My family had a vacation together this weekend. We went up to Big Bear to find fall and bask in its silvery cold air and collect burgundy and orange leaves on long family walks. Now when I say long I don’t mean in distance I mean in time, because the time it takes to gather 7 young children into strollers with all of the bags of items and walk half a block, is like moving a strategic fleet of navy missiles for the amount of coordination and chaos required. One bag per child, one stroller per child, three beanie options per child, 7 coats, 7 backup coats and a handful of toys for good measure. In the case of the apocalypse or the breaking of the san andreas fault and being stranded with nothing but our bags we would still have survived, we could eat apple goosh bags for at least a month, warm ourselves with the excess clothing options, shower with the cases of wipees and drink from the eternal fountain of juice. It will be the watkins clan, the cockroaches and the cats left…we will survive.
Despite our preparedness we always made it home to a house that was full of the crazy noise of family and laughter and tiny little maniacs dancing to Justin Beiber (Trever included). We ate huge fabulous meals and relished in the moments of quiet in the spa during nap time. We stayed up late watching Christmas movies, eating pumpkin cookies by the fire and thawing little red cheeks and noses after completing a scavenger hunt in the sunset and chilling air. We came down the mountain to find vacation blues, 90 degree weather and a quiet home, hearts and stomachs full.
Here are some of our favorite vacation recipes:
My brother-in-law Taylor's Zoupa Toscana:
-4 large russett potatoes thinly sliced in rounds
-1/2/ bunch Kale spine removed and roughly chopped
-1 lb Spicy Pork Sausage
-6 Bouillon Cubes
-12 Cups Water
-2 Cups half and half
-1 Large Brown Onion
-3 Cloves Garlic
-4 Slices Bacon
Chop raw bacon and cook it in a large pot(dutch oven preferably but any pot will work) until crispy, remove and set aside. Add raw sausage to bacon grease and cook until cooked through and remove and set aside with bacon. Add chopped onion and garlic to bacon/sausage grease until onions are cooked down and tender (about five minutes). Add bullion and stir. Add water and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but not falling apart. Add back in sausage and bacon, add half and half and kale and cook for another five minutes to allow for the kale to cook down a bit but still have some crispness. Serve and enjoy!