Nothing! I can’t believe it’s true, but this year, I actually owe the government money for my 2010 taxes. After dutifully going to work every day and paying taxes every month, I apparently have not given Washington its cut of my wealth, so here I am, with a check in hand, ready to be mailed to the United States Treasury.
So yes, I will be buying exactly nothing with my tax return this year. Sniffle! It’s so sad. For example, I won’t be buying this adorable bowl from cooking.com:
It’s a Rachael Ray Garbage Bowl, but I think it’s too pretty to be used only for garbage. I could see it as a fruit bowl or a salad bowl, or a bowl for chips to go alongside some salsa and guacamole and a couple of mojitos.
I also won’t be buying this terrific dress from Five Bamboo:
Oh, wait, I already bought it. Oops! Forgive my conspicuous consumption here, but I am pretty excited to have a breezy new dress to wear for the long, hot Texas summer. I’m even more excited to be supporting a company like Five Bamboo, whose bamboo clothing is produced using environmentally friendly methods. Yes, their clothing is more expensive than something I might buy at Target or The Gap, but it’s high-quality, beautiful clothing, and I plan to wear this dress all summer long. And in Texas, one summer is a long time!
Clearly money and values are on my mind right now, between filing my taxes and thinking about the connection between money and quality of life. I’ve been doing a lot of yoga lately, and this morning, it occurred to me that no one can sell you peace of mind. I guess it’s an obvious thought, but still: No one can sell you peace of mind. At the same time, if your mind is peaceful, nobody can steal it from you, at least not without your participation. I find that to be a comforting thought.
Another thing I find comforting is soup. It’s cliche, and if you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, it’s old news, but still: soup! Who doesn't like soup? It’s the easiest way I know to eat vegetables. Who doesn’t like to cook soup? Especially when the weather has turned grey and misty, like a Seattle daydream that gently landed on Texas. I haven’t been to Seattle, but our cool drizzle feels very Seattle to me. I rather like it.
Today’s soup is an easy, very green pea soup. My personal feeling is that one can never have too many pea soups, whether made rich with butter and creme fraiche or earthy with split peas. Pea soup is good soup.
Some pea soups are slow ones, like the soups I mentioned above, but today’s soup is not a slow soup. Instead, it’s a quick-as-a-wink springtime soup, the kind of thing you can whip up in about fifteen minutes and be seated at your table, slurping soup in twenty. I’m sort of cheating you here, recipe-wise, because this is just another version of that basic soup template I mentioned in the context of tomato soup. But the charms of this soup make up for my cheating: it’s thick enough to feel substantial without choking you. The flavor is decidedly pea, but it has a nice herbal depth from the onion, thyme, and sage. I think it’s very healthy, too—just a simple vegetable soup made with olive oil, vegetables, and a few herbs. I’ve made it twice already, and at the end of the second batch, I was sad to see it go. I think I’ll be eating this one all spring long, especially once my spring fever sets in and I want to spend all my time outside. This soup comes together fast enough to accommodate that kind of delinquent kitchen behavior.
Pea Soup for Spring
Adapted from EatingWell
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp. dried sage
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
2 1/4 cups vegetable broth
3 cups frozen green peas
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1) In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt, then cook for 4-6 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions have turned soft. Add the garlic, sage, and thyme; cook for another 10-15 seconds.
2) Add the broth and frozen peas to the onion mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about one minute.
3) Turn off the heat and allow the soup to cool for about five minutes. Puree in batches in a blender.
4) Taste the soup, and add salt and/or pepper to taste. Serve in deep bowls with some good bread and cheese.