Well it’s been a while, there is no denying that. I could give a million and one excuses why I have let the blog sit since last Fall, new job, longer hours, new friendships, on top of…well life in general. The truth is, I just haven’t made the time.
Nothing against coming on here and typing away my thoughts and musings for the day. I love it, it is quite cathartic for me, but my focus last year was on finding happiness. And not just any sort of happiness, but trying to answer the “what are you going to do with the rest of your life” question.
Those of you that have followed me for a while know that I don’t have the closest relationship with my family. Not because I haven’t wanted a warm and fuzzy family all of my life, but I just don’t have one. It’s a fact and I have come to accept that there may never be a saving grace moment when we wrap our arms around each other in a loving embrace, realizing finally what we have been missing.
I have always hated the holiday season because of this. Everyone always asking me if I will be going back home to visit. In the past, I would tell half truths like, “No, but I wish I were.” Even rewriting history about how great our holidays were back home, only telling people the good parts, not including the terrible tension that built within our house because of our extreme economic disparity. This snowballing into bad behavior on my parents part and that only beget more bad behavior.
In short, the holidays have always sucked for me. But honestly, who wants to hear about that?… And so when the question was asked, I told white lies, well because I didn’t want to seem different or not fit in.
The fact is though, that you can only get so close to people when you hide your past. So this year, when the inevitable question was asked of me at my new job, “Are you going home?” I approached it differently. With some, I simply said, ” No.” If they prodded me or gave me a sad face, I just said, “You know, I am just not that close with my family” and left it at that. Most people accepted that and moved on. With others, I made a joke of it saying, “Oh heck no, I enjoy my sanity.”
Thankfully, everyone seemed to treat me the same. It was such a relief to not have to lie or cover up the truth. In essence, I felt like I was able to move forward. New Year’s Day has always been one of my favorite days because not only did it mark the end of the holiday season, but the endless possibilities for the next year.
One tradition that my family did have was eating black eyed peas, collard greens and pork on New Years. As I have always stated, we had good food and this tradition was supposed to bring good luck and lots of money. Who would want to break a tradition like that? This year, I continued the tradition, but I made it my own by making a delicious soup that would include everything in it.
If you need to break out the ordinary or a great way to use up left overs, this is it.
New Year’s Day Soup
1 (28 oz) can tomatoes
1 bunch collard greens, washed, de-veined, and diced into strips
1 onion, diced
1 pint of fresh black eyed peas
1 carrot, diced
1 stick of celery, diced
1 handful green bell pepper, diced
1 handful red bell pepper, diced
6-8 cups ham stock
2 Serrano peppers, cut in half
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 cups ham, cut into large chunks
1-2 teaspoons paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, warm ham stock with Serrano peppers and garlic cloves.
In another medium pot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium low heat. Add onions and saute for 7-8 minutes or until caramelized. Add collard greens and 1 cup of the warm ham stock. Cover and cook down for 20 minutes.
Fish out the garlic cloves and Serrano peppers from the stock pot. Add tomatoes crushed in their own juice and the collard green onion mixture to the stock. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for another 20 minutes. Enjoy.