Cooking, Back to School, and an Anniversary

Did I cook last week? I know that you have been dying to know.

Well yes I did, and although it did not go entirely smoothly, the end result was very tasty. Even if dinner was served a day late.

I planned to cook black bean soup from one of my favourite recipes that I clipped from the newspaper about a zillion years ago. You can find the recipe here. It’s a good one.

I chose the recipe last weekend, made my shopping list, and bought all of the ingredients except for the cilantro, which I decided to get fresh on Thursday. On Thursday, I started cooking as soon as I got home from work, but I got stuck almost immediately.

“Where’s the bacon?” I called to Tony who was sitting with his laptop in the living room – my usual spot during dinner prep time.

“Should be there,” he answered.

I searched the fridge and then I searched it again. It was nowhere.

“Maybe it got put away in the freezer with the rest of the meat,” Tony said. He went downstairs to check and came back with a rock hard package of frozen bacon. “You can just chop it up the way it is,” he told me most helpfully.

“Ummmm, you can do that, since you were the one who froze the bacon,” I replied, most cheerfully of course.

Tony was happy to help because it gave him the chance to use one of his favourite kitchen tools: our ulu knives. These were a gift from my brother Paul and Tamara last Christmas, and they brought them to us from Cambridge Bay Nunavut where they are living for a couple of years. (Hi Paul and Tamara! Happy Nunavursary!)

 Perfcect for skinning and cleaning animals, cutting a child’s hair, cutting food and, if necessary,
trimming blocks of snow and ice used to build an igloo (from Wikipedia). Plus frozen bacon.

Having Tony help me chop the bacon is not cheating on my cooking night, because he is the one who froze the bacon in the first place. But I may have mentioned that already.

All right, back on track with just a bit of delay.

But I forgot how long it took to do all of the chopping. Onion, carrots, celery, tomato, cilantro. Shoot, I am not very quick at this.

To make a long story a little shorter, it took me until almost 7pm to finish assembling and cooking the soup. In the meantime, Tony had microwaved some leftover pasta for the girls because our normal dinner time is 5:30 and I was running just a titch late. (Thanks Tony, I forgive you for freezing the bacon).

Never mind, the soup will cool over night and then it will be easier to blend, and then we are all set for dinner on Friday night. Voila!

Then I realized that the girls would be sleeping over at their grandparents for two nights in a row, leaving us with an awful lot of soup to eat all on our own. So half went into the freezer for another day, and Tony and I enjoyed delicious soup for dinner all on our own on Friday night.

A qualified success I would say.

And yes it was yummy.

It tastes A LOT better than it looks. Honest.


I always feel sad on Labour Day weekend. I never wanted to go back to school when I was a kid, and this weekend still prompts some feelings of dread and anxiety within me. Thank goodness both my girls are happy to go back. A few new outfits and some fresh new school supplies, and they are all ready and excited about it too. It makes it a lot easier for me knowing that they don’t have that sick feeling in their stomachs that I always used to have when heading back to school after a nice long summer vacation.

The only thing that I have to manage with them is that their school doesn’t tell us which class they will be in until the very first day of school. It is so difficult when you are in the school yard and you look at the list and have to tell them that no they didn’t get the teacher they wanted, and on top of that their closest friends aren’t in their class either. OK kiss goodbye! Enjoy your day! See you after school!

See? That bites.

I understand why the school does it, really I do. The parents do become highly involved in managing the class lists if given an opportunity, but when you have an anxious child and you can’t prepare them for what to expect on the first day, it makes it extra hard. I am crossing my fingers for the right class and some good friends in both of my daughters’ classes this year, and I wish you all the same too.


The reason why the girls were sleeping away for two nights this weekend was so that Tony and I could celebrate our fifteenth wedding anniversary. I haven’t a clue how fifteen years has passed already, and how we have become a couple with a house, car, kids, careers and a whole other pile of responsibilities. We were both still grad students when we got married, barely able to afford our rent for goodness’ sake.

Here is a picture then:

Cute young couple!

And here is a picture now:

A little older and greyer, but still looking pretty good!

Happy Anniversary Sweet Tony. I love you.

About Finola

I am an Ottawa area Mom, writer-want-to-be and coffee legend in the making.
This entry was posted in anniversary, back to school, cooking, soup. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Cooking, Back to School, and an Anniversary

  1. Gwen says:

    Happy Anniversary!

    I called the school and told them that my children were starting to get nervous and needed to know who their teacher would be (OK, I was the one who wanted to know!). Anyway, after the fourth attempt (seriously), they gave me the teacher's name. There is too much unknown on the first day. And is it really a big deal to let the children know who their teacher will be???? (Apparently, yes, but you can work around it!).

  2. Anonymous says:

    Soup and wine!

    Given your endaveours in the never ending journey of the culinary quest, I would like to contribute, if only a little piece, or should I say a little drop, in offering wine suggestions for that special soup.

    Two suggestions come to mind. First, a nice Italian sangiovese. Specifically, a Chianti classico. Many available in both LCBO and SAQ, between $15 and $20. If you can have a choice, go for a 2007 vintage. Second suggestion, a Chilean merlot. Errazuriz and Cono Sur make very nice merlots. Again in the $15 to $20 range; yes you can spend less, but give your soup a break.

    You are adventurous or you absolutely must have a white wine? Then go to the other end of the spectrum and pick a very nice Italian Pinot Griggio.


  3. Eileen says:

    Finola: from start to finish, that post was a pure pleasure to read. Your story of making the soup was a delightful humour piece.

    I hope N and B get the teachers they want and that all their best friends are in their class.

    Of all your wedding pictures, the one you posted is my favourite. I love that my Mother's gold watch, which is yours now, shows so clearly. That watch was a present to my Mother from my Father before their wedding in 1926. Perhaps your girls will wear it on their wedding day.

    You and Tony are just as handsome as you were 15 years ago. A little grey in Tony's hair, but that only makes him look even more distinguished.

  4. Capital Mom says:

    Happy anniversary!

    I think we should have a cooking night It is much funner to try new recipes together. And I could teach you some of my favorite, easy recipes. 🙂

  5. Anonymous says:

    LOL post, Fin.

    Cutting hair? Seriously? I'm scared.

    I remember when that wedding photo was taken! That darn sun 😉 Turned out great though and yes, an adorable young couple and a still adorable, slightly more mature couple.

    Our school doesn't reveal classes and teachers until the first day of school either though this year we were – ahem – a bit more proactive and so we know what to expect. I'm only slightly embarrassed to mention that one of my children was switched to a different class not because he might do better but rather because I might do better with that teacher. Eeek. I'm only slightly embarassed though because mostly I'm in grateful agreement with the school's assessment of the situation. I hope N and B end up with great classes and friends this year.


  6. Lynn says:

    Happy anniversary! You two seem so adorable.

    And glad to hear the cooking went well! Looking forward to hearing more ideas for simple, quick, delicious dinners…soon you'll have a food empire!

  7. Finola says:

    Gwen, If they don't change the practice for next year, I am going to be more persistent too. It was chaos this morning. Glad you were able to find out the top secret info though. You give me hope.

    Anonymous, Merci. I appreciate a good wine suggestion any time!

    Eileen, Thanks Mom! Both girls got good teachers and are happy. But it was very disorganized this morning and I saw a lot of tears from others, and not just the really little ones.

    Capital Mom, That sounds like a great idea, and would be a lot of fun!

    Anonymous, Good for you C, these things are important for a good year for everyone. I will be calling you for pointers late next summer for sure.

    Lynn, Thanks for the encouragement, and please feel free to send me any good recipe finds. I think you and I have a lot in common 🙂

  8. Sasha says:

    You know, I was completely oblivious to how much interaction there was between parents and teachers as a kid, or is there just more now? It all sounds so complicated. *sigh*

    And happy belated anniversary, from cute young couple to cute couple. I won't say old, cuz you're not 😛

    BTW, who froze the bacon? Didn't catch that 🙂

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