broccoli and cheddar soup By Samantha Gianulis  – Apron Strings


Because every mom is a busy mom!



1 1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive or other vegetable oil

1-2 cloves of minced garlic

1 1/2 lbs. of washed broccoli florets

4 cups of chicken broth (one 32. oz container)

1 cup of heavy cream

2/3 cup shredded cheddar (or whatever shredded blend of cheese you prefer)

handful of fresh, chopped flat-leaf parsley

salt and pepper to taste

garnish: toasted pine nuts

In a large pot, sauté minced garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat until garlic is soft and fragrant, about two minutes. Careful not to burn the garlic.

Add broccoli florets and stir until they are covered with the olive oil, about one minute.

Add chicken broth and parsley. Turn up heat to high and bring soup to a boil.

After soup is brought to boil, reduce to a simmer until broccoli is soft and easily pierced with fork, about ten minutes. This time may vary depending on pot you choose.

When broccoli is soft, puree soup in a blender, or use an immersion blender in pot. Be careful with hot soup!

After soup is pureed and in pot, add cream and cheese. Stir while cheese is melting.

Working Mom – Stay at Home Mom Debate

Years ago, a debate began raging about what is better for children, a working mother or at stay at home mother.

Women from both sides of the issue had facts that proved their kids were well-adjusted, evidence that their children were happier, and were living proof that their choices had paid off for everyone, and no one was going to tell them otherwise.

I left the workforce thirteen years ago to raise my kids, and this month as they went back to school, I went back to work.

So, I can finally give an objective opinion on the never-ending question; which is choice is better for the family?

And my answer is, YES.

Here is how my life shift started. I began looking on job sites, putting the word out among friends, going to job fairs.

My resume had a big, gaping professionally-inactive-for-thirteen-years hole. I don’t know how much clout classroom volunteering and a few bylines got me with personnel decision makers. Probably not much, as I got a lot of We wish you good luck in your professional endeavors mail. Completely aware of the fact that I’m in my forties, never got that Masters degree, and was likely perceived as an overambitious soccer mom whose greatest accomplishment was first place in the soccer banner parade one year (it really was an awesome banner), I began to question whether I should have returned to work after maternity leave all those years ago.

A few rejections and I drifted into the Sea of Poor Little Me. Inevitably, I wondered about my worth as a mother, wife, and potential employee at the elusive company of anywhere. I couldn’t defend my position as a working mom because I couldn’t get a job. It seemed hypocritical to defend my position as a stay at home mom, as I was trying so desperately to find work.

From that first discussion of is the time right to have a baby? to is it the right time to go back to work? and everything I did in between has led me to this fork in the road of my family’s evolution. It’s my story, and everybody has one. The emotional reasons behind the life choices and the stories of other moms are so visceral. Not only did it seem nonsensical to assume that I had nothing to offer because I had been unemployed, it seemed just as silly to judge any mom who maintained a career, or who decided not to have one.


And I shouldn’t, most importantly, judge myself. Whatever my kids see or have seen me me doing; staying home with them year after year, slipping on a pair of heels from 1998 for a job fair, or making dinner after a long day at the job I finally got, they see me ultimately refusing to doubt, question, or beat up myself over these choices. They see me optimistically own the circumstances of the day.

And it’s a good day, because we’re together — in the morning before school and work, in the late afternoon/evenings when they’re at practice and I run the track around their soccer field, and at night when I kiss them goodnight, carried by the momentum of mommyhood, ready to do it all again the next day. Every moment together seems sweeter, realizing how much time has already gone, wanting to make the most out of what lies ahead.

Working mom, non-working mom, mom trying to find work, I’ve seen all sides and my beliefs are now qualified regarding these life choices. My belief is that the role of mom is universal, a great common denominator. I love my kids just as much from the workplace as I did when I sat in front of and cleaned around a high chair six times daily. I can’t wait to get home to them after work now and hear how their days went, while years ago I couldn’t wait to pass off a teething toddler to my husband as soon as he returned home from the office.

You can argue both sides, or not argue at all. Because arguing is a waste of valuable time, anyway. I love my job. I love being at home. But most of all, I love my kids — even when they take chicken out to defrost twenty minutes before I get home from work.

Smantha Gianulis

Samantha recently released my her family food memoir, Little Grapes on the Vine…Mommy's Musings on Food & Family .

Samantha is a self-taught chef. She worked in the Catering and Special Events industry for seven years before becoming a stay at home, now a work at home, Mom.
She appeared on NBC's ivillage Live.

Smantha Gianulis

Latest posts by Smantha Gianulis (see all) GianulisApron Strings Cooking ColumnCooking and Recipes,ParentingBy Samantha Gianulis  - Apron Strings BUSY MOM'S BROCCOLI CHEDDAR SOUP Because every mom is a busy mom!     1 1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive or other vegetable oil 1-2 cloves of minced garlic 1 1/2 lbs. of washed broccoli florets 4 cups of chicken broth (one 32. oz container) 1 cup of heavy cream 2/3 cup...Parenting Advice| Family Fun Activities for Kids