipes is difficult enough.  If any one recipe is also difficult, then the multi-tasking doesn’t work very well.

We started with boiling the rice and spices for the fresh pea soup, and then Lucy helped out by cutting up the cauliflower while I sauteed the onion and carrot for the cauliflower soup.  Meanwhile, we cooked the sweet potato for the sweet potato soup.  The recipe  calls for a baked sweet potato, but when yams were on sale last month, I bought lots and we peeled, chopped and froze them.  So I just boiled one quart size bag of the sweet potatoes until they were soft.

Lucy helped keep track of where we were in each recipe, and we worked really hard to put the right spices in each one!  After all, Thai spices and Indian spices are quite different.

An important lesson Lucy learned during the cooking session is “mise en place”, having the spices prepared and measured before starting to cook.  This is especially important in doing more than one recipe at a time, or preparing a recipe with many different ingredients used in succession.  I usually don’t cook this way, but if I am making Indian food I always do this.


This cooking project took only about an hour and a half, we enjoyed good company, and are well prepared for the week ahead!  Hope enjoyed your weekend as well!

Sweet potato curry soup


2 sweet potatoes, baked or cooked completely

1 can coconut milk

2 teaspoons sweet yellow curry

2 teaspoons garam masala

1 cup water

1 teaspoon salt, to taste

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.  Taste for seasoning.  If I was making this for just adults, I would add a sprinkle of cayenne.  The soup may be refrigerated until ready to serve.  Heat thoroughly and serve with a dollop of plain yogurt.

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