Traditions. If I could sum up November and December in one word, it would be traditions. We have traditions for how we celebrate Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Years Eve. All of it. Each day has been specifically calculated to include rituals we have done for years and years. Molding my family’s traditions, with Matt’s family’s traditions, with our own hybrid traditions. I love it. It feels like it is part of what defines what it means to be part of our family. To know, celebrate, understand these traditions means you are a Cremona/Watson.
And after Thanksgiving, we use the leftover ham to make split pea soup (yes, we always have turkey and ham at Thanksgiving). That is this soup. After spending an entire day stuffing our faces with turkey, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie, we stock up on Black Friday deals and make this soup. There is something so comforting about dipping a chunk of crusty bread into this soup as we flip through the big box ads with my sister, dad, and sister-in-law. It’s part of the Cremona/Watson family Thanksgiving weekend. Just doesn’t feel like the holiday without it.
You guys, I am 7 months pregnant with my third baby. How are we already only two(ish) months away from becoming a family of five?!?! We are anything but prepared. Our house only has two bedrooms so we haven’t had to put together a nursery since JR was born. Poor Maxie never got his own room (his crib is in our room, and JR and Max share a closet and dresser). So while we don’t have to worry about designing a nursery, it also means we have no where to put the baby’s clothes or diapers or really anything. Hence why we still need to prepare for Toastie Three’s arrival.
But the lack of preparation has no correlation to my level of anticipation for the baby’s arrival. I am really looking forward to having an infant again. Sure, there is less sleep, and I can only imagine that having three babies v. two babies will have it’s own challenges. But my maternity leaves have always been so much fun.
I have heard multiple mothers say they found maternity leave to be isolating and lonely. Typically, her husband has no more than a week or two of time off after the baby is born. Once the father goes back to work, it is just the mom and the baby alone for a huge chunk of the day. Sometimes the mom has no time to grab a shower or a solid meal since there is no one to help watch the baby and so many babies won’t sleep unless they are being held. I am lucky to have had quite the opposite experience. Since Matt works at home, we spend so much time together as a family. We eat every meal together. Our day starts with Matt making us pancakes for breakfast (because who wants to lose baby weight). While Matt will head to the basement or workshop after breakfast, he joins us for lunch and frequently stops up to say hi throughout the day. I’ve never gone a day without showering, brushing my teeth, or putting on make-up because Matt is happy to take a break throughout the day to help out when needed. And by 6:00 p.m., we are all sitting down together for dinner. Both maternity leaves were so rejuvenating, and I am really looking forward to soaking up the extra family time while we adjust to a family of five.
Still, knowing we will soon have three kids sounds more than just a little overwhelming. And while I know I have Matt to help throughout the day, he does have to work and we have to respect working hours. Ideally, I want to be able to cook dinner and watch the three kids while Matt works. So I’ve been trying to find easy recipes that do not require too many steps. Finding meals that can be made in one pot is even better. Less dishes sounds lovely (for Matt–he is the dish washer in the family).
This soup will likely make a reappearance once the baby arrives. Beyond chopping up vegetables, it consists of just dumping everything into one pot and letting it cook. Also, I love love love cooked cabbage, and the boys always finish their bowls whenever I make it. So it’s a win win.
Remember picture day back in high school? It was such a big ordeal. Picking out the perfect outfit, applying gobs of makeup, and finding a hair-style that’s just right. Yes, very similar to Goldilock’s adventure. Unfortunately for me, every year my pictures turned out the same. Eyes mid-blink. Uncomfortable smile. Messy hair.
Today, we had picture day at work. Well, kinda. See, our firm hired two new employees who needed photos for our website. Since the photographer was already going to be around taking their pictures, I thought, “hey, this is a great opportunity for me to get a better picture.” Maybe I can just sneak in and get a new pic. [no worries. I got the thumbs up from our marketing coordinator].
Why did I need a new picture you ask? Yeah–I’m not the most photographic of individuals. It wasn’t my best work. Meaning I’m that girl who has been complaining about her work picture ever since it was taken.
Today was the third time I’ve had my picture professionally taken for work. Move over, Beyonce. There’s a new diva running this town. But, channeling my inner celebrity paid off. I got to look at my new work pictures, and while I won’t be auditioning for America’s Next Top Model anytime soon, I no longer looked frazzled.
Photographing soup has always been a bit of a challenge for me. If it isn’t full of chunky ingredients, a creamy soup looks bland. What I should do is buy some cute, unique bowls from Goodwill to jazz it up. But its so easy to get lazy when it comes laying out colorful and eye-catching backdrops for my website. Thankfully, this recipe is full of delicious chunky ingredients, so my fiestaware bowls sufficed. This spicy soup was delicious, easy to make, and can be ready in twenty minutes. The perfect meal after a long day of work!
It’s that time of the year where everyone is either sick, getting over a sickness, or is about to be sick. No gusta. This sickness cloud sat over our house for a couple days last week. Matt couldn’t get out of bed. I went home from work early (a true sign of sickness–I’ve never called in sick or went home early from work since I was 16). Now that we can stomach food again, I had the urge to make some comfort food.
With my health back, I was ready for a challenge. I’ve been wanting to make homemade tomato pesto soup for quite some time after having a delicious tomato pesto at Crave, a local restaurant. And this recipe not only met my expectations, it surpassed it. To my surprise, this recipe isn’t as challenging as I thought it was going to be. Sure, there are multiple steps. You need a hand blender. And lots of tomatoes. But most of the work involving waiting rather than mincing and chopping.
Honestly, this soup may be the best thing I’ve made thus far. It tasted like Italy. So natural, fresh, and basily. Perfect. I couldn’t stop bragging about it. I texted pictures to family and friends. Blabbed about it at work. But it was so fucking good.
Ok, enough of my shameless face shoving. Go make your own batch so you can do the same!
Matt has always been a huge soup person. Me, not so much. Since I’ve never been a soup connoisseur, I called in the reinforcements. My good friends Kelsey and Glenna came over for dinner to give me their honest opinion on this soup. They gave it two thumbs up. And I must say, after this recipe, I might be a convert.