Waking Moments

I've been getting in the habit of letting my daughter sleep in my bed at night lately. I'm an insomniac and sometimes wake up in the middle of the night - 3, 4, or 5 a.m. It's these waking hours that I turn on the small bed lamp to look at my girl's sleeping face. She looks so serene and peaceful, long eyelashes gracing the tops of her small cheeks. It is these moments that I recognize and give thanks.

I do feel fortunate in so many ways. My son and I went clothes shopping last night at Kohl's. He's pretty easy-going and has always been that way. Jeans, t-shirts, hooded sweatshirts. That's my boy, so easy to shop for. Anyways, on the way back home, it was getting late on a school night, and I figured I'd just pick him up some take-out somewhere. When I asked him what he wanted, he said he wanted to eat at home.

It was a moment that struck me in mid-life that I may be doing something right. My kids prefer my cooking over restaurant and/or fast food, etc. All those times when I felt so tired after an 8 - 9 hour work day  and didn't feel like cooking but pushed through those feelings and still cooked - it's times like these that have made it worth it.

I must be in a contemplative mood tonight (this morning)... it's 5:52 a.m. and ... I am feeling happy and thankful. This family and home life I've created should never be taken for granted. It is the quality of life that I want for myself and my children. All the efforts of being the best mother to my children develop and show themselves in these small moments. I am so glad I can stop and wonder at them.

I made simmered kabocha squash last night and the smell of it filled up my small kitchen. It smelled cozy, warm, and lovely. Like home, our home.


Kabocha No Nimono
This is a favorite Japanese vegetable dish which can also be made with butternut squash or pumpkin.

1 small acorn squash (about 1 to 1 1/2 lbs), unpeeled
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp dashi-no-moto powder
1 T soy sauce
3 T sugar
1 T mirin
1 T sake
1 green onion, minced

Rinse and dry squash. Using a large sharp knife, cut squash in 1/2; remove seeds. Cut squash into 1 - inch pieces. Pour water into a medium saucepan. Stir in dashi powder, soy sauce, sugar, mirin and sake. Bring to a boil over a medium-high heat. Stir a few seconds to dissolve sugar. Add squash; reduce heat to low. Place a drap-lid or small saucepan lid on top of squash; simmer 25 to 30 minutes. Liquid will reduce and squash will become slightly glazed. Garnish with green onions.

Makes 4 servings.

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