Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Advent Table

We always use fresh greenery for advent, but the wreath I bought this year is drying out quicker than usual. I think next year I'm going to cave in and invest in something I can use year after year. Makes sense. Must be why everyone else does it. They're sensible. :)

We are doing something that has turned out, though quite by accident, to be extraordinarily sensible this year. In deciding what to offer as a family this year for Advent, we settled quickly upon having soup and bread for our dinners leading up to Christmas Eve. I know Advent is a season of joy and watchfulness (and gingerbread houses and cookie baking) and we're soaking up plenty of those things too.

From this we anticipated particular goods to come, both interior and exterior....and not all of them entirely selfless (like the pounds dropping). What I didn't realize was how perfectly this would simplify Advent even more. It is wonderful not to have to wonder what's for dinner, and to know that meal prep will be smooth and easy every night. I have more time for all the things I love about Advent...the prayers, the feast days, the decorations, the music. All the old traditions and the extra time to make new ones. This is the first year I've done a Jesse tree and it's devotions for the children. I can't really explain why I've never done it before other than to say I just didn't think I would like it much. How wrong I was! It's beautiful. Of course it is. Again, the sensible people knew this all along.

So I think we have a new tradition along with our Jesse tree. Soup for Advent. I couldn't be more pleased with the simplicity this has afforded us all. There's so much a family can do with this...give the money saved on food to those in need, offer it for special intentions, use the extra time you'd otherwise spend in the kitchen to love better and in other ways. Oh, and kitchen clean up! Did I mention easy clean up?

19 comments:

Charlotte (Waltzing Matilda) said...

What a wonderful idea! I am interested to know if you are using familiar recipes over and over or if you are trying new recipes? Some of my soup recipes are not very simple. Do you have a resource you could share for simple ones?

Marcia @ Taking Thyme said...

Very anxious to hear what soups you all are loving for dinners. I was just looking at a bean and kale soup for dinner tonight.

Anonymous said...

Yes! When you are able, please share some of your recipes - my soup repertoire is small!

Robina said...

I would love a post just filled with soup recipes. maybe I will host one. please share any you have.

E Caughron said...

Oh that sounds nice. Would you mind sharing what music you consider Advent music? Wish I could do soup here, but with seven growing boys, I don't think it would fly and they would go to bed mostly hungry each night (even if I let them each have four rolls/slices of bread.)

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

Soup is something that I WANT to be able to do well, but so far my good soup recipes are seriously limited. And...so much chopping! I must be doing something wrong, because soup always sounds complicated and time consuming to me. I'd love it if you'd share some recipes and tips.

Mary said...

what a fabulous idea! I think we may join you a few days a week. simple is good!

Kathy said...

Soup sounds delicious today. It's been unusually cold here. I can see why you were tempted to always go with the "real" greenery, but it is hard to keep it green for so many weeks isn't it?

Kathy said...

Soup sounds delicious today. It's been unusually cold here. I can see why you were tempted to always go with the "real" greenery, but it is hard to keep it green for so many weeks isn't it?

Jill said...

I'm with the others- my soups actually take the longest with so much chopping of veggies, simmering, cooking meat (if needed)...would love to hear some of your simple recipes!
We have still not gotten on board with the Jesse Tree idea. Now that you have shared your satisfaction with it, I may have to give it a try.
Beautiful advent table!

Kristen Laurence said...

Now when I said simple with minimal prep work I really meant it. So far I haven't made any - they've all been from the can or carton or local Corner Bakery. LOL!!

At the start of advent I planned to make all my soups on the weekend and freeze them for the week, but this has been so nice without making from scratch.

You don't have to think Cambells - there are some decent organic soups out there...Trader Joes varieties, Amy's...but the point of what we're doing has been sort of the opposite of full bellies and scrumptious foods. Both the feeling of hunger and the consumption of less-than-tasty meals have been invaluable to us at this time.

Jeannine said...

The soup menu is a lovely idea, very worthy of consideration. Also, we, too, have used fresh greenery for our Advent wreath, and it is already so terribly dry I am considering replacing it. I think that perhaps a pinecone wreath would be a nice balance between natural and long-lasting. Maybe with a few gilded nuts here and there.

Anonymous said...

When we were first married, our church's 4th grade CCD class made and sold Advent wreaths. The name of the child who made the wreath was attached. As much as I love fresh greens some years even contemplating going that way, the minute I take out our now 20 year old! wreath with little Kevin's name on it I never look back. I fuss with it a little, dislodging wax and replacing purple and pink ribbons, and every year I pray for the little boy who made us our first, and only Advent wreath.

Elisa said...

Yummm....I looove soup. I have a book called 12 Months of Monistary Soups. I haven't made much out of it, but I will. I think the recipes are too plain for some people...so...that is PERFECT for advent. =)

Anonymous said...

Ladies, a fabulous soup cookbook - detailed by month and what is correspondingly in season at that time - is Brother Victor-Antoine's "12 Months of Monastery Soups" - a great combination of elegant, company soups, simple and budget-friendly soups, Lenten/Advent soups.. this book has saved our bacon, so to speak, when it came to coming up with a simple, nutritious soup to feed the fam with... for healthy eaters many of the recipes may be lighter fare and not enough, but after all, this was written from a monastic point of view.. :) Enjoy!
Great idea, Kristen - I'm jumping on this bandwagon for sure!

Anonymous said...

oops.. didn't see Elisa's comment above before I wrote this, but I agree with her wholeheartedly!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Kristen,

Can you tell me where you got your manger for the center? I made my own last year, and have lost it somewhere in the bins of my garage. I have no time this year to make a new one!
Thanks!

Kristen Laurence said...

Anon, that manger is the 12" Fontanini. It comes in a 2-piece set with the Infant. If I were you though, I'd craft one for next year. How beautiful to make a bed for Jesus with your own hands!

Sarah said...

What great ideas here! And it's funny because I was *just* thinking the same thoughts about the wreath hanging on our front door. It's fresh and drying out much more quickly this year than expected. I found myself saying, "We should get something that lasts year after year... oh wait... THAT'S why our neighbors have plastic wreaths... " Lol. Love the soup idea too!!