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Week 32 Pregnancy Updates and Matzo Ball Soup

Matzo Ball Soup | www.Simmstown.com | Lisa Samuel

This past weekend, our home was filled to overflowing with many of my closest women friends and family, here to celebrate Bubbles and my transition to motherhood. I felt like my heart might burst with love. It’s an unbelievable feeling to be entering into this new club, and I’m beginning to feel a new appreciation for my own mom and her fierce protectiveness of me. Mom hosted the shower, and I will be sharing more pictures and details soon. In the meantime, I have a few third-trimester pregnancy updates, and a recipe for these cold, blustery days and nights.

Our midwife appointments are now every two weeks, another sign that Bubbles will soon be making his or her entrance into the world.  Everything is still going well, with the exception that I’m slightly anemic. For those with the same problem, but who don’t want to take another iron pill (which can aggravate pregnancy-related constipation), try Floradix, a liquid iron supplement which is more easily digestible and gentler on the system.

I feel like all of my cravings and aversions have passed, but food still doesn’t have the same pleasure it did pre-pregnancy. Perhaps because I’m still so conscious about what I’m eating and making sure every meal and snack counts for good nutrition.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve had a hard time eating enough, because I never really feel hungry, thanks to this sweet, growing baby taking up all the room in my belly.  So, I’ve been trying to eat smaller meals and snacks more often throughout the day. Smoothies help, as do soups.

Another thing I’ve learned in my third trimester--pregnancy brain is real! I can’t believe at how absentminded and forgetful I have been in the past few weeks. I have lists all over the house, because If I don’t write it down, I will never remember. This past weekend, I was making an Americano for my friend, McKenzie, and I put the water in my (already half-empty) latte, instead of in the espresso in her mug. Silly.

Lastly, Elie and I are still working on how to merge our two spiritual belief systems into one for our family. The Christmas season has continued to raise a lot of questions, both for spiritual beliefs and holiday traditions. Elie has graciously embraced the Christmas tree and decorations that now cover our home, but how will we tell the Christmas story to Bubbles? Will we celebrate Santa? Or the new (to me) Elf on a Shelf? 

Since the first night of Hanukah, we’ve been lighting the candles on the menorah and establishing a tradition of daily thankfulness and reflection, asking ourselves, “What happened today that we are grateful for? And what difference did we make today?” I know it will take many months, if not years, for us to develop our own faith traditions. In the meantime, if anyone has wisdom to share, I’d love to hear your stories.

Matzo Ball Soup | www.Simmstown.com | Lisa Samuel

I know Matzo Ball soup is usually made for Passover and not Hanukah, but our weather has been so gloomy, rainy and blustery lately, chicken soup sounded perfect for one of our holiday dinners.  While traditional Matzo Ball soup does not have a lot of vegetables or chicken in the soup, this is a heartier version that can serve as a main dish for a lunch or light dinner. I also make the matzo balls with whole wheat matzo, which adds a nice, toasty flavor to them.  They are still light, but with just enough texture and heft to keep them from being too fluffy.

A homemade chicken stock makes all the difference in soup. A boxed stock just can’t compare in flavor and savory-ness.  I know from teaching cooking classes that stock can be intimidating, mostly because people think it’s time consuming.  But the hands-on time is minimal, and it’s no harder than just putting a bunch of ingredients in a pot.  If you can boil water, you can make stock.

I often make this soup in an evening, just making a quick version of the stock. But if you have the time (and you’ve planned ahead), it’s best when the stock can cook for a long time and then chill overnight to be made into soup the next day.  This recipe will make more than you need.  Just freeze the leftovers in tempered glass containers for up to three months.

Happy Hanukah!

Matzo Ball Soup | www.Simmstown.com | Lisa Samuel

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