end of summer eating

farmers market zero waste california

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.

zero waste grocery shopping

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.

le apero vegan california

watermelon radish with butter vegan appetizer

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.

shisito pepper salad vegan first course prime piatti zero waste

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)

chickpea quiche frittata lunch vegan zero waste

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.

pesto pasta

peanut noodles (I subbed almond butter) with sautéed shiitakes, lots of cilantro, toasted sesame seeds.

shiitake noodles

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.

vegan German potato salad

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.

vegan flourless chocolate torte gluten free

galette with foraged blackberries.  gf crust recipe here, oil free crust recipe here, whole wheat olive oil crust recipe here.

blackberry galette

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,



38 thoughts on “end of summer eating

  1. I will admit it was Buzzfeed that turned me onto your blog. You’ve been a huge inspiration to me ever since. I do hope in the future you have more time for social media, even if it’s just one outlet (blog, Instagram, Youtube).Though, we all understand family and life comes first. Lots of love xoxo

    1. Nothing against the buzzfeed followers haha! I’m happy to have you and share the message more widely! I guess it was just a bit overwhelming to have a wave all at once. I will try to continue on a reduced schedule. Thanks so much for writing in with your support xx

  2. Do what feels good and right! The internet is always there, waiting (which actually sounds pretty creepy). I would be terrified to have something about my beliefs go up on BuzzFeed, good or bad. Good on you. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

  3. Yes! I recently deleted the IG/FB app off my phone. I found that I was scrolling my way through life. Removing it has allowed me to remember the hobbies I’ve paused, be a lot more present and not just find joy and satisfication in how my post is doing or what so and so is sharing.

    To check Facebook I use the desktop sparingly. I popped into Instagram for your post on ZW camping and even then don’t have the need to scroll or check in.

    Enjoy this time! It can get very overwhelming to be on social media and I have 500 followers lol.

    1. Omg yes. Scrolling your way through life…I so agree. Especially at night, I found myself not even realizing how late it was as I replied and scrolled endlessly. It makes me feel like a zombie. So glad Im not alone. Lots of love xx

  4. I love all of your posts! Even without recipes, the photos and your unique food pairings are so inspiring. While I hope to see intermitten posts in the future, family and the present should always come first! Enjoy yourself and thank you for being part of my zero-waste/cooking journey!!!

    1. Ah thank you so much. I’m so happy to hear that! I’m striving to continue, but on a reduced schedule. Appreciating your kind understanding xx

  5. Hi Amanda Firstly thankyou for sharing snippets of your beautiful life and especially food ideas. I see you as an “inspiration”! I do enjoy listening to your calming voice when you share what you are cooking. However I totally agree social media takes us away from the moment as we feel the need to document everything! Enjoy your time with your children and partner as you transition into new experiences and I look forward to the times you do pop onto share something.
    Greeting from Australia

  6. Take all the time you need! I just want you to know how appreciated you are. I can only imagine the time it takes to share all your content, education & make time to answer our questions to the best of your ability. All out of the goodness of your heart. You’re helping so many! Lots of love.

  7. Understand your need for balance & the need to prioritise the truly important in your life. You are so right to cut back, but please don’t leave or delete your account. You are an inspiration and you guide many to a better lifestyle. Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much. I won’t delete it, but I’m striving to upload only when I have the extra time…sending lots of love to you xx

  8. Oh, I totally understand. I find there is no way to balance the use of social media. It’s interactive, so you want to keep in touch, right? But you want to live your life first and foremost, and exactly this life mostly hs to wait for the Social media thing to “be done”. I only have an IG account, where I never post:), and I started it to find cooking inspiration. Of course I would spend so much time looking at gorgeous food that I would have almost no time left to cook. I would see so many pictures of cakes and cookies by my favorite cooks, because that seems to be the most published “food category “, that I would constantly need to debate with myself about eating sweets – I am not able to eat it to feel good, but when you look at the pictures of cookies, of course you feel like you are missing out… So for me, at first I actually deleted most of my favorite cookbook authors and I am mostly going between deleting and installing the app and also installing the freedom app, to block IG at certain times. Yeh, it sounds kind of silly, right? It’s just IG:).
    Also, to react to the first commenter – I only read blogs, I do not write one, but even I have noticed how much entitlement there is everywhere. So many people feel like every blogger/instagrammer is obliged to be perfect, reply immediately, accept all criticism and be infinitely grateful for every follower, write happy answer to endlessly repetitive questions, etc., etc…. Honestly, the calculation of energy received/energy given is “drainage of energy” IMO.
    Nevertheless, I enjoy your cooking IG stories, Amanda. I find those inspiring for your use of spices, while cooking simple and quick meals.
    Wish you all the best in your home schooling, as well!

    1. Klara! You encapsulate everything that I feel…I have experimented so much and have been striving for balance in vain. Something about the way social media interacts with our lives means that it takes over everything no matter which way you use it. I really appreciate your message. Thanks for your sweet words. It makes me feel less alone! Sending love xx

  9. I agree that taking a break was the best decision you could make and I’m happy to hear you enjoyed your time off social media so much. I admire you so much Amanda for the way you live your life and your dedication to being such a wonderfully positive online presence. Your food always looks delicious and your writing is always a pleasure to read. Thank you for all that you do!

    1. Thank you so much! I really appreciate your kind words of support….it’s a tricky act trying to balance social media in modern life!

  10. I deleted the IG app a month ago and only check in on my home computer (usually morning and night). There is a wonderful freedom that comes with that! I don’t have a large following like you do so I can understand the pressure you have – good for you to set limits and allow the important things in your life to take first priority!

  11. Hey Amanda,

    I wondered if you were ok! Glad to hear all is well, and what you’ve shared really resonated with me too. I really hope you do find a balance that allows you to continue to create and share with us, as I would miss your content! Selfish I know, but true.

    Lots of love x

  12. I’ve just stumbled across your site while dipping my toes into the zero waste life style and I just have to say that i totally relate to your thoughts and feelings about social media! You’ve already shared so much – great tips and so many awesome recipes I’ve already tried, so thank you! Social media can be a great connector but it can also be such a drain and finding that balance is so hard. I’ve deleted, readded, deleted again so many social media apps (particularly instagram) and I always feel lighter and like my life becomes a bit more mine again when it is gone. Take your time and live your life lady – thanks for everything you’ve shared so far!

    1. Hello Jessica! Thank you so very much for your message. I completely resonate with what you say here- the cycle of deleting, reinstalling, deleting again haha. I always think I’ve found a balance and then it slips away…social media is tricky. Thank you so much for your support and kind words, they mean a lot xx

  13. I always appreciate your thoughts so much! I’m 100% with you, and also actually just pulled Insta off my phone earlier this week (and gave up other social media years ago). Had a light bulb moment recently after reading this article (https://medium.com/@richardnfreed/the-tech-industrys-psychological-war-on-kids-c452870464ce) – these tools are difficult to manage in our lives because they’re designed to take over our lives. Of course! The whole point is to get us to spend as much time as possible interacting in that app, social media, etc. I don’t know what the answer is for me yet, but at the moment, taking a long break feels right.

    But selfishly, gotta say – please keep posting on the blog! 🙂 I’m always so inspired by what you’re eating and thinking about.

  14. I think you were wise to delete your Instagram account. I love uploading to Instagram and it’s reconnected me with a love of photography, but I don’t get a lot of messages so it’s manageable. Still though, i do sometimes hear myself saying to my kids ‘I’ll be with you as soon as i finish this post!’. It’s a slippery slope.

    1. Thank you. So agree with the slippery slope…one thing inevitably leads to another and before you realize, time has slipped away…I keep coming back to it because of the community and connection, but inevitably take steps away periodically. Thanks for writing in 🙂

  15. Hi Amanda! I was so happy to see your post today. I always love hearing from you. You inspire me so much! I am feeling exactly the same way as you about being online and on my phone and have been struggling with loving it and then hating it. I don’t know how to find the balance in between. I have wanted to delete my Instagram app daily for the past few weeks (I have deleted Facebook) but I just can’t do it for some reason. I am jealous you could!! I love having it for the connection, especially as a stay at home Mom, and for the sharing of information as I have been transitioning our family to a fully plant based diet and zero waste lifestyle over the past year. That part has been so helpful and encouraging and makes me feel connected to others like you who are living this way. I don’t have that in my daily life here. Maybe I need to seek that out somehow and it could fill the lonely void I often feel of doing it all on my own?! Being on social media becomes so overwhelming for me. All the information and opinions and stimulus and beautiful photos and ideas leave me feeling like I am never doing enough and am not enough. I loose touch with my thoughts, feelings, intuition, and as you mention it steals moments from my actual daily life that I want to be present for. I also don’t want to model it in front of my children who I try to limit from being on screens too so that they can play and be and learn in the world. Anyway, I don’t know the answer for me yet, but I do know I am struggling just like you are. I can completely relate to what you are experiencing and wanted you know. Sending love and light you and your sweet family!!

    1. Hello Courtney! Thank you so much for your comment. I so agree. Social media fills that place for me too- I don’t know many people in real life that live similarly so online it’s wonderful to find community. It’s just that it can be a slippery slope as you mention- I also (and I thinking everyone!) feels the feelings you describe of “not enough”. I don’t know the answer either, but am happy I’m not alone. Thank you for reading and your message! xx

  16. I also deleted my Instagram app from my phone, and now I just check occasionally online (and then I only check your account!). I think you are absolutely right to limit social media and although there have been days where your Instagram posts have really refreshed me and brought my mind back on track (I have bookmarked many of your Insta posts, and I will be ever grateful that you introduced your green smoothie with the barley powder!), you’ve got to do what works for you and your family. I just hope that you continue blogging! even if just once a month. That is a little selfish, but you’ve introduced me to Ali Kamenova, which changed my life for the better and energizes me every day, I think your herbal infusions are responsible for the reduction in my migraines, you’ve inspired me to be as zero-waste as possible, to think about cooking differently (relying on what is in season at the farmer’s market, using intuition), try thrifting instead of buying new clothes and generally just buying way less, and going on more nature adventures with my kids. So thank you for that! Take care of yourself

    1. Hello! Thank you for your uplifting message, I really appreciate the support. I actually enjoy the blogging more because its slower if that makes sense? So I hope to continue to update as I have time and feel inspired to do so. Im so honored to have touched your life in a small way…sending lots of love to you + yours xx

  17. I totally get what you mean – I deleted all my personal social media 2 and a half+ years ago. It just rose my anxiety levels and I felt it took away from my day to day, I was spending time focusing on people’s lives I really didn’t care about. Then I started my blog close to a year ago (I have no following even close to you so of course it doesn’t compare) but suddenly getting social media again and spending time on my phone after not being used to it was a big shock. I think I am finding my groove more now,but I realise how bad i am at staying consistent (probably why my following isn’t crazy) because I often forget about it or I get overwhelmed. And the influencer stuff I totally agree with, I think take it at whatever pace you like. The followers that engage with your content will stay engaged and enjoy whatever you give. If you aren’t happy then the content isn’t good right! Enjoy your gorgeous family and kids

    1. Totally agree- the overwhelming feeling is so uncomfortable sometimes. Especially with daily responsibilities it can seem like just another thing to heap on top go my list. I go off and on about it, sometimes inspired, sometimes deflated. Glad to know I’m not the only one. Thanks for reading and your comment xx

  18. Yes, I took a multi-month break recently and never wanted to come back. (I do have to because as a writer I really need a social media presence of some kind, even if it’s small.) But one thing I have done in the past that helps me so much is to take a week off each month. I schedule it on the calendar and don’t feel bad about it at all. I think it also helps give others permission to check out for awhile too. We need it. These social media spaces are relentless, especially when you are good at it, as you are. Glad you have taken a little time for yourself.

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