It’s been a while, blog. I’ve missed you (sort of).
For many, summer unwinds us with its nudging heat and endless days, especially if you live in the usually-frozen wasteland of Ottawa like I do. Students are out of school, everyone’s on vacation, and most people’s workloads are lighter. It’s summer. It’s glorious.
It also means the last thing I want to be doing is stressing about my blog.
Today’s post is a little photo essay/catch-up session to share what’s been going on since I last posted, about a month and a half ago. Some interesting things have been happening lately on which I’d love to go into detail, and some other things I’d rather not but will anyway. (Looking at you, 30 Days of Real Food challenge. . .) Let’s chat.
30 Days of Real Food Challenge
If you remember, I intended to take June as my month of “real food”—read about that here—and I had every intention of doing it. In the days leading up to the challenge, I stocked my pantry with bulk bin lentils, flours of all types (spelt: you’re actually pretty good, my flour friend), dried beans, good quality oils, etc. When June rolled over, I made a point of visiting the farmers’ market more to grab fresh, local produce and always went to the grocery store with a detailed list of whole foods to buy to whip up my 100% made-from-scratch meals.
Aaaaand that lasted roughly a week and a half.
There are people in the world that can do this—whether for health or monetary reasons, or they just really love making food—and in fact, I know people who do this, but I learned that I am not one of them. At least not for an extended period of time.
First, time. As the only cook in my house, this huge responsibility falls solely on me. I had to research recipes, look through store flyers, add virtual coupons and price matching offers to my phone, compile ingredient lists, go to the store and shop myself, haul everything home—sometimes without a car, as only my partner owns one and I can’t always rely on him to drive me around all the time—prep, cook, prep, cook again, cry in the kitchen as I sink down against the cupboards to the dirty floor, cook again.
While I’m fortunate I don’t have to add kids to the equation of my daily responsibilities, I do work full time, aim to exercise almost every day at my fitness studio (goals: be able to lift heavy things + improve mental health), do all of the cooking, try to read every day, and also fit in other things like the blog and my social life. Preparing literally everything from scratch just doesn’t fit, for me at least.
(Though I will say I kept up with making homemade almond butter every week and homemade almond milk every two days the entire month—ha! I win! Right?)
That being said, I did make all my breakfasts, lunches and the vast majority of dinners at home from fresh ingredients. But sometimes I cut corners with canned beans or store-bought tortillas, for example. I’m not ashamed. This challenge introduced me to different types of foods, especially through our first-ever Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box. And I got to make a lot of delicious dinners and desserts.
It’s a win in my books.
Less Recipes, More Talk (Maybe?)
I’ve been feeling a bit weary with recipe posts, lately. (Yes, because an actual recipe hasn’t been posted on Crumb Kitchen in two months! Wow! Burnout alert!) Since early this year, I’ve been experimenting with a lot of new things in my life related to what I like to call “better living.” Not “clean eating,” whatever that means, or throwing out every non-homemade cleaner or scrap of gluten in the house, shrieking “It’s poison!” in the dulcet tones reminiscent of The Exorcist.
Rather, I’ve become more mindful of the waste we produce every day, the impact of where I spend my grocery dollars, and the benefits of car-free living and its side benefits of increased exercise and connection with my community. I know I sound like a hippy here, but I promise I’ll never tell you that dairy is the devil or that you MUST eat only organic, non-GMO food or you will die immediately. I’m not about that life. And I would never tell someone they’re unhealthy or a “sheep” if they, for example, eat at McDonald’s once in a while or drive their car to a place they could easily walk. Because I do those things too, and I’m not a horrible person either.
You may see more articles on a broader range of aspects of better living, including recipes, is all I’m saying.
Well, Some Recipes
It is a food blog, of course. I think I’ll be keeping with my theme of more simple, building block foods. I get really excited thinking about homemade chocolate hazelnut spread, pecan butter, ketchup, mustard and the like. Condiments are thrilling to me, apparently.
I’ve also cultivated a sourdough starter that’s currently living in my fridge, so expect some sourdough cast-off recipes in the months to come. (Pizza dough? Bagels? SOURDOUGH CRACKERS? Who knows!)
As well, early autumn is a great time for homemade foods from fresh sources, so get ready. Tomatoes, anyone? Recently, I’ve been craving a gigantic spread of heirlooms covered in oils and herbs and fresh cheese. Maybe that’ll be my first recipe back. We’ll see.
A Life Change
I don’t want to bury the lede, and also everyone who I love already knows this so it’s kind of old news, but guess what? I’m engaged! Fun!
I’ve shared some weirdly personal things on posts before, but I’m actually a very introverted person and definitely curate what I share with you folks, so I’ll keep this brief. We got engaged on Prince Edward Island a month and a half ago at the edge of a cliff overlooking an old relic of a lighthouse, the Atlantic Ocean, and a school of jellyfish 100 feet below us. It was perfect.
(I share this because you may or may not read future posts that mention wedding planning woes. I love to complain, and it usually bleeds over into my blog blurbs. So get ready.)
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I hope everyone reading has a great rest of their summer. Enjoy it. Don’t waste it doing something you’re not in the mood for just because it’s what’s expected. (Yes, I’m talking about my blog.) Bathe in those last warm rays and check off your summer bucket list.
Until next time, folks.