Rice Kernel goes to a language immersion program two afternoons a week. He often takes a cat-nap before the program – a necessary nap, I say. One afternoon, he skipped his nap so, naturally, upon picking him up at 3 p.m. he promptly fell asleep. Now, FHE and I have a rule: if you fall asleep past 3, you get woken up after about 30 minutes. Sounds cruel, I know. But if there’s any hope of my son going to be at a normal hour and staying asleep through the night, trust me, late afternoon naps must be limited in duration.
On this particular afternoon, I was feeling generous. Okay, tired. I let him go about an hour. After taking the baby out of the car, I picked up Rice Kernel, brought him into the house and put him down on his feet. Then the crying began. I knew he was tired, but I had to wake him. Suddenly the cries turned to screams and shrieks. Great.
I calmly asked what I could do to help him; if I could hold him or give him a cold drink. He screamed. I told him if there wasn’t anything I could do to help him, he could cry and calm himself down while I put groceries away and started dinner. So I walked away. And the ear-piercing screams began in earnest. I walked back, repeated myself. He said he didn’t want anything from me. Scream. This pattern repeated itself for about 30 minutes.
Finally, the boy said to me (in between sobs): You hurt my feelings by walking away. Oh. But you didn’t want anything from me, I said. No matter, said Rice Kernel, I hurt his feelings.
A few minutes later, the crying died down and he started being “polite” again. Suddenly, he said to me, are you cooking dinner? I said yes. He said, “Do you think you can make chicken meatballs in soup?” So that’s what inspired this dinner.
And it was a delicious dinner – a versatile and quick one I will probably turn to again. One I won’t soon forget.
Spring Chicken Meatball and Rice Soup
1 pound ground chicken
1-2 carrots, grated finely
1/2 cup spinach, chopped (frozen is fine)
1/4 cup grated onion
Salt and pepper to taste
Seasonings of your choice – I used cilantro
Prepared stock (I used chicken)
Vegetables of your choice – I used baby bok choy and carrot pieces
- Mix the first 6 ingredients together and form into meatballs.
- In a stockpot, bring stock to a boil and drop in meatballs. Cook until thoroughly done, add rice and vegetables and simmer until vegetables are tender.