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Weeknight Noodle, Vegetable and Shrimp Soup: Waiting

We’re waiting, and eating. I can’t tell you how much the past seven months have challenged me, mentally. Sure, there have been physical changes, too, but more than anything, I’ve never been so simultaneously anxious, exhilarated, thrilled, excited, and terrified. I wake up in the middle of the night, my mind racing, wondering what my life will be like three months from now, how I will adjust to this new life, and what uncertainties it will bring. I grow frustrated, reminding myself these are the last few precious months of uninterrupted sleep and I should not be wasting them, yet I lie awake night after night, plagued with insomnia like I’ve never had before. I fear everything: my mental health, my physical strength, my perseverance, my capacity to adapt to change. My ability to birth a baby.

I have sworn off reading the baby books. Instead, I ask Matt to research questions I have as they come, and ask my doctor the big questions. Call it what you will, but I prefer not to know everything, which is completely the opposite of the approach I take to all other things in life. I am just over two months away from giving birth and I have only recently started feverishly planning the nursery. I am still confused about which car seats and strollers I need. Unlike many women I know, I generally prefer not to talk about my pregnancy; the aches and pains, the uncertainty, the paranoia, the emotional ups and downs. I’d rather focus on the more immediate stuff: my work, my passions for cooking, photographing, writing, and spending time outdoors.

Having spent years reading a number of blogs written by women who chronicled their pregnancies and consequently either dropped off the blogosphere or related everything in life to their children, I swore to myself that I didn’t want to become a ‘mommy blogger’ — not during nor after my pregnancy. While I have always wanted to be a mother, I have never wanted motherhood to define me. But, slowly, I found my interest in all things motherhood and women’s rights piqued. I have become passionate about things I had never paid much attention to before — maternity leave policies, work/life balance, security vs. flightiness and adventure.

I have always wanted this space to be honest and I’ve recently found myself struggling to share stories that ignored the fact that a really big thing was happening in my life — bigger than anything else I had ever experienced. I’ve never not known so much and yet felt so close to understanding everything. Instead of fearing judgement, I’ve realized that I need to stop judging myself so much and to embrace the life I’m living. One in which I’m forging forward, but slowing down a little, too. One in which I may or may not change my mind about things. And one in which I can be a mother, a writer, a cook, a professional, a wife, a traveler, a friend, a fashionista, a goofball, a daughter, an active human being, a blogger, and a wanderer.

Weeknight Noodle, Vegetable and Shrimp Soup
*serves four

This is a simple and nourishing soup, the kind of thing I’ve eaten many a night over the course of my pregnancy. Noodles and Asian flavors seem to be this baby’s thing.

Note: we happened to have some lump crab meat on hand, and threw some in the soup as well. If it’s crab season in your area, feel free to add some crab to soup, after you’ve added the noodles and vegetables.

2 large handfuls of soba (buckwheat) noodles
8 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
3 heads of baby bok choy
1 carrot, sliced into paper thin ribbons
1 tablespoon of white miso
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon of diced green onion, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon of finely diced, fresh ginger
finely chopped cilantro, for garnish
1 lime
Sriracha sauce
1/2 pound of cleaned, de-veined, tail-on shrimp (frozen ok)

1. Combine the broth, green onion, and diced ginger in a large sauce pot. Heat over medium heat until it reaches a low boil. Whisk in the miso paste. Separate the bok choy leaves and roughly chop any particularly large ones.
2. Add the shrimp to the pot and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the noodles and vegetables, along with the soy sauce. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until the shrimp are fully cooked and vegetables are tender.
3. Divide soup among bowls. Top with more green onion and chopped cilantro. Give each bowl a good squeeze of lime and a few squirts of sriracha (to taste).

Musical Pairings: Chet Faker – Thinking In Textures EP + Weeknight Noodle, Vegetable and Shrimp Soup

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Posted by Kasey

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Kasey is the food editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. She loves dark chocolate, warm crusty bread, and traveling to new places. She speaks Russian, but does not like vodka.

  • Nicole

    What a gorgeous noodle bowl! The little one already knows what’s good :) I loved reading your thoughts on pregnancy and I feel like I’d be in the same boat if I were expecting. The best things my mom taught me were common sense instincts that you just can’t get from a book. Everyone’s path is different and you have to do what’s best for you. Yes, please, don’t be hard on yourself :)

  • Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen

    HAHAH! I’m not married or about to give birth to a baby but I often ask myself, “Am I going to grow up to be a mommy blogger?” Please say no, universe! I do love the idea of not doing so much research. I’m sure things will be instinctual. I guarantee it. This noodle bowl looks amazing.

  • http://twitter.com/SLadenburger Stacy Ladenburger

    Kasey, if in your place, I’m sure I’d be having the same anxious nights, but from the outside, I have great confidence on your behalf. (: And as I also want to someday be a mother not defined solely by motherhood, I resonated with your thoughts about remaining in your many and varied roles — absolutely possible and a goal I hope more and more women will aspire toward. (As for this recipe, I’ve been looking for more soba recipes and may have to try a vegetarian version of yours!)

  • Christine

    I can only reassure you that everything will work out. You’ll find that, unless you wrote it down somewhere (like on a blog or in a baby book), years from now, you won’t remember all the worries that kept you up at night before baby’s arrival, or at least you won’t remember exactly why they did. Just nurture yourself and treasure this time. So many new joys (and challenges) await you! Best wishes!
    Oh, and thank you for the lovely soup recipe – moms can always use fast and easy recipes!

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Aww thank you Nicole. Your mom sounds like a very smart lady – I totally agree that common sense isn’t something you can read in a book. Also, I’m learning that people are most opinionated about what’s ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ when they start having children, so it’s important to make decisions that you think are right for you and stick to those guns. Also, this noodle bowl is one of my faves.

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    LOL. Sounds like we need to make a pact ;) I kind of dislike researching life – I stay away from self-help and diet books…I’m not sure if it’s stupid or smart, but it’s worked so far!

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Thank you, Stacy! When I look at other moms, I find it hard to imagine just how they’re able to juggle so many roles, but these women are doing it, and I feel confident that I can, too! I think it’s all about setting goals and expectations for yourself and doing the best you can. I think a vegetarian soba bowl would be a fantastic variation.

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Thank you so much for the sweet words, Christine! I feel that way about teenage angst – unless I read old journals, I find it hard to understand why on Earth I worried about some of the things I did. Alas, it’s always harder to be wise in the moment. I think this soup is definitely going to be part of my ‘new mommy routine.’

  • http://londonbakes.blogspot.com Kathryn

    I love your honesty in this post Kasey – I can’t even imagine what it must be like to be on the verge of such a life-changing experience and to have 9 months to think about how it’s going to change your life! I hope that the last few months go smoothly for you guys xo

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Thank you so much, Kathryn! Having 9 months to think about it is both a blessing and a curse. Really appreciate the warm thoughts! xo

  • Megan Gordon

    Kasey, we all love you and love this space, no matter how it may morph or change. People come here for recipes, sure, but they come here for your voice and your stories, too. So I say, go with what feels authentic. Easy for me to say, obviously, but I’ve heard the same sentiments from a few other gals who just had babies and were feeling similarly about their blogs. You’re great. It’s great. No worries. xx

  • http://twitter.com/happyolks Kelsey

    Wherever your heart goes with this space and with this new life, Kasey, we’ll be right behind you cheering it all along. I promise. xo

  • Kate Woyski

    Hello. Gorgeous soup! My babe is 6 months old, and let me tell you: everything changes. and nothing does. your baby will tell you what it needs, is already telling you. What good taste s/he has! you know how to birth a baby and how to be a mother. the rest will fall into place. best wishes to you for a wonderful birth and everything that comes after.

  • sarah kieffer

    I also cringe at the words ‘mommy blogger’, but how to keep silent on such an important part of life? I must say that I have strived very hard to try and be a good Mom without being totally defined as ‘Mom’. There are days where parenting is overwhelming and nothing else can get done, but I’ve found there is still a place in me that is ‘Sarah’ – and Sarah is a mom, but she is not just a mom. I think you will find that place in yourself just fine as you learn balance in parenting. Love to you Kasey! Thank you for your honesty.

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    M, thank you, thank you, for your words of encouragement. I think you are totally right about staying true to who I am and trusting that people who enjoy my voice will continue to follow along. Miss you! You’re great. xoxo

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Thank you so much, Kelsey. It means a lot! xo

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Hi Kate, beautifully put. I certainly do hope my babe (girl!) has good taste :) Thank you so much for the kind wishes!

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Sarah, I think you do an incredible job of creating an identity for yourself that isn’t defined by motherhood, but includes motherhood as an important part of your life (because it is! and that should be celebrated!). It’s so wonderful having friends out there who’ve gone through this and can be guiding lights for those of who are just starting this journey. Much love!

  • http://www.acouplecooks.com/ Sonja

    I love the honesty of this post — thank you for sharing your heart in such a transparent way. I also have similar thoughts as we think about the future and the possibility of being parents. i used to be worried I’d loose my “self” too, but as I grow older and see other people I admire navigating parenthood gracefully, my fears have been alleviated. Though we haven’t met, I can only guess that you’d be similarly as graceful!

  • http://cookieandkate.com/ Cookie and Kate

    I look forward to reading about your experiences in motherhood, Kasey, because I like you and I like to follow along with what’s going on in your life! Please don’t feel like you should keep quiet about motherhood for fear of turning into a mommy blogger.

  • Amelia

    Life eh? Constantly changing. And unless we want a battle, we have to evolve with it. I’m sure it will be a delight to keep up with your evolution here, especially if you continue to share gorgeous recipes like this soup! Best of luck with the next chapter.

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Thank you so much, Sonja! I think it’s natural to worry about this kind of stuff, but the fact is, if family is what you want, then you have to figure out a balance…maybe you lose parts of your ‘self’ but gain others…I sure hope I navigate these waters gracefully, but I won’t be too down on myself if it doesn’t always look pretty :)

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Thanks, Kathryne! I really appreciate that. I do hope to talk about motherhood, as I can’t imagine how I can not, but I hope that in the midst of all of these changes, I’m as committed as ever to talking about everything else in my life. Hope you are well!

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Sure is! That’s a great approach. I think at every stage in life, we tend to fear the changes ahead, but ultimately, I find that these changes are almost always for the better. I feel happier in life now than ever before…As long as the changes keep coming, I think that means you’re really living. :)

  • Sarah

    WOW, this looks so delicious and supremely satisfying! Yum!

  • Sarah

    Kasey, okay, recipe aside, this is exciting. I love what you wrote here—because motherhood does change us. It makes us more humble, more determined, more accepting–most of all of ourselves. I swore I would never be M-O-M, but rather Sarah with a baby, or babies, or a family one day. And for the first little bit it felt like that. Just the same old me, with babe. But the bigger and more determined the babe becomes, the more I am mom–feeling just sort of lucky to be in HER life at times, and not the reverse. A grand adventure awaits, and I for one can’t wait to read about it. x

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Sarah, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on being a mom. Becoming a mom is something I know is one of those don’t know-til-you’re-there types of things…and I feel like a lot of us are scared to ‘lose’ a part of ourselves in the process…but during this time of fear, we don’t really know what we’ll be gaining. It’s thrilling to hear from people like you that motherhood is a grand adventure — the grandest of all! I can’t wait to share more, and hope you will, too! xo

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