Dinner Saga + Roasted Tomato Soup

It’s been a few weeks since I put out an SOS on Instagram about our dinner routine that had become quite dreadful and lame. Today I thought I’d give you an update on how things are coming along AND share a recipe for a really good tomato soup (by most standards).

Turns out that the main source of my dinner doldrums wasn’t just a lack of good recipes, but a lack of motivation. I had been beaten down by three kids who constantly challenged my choices. I was frustrated with the location of our dinner space in the builder designated “breakfast nook”. And lastly, I was frustrated that there was nothing pretty about dinner time! I know it all sounds rather crazy, especially the pretty part, but you have to understand the kind of person I am and how a lot of my positive energy comes from being surrounded by things that are bright and beautiful.

Just sneaking in a picture from one of our dinners in Beaune, France

So the first thing I did to turn things around was, quite literally turn things around. I swapped our round glass table (which apparently none of us like because it doesn’t quite fit the space and always looks dirty because glass is impossible to keep clean) for the rectangle wooden table I used for work. Then I swapped the location of the new table, from the predesigned breakfast nook into the living room; moving the big couch into the newly opened breakfast nook. We moved my “Christmas Couch” next to the dining table making sure we still had a place to lounge and watch TV. Lastly, Devang helped by adding some house plants to brighten up the space. It is the kind of set-up that makes no sense when I say it out loud, but works on every level for our family! Why did I wait so long to see this configuration, I will never know.

The previous breakfast nook is now a seating area

Moving on to the actual cooking part, I decided that the only person I would try to please when picking a recipe was me! It was getting out of hand to please everyone’s strange quirks, which were turning into self perpetuated bad habits. And lastly, I made sure that I presented the food nicely and took a minute to set up the table (even if it was just for my own viewing pleasure).

Dinner table is now next to the windows in the living room

I am happy to report that things have become quite cheerful at dinner time. Everyone is happy with the new table location out of that dreadful corner. Everyone is appreciating how nicely the table is set up when they come to eat. Everyone is giving the new recipes a chance with full on understanding that no other substitutes exist.

The Christmas-Couch covered in linen, now sits in the living room next to the dinner table

And this is the perfect place to mention my roasted tomato soup. I am a big fan of tomato soup but hadn’t made one in a long time because, well it isn’t tomato season, but also because I didn’t think the kids liked it too much. But following the new rules, when I saw some nice green-house tomatoes at Costco, I grabbed the pack along with a french baguette and my neighbor’s deliciously fragrant rosemary! Asha helped me make the soup by first pouring the olive oil, smashing some garlic into it (her first time and she loved it; said she didn’t know you could “slap” food), and crushing some fresh tomatoes using her hands (talk about sensory friendly!).

The oven did most of the work in roasting the tomato-olive-oil-garlic mixture, which I then cooked on the stovetop with some onions, rosemary, and seasoning, before blending into a smooth lump-free consistency. I toasted the baguette with more olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper.

Come dinner time, I presented the bright orange soup with the floating rosemary speckled croutons and a side salad. This meal is something I crave all the time but don’t make because, well, none of the elements are three-kid-friendly. And you know what, I was absolutely right. While I couldn’t stop eating my soup, Asha and Arjun complained just looking at it. Ajay fished out the soup-covered croutons and just ate those for dinner. Oh well, too bad. Let me just focus on my lusciously smooth soup, and crunchy croutons, and this beautiful tablescape, and you guys figure it out.

Turns out I am the happiest mother when I ignore my kids!

Just kidding. Just kidding.

I ate the soup again next day for lunch as pictured here, with a toasted croissant, since the croutons were all devoured the night before.

Seeing that I was paying no mind to them, they tasted the soup, gave it a very low rating, but continued to eat and complain until their bowl was empty. The salad got eaten too (sans the arugula … too green). Not only was I happy with what I had made, but I was proud of the whole team who held it together and made it through without any threats of early bedtime or no TV time.

Life has continued thusly for the past few weeks. I knew that I wasn’t such a terrible cook, and it’s finally nice to prove myself right. I’ve still managed to make things that aren’t 100% tasty but you know, we’ve all just moved on without making a big fuss or going hungry. I am breathing a sigh of relief!

So yeah, for now, the ship sails. If you are interested in the mostly loved tomato soup recipe and aren’t intuitive enough to follow along with my zero-details above, you can check out Bon Appetit’s Roasted Tomato Soup recipe which was my inspiration.

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