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One of the joys of having children who are not itty bitty anymore is that they can do things on their own.*  The wonderful daughter is nine years old now, and is probably the most responsible member of our household.  She has been like this since she was a baby.  When she was that small, we used to say that you could put her in a room full of guns, knives, and poison and she would be just fine.

*I just ran into a teacher friend of mine this morning at the bookstore, who also has two kids, three years apart, just like mine.  However, his are four and fourteen months.  I was blissfully enjoying an iced coffee perusing the travel book section while my kiddos were at art camp at The Foundry in St. Charles.  We tried carrying on a conversation, but he was um…distracted. His little ones were running in opposite directions, with injury or breaking of merchandise a constant threat.  The point is, small children require CONSTANT VIGILANCE, which is a phase of life I am glad to be past.  By the way, he was doing a fantastic job…better than I would have done if I had to watch my kiddos solo at that age.

Anyway, my wonderful daughter is now nine.  She enjoys cooking, and one of the things she loves is caprese salad.  Earlier this summer, we planned to make this for some friends of ours, and she volunteered to make it.  Well, she did an outstanding job, and has made it a couple of times on her own since.  The first time, I watched her pretty close as she chopped tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil from our garden.  I have to say, her knife skills are really good.  I’d like to say that her time in Mr. Crowder’s cooking club paid off, as she holds the knife correctly, and keeps her small digits clear of the blade.  So, this last time, I pretty much left her alone in the kitchen as she chopped and assembled her bowl of summertime goodness.  Sure, I checked in a couple of times, but overall, she was cooking solo.

I’d like to think that I’m not a neglectful parent, just trusting.  The point is, I’m glad she’s learned how to prepare a dish on her own, and has the confidence to manage her way around the kitchen.

I am very proud of her, and glad she’s becoming independent, but I’m sure that as time goes on, I’ll wish that she was my little girl who needed me for everything.  However, for now, I think I’ll just enjoy a delicious dish prepared by my wonderful daughter.

So, good reader I leave you with two things, a recipe for caprese salad below, and a question: What was the first thing you cooked or prepared on your own?  Let me know.

CAPRESE SALAD

Two pints of grape tomatoes, cut in half

A good amount (we usually use a whole pound) of fresh mozzarella, cubed

chopped fresh basil to taste

three good lugs of extra virgin olive oil

salt (to taste)

pepper (optional)

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