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The Neverending (Sleeping Pill) Story

Scott’s been visiting his family.  Whenever I pick him up from the airport after one of these trips, he tells me he had the best time and they did so many fun things.  Then he asks what I did.

I tell him the truth–something like:

WELL, on Friday night I was sitting on the couch in my pajamas eating shredded cheese out of a bag and watching TV and then AN INCH WORM FELL INTO MY LAP.  I think from my hair?  From playing outside, you know?


And I was just glad it didn’t fall into the cheese because then I would have had to throw the whole thing away and I didn’t want to get up because I was basically killing it at life right then.

And because he’s supportive or maybe just baffled, he says “WOW, hon.  I mean, WOW.”  And I say, “I know, right?  IT WAS NUTS.”  And then, for different reasons, we drive the rest of the way home in silence.

This time, I wanted my weekend to be more awesome than his.  Not that it’s a competition, really.  (Door prizes, y’all.  There will be door prizes.)

The problem is that nothing happened here.

I spent Friday night eating a box of cookies and looking for my W-2.


I woke up part-way through Saturday feeling like I’d been hit in the head with a tranquilizer dart.  I stayed awake for ten whole minutes, which was long enough to take this video in which nothing happens:

And then I fell asleep again.  On the concrete.  Surrounded by pollen.

And that’s why I had to take the allergy pill that interacted with the neverending sleeping pill to simulate a psychedelic drug the FDA hasn’t even approved for hippo use.

This is the view of the trippy sunset from where I lay, in fetal position, on a bed of pollen.

And that brings us up to the present. 

I have to get Scott soon, and my plan is to stuff his face full of turkey meatballs so he can’t say anything.  And I will blast “I’ve Had The Time Of My Life” on the drive home.

He’ll get the point.

If you ever need to shut someone up with meatballs, you should make this turkey meatball soup.

It’s fresh and light and the meatballs pack a savory punch.  I bet kids would like it with little alphabet pastas in there.  The vegetables are flexible, so if you don’t like something in the recipe (tomatoes, celery, etc.) you can just leave it out.

To be clear: you see these meatballs?

You’re going to want to put them in everything now.  Scott will probably pick them out of the soup when I’m not looking and put them on a sub with some tomato sauce and melted mozzarella.  And I won’t even be mad because it’ll taste amazing.

Spring Soup with Chicken (or Turkey) Meatballs {Download & Print Recipe}

A recipe in the April 2012 issue of Bon Appetit, adapted a little by me.


6 oz. ground chicken or turkey (about 3/4 c.)

3 tbsp. Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs

7 tbsp. finely grated Parmesan, divided

4 garlic cloves (2 minced, 2 thinly sliced)

1 egg, whisked

3/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 leek, white and pale green parts only, sliced into 1/4″ rounds

7-8 c. chicken broth (reduced salt or no salt)

3/4 c. small pasta (like acini di pepe, ditalini, stellette, orzo, or little alphabet pasta)

1 c. carrots, peeled and chopped and cut into 1/2″ rounds

1 c. celery, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ pieces

1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained

1 c. spinach (packed)

3-4 tbsp. chopped fresh basil


In a medium bowl, mix the ground chicken (or turkey), the bread crumbs, 3 tbsp. of the Parmesan, the 2 minced garlic cloves, the egg, the salt and the pepper.  Using your hands, roll into 1/2″ diameter meat balls (you’ll probably get about 30).

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or pot (big enough to hold all the soup later) over medium heat.  Cook the meatballs until they’re golden all over, 3-7 minutes (they’ll finish cooking in the soup.  [Note: you don’t need the heat up so high that they fry and get a dark crispy coat over them.  If that happens, though, it’s okay.]  Transfer the meatballs to a plate and set aside.  Keep any remaining oil in the pan.

Add the leek to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes.

Add the 2 thinly-sliced cloves of garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add 6 cups of the broth and 2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil.

Stir in the pasta and the carrots.  Simmer until the pasta is almost al dente, about 8 minutes.

Add the meatballs, celery, tomatoes, the remaining 4 tbsp. of Parmesan, and the spinach (which you can tear into smaller pieces if the leaves are larger than baby spinach).  Add the remaining cup of chicken broth, and then another, if the soup isn’t very soupy.

Taste the soup and sprinkle salt on it, if desired, until it tastes the way you want it.  [Note: I used no-salt chicken broth, so mine wound up needing a little salt boost to bring out the flavors here.]

Simmer a few minutes, until the celery and carrots are tender, the spinach has wilted, and the meatballs are cooked through.

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the chopped basil and more grated Parmesan, if desired.


I don’t always understand what they do together, but Thunder sure missed Scott this weekend.  Like I was saying, I was rocking out so I didn’t really notice he was gone.

64 Comments Post a comment
  1. ns #

    You should feel very accomplished. You made a great movie (I was on the edge of my seat throughout the airing !! 🙂 ) and what looks like an amazing soup with some amazing meatballs!

    March 25, 2012
    • Why thanks– it’s a really riveting pieces of cinematography, no? I laughed, I cried, the film won some awards, etc. 🙂

      March 26, 2012
      • ns #

        plus you’re blessed with an incredibly photogenic and handsome star of the silver screen to star in your productions….!

        March 26, 2012
  2. When my husband goes out of town, I like to move the furniture around. He always is left guessing where anything might be.

    That soup does look fantastic!

    March 25, 2012
    • I love how that activity so perfectly lives up to the name of your blog.

      March 26, 2012
  3. Pre-kids husband away: Entire bed wallowsnooze all night long. Post-kids husband away: Wide awake clutching knees middle of the bed rocking all night long. Maybe I should spend the insomnia making meatballs next time…

    March 25, 2012
    • Oh, Brooke. What a great (if disturbing) image. I also love the new word, “wallowsnooze.” They should make a sleeping pill specifically for break-ups that’s MEANT to be consumed with alcohol, instead of a meal, and they should call it: Wallowsnooze PM.

      March 26, 2012
  4. Academy Award stuff here (what?) with Thunder taking the Short Documentary (what?). Gotta love those radar ears (what?). And I’m definitely trying this recipe. Sweet dreams.

    March 25, 2012
    • Yes, I’m already imagining what she’s going to wear to the award ceremony. I think we’re going to have to attach the diamonds to her collar, but that’s okay because I have a lot of super glue.

      March 26, 2012
  5. xj2608 #

    My husband is always out of town. He wants daily updates, because he’s bored, but nothing ever happens.

    I do love a good meatball, though…

    March 25, 2012
    • Well, I guess it’s better than the alternative. At least the daily update isn’t something like “well. . . a tornado took off the back of the house, and there’s a guy at the front door with a machete who says you owe him money.”

      March 26, 2012
  6. That looks pretty delicious. Thank you for posting the recipe. 🙂

    March 25, 2012
  7. Funny lady. You have a knack for story telling. And the soup looks great. Been raining today so soup sounds great.

    March 25, 2012
    • Hey there– I loved you descriptions of your kids in one of your recent posts. If you feed this soup to your kids, hand it to your middle one first, okay? Since he’s the one who loves everything, guaranteed. 🙂

      March 26, 2012
  8. I’m so jealous of your weekend. Do you know how long it’s been since I had a good sleep on concrete outside?

    I’m really not kidding. I was the kid who fell asleep in all places. Concrete. The toilet. Standing up in my mom’s room which would scare the living bejesus out of her.

    Now I can’t sleep well unless I take a Benadryl or five. You inspired me to make tonight a Benadryl and wine night.

    March 25, 2012
    • Amanda, you must write a post that starts “do you know how long it’s been since I’ve had a good sleep on concrete outside?” I kind of love that prompt now.

      March 26, 2012
  9. A group of hippos is called a herd, a bloat, or a crash. Which is relevant because the FDA probably meant to put it on their warning label that their medicine could knock out a bloat of hippos, but got confused and ended up writing bloating as a possible side effect.

    March 25, 2012
    • Just looked it up and they can apparently also be called a school or a pod. Damn hippos seem to have a really hard time committing to just one group name. This is the kind of thing that makes people start petitions, hippos. We just want to call you by one term, is that too much to ask? For what it;s worth, my vote in on Bloat.

      March 26, 2012

      March 26, 2012
    • P.S. do you see this? I am in bed right now and sending this from my iPhone at 12:30 a.m. because now I can’t sleep. That’s what happens when you get TWENTY HOURS OF HIPPO SLEEP IN ONE DAY.

      March 26, 2012
  10. I could use some trippy hippo sleep – I spend most of my life getting up ridiculously early and then going to bed too late – because I am a grown up, dammit, and should stay up later than my teenager right? I may as well face facts and admit that I will eventually start having diner at 4pm so I can get to bed by 8pm like all the other old people *sigh* Meatballs look yummy tho 🙂

    March 26, 2012
    • Shelley, I hear you. I’ve been getting up early for the past couple of months and now I have to have several meals before noon. It’s crazy. Then I’m okay for a while. And I go to bed way earlier than I have ever gone to bed in my life (including high school). Some day we’ll be like the old people who go to the grocery store at 7 a.m. in a herd. It’s going to be awesome.

      March 26, 2012
      • lol – time to eat like a hobbit – second breakfast, elevenses, etc >8)

        March 27, 2012
  11. Fun to see Thunder in real time… and I’d be very happy to come home to this turkey meatball soup.

    March 26, 2012
    • Hi, Wendy! I’ve been meaning to get a video for a while (preferably one in which she eating a stick instead of the couch).

      March 26, 2012
  12. I was going to say that there is nothing more soothing than watching a smush-faced dog chewing on a stick. But then I remembered that there is just one thing that is more soothing – did you ever see this video of French bulldogs on swings?

    March 26, 2012
  13. Amy #

    Haha. I think a better way to make Scott jealous would be to make you delicious turkey meatballs, document them in photos and then you and Thunder eat them all so he doesn’t get any.

    March 26, 2012
    • Amy, I did send him a bunch of pictures and tell him if he didn’t get himself back here on time, they were going to be gone. I totally played those meatballs up for all they were worth!

      March 26, 2012
  14. I’m making the turkey meatballs tonight! Yum. Love the video. Am also entranced by the swinging French bulldogs. Wow.

    March 26, 2012
    • Anne, that’s wonderful! I can’t BELIEVE I let Scott take the rest of the soup with him to work today. It had something like 7 meatballs left in it. GAH!

      You must tell me what you think.

      March 26, 2012
  15. Camille? (yea-the other one) #

    I cannot believe I just spent 1:19 of my time watching a video of French Bulldogs living in Japan swinging on playground swings….and it was FABULOUS! Gawd, I love the internet. I did feel guilty, ever so briefly, because I could have been making turkey meatballs with the time instead. But I must say I do love Thunder’s video all that much more because, for one thing, she gnaws and pants in English and doesn’t require an interpreter.

    March 26, 2012
    • Aye me, you Camilles crack me up. Watching the frenchies swing is weirdly addictive. I could see it being something Thunder would love, actually, because she seems to have fun (as in, she does not yelp or squirm) when Scott swings her over his head. FYI– if you meet Scott eventually, DO NOT HAND HIM A BABY. He tends to throw stuff in the air and swing it around in an unreasonable fashion. When he first did it to Thunder, I thought all three of us were going to have to go to (two different) emergency rooms.

      March 26, 2012
      • I believe I speak for us all when I say a video of Thunder in a park swing would be very appreciated.

        March 28, 2012
  16. Camille? #

    Duely noted – I will never hand Scott a baby because well, for one thing, I never seem to have one on me (or near me for that matter) However, I’m thinking his “flinging things over his head” tendencies could come in wicked handy when making mojito cocktails.

    March 26, 2012
  17. So I made the Spring Soup before I went out with my gal pals. My husband and both kids raved about it when I got back… and I get it for lunch tomorrow! Yippee! So yummy. Thanks for passing along this recipe.

    March 26, 2012
    • Anne, I’m so glad! Thanks for saying so. I think my next plan is to find a good recipe for a glaze for them, so I can serve them as cocktail meatballs (not that I’m constantly entertaining or anything. Scott and I would probably just eat them ourselves as we mingle in the kitchen in the evenings.)

      March 26, 2012
  18. Ha ha! Somehow you’re doing nothing is funner than my doing nothing. Which is why I like your blog! 🙂

    March 26, 2012
    • I don’t believe you for a second, Linda. I bet your “doing nothing” is actually pretty darn relaxing and fun. But I’d be happy to swing by, next time I’m in the area, and hang around doing nothing with you, if you like. We could have a competition and I COULD MAKE MORE DOOR PRIZES!

      March 28, 2012
      • Now that’s the kind of doing nothing that really motivates me to do nothing! It reminds me of the part in Best in show where Jennifer Coolidge is married to the old guy and she says “We can just sit and not talk about things all day!” (or something like that) Ha!

        March 28, 2012
  19. Those meatballs do entice. But those teeny tiny pastas just whispered to the polka dot addict in me. Just when I was trying to quit, I’m going to have to make polka dot soup with turkey meatballs.

    March 27, 2012
  20. Now I’m mad I didn’t title this post “polka dot soup.” I also I wish I could trade you some adorable polka dot acini di pepe for one of your lovely weed bouquets.

    March 27, 2012
  21. eliotthecat #

    Found my way over here from Jen’s. So glad she gave you an award and led me over! You are cracking me up (as I am wheezing in my own bed of pollen right now and hoping I have some Benadryl on hand—but I may need to know what combo you took!) 🙂

    March 28, 2012
    • Hi there! I’m so glad you wandered here from Jen’s. Yay.

      I wish I could tell you what combo I took, but when I finally woke up, I took a permanent marker and wrote in large letters across the label of the sleep aid “NEVER TAKE AGAIN. ONLY FEED TO SCOTT IF YOU NEED TO KNOCK HIM OUT FOR 72 HOURS.” And now I can’t read what it’s called, which is dangerous in case anyone prescribes it to me again!

      April 5, 2012
  22. On occasion, I take a non-habit-forming sleep aid before bed. Because I’m pretty neurotic and uh.. high-strung, and sometimes benefit from a little extra sleep. (And a groggy day after.) EVERY time 2.0 fetches the pill for me, he sets it on the counter next to a cold glass of water, turns to me with a very serious expression, and then asks, “would you like a gas pill too?” Because he figures when a woman goes into a deep sleep she’ll… relax. Relax like a 21-gun salute. Does that relate to your post? No. But I just thought you’d like a little peek into our lives.

    March 29, 2012
    • They make gas pills?! Hallelujah. Do they make them for large men? Also bulldogs–do they make them for bulldogs? And do they come in bulk.


      April 5, 2012
  23. I’m delighted by the image of you eating shredded cheese straight out of the bag. Are you a fistful-at-a-time shredded-cheese eater like me, or do you consume it pinch by dainty pinch? I know we’re talking CHEESE here, so to be clear, I *do* feel that fistfuls are justified.

    You and Thunder have a date with cinematic destiny. I enjoy her film debut almost as much as I know I’d enjoy your turkey meatballs!

    March 30, 2012
    • Jennifer, thankfully this cheese came out of the bag in perfect clumps. Somewhere between bite-sized globs and fistfuls. It was glorious. You would have loved it.

      April 5, 2012
  24. shannon #

    I’d like to say that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with eating shredded cheese out of a bag; i sort of feel compelled to do so every time i get a bag of cheese out. And i found an inchworm on my bathroom floor the other day…i still don’t know where it came from, but i can only assume it was from one of me and the Wee One’s pollen-filled romps.

    you really were rocking it solo while scott was gone. I am jealous of your hippo sleep, and basically your entire weekend. including these meatballs, which i am making sometime very soon because i feel compelled to. they look too delicious to pass up.

    March 30, 2012
    • Plus, it was manchego that I had shredded to use in a quiche. I mean, that’s such a classy cheese. You could basically sit in your seat at the Academy Awards in a ballgown eating manchego out of a bag, and no one would care. You know?

      April 5, 2012
      • shannon #

        manchego is exactly the cheese i would eat out of a bag at the Academy Awards. it’s so appropriate. chic, even.

        April 7, 2012
  25. loveboston #

    Oh boy, so much to say regarding this post so I will go bullet style:
    -something inherently awkward happens when picking up people (even those you know very, very well) at the airport. I think the air gets tainted from jet fuel wafting from nearby or it’s the act of scrambling like mad so that you don’t get arrested from the Airport police that tweaks us (at least that’s what happens in Los Angeles if you wait at the curb too long).

    -Jealous that you that you actually felt sluggish/or slept from an FDA approved sleep aid. I have moved incrementally up the sleeping aid chain to get to a full mg of Xanax and still can’t sleep. Not pretty, especially at 3 a.m.

    -You must (or I will!) send that video of Thunder to They will go nuts over how much personality she has. I check in every now and again when I need a really good dose of happy and what really sends me over the edge is what their regular commentators have to say. Always makes me think “I wish I had more time on my hands”.

    Thanks again for the genius, the turkey meatballs are going to be a staple for me – they look delish!

    March 30, 2012
    • I agree. Picking people up at the airport is second in weirdness (and annoyingness) to helping someone move. Both are totally awkward, no matter how well you know someone. And you can never count on the timing of either. You could think you’re going to be done helping someone move by 6 pm, but there you are, at 11:30 at night, driving through town with a mattress on your roof, you know?
      I’m off to check out, thanks!

      April 5, 2012
  26. What a pretty way to serve soup. It looks like a tea cup to me, or is it a soup bowl guided as a tea cup? No more sleeping tablets – another post please Atreyu.

    April 1, 2012
    • Sonia, my Aunt Susie found that at a shop in San Juan Capistrano, California. I’d never seen anything like it. It seems like a tea cup (a big one, which is great) that has a matching, kidney-shaped porcelin plate, so you could rest a scone or muffin on it if you wanted. Neat, eh?

      Love the Atreyu reference. That takes me back. 🙂

      April 3, 2012
  27. I can’t believe I just spent 1.83 minutes waiting for something (else) to happen in that video.

    Attention captured. Well played.

    April 2, 2012
    • I know. The pangs of guilt are just starting to set in.

      April 5, 2012
  28. littlebrownbaby #

    I just wanted to let you know that I enjoy reading your posts and I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! The details of the award are on my page.

    April 3, 2012
    • Oh geez, thank you so much!! That makes me smile.

      April 3, 2012
  29. These meatballs sound great, and I happen to have ground turkey in the fridge. Sounds like I’m treating myself at lunch today 🙂

    April 4, 2012
    • Oh good good! If you wound up making them, let me know what you think.

      April 5, 2012
      • I didn’t. Laziness overtook me. I ate Samoas instead. But I will if I do!

        April 5, 2012
  30. “And then I fell asleep again. On the concrete. Surrounded by pollen.” More nights as a college dufus ended like this than I care to admit 🙂

    April 5, 2012

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