labor day weekend / vegetable soup that’s actually good

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This past Labor Day weekend was long and really comfortable. I spent a couple of days with my college girlfriends at the beach. We ate and drank and laid on the sand. There was a baby in our midst and two more on the way. I could almost feel the change in the air: new life, (literally) new people, jobs and careers and locations were all ending and starting between the 10 of us. Even our conversations felt different, we talked about politics and being pregnant and giving birth and buying houses, all kinds of heavy, adult themes that weren’t even considered almost a decade ago when we first met, when our conversations were filled with boys, food, clothes, occasionally school, and whatever else undergrads talk about. I forget, it was so long ago.

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After college when we all got married and transitioned into careers and churches and awkward, quarter life crises that some of us (or maybe just me) are still going through, we met new people and had new relationships that felt awkward and strained at best. Being back with the people who really know me, friends who need no explanation, who were at and in my wedding, and saw me really grow up, felt like a breath of fresh air. Which it literally was, since we were at the beach. Despite all of our personal changes, it was incredibly refreshing to be with people whose friendship with me hasn’t changed.

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cauliflower is not bread / kind of a salad / turkey meatballs

dinner in a bowl : kind of a salad

dinner in a bowl : kind of a salad

There is a genera of people out there who like to substitute cauliflower for certain grains and bread products. Chop cauliflower small enough and pretend its rice or pasta! (it’s not) Or, an even worse travesty, mashing up cauliflower for baking and pretending it’s a pizza crust.

What?! If you have experienced the vast internet expanse that is Pinterest at all or have ever journeyed into the dark land of The Paleo Diet, you have probably been exposed to cauliflower pizza crust. You know what I call cauliflower topped with tomatoes and cheese? A salad. If you’re trying to find ways to cut calories, ok. If you want a salad, eat a salad. But if you want pizza, EAT A DANG PIZZA. Please, don’t mess with the perfection that is a toasty, chewy, delicious yeasted crust and pretend that cauliflower can replace it. It can’t. There is no such thing as ‘diet pizza’. Some things are sacred. Stop trying.
I’m done soapboxing. For now.

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mango chicken curry

A lot has changed since I originally published this over 2 years ago. While I appreciate the perspective that this gave me, I do not feel comfortable promoting Whole30 or diet culture. I’m leaving this post because its part of my journey and shows how far I’ve come, which is why I’m not taking the post down. If you would like to discuss more of these thoughts with me, feel free to reach out! Also, this is a really yummy curry recipe, regardless of its origins.

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Recipe at the bottom!

Food: we all need it. It’s one of the needs that all humans have in common. It can bring people together in fellowship, be the centerpiece of a holiday gathering, and sustain the soul and body. Depending on what you eat, it can nourish and heal your body, or slowly poison it. I love food! (hello captain obvious) I love the smells, textures, and tastes. I love the preparation and the fascinating way that what you eat can change you, for the better or worse. Our appetites can be complicated and full of emotion, so it’s an area to tread carefully in. I believe in a balanced diet, but I know that means different things for different people. For me, it means we eat lots of fresh produce, meats, dairy and protein, as well as grains and legumes. I also think that balance does not mean restriction or deprivation, but moderation. I understand that some people feel differently about this, and that’s great! This is me. Because I believe in balance and moderation, I’m super hesitant to jump on paleo/whole30/newest diet bandwagons. Everybody’s body and life and schedules are different, and people need different things. But ultimately, I think everyone needs an eating lifestyle that includes as many fruits and vegetables and happy meats, dairy and proteins as possible, and (this is super important to me) it needs to be enjoyed and savored. Since when does this kind of eating need to labeled and branded? Food for thought. (puns. ugh sorry)

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more cheap eats / enchiladas

what are those words? i'll never know.

what are those words? i’ll never know.

Two recipe posts in one week mean they both need to be quick and to the point. Kind of like this dinner. Our lives have been full of living lately- but in the best way. That also means that what we eat needs to be quick and easy to make, as well as sustaining. This meal is just that – you only get one pan dirty, it takes 30 minutes or less from start to finish, and it’s packed with protein and delicious flavors, and if you want them: Chips! Another favorite food of mine.

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cheap eats / weeknight favorite / fool me fancy mac and cheese

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It’s the end of the month. (Where the heck did July go?!) Which means the bank account is dwindling and the monthly budget is looking tight. “Budget” is one of those adult words that wasn’t previously in my vocabulary as a non-adult. Once I got a job and a mortgage and bills and married and “oh look! pretty clothes!” it became a very common vocab word at our house. And then you factor in things like health insurance and trying to exercise and working on the weekends and what the heck is all this about?! None of those things make you an adult, but maybe added together you get adult-like responsibilities, so the title of “adult” is sort of forced on you with no option to abdicate.

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it’s greek to me curried chicken nachos / weeknight favorite

its greek to me nachos

its greek to me nachos

We eat a lot at our house. Which I’m sure most people will say about themselves, who have been blessed with access to bountiful funds and modern grocery stores. But for two people who have passed the adolescent growth spurt years, the amount of food consumed on our property is intense. My husband (bless him) has to consume around 3,200 calories a day just to maintain his weight and energy levels. (that’s a lot of calories: generally 3,000 calories = 1 pound of weight on the average person)  Feeding him is like a sport. You cook enough for 4 average, reasonably hungry adults, possibly 6 that have restraint. You serve yourself a moderate amount. Then Aaron bats cleanup and the meal that would feed most couples for two, possibly three really skinny days, becomes one. It’s a constant source of amazement for those unaccustomed to his food-vacuum ways.

Which means I cook a lot. Because I’m morally offended (dramatic, I know, chill out already) by fillling the vast calorie expanse with calorically dense/nutritionally void processed and fast food, it means a lot of home cooking. Maybe 4-5 nights of meals where some type of heated food assembly is involved, with 1 night of cobbled together leftovers and 1 night for takeout. And we usually eat the same thing, over and over again. In the fall/winter months, it’s lots of soups and stews with grilled chicken and roasted root vegetables. In the summer, lots of salads, summer veggies and summer fruits like blueberries and peaches and cherries and whatever cheap protein or grain fillers are around.

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