market haul this week: cheddar cauliflower, savoy cabbage, sheepnose peppers, okra, fresh cranberry shell beans, early girl tomatoes for stuffing. straw bag thrifted, its actually from a lancome free gift as per the tag inside (LOL). Cloth produce bags from simple ecology (mesh white) and ambatalia (black linen bento bag).
Hello friends! It has been a while. Lots of life transitions happening here lately, preparing for the school year to start next week, and getting ready to settle into an independent study routine. In between that and working, I haven’t had much leftover time to post. I deleted the Instagram app on my phone a week or so back, and its been the most liberating thing. Of course, I really love and appreciate the community and am so grateful for a creative outlet to share my passions with others. However, with the sudden influx of followers from the Buzzfeed video featuring our family and the spike in messages, comments, and emails that ensued, I increasingly felt anxiety and and a curious and uncomfortable sense of scrambling to keep up while also juggling my daily life. Like struggling to swim back against a strong current to shore, sucking in air when you can and just trying to hurry up. I had to take a step back and emphasize in my head that my real life is what happens now, in the moment, kids and work and partner, sharing food with friends, watching the sunset, dishes and laundry and working and all the glorious moments of daily life.
I’ve been reading a lot, which is so lovely. I just finished Toujours Provence, which was hilarious and a really fun read, about snippets of life in Provence as an expat.
It has been a real quandary to me, as my account grows, of simply how to keep up with it all without being consumed by it. I really can’t stand social media for the way it peels me away from my people and the way I end up viewing life through a camera. What I mean is that when things happen, like when I cook something, or when we go somewhere, or when I’m doing something, I’ve conditioned myself to think, “I need to grab my phone or camera and document this.” But by documenting, I’m not having the same pleasurable, tactile, organic experience. In addition, I found myself spending up to 2 or more hours, generally at night, answering messages, responding back to comments and emails and questions. Which I love- helping people has always been so rewarding to me- but it takes up time that I would normally be spending talking with my partner and winding down for the night. Contrary to what some think, blogging is not my job, its just a hobby, and one I don’t get paid for. Not that I expect to- I don’t care for sponsorships, partnerships, or selling anything to anybody. My main goal here is to spread information and be a resource for others. I started this account simply to share, never to be an “influencer”- that word gives me the creeps. It’s just that I have a job, and I work a volunteer job as well, so fitting in yet another thing is exhausting and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to sustain it long term. Enough complaining, I apologize, but I just want to share my thoughts and my struggle on this. Maybe some of you can relate to the social media struggle? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences below- have you cut it out of your life? Have you found a rhythm or balance that works for you? Do you love it? Hate it?
All I know is that in this week away from all social media and blogging, I’ve played more games with my kids, had deeper conversations with my partner, gotten outside more, and generally had a happier and more content mood.
Besides all that, I wanted to so a quick check in to share a few simple things I’ve been cooking lately making use of the last of summer produce, with a few autumn items thrown in, too. My cooking has been simple, easy, and a little indulgent if I have to say, haha. I’ve been craving deep chocolatey flavors, plenty of vinaigrette on veggies and salads, and seasonal fruit galettes.
a shopping trip. I’m always the one taking photos of my cart, haha- I can’t help it- I love the aesthetic side of zero waste. Natural materials are so much more beautiful than their plastic/synthetic counterparts. Mesh shopper tote from Eco Bags– if you’re local, I bought mine at the Davis co-op.
A little while back, Miyoko switched her vegan cultured butter packaging from plastic to compostable wax paper (yay!) Here’s the recipe if you want to make it yourself instead of purchasing. It’s not whole food plant based, but sometimes a little butter is what I’m craving, and this is the best- truly it tastes like the real deal. We’ve been enjoying little bit of that on toast and French style, on radishes with a pinch of salt and pepper as a pre dinner apero. We’ve been having a later dinner- around 7 pm, because I really enjoy sitting down with Joel around 4 and talking over some tasty bites and perhaps a glass of wine. It signals the end of working for the day, and presents an opportunity to reconnect after being apart during the day, swapping stories and kisses and laughs. The kids usually play outside with friends during this time, having a similar ritual of their own to reconnect with their friends on our street and share a snack. Some other bites we enjoy: blistered Padron peppers (from our garden!), olives, toasted almonds, cucumber slices sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds, salt, and chili flakes, little gem lettuce cups with herb salad or avocado slivers inside, maybe some cherry tomatoes. Just a little bite, nothing heavy, but something to nibble on and most importantly, share. Food rituals are my most favorite part of life.
a first course all from our garden: blistered padron peppers, purple and green basil, jaune flamme and red boar tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, salt and pepper, drizzle of red wine vinegar.
mini “quiches” made with chickpea flour and whatever vegetables are on hand: here with roasted jimmy nardello peppers and first-of-the-season broccoli. Recipe I roughly went off of can be found here. Very easy, can be frozen, fiber and protein, pack and travel well, and they taste amazing (use black salt for that “eggy” flavor)
pesto pasta dinner at the farmers market- travels well, can sit at room temp no problem, and tastes so good. Bulk penne + homemade pesto with our garden basil + toasted walnuts, lots of garlic, salt, lemon, and a bit of nutritional yeast + enough olive oil to pull it together, thinly slice raw garden zucchini and red sheep nose peppers mixed in, too. The pesto was leftover- I made a minestrone the night before with the pesto to dollop and stir through each bowl at the table. Packed in our tiffin for the market. Some of you asked if I’d experienced rust on this tiffin- not at all, and I’ve used it over a year many, many times. I hand wash and dry. My friend has the same exact tiffin and also hasn’t experienced any issues.
peanut noodles (I subbed almond butter) with sautéed shiitakes, lots of cilantro, toasted sesame seeds.
potato salad- mustardy vinaigrette (shallot, red wine or apple cider vinegar, olive oil, dijon AND whole grain mustard, salt and pepper), chopped cornichons, German butterball potatoes, steamed cheddar cauliflower.
flourless chocolate torte, gluten free and vegan, with the leftover miyokos butter. SO GOOD and rich, you only need a smidge for an ultra satisfying chocolate treat. I baked in an oval dish because I’ve lost my tart pan.
also made but didn’t photograph: stuffed tomatoes with capers and olives, simple broiled eggplant (slice and put under the broiler till soft and golden, drizzle with vinegar and herbs-marjoram is especially good- s+p and EVOO), cucumber/ginger/red onion salad, melon gazpacho, tabbouleh, and anything else I can come up with that takes little time to prepare and does justice to the perfect summer produce.
I hope you all are enjoying these last sun soaked days of the summer before the bustle of fall. Lots of love,