I’ve had a hard time focusing lately.
On the weeks that I actually exercise, I only manage to blog once–if I’m lucky. I’ve been cooking and baking just as often, but ignoring my poor camera laying forlorn in a corner covered in cat hair.
Okay, not totally covered, because I do find time to (make Fritz) vacuum.
The most important thing I have been doing, however, is filling our weekends with visits with friends and long walks outside, exploring all the parks and arboretums that Long Island has to offer and that we haven’t bothered to discover until we knew we were moving.
Just soaking in spring, I guess.
And trying to spend times with the friends and family who we will be leaving soon.
Needless to say, I frequently find myself thinking of shutting down the blog. That way, I can do whatever I want in my free time without feeling guilty.
But here’s the thing. Besides needing an outlet in which I can write exclusively in sentence fragments without facing (much) judgement, I started this blog as a creative outlet for myself. Even when my mom was the only person reading it (hi Mom!), it helped me pass long hours of boredom while Fritz was studying and while I was exhausted from trying to cram my brain full of physical therapy notes.
Now that I’m working in the real world, Fritz is more available (senior year! holla!), and I have some really great girlfriends that I want to spend time with, I don’t need my blog as much. But I still like it. And feeling guilty about not writing in it is something that only I have created. No one else cares if I post once a week or seven times a week (except, perhaps, Mom!).
So for now, I’m gonna keep this thing kicking. But I’m going to continue to focus on stuff that makes our lives richer, like having friends over for brunch or serving Fritz a fancy warm dinner without having to take 1,000 pictures of it.
But when the stars align, and I feel like breaking out my SLR, or I found a recipe that’s really worth sharing, or I want to remember what kind of cake I made Fritz for his birthday this year, or I need motivation to make something wacky with spaghetti squash that y’all might like, then I’ll blog it.
Plus, I’m moving again and just might find myself needing to blog more often until we establish ourselves.
Also, sometimes I overthink things. Thanks for listening!
in recipe news, here’s how we used up our leftover Easter ham this year (aside from eating it cold, straight from the fridge–I’m a classy lady, folks).
Ham and Bean Soup
- 1 T vegetable oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- leftover ham bone
- 2-3 C diced ham
- 5-6 potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 parsnips, peeled and diced
- 1 can (14-oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can butter beans, rinsed and drained
- bunch kale, roughly chopped (I actually used a bag of frozen kale from Trader Joe’s)
- water to cover
- salt and pepper to taste
This soup is nothing too exciting–a great way to use up leftovers, and a delicious way to pack your lunch full of vegetables and protein.
Also, I just love having soup at work for lunch. So filling and comforting, though you do have to face the occasional post-lunch coma with a heavy soup like this.
Start by sautéing the garlic and onion in the vegetable oil over medium heat in a (very) large stock pot.
When they are starting to turn golden and translucent, add the ham and the ham bone and let them simmer.
The browner the hambone (and all the leftover ham on it that I’m too lazy to get off) gets, the more delicious your soup will be. This is all the flavor, baby.
I always buy the shank portion of the ham when I’m making a holiday dinner, because it has the best bone (and therefore flavor) for leftovers.
When the ham is all sizzle-y and delicious, add the potatoes, parsnips, and beans. Toss in the kale and cover the whole thing with water (feel free to toss in a little broth here, if you wish!). Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30-40 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
Remove the bone and season with salt and pepper. I think the most important part of this soup is the last step–take a potato masher and roughly mash the soup, breaking up about half of the potatoes and parsnips. This thickens the whole thing up and gives it a much better texture than a thin-broth-with-stuff-in-it that you started out with.
As always, soups like this are born to be full of substitutions. Use what you have and try new stuff–it’ll probably be delicious.
A soup like this is forgiving. That’s why ham is so awesome–tastes great with everything!
I’ll be having the last bowl tomorrow for lunch, then I’m braving another round with my worst enemy of fad food–spaghetti squash. Pad thai version.
Also, I made carrot cake cupcakes for a friend’s birthday tomorrow! Can’t wait to share them.