I feel as though I blinked and August turned into November. Fall happens that way for me most of the time. When my kids lived at home and would head back to school at the end of the summer, it felt like I hit fast forward right up until the December holidays.

Now that my world should be a little slower around here, I'm taking advantage of all aspects of life. So in celebration of November and Thanksgiving, Desperation Dinners is going to focus on "foods to be thankful for."

Today's offering is simple and elegant carrot bisque. I love this velvety soup all by itself, with a hearty whole-grain roll and a steaming mug of apple cider. But it also makes a beautiful soup course for a fall-themed dinner party, or it would be perfect alongside a leftover turkey sandwich after Thanksgiving.

Carrot Bisque

Start to finish: 25 minutes

Yield: Makes 6 (1-cup) servings

Ingredients

1 quart vegetable broth

2 cups water

1 large (1 pound) russet potato

8 medium-large (1 1/2 pounds) fresh carrots

1 small onion

1/2 cup 2 percent or whole milk

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon garlic powder

salt and white pepper, to taste

Directions

In 4-quart or larger Dutch oven or soup pot, combine broth and water. Bring to a boil over high heat. While broth is heating, peel and cut the vegetables into bite-size pieces and add to the pot as you chop. When all vegetables are in the pot, reduce heat to medium-high and cook for 10 more minutes, or until largest vegetable pieces are tender.

Remove from heat. Stir in milk. Using a handheld immersion blender (see cook's note), process the soup until smooth. Stir in spices and adjust seasoning with salt and white pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.

Cook's note: If you don't have an immersion blender, divide the soup into portions and use a blender to process until smooth.

Approximate values per 1-cup serving: 126 calories, less than 1g fat (less than 1g saturated), 2mg cholesterol, 3g protein, 28g carbohydrates, 5g dietary fiber, 703mg sodium.

Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross are co-authors of "Desperation Dinners!" (Workman, 1997). Contact them at tellus@kitchen scoop.com or visit www.kitchenscoop.com.