Spending time with family – focus on the positive! A family bonding recipe – fast and easy

All families have their challenges – it is so important to focus on the positive – you can only be upset if you choose to be – and although sometimes family gatherings tend to trigger old hurts, there is always something joyful that can be chosen as the focus point rather than the negative part that gets dredged up over and over again. Fortunately in our family – the tough parts passed many years ago – and for the past decade, we have been blessed with family harmony and love. Below are our four grandsons – the only time we can get them to sit still is when they are watching a show – for about 10 minutes while snacking on apple slices.

Jack jonah noah gabe their house on sofa sept 2013

Preparing food as a family and eating together is anthropologically a good way to bond – worked for the generations before us – and so that is a ritual that we love to do.

Here is a family bonding recipe that we enjoy – hope it works for you and yours! This is a one dish meal which the whole family can help to make. We have the adults assemble the ingredients and do the chopping and then get help from the kids for the measuring – and the kids throw everything into the pot and do some careful stirring too.

Chunky Curried Meat, Pasta and Vegetable Soup

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 pound beef stew meat (such as chuck) or lamb stew meat (shoulder or leg), trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
6 cups beef broth (I reconstitute Better than Bouillon)
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 small turnips, peeled and diced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, leaves included, thinly sliced
Pinch of saffron threads
12 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, plus more leaves for garnish
8 sprigs fresh cilantro, plus more leaves for garnish
1 large zucchini, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 ounces angel hair pasta (capellini), broken into small pieces (about 1/2 cup), or orzo, preferably whole-wheat
1-2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion and turmeric; stir to coat.
  3. Add meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender, 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add broth (or water), tomatoes and their juice, turnips, carrots, celery and saffron.
  5. Tie parsley and cilantro sprigs together with kitchen string and add to the pot.
  6. Bring the soup to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook until the meat is tender, 45-50 minutes.
  7. Stir in zucchini and cook, covered, until soft, 8-10 minutes.
  8. Add pasta and cook until soft, 4-10 minutes, depending on the type of pasta.
  9. Discard the parsley and cilantro sprigs.
  10. Season with salt (start with 1 teaspoon if you’re using beef broth; add more if you’re using water) and pepper.
  11. Serve sprinkled with parsley and/or cilantro leaves,

We normally bake bread in our bread machine ( put it on as soon as you get up in the morning so that the short cycle of 2.5 hours is done by the time you have made this recipe). Serving hot bread with butter along with this soup makes it taste even better  – hopefully set in a round table so that everyone can see and speak with everyone else ( or around the kitchen counter – even better since the ‘chefs’ can all show off what they did to help).

And of course nothing could be better than Story Time with Mommy! Here is Donne with her four boys! Divine!Jack Jonah Noah Gabriel and Donne Story time with mommy

About Grandma

I have reinvented myself many times during my life -teacher, lawyer, business woman, CEO, Entrepreneur, Board member, Professor, Mom, Wife, Farmer, Chef, Musician, Author and now my best role of all – Grandma to multiple grandchildren, grandnephews and nieces worldwide.

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