Kelly and I have been doing the Whole30 and we are on day 16. Say what you want about “diets”… I feel damn good, I’m eating well, and I’m spending a lot of time in the kitchen.
Things that are hard:
- being social (we live near too many breweries and I still am not totally clear on whether or not I can have kombucha…)
- some headaches here and there
- night shifts at work (I’M SURROUNDED BY SNACKS!)
Things that feel good:
- making lots of bone broth
- planning out meals (less waste!)
- feeling energized
- going up a notch on my belt buckle
- learning to use sugar free substitutes like coconut aminos
Here are some happenings from our kitchen 👩🏼🍳
Also, Kelly has to go on a work trip next week. Send her good vibes that she can push through.
With Thanksgiving tomorrow I find myself pondering ways to give back to my community. I have been on and off with volunteering and it’s time to be back on. During my first read through of Small Victories, I resonated with Julia’s call for action towards the back of the book. I am grateful for the food I can buy and being able to spend time in my kitchen. However, I recognize this is a privilege. So this morning I spent some time searching for ways to contribute locally in Denver and this is the short list of organizations I came up with and their missions.
One Colorado – “To secure and protect equality and opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Coloradans and their families.”
African Community Center – “To help refugees rebuild safe, sustainable lives in Denver through supportive networks of people, services and community activies.”
Project Helping – “Use the joy and purpose created by volunteering to improve mental wellness.”
The GrowHaus – “Create a community-driven, neighborhood-based food system by serving as a hub for food distribution, production, education, and economic development.”
On another note, if you are able, please consider donating to Standing Rock.
You can contribute here. This monetary donation will help provide “legal, sanitary and emergency purposes” for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
Find many other ways to get involved here.
Autumn has always been my favorite season. Growing up in New England made it pretty easy to fall in love with fall. This season is off to a slow start in Colorado and although I shouldn’t be complaining about the sunshine and warmth, I am looking forward to 40 degree days instead of 60.
My job also has a fairly strange schedule and it’s not so often that Kelly and I get to have a low key Sunday dinner together. Yesterday was one of those days. With just enough chill in the air (not really…) I decided to make Roasted Red Pepper + Pear Soup. My small victory for this soup was that I made my first homemade stock the night before! I’ve been making my mom’s chicken soup for years, but I’ve never made my own stock. I used leftover roasted chicken bones (from the fennel, rosemary + lemon recipe) and a bunch of trimmings from carrots, celery, onions, and garlic. I’ve started to keep all my vegetable trimmings in a bag in the freezer now for this purpose.
One of my favorite parts of this soup was roasting the peppers until they burned. I have a feeling I will make them again and maybe try my hand at a spin-off replication of my favorite jarred peppers by Rao’s. The color of the soup was a beautiful autumn orange. I am excited to try the butternut squash and curried carrot spin-offs!
Kelly was our bartender for the evening and mixed up a few Whiskey + Maple Syrup Sours. She seemed to especially love whisking the ingredients together and was quick to tell her family that this would be the new Christmas cocktail.
Maybe it is because she is jewish and gay. Or maybe it is because she is married to a designer. Whatever the reason, something about Julia Turshen’s cookbook, Small Victories, spoke to me.
I discovered her after spiraling down an Instagram rabbit hole. I must have been on her wife’s account (@designsponge) when I saw several posts promoting Julia’s new book. I ordered it immediately and within a week I was cooking a delicious and aromatic pot of curried red lentils with coconut milk. It wasn’t the first time I’ve cooked lentils, but I’ve never had the urge to lick my plate clean like I did that night.
Without much delay, I bought a new blank journal, sent a photo of it to my girlfriend, and said there was something fun on the horizon. Her half-joking reply was “I think you should have a goal to finish a notebook!” Like so many things in my life, I often do not finish what I start and am a master of procrastination. Whether it is one of several journals only filled 1/4 of the way, a children’s book review blog, graduate school, or organizing and cleaning our apartment. I have a tendency to get excited about something, but I do not always follow through.
What makes Small Victories different from any other cookbook I’ve owned before is that I want to read every word from cover to cover. It’s not just a collection of recipes. It is an ode to a woman’s love for food, family, relationships, and community. She encourages you to get personal (use your hands!) with your food and makes it incredibly accessible to do so. Most importantly, Turshen’s cookbook invites you to bring your own creativity into the mix. You end up creating a foundation and building on it with the tips tucked into the small victories outlined in every recipe. My most used one so far? Letting meat get to room temperature before cooking. Game. Changer.
So really this is another fun project idea that I am embarking on. I suppose there are some hints of Julie & Julia here as my goal is to cook the entirety of Small Victories and document the journey. This will not be solely a food blog and I imagine some of my own recipes and food adventures (as well as some non-food adventures) will creep their way in. Much of my passion for food is tied to my family and I look forward to sharing some personal traditions and stories too.