A Flower To Love: Artichoke and Leek Soup

IMG_2941Flowers have become my little love’s newest obsession.  She loves to pick them, hold them, sniff them, crush them.  One is never enough, and it’s irrelevant whether or not the flower of the hour has been pruned and nurtured by someone else.  Once she spots one, there’s a good chance that we will be leaving behind a naked bush or potted plant.

IMG_2504Nowadays when outdoors, I find myself quickly scanning the surrounding scenery for her next victim.  And if ever I forget, I am immediately brought back to reality by the shrill giggle of excitement, and the voice quaking, “oh mommy pretty flower,” followed by my favorite toddler declaration, “it’s mine!” as she dashes off to pluck her prize.

IMG_2507The great flower infatuation has also effected our runs together.  Our running trail is lined with various flower bushes, and as we get started she cries out, “I need pink flower!  I need red flower!  I need purple flower!” I spend more time pulling over the jogging stroller to pick a new flower than I do running in the beginning, but finally, after my budding botanist is satisfied with her bouquet, we manage to run relatively uninterrupted, while she serenades us with Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Jesus Loves Me.

IMG_2505I love the look of mischievous surprise that washes over her face with each new flower in her little hand.  It’s a reminder of how many things that I take for granted are wondrous and exciting  discoveries for the headstrong creature I’m privileged to share my life with.

IMG_2510In honor of her budding passion, I turned to our favorite flower-bud-vegetable standby, the artichoke.  When my little foodie was first eating solids, I used to fork mash the soft heart of steamed artichokes, which she couldn’t get enough of.  This week, I made Tosca Reno’s Creamy Artichoke Soup, and neither one of us could get enough!  I only wish I had made more.  I substituted vegetable broth for the chicken broth, and served it with crusty, garlic, whole grain toast, which we both ended up using to ladle this comforting dish into our hungry mouths.

IMG_2509As I was cleaning out her car seat today, I found dried and wilted remnants of the past week’s pickings.  It brings joy to my heart that she can take such pleasure in simple, innocent things.  Every little girl deserves flowers in her life.  I’m so thankful that my love has found hers.

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