this week: eats, reads, pleasures of late august

sunflower garden

Hello!  Thank you all so very much for all the kind messages of support and encouragement and love you sent on my last post where I discussed the overwhelming feelings I’ve been experiencing regarding Instagram.  I really appreciate it so much and it’s a deep breath to know I’m not alone in feeling this way.  (you can read it HERE if you missed it).

School officially starts today, so this was our last week of summer vacation.  Today we took school pictures and picked up our materials from school (we’re trying out a hybrid homeschool/independent study program from our school district).  It’s very exciting.  I’ve been wanting to try homeschooling forever but wasn’t quite sure about it.  So this will be a sort of trial to see if this works better, or worse, for us than traditional schooling.   Anyways, here’s some snippets of our life this week.

radish zero waste shoppingbiking zero waste shopping

grocery shopping in our bakfiets cargo bike (my “SUV”)


this week at the market, I bought: Savoy cabbage, purple cauliflower, strawberries, carrots, tomatoes, o’henry peaches, baguette, radishes, cannelini beans, olives, walnuts, lettuces arugula, leeks, shallots, onions, garlic, German butterball potatoes, parsley, turnips, parsnips, and charentais melon.  Here’s some things we enjoyed making with them:

aperitivo/apéro, the hour where my partner and I are done working for the day and transition to evening by enjoying a glass of wine (or kombucha) + some nibbles while we chat and reconnect.  We often play games together (gin, backgammon, scrabble are favorites) while doing so.  Such a pleasurable ritual.  Here we enjoyed a Bordeaux, radishes with a cashew cheese, a few bulk olives and a handful of sugar sweet cherry tomatoes from our garden.


heirloom tomato salad with tomatoes all from our garden!  The simplest first course ever- just slice beautiful recipe tomatoes, arrange them nicely on a plate, sprinkle over chopped shallot and herbs (here I used parsley and marjoram), drizzle over a bit of vinegar (I used red wine), s+p, optionally some EVOO too.  It looks and taste impressive but is so easy.

tomato salad

another simple but delicious side: zucchini pan seared and tossed with a quick “knife pesto” of basil, mint, capers, walnuts, and garlic.  One of my favorites and it elevates the humble zucchini in the perfect way.  Recipe HERE.

zucchini mint basil walnut

vegetable pot au feu with carrots, savoy cabbage, potatoes, parsnips, leeks, and turnips.  I’ve made this countless times and it’s so simple, yet supremely delicious.  The delicate flavors of the vegetables really shine in this and I always add some small potatoes for substance.  We’ve been getting a cooler evening breeze, so this feels so nice.  Recipe HERE.

vegan pot au feu

With the cannelini beans I bought this week, I soaked, drained, and cooked them in the crockpot with sage, garlic, and peppercorns.  Then we ate them all week.  Here, we had them brothy, with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh parley leaves, s+p.  So simple but so good.  Add to soups, blitz into a hummus style dip (so creamy!) or cook with some greens and top with avocado, and sweet potato for a simple lunch.  Recipe for the beans HERE.

cannelini beans

With the strawberries, we ate lots fresh, I made some chia seed jam, and also this strawberry custard tart- a toasted coconut crust, creamy macadamia custard piled high with glazed berries.  The kids have been picking out a dessert to make together weekly, and this week they wanted a strawberry tart.  They were able to make it almost by themselves- some minimal help and direction from me.  Recipe HERE.

strawberry tart vegan Amy chaplin

This summer was my first time tasting a Charentais melon (French heirloom that’s gray-green and knobby on the outside) and its my all time favorite.  Here, with some grapes for a sweet ending to dinner.

charentais melon

quick lunch salads with whatever greens and veggies I have on hand + a toasted nut or seed for crunch + onion/green onion/or shallot + a creamy tahini dressing (grated garlic, lemon juice, s+p, water to thin to desired consistency and flavor) that I just eyeball- for a specific recipe its similar to this, except I don’t use olive oil (it’s plenty creamy already).

salad tahini vegan dressing oil free

I also made a delicious eggplant dish but forgot to take a photo: cook up some tomato sauce (I sautéed an onion in some olive oil till translucent, added lots of minced garlic, some s+p, and oregano, then added in a quart of canned tomatoes, pulsed to a chunky puree and simmered for 10 mins).  Layer in 1/4 inch thick slice eggplant into a layer in a small baking dish.  Cover with a layer of sauce and a sprinkle of herbs like marjoram or parsley or basil.  Repeat with remaining eggplant and sauce, making sure the last layer of eggplant is covered with sauce.  Cover with a lid or foil and bake in a 375 oven for an hour or so- I didn’t time, I just let it cook while I did laundry and enjoyed a few games of uno with the kids- its not fussy.  About 10 minutes before its done, pull it out and dollop this mozzarella sauce on top (or whatever vegan cheese you like, miyokos mozzarella is great) and return to the oven for 10 mins.  Pull it out and serve!  Great with crust baguette or rice to mop up all the delicious saucy goodness.  The cheese is optional but delicious.

reading:  I just finished David Lebovitz’s L’Appartwhich was a hilarious and quick read about his adventures buying and renovating an apartment in Paris.  He’s always been a favorite cooking inspiration, although most of his dishes aren’t close to vegan, I still find them inspiring for flavor profiles and techniques.  His carrot salad is one we have eaten regularly for year.

Now I’m diving into Julia Child’s memoir, My Life in Francewhich has been fascinating so far.  I love reading about the special details of life in ages past.  So much of that we’ve lost in the modern world- long mealtimes, writing letters, using beautiful things meant to last, savoring the moments and rituals of daily life.

Julia child book

Also, this ebook on intuition by a huge inspiration of mine, Meagan Moon, that I’ve been eagerly anticipating for ages just came out.  I’ve been reading bits early morning or late night, when I have some quiet still time to reconnect.  Intuition has been the biggest teacher for me, both with food + eating, life decisions, and personal care.

daily life:  our summer garden is still burgeoning with juicy tomatoes (jaune flamme, sun gold, red boar, green zebra, Cherokee purple), verdant shisito peppers, crunchy cucumbers (lemon, Armenian, Persian, English), spicy and heady basil (Neapolitan and purple), and my favorite little husk cherries.  The kids and I have an after breakfast ritual of going out to water, pick, and admire our little space.  Soon we’ll be preparing for the cool season and planting lettuces, green onions, leeks, kale, and more.  Many of you have asked me for gardening tips; but really gardening varies SO much depending on your particular area: the soil issues, pests/problems, weather, and even the varieties of plants that do well will wildly differ.  My best advice is to go to a local nursery and make friends and ask questions.  Any place that’s worth their salt will love to help a new gardener and offer advice and wisdom.  Seek out a small nursery, specific to your area.  If that fails, connect with neighbors or community via posting to Freecycle, Craigslist, a local Buy Nothing Group on Facebook…asking for help and guidance.  Also, search out your Sunset zone and then google “vegetable gardening in sunset zone … ”  If you’re local to northern CA, Redwood Barn (my local nursery) has a fantastic website with numerous detailed and knowledgeable articles with advice for the Yolo and Sacramento area, find it HERE.



Now I have a question for you…is there anything I have yet to address that you would like me to?  What topics or posts would you like to see fleshed out a bit more?  It would help immensely.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve said all I have to say if you know what I mean and things start to feel a bit stale…but I suppose theres always ups and downs where one feels very inspired and then not so much.  I’m hoping to put on a zero waste meet up/”class” late September, for those who are local and interested.

Thank you, as always, for reading!  Hope you are having the best week, sending love to you wherever and whoever you are.

xx Amanda

18 thoughts on “this week: eats, reads, pleasures of late august

  1. I love this post and your simple rituals ARE inspiring in and itself. I too go through “themes” so I love the french inspired reading. I’ve been looking for books lately that are based on life as lived, versus self-help which I so often reach too. Also, I want to increase my vocabulary. So keep the book recommendations coming!
    Lately I’ve been feeling very recluse and borderline depressed on a day to day basis, exhausted and unmotivated. Social media is especially draining. It would be great if you felt like dwelling more into the ups and downs and sharing things that help you feel grounded and centered. Thank you for having the courage to share, even when you don’t feel like it!

    1. Hi Jocelyn! Thanks, as always, for your lovely messages. I’m such a “theme” person too, I go through waves of whats inspiring me intensely at the moment, then can totally switch gears days weeks or months later haha. Such a wonderful goal to increase your vocabulary! I want to as well.
      Actually I’ve been going through a bit of the same feelings you describe, a kind of general apathy and I haven’t been working out or eating in my usual ways lately which I think contributes. More work and less time for my grounding practices. I’ve been struggling to get back on track myself and so I’ll definitely write up a post about what I’m doing to get there when I do. Sending hugs and hope you get a spark soon. Just know we all go in cycles, just like nature, the moon, the seasons, theres ups and downs always. love xx

  2. Maybe another what you eat in a day, how you decide what your going to eat in a day, or how you know you’ve eaten enough/fullness, how you lose weight?

    Sorry I just hate being lost and never losing weight or knowing how to eat every day :(. How does everyone know how much fats or carbs to eat? 😦

    1. Hi! Great ideas. I actually don’t plan anything I eat, I just eat till I’m satisfied but not bursting if you know what I mean. I try to more focus on getting plenty of raw or lightly cooked vegetables, especially greens, into my meals as possible- greens really satiate me and reduce cravings, I’ve found. I’ll try to touch more on your questions soon. Sending love xx

  3. Hi Amanda, I’ve been following you for a 6 months or so. I also have a love-hate relationship with social media. I regularly delete it from my phone to take a break and find myself alot less anxious and soooooo much more in tune with my kids/husband. I love to stare at their faces and really take it all in. I did just want to say that outside of my friends, I don’t follow many others. You however, are so inspiring! Everything you do makes me reflect on my life and my desire to slow the pace of my life, and live with more intention. I want to pass these values onto my children.

    I’d love for you to blog more if you decided to take a long term break from Instagram!

    Reading from Brisbane, Australia

    1. Hello! Thank you so much for writing me! I feel the same way about social media- love/hate is the perfect way to describe it! I’m so happy that you’ve been inspired to reflect on intentional living. I will definitely continue to blog, at least a bit, even if I decide to leave Instagram for an extended period or for good. Sending love to you from California xx

  4. Hi! My name’s Emily and I’m also a low-to-no-waste type myself. I’ve been reading your blog for a while, and I’ve also been meaning to comment for a while!
    I help run a co-op in San Francisco called Other Avenues. We offer bulk, organic produce, fresh bread, loose pastries, and other essentials for a simple diy life. I’d love to have you host a workshop at Other Avenues. We have a small but growing contingent of customers who bring their own containers and practice low waste. Please let me know if you’re interested!
    -Emily Huston

    1. Hi Emily! That sounds lovely, unfortunately I’m about 1.5+ hours from San Francisco and between work and homeschooling I don’t know when I would be able to get down there to teach a workshop. I’m honored for you to have offered!

  5. I am just new here, and don’t find it stale at all. I find it very interesting to read how your food makes it into meals. And love your rituals too.
    But by all means, write what you enjoy writing about. That’s most important!

  6. Hi! I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog and get so much information about low waste living from you and your family. Thank you for publishing your content! I really admire how you are able to continue to live your life, and how you actively changed what you were doing when instagramming in particular became too much for you, at least for a time. What interested me most about this post is how you said you and your partner take time in your day to sit and talk to one another- I noticed a theme when you brought up your Julia Child read. How do you feel about this world being so “online”. Do you think we can escape it or totally regain some of our day to day traditions and routines again, or at least be more present without picking up our phones and computers? How I long for an extended meal time, or to write a letter. Thank you so much for posting! Have a great day.
    – Meghan

    1. Hello Meghan! Thank you so very much for your message. You bring up some points that I think about often- mainly, is there a way to reconcile the fast pace of online driven life while also living slowly, in the present moment, and living fully? For me, it’s an answer I’m exploring and pushing the boundaries of. At this moment, I’d have to say no, for me anyways. The “instancy” of obtaining goods information, and inspiration now has totally reshaped “normal” life. I think much of this revolves around the idea of the internet capable cell phone. You are expected by work, peers, family, etc to be “on” all the time, messages reach you even when you’re out of the house or office, and instead of asking for help or suggestions and striking up a conversation in new places, we consult our phones. It’s sad. I definitely do my best to resist this, though, by insisting on some phone free times, having a long dinner broken into courses (no phones allowed!), the apero hour, and other rituals. Still, phone and computer use seems to creep in easily, and with it, stress and disconnect from loved ones and the flow of the day. Oof. It’s really something that weighs heavy on my heart.

  7. sounds like a beautiful end of summer!! 🙂 I would love to read more about your self-love journey you mentioned in earlier posts. Also maybe a post about your favourite books. Have a great day Amanda x

  8. Just when I thought I was out of zucchini ideas – that looks delicious! I loved your post on simple finances, and would love to hear more about that. I also LOVE the posts just like this, the what we eat in a day or a week (or whatever) posts – so much good inspiration! I’d also love to hear more about gardening, favorite cookbooks (and other books!), and maybe some tips for getting over the initial anxiety of zero waste attempts out in the world? Thanks for blogging – you are hands-down one of my favorites!

    1. Hi Lisa! Thank you so much for the suggestions- they’re such good ones. I will incorporate them. Sending love to you! Thanks for reading.

  9. Just wanted to say that your posts have really inspired me in my meal planning, cooking, and snacking for my three children. We were already vegan, but really had too much vegan convenience foods and junk. I also really respect the way you don’t push buying more stuff and things. And you’re honest. Thanks for being a refreshing food and culture blogger!

    1. Hello! Thank you so much for writing in. I can’t tell you how meaningful it is to me to hear that. It’s been my pleasure to inspire you a bit. Sending love xx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s