Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Waiting Place: Lentil Mushroom Spinach Stew

Christmas and New Years' have been put away, the baby clothes and toys washed, the baby gear set up, and a few weeks' worth of meals frozen (chicken soup, lasagna, dal, african peanut stew, 10 bean soup, and a cornmeal-crusted pot pie); so now I'm back at work, in the Waiting Place.

(Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.  Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.  Thank you, Dr. Seuss.)

So far no one has said to me "what? you're still here?" which is refreshing; honestly, I don't know what I'd do right now if I were home all day.  Read some non-required reading, I guess.  Eat chocolate (I do plenty of that anyway).  Gain weight (check: doing that, too, courtesy of Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years' goodies).  Maybe get my hair cut?  But I still have a month or so to go until my EDD, and so I figured I could keep myself occupied by having somewhere to be each day.

They're throwing me a work shower on January 20.  I'm not sure if I'll still be at work then (babies have a knack for arriving when they feel like arriving, and while I. came late, it's anyone's guess what this one will do), but I appreciate the intention, nonetheless.  I told them we didn't need anything (really, we have more clothes for the 3-6 month size than this baby could ever wear out, and we've re-borrowed baby gear), and I feel awkward about accepting gifts when we've already had one child, but the truth is, it's sort of nice to celebrate the tail end of this pregnancy, and doing so is helping me to get ready mentally for the arrival of this baby.  They threw me a small work shower before I gave birth to my son, but ironically, I never had a shower to celebrate with friends; my mother didn't throw one (she didn't throw me a wedding shower, either--claimed she "didn't know how"), and I guess I just never had anyone else "take charge"; my friends are scattered all over the state, the country, the world.  This pregnancy has felt so long, partially because it's been so emotionally complicated for me, that a little hoopla might not be so bad.  As long as no one comments on the size of my abdomen.

Tomorrow I go to my ob/gyn, and from here on in I have weekly appointments.  Do you think they'll believe me if I tell them that this is what I've been eating, when I weigh in five pounds heavier than last time?  Yeah, I didn't think so, either.  Hey, pregnant women are entitled to the December Holidays weight gain, aren't we?

Lentil Mushroom Spinach Stew

1 T. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, large dice
2 medium carrots, large dice
1 medium celery stalk, large dice
1½ c. sliced mushrooms
1 c. flat brown lentils, rinsed
7-8 c. low-sodium vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
½ t. dried rosemary, crushed
½ t. dried oregano
½ t. dried basil
¼ t. crushed red pepper flakes
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
4 c. (packed) baby spinach
Sherry or sherry vinegar (optional)

In a medium soup pot, heat olive oil and sauté onion, carrots, celery, and mushrooms until onions are just tender, 3-5 minutes. Stir in lentils.  Add 7 cups broth, bay leaf, rosemary, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook on medium, covered, for about 20 minutes, until lentils are tender.

Remove bay leaf. Purée half of the mixture and return to pot. If desired, add remaining 1 cup stock to reach desired consistency. Stir in baby spinach leaves and cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Top each serving with a spoonful of sherry or sherry vinegar, if desired.
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    11 comments:

    tasivfer said...

    Yum!! I love this sort of thing - too bad it's a bit warm here for it! I'm actually looking forward to some cooler weather and soups!

    I hate to say it, but you sound revoltingly organised. I guess one has to be. And a little bit of celebration sounds great!

    inBetween said...

    I am so super impressed that you have even prepared food for when the baby comes! given that younknow what you are doing, I should probably take this as a sign that I better get my butt in gear. When is your due date?

    Have fun at the baby shower!

    Andie said...

    Celebrate, I say, celebrate! I have a feeling this little one is going to come early and surprise you. Actually I thought you would not be going back to work after the holidays, but it's always good to have productive work to do.

    JeCaThRe said...

    By the strictest etiquette your mother is off the hook, because mothers and other relatives aren't supposed to host showers. It's bad form to go begging for gifts for your closest relations. ;)

    Will you allow me to host a virtual shower for you? No one will have to go to the post office or spend any money.

    I considered making it a surprise. I made a list of the folks who comment here and was going to contact them on the sly but most of them don't have contact information other than comments. Fine, I thought, I'll scroll back to an older post and leave a comment there. But you've commented on all of their posts, so the secrecy thing was out the window.

    It would be as simple as me putting up an organizing post and you posting a quick link to my post so that interested parties could go there.

    I would host a real shower, or blessing perhaps, if I were closer.

    And anyone here who would like to bypass Justine's objections and contact me directly, please do. jennifer dot jthorson at gmail dot com

    kate said...

    wow, you're prepared. i had my daughter 7 mos ago & i'm still not prepared.
    enjoy your shower (i think ALL babies shold be celebrated. who cares if this is your second?) & this soup looks delicious. i may have to re-plan my menu this week to include it. :)

    N said...

    Yum, I think I want to move in with you. Every recipe you post sounds wonderful.

    rebecca said...

    You are such an awesome planner! Hope the shower goes well and you have a lovely time, it really is so kind of them. Hoping the doctors appointment goes well tomorrow too:)

    Mrs. Brightside said...

    Hi Justine! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. And congrats on your current very pregnant state - wonderful!

    Adele said...

    You are totally deserving of hoopla, and I've never bought that bit about it being silly to have a shower for a second child. Especially not in this case, where you didn't get a non-work one the first go around. I say, let it rain presents, and silly games, and cake:)

    Good luck with the waiting. Makes sense to stay occupied while you do.

    -K said...

    You know we did a "baby party" for babe which consisted of all our family and friends just getting together for a barbecue. No games, no gender age requirements, just folks hanging out and it was perfect. This time I'm forgoing it all as I'm just tooo tired and already carrying 6 pounds of babies with over 2 months to go.

    N said...

    I made this last night! AWESOME!

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