Every year I get a bill to renew this site. It’s not a huge bill but it’s enough that I think “yeesh, that’s not nothing.” Most years, I go through about a week of feeling like maybe I should just give it up and stop paying for this. Some years I just put off any decisions until I get an email saying the site auto-renewed and here’s my bill, making the decision for me.
But this year… I don’t know. A couple weeks ago, someone at one of my favorite blogs asked if I wanted to contribute a piece to their site and my immediate reaction was oh hell yeah. (Like, I literally wrote “oh hell yeah” as the first draft of my reply to them before walking back my enthusiasm just a wee bit.)
So… yeah, like I just said, I don’t know. When I first started this blog (back in the prehistoric age of late 2006), I put a lot of pressure on myself to do it right: build an audience, develop a brand, drive traffic to the site, find out what SEO means, etc.
I don’t want to do that anymore.
In the last few years, I’ve killed any enjoyment I had in several hobbies (including this) by trying to make them into something more. Something bigger, something profitable, which turned them into jobs which quickly turned into jobs I didn’t want. And I’m done with all that.
I can’t definitely say yes, I’m back for good, so let’s just say, I’m kind of back. For now. Let’s see where it goes from here.
I’ve realized that I don’t try new foods often enough. It’s not because I’m afraid to try new things; I just hate the idea of wasting money on something I don’t like. A bag of arugula came in one of my produce boxes last summer and I’ve been slightly obsessed with it ever since: salads, pizzas, sandwiches, etc.
Grilled cheddar with arugula stuffed in the middle is probably my favorite to date but this cream cheese and arugula is a close second. Meanwhile, I have a packet of slow-bolt arugula seeds just waiting to be planted.
Congratulations on making it through yet another winter with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD™)! To make your experience even more SAD™ next year, let’s review our list of DOs and DON’Ts:
- DO stay awake at night thinking of all the things you meant to get done that day but somehow didn’t manage to do. Lying in bed at 3 a.m. is also the perfect opportunity for any of the following: remembering embarrassing things that happened to you in high school, making lists in your head of all the ways you are like a cat, mentally composing blog posts that you will never write down.
- DON’T assume people still like you! Just because they’ve never said an unkind word to you in the entire time you’ve known them or given any indication that they are upset with you, that last email they sent casts doubt over everything. If they didn’t now actively hate you, why would they take an entire day to reply to you, huh? And why put a :) in there if they weren’t thinking, wow, you’re a total bitch?
- DO get deeply offended every time someone tells you, “yeah, I hate winter too.” Some people are just assholes to even to try to relate to you like that.
- DON’T avoid social media: it’s your fast-track to self-loathing! You’re not on an expensive vacation from your lucrative job, are you? ARE YOU? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
- DO get irrationally infuriated by, oh, I don’t know, everything. Your manicure chipped, your phone’s about to die (because you forgot to plug it in), the super still hasn’t fixed that leak… the best course of action is to have absolutely zero perspective on these things and spend the afternoon in a white-hot fury. Scream at the cat. Pick a fight with someone on Facebook. Who cares?!
- DON’T tell anyone you are having a rough time lately! You don’t need their help/pity and who are they to know your private business anyway? Man, screw them.
- DO turn your back on things you like to do! If there’s something you used to enjoy doing, perhaps going outdoors or writing blog posts, or anything makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something, you should put that off for as long as possible. Maybe for months even. You can think about doing these things (again, thinking about it instead of sleeping is suggested), but for fuck’s sake, don’t just do stuff.
And finally, remember it’s just 258 more days until next winter! :D
Maybe I just really need the extra vitamins or something but I have been making smoothies out of almost anything I can get my hands on this winter.
I started out with the usual line-up of ingredients: orange juice, strawberries, bananas, maybe some yogurt or a kiwi.
But when I tired of that and started trolling Pinterest for new ideas, the same thing kept popping up: green smoothies, usually made with raw spinach or even kale.
I was deeply skeptical of the idea of a raw kale smoothie — particularly as many of these recipes came from the kind of blogs which would also try to convince you that nutritional yeast is just as delicious as cheese.
Which, you know, come on.
At any rate, it was my own kid who (upon hearing my scoffing at such a smoothie recipe) remarked that a kale smoothie actually sounded pretty good to her and that was all the encouragement I needed.
We bought a bag of washed and chopped kale and put a couple handfuls into the blender with strawberries and orange juice, and it was…delicious.
Like, actually genuinely delicious, to the point that I texted my husband at work to tell him about it. (His reply: “huh okay i guess”)
There’s not much of a recipe to be had here, though. Basically, I just try to put in just enough sweet ingredients to balance out the kale. And the kale will look like a TON when you put it into the blender but it will blend down into a fraction of what was there.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- 2 kiwis + about a cup of orange juice + 3-4 handfuls of raw kale
- about 1.5 cups frozen strawberries + OJ + kale
- a sweet juice blend (like R.W. Knudsen’s Mega Green) + a handful of ice cubes + kale
We didn’t plan it; in fact, she was unusually indecisive about a costume this year so we went store-to-store and examined all the various possibilities.
Anything deemed “girly” was ruled out (by her) but anyone in The Avengers (Thor and Captain America were both considered), Super Mario characters, and a few other options were all on the table… until she found the last “Sherlock costume kit” (which also included a monocle?) and that was it. Costume done.
Now, most of you know I do not post stuff about my kid (or at least not very often) because I have always felt that she is entitled to her privacy, especially now that she’s old enough to read everything I write here.
The more I look at this photo and think about it, the more I realize: I would never have had the balls (no pun intended) to dress up in this costume at her age.
What if no one got who I was supposed to be?
What if people thought I was a boy?
What if they all laughed at me?
I don’t think any of these questions even occurred to her. (Okay, I just asked and she says no, none of these possibilities crossed her mind.)
I don’t know how much of that is being homeschooled or how much is what I’ve instilled or how much is just who she is, but damn, that is fucking rad as hell.
All of them along the lines of: aw yeah, this is my jam…
But it is!
Making jam has been on my list of things I’ve been meaning to try for a long time now, so when I came home with about 4-5 pounds of Italian plums, I figured there was no time like the present.
Ordinarily, jams need pectin in order to be more like jelly and less like, well, hot fruity goo. Plums (and apples) are naturally high in pectin so no need to go to several different stores looking for pectin only to come up empty-handed, and yes, I’m looking at you, local Target that sells canning supplies but not pectin.
As it turns out, making jam is ridiculously easy. People should stop saying “easy as pie” because pie crust is a bitch to make and everyone should start saying “easy as jam” instead. Because that’s how easy it is.
Way-easier-than-pie plum freezer jam
Combine 4 cups plums (skinned, pitted, and chopped) with 2 cups sugar and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Bring to a slow boil and let cook for 25-30 minutes, skimming off any foam that appears. After 25 minutes, start testing the jam to see if it’s set. (I use the plate-in-the-freezer method.) I did not process this in a water-bath to be shelf stable; I just put it in jars and put one in the fridge (will last for 3-4 weeks) and another in the freezer (will last for several months assuming you don’t eat it way before then).