Season of Change

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Lately there's a feeling to get back into the kitchen.  Our outdoor barbeque has been covered for the season, and it's easily cool enough to cook inside again.  But my urge to cook is coming from more than just the change in temperature. My two girls are back in their school routine, and they seem like they need an extra special touch of "mommy love" from me by the end of the day. It's now that I start to really put all of the extras that I can come with into every lunch I send with them, every dinner they come home to, and every snack that meets them at the door.
 
When I go to meet their school bus at the end of the day, the leaves around us seem to be hinting about starting to fall. The kid's demanding schedules are again ruling the days, and food seems to have  retaken its primary role of feeding their souls, as well as their bodies.

I watch all of the neighborhood kids around me, and it's obvious that transitions can be hard on them, even if they're confident like my daughter, Sammy. The first days of school can bring out snarls and growls and sometimes mysterious bad moods.  I've learned that responding with a barrage of words can be less effective than giving them a bit of space to relax, and bowl of warm soup to help them find their center again.

Plates of warm, sneakily enhanced chocolate chip cookies get devoured in the neighborhood in a matter of minutes, and the effect on the kids is wonderful. I remember that feeling when we were kids–playing hard, and my mother somehow knowing that we were hungry, even if we weren't aware of it, then magically appearing with a plateful of warm, delicious treats that made us feel so good inside. But it wasn't the food–I think mostly it was because she knew something about us that we weren't aware of ourselves, and we knew that she was always there, looking out for us.
 
Warm, nutritious foods, delivered at just the right moment, made us feel safe and happy and cared for, and there are few gifts I now enjoy giving as much as healthy, deliciously homemade treats for everyone around me.

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