2023 Q1 and Beyond Reading List

It’s here! I’ve been doing a Q1 reading list for the past several years that has somehow turned more into a book list for the whole year. (I have a lot of holdovers from last year that I’m keeping on here.) You can take a look through previous years here: (2022) (2021) (2020) (2017) (summer 2010) (Summer 2014) (Fall Cookbooks 2011)

Having a reading list helps me make decisions about getting in quality reading without falling into decision making slumps. I aim to have a large percentage of my reading written by women, POC, and international writers; and typically read a handful of Man Booker short list titles. I typically make a list of my favorite categories, and then will supplement or swap as I find reading that calls out to me.

I make room for the synchronicity of just picking up any random title, but I always have a backup! 

One thing that I’ve learned after a lifetime of reading: it really helps me to have series that I can blow through – long books that don’t require me to continuously learn about a new world and a new set of characters, as well as a smattering of very easy read books (usually middle grade fantasy, or RomCom) – things I can read reliably for a half hour or hour before bed even after an exhaustive day.

A few notes and observations:

Audio Books: yes, I definitely count audiobooks as reading. I process information better when on my walks and runs, and thus prefer listening to memoirs or non-fiction this way. It’s also easier for me to stay engrossed and follow along while I’m moving physically. 

Don’t forget FOOD! For the past several years, I read almost zero food memoirs, literature, or history – some of my favorite topics. So I made this one of my kitchen resolutions this year! (Again.) I’m also re-reading cookbooks. 

The library is your friend. While I always try to support local book stores – I’m also a huge fan of my local library – grabbing things off the Speed Read Shelf is my jam. Plus you can leave with a large stack and it always feels like I’ve won something. (You can also get Kindle books from the library through Libby. Having a list allows me to put more things on hold, because sometimes there’s a longer wait.)

As always, still working my way through my list of Personal Leadership Development Books, and the BBC Big Read. I also read quite a few business books for work – whatever I need to expand my ideas and sharpen my skills.

I’m always interested in reading things that stoke great minds. I read for entertainment, to rest, to inspire, learn, and to stoke my curiosity. Whenever I listen to a podcast episode, I’m always curious about what kinds of things the guest is reading (particularly when the book is completely outside of their topic,  or very niche in their topic.)

New: I’m trying to engage with my reading more by reading criticism, and more importantly, writing.

Categories to choose from: (I often choose outside these, but I find that when I’m in the mood for a particular feeling, it breaks down by this type of category.) 

Book Categories I Enjoy:

  • Fantasy (Adult, YA Fantasy, Middle Grade)
  • Scandinavian Crime (or Noir crime in general)
  • Fiction (catch all)
  • Memoir (particularly: comedy, leadership, business or political)
  • Non-Fiction (Psychology, philosophy)
  • Nature (and generally Science Writing)
  • Creativity
  • Work (Product Management, People Management, Sales)
  • Food Memoirs
  • Relationships (Hard Conversations, Boundaries, Joy)

Fantasy, YA fantasy or Children’s Fantasy

  • Tomorrow, Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin (2022, 401 pages)
  • King of Scars (2019, 527 pages) /Rule of Wolves (2021, 592 pages) by Leigh Bardugo
  • Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo (2023, 496 pages)
  • Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin (2019, 513 pages)
  • The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy) by S.A. Chakraborty (2017, 544 pages) – own on audible
  • In the Serpents Wake (Tess of the Road #2) by Rachel Hartman (2022, 503 pages)
  • Skyhunter by Marie Lu (2020, 371 pages)
  • Derkholm #1 and #2 by Diana Wynne Jones (and Howl’s Moving Castle #2) (2003, 328 pages)
  • A Court of Frost + Starlight by Sarah J. Maas (2020, 272 pages)
  • Binti Series by Nnedi Okorafor (2015, 96 pages)
  • City of Ghosts Cassidy Blake #1 by Victoria Schwab (2018, 272 pages)
  • Mistborn Series Sanderson (will this be the year? 7 books)
  • Look out for new:
    • Kristen Cashore
    • Jonathan Stroud
    • Tamora Pierce
    • Deborah Harkness
    • VE Schwab / Victoria Schwab
    • Phillip Pullman
    • Sarah J. Maas
    • Zoraida Cordova
    • Tomi Adeyemi
    • Naomi Novik

Fiction, GENERAL:

  • Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver (2022, 560 pages)
  • The Last Chairlift by John Irving (2022, 889 pages)
  • Persuasion by Jane Austen (1818, 249 pages)
  • Terry Pratchetta few last Discworlds I haven’t finished – Fifth Elephant #24 (464 pages)
  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (BBC Big Read; I think I’ve read before) 453 pages
  • Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel (2002, 255 pages)
  • Thursday Murder Club #1 (Series) by Richard Osman (2020, 382 pages)
  • Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman (and Practical Magic) (2020, 396 pages)
  • Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt (2022, 368 pages)
  • Look for new:
    • Susannah Clarke
    • Erin Morgenstern
    • Stephen King
    • TJ Klune

Crime / Thriller / Gripping and/or generally Scandinavian

  • The Ice Princess by Camilla Läckberg (2010, 393 pages)
  • The Island by Ragnar Jonasson (2019, 336 pages) – 2 in the series
  • My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (2018, 226 pages)
  • The Hunger by Alma Katsu (2018, 368 pages)
  • Death Notice (book 3, if they publish the translation) by Zhou Haohui
  • Beartown by Fredrik Backman (2016, 432 pages)
  • Pick a book by:
    • Henning Mankell
    • Jo Nesbo
    • Arnaldur Indridason
    • Viveca Sten (but I just read the newest in Dec.)
    • Lucy Foley

Memoirs / Non-Fiction Reporting 

  • The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish (2017, 288 pages) (own)
  • Dear Girls by Ali Wong (own) (2019, 240 pages)
  • Broken by Jenny Lawson (2021, 275 pages)
  • Taste by Stanley Tucci (own) (2021, 304 pages)
  • Eat a Peach by David Chang (2020, 306 pages)
  • “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!”: Adventures of a Curious Character by Richard P. Feynman (1985, 356 pages)
  • I’m Glad my Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy (2022, 320 pages)
  • Life Itself by Roger Ebert (2011, 346 pages)
  • Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe (2018, 518 pages)
  • A Heart that Works by Rob Delaney (2022, 196 pages)
  • A Book of Days by Patti Smith (2022, 410 pages)
  • Thank You for Listening by Julia Whelan (2022, 423 pages)

Nature and Science:

  • The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben (304 pages, 2015)
  • Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright (have on audio) (2017, 336 pages)
  • The Nature Fix by Florence Williams (2017, 226 pages)
  • How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan (2018, 482 pages)
  • Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski (2015, 400 pages)
  • How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy: by Jenny Odell (2019, 257 pages) (on audible)

Food and Cooking

  • Note, I don’t keep cookbooks on this list, but I try to choose memoir-ish cookbooks as much as possible.
  • Cooking as though you might cook again by Danny Licht (2021, 78 pages)
  • Elegy for an Appetite by Shaina Loew-Banayan (2022, 88 pages)
  • Fatty Fatty Boom Boom by Rabia Chaudry (2022, 352 pages)


  • The Bodyguard by Katherine Center (2019, 282 pages – done)
  • Red, White + Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (2019, 318 pages – finishing)
  • Bride Test by Helen Hoang (Book 2 – 2019, 296 pages), The Heart Principle (3)
  • Hook, Line + Sinker Tessa Bailey (2022, 365 pages)
  • Anything new by
    • Emily Henry
    • Rebekah Weatherspoon
    • Jasmine Guillory
    • Jennifer Armentrout

Leadership / Business / Finance:

  • Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman (1983, 301 pages) – own on audible
  • 4000 Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman (2021, 129 pages)
  • Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson (2002, 273 pages) (book and audible)
  • The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Success by Jim Dethmer, Diana Chapman, Kaley Klemp (In-Progress 2015, 377 pages)
  • Connect by Carole Robin, David L Bradford (2021, 203 pages)
  • The Gifts of Imperfection – Brené Brown (2010, 208 pages)
  • To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink (2012, 272 pages)
  • Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards by Yu-kai Chou (own) (2015, 513 pages)

Creativity: Writing and Creating:

  • The Practice: Shipping Your Creative Work by Seth Godin (2020, 274 pages)
  • Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon (2014, 225 pages)
  • Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon (160 pages, 2012)
  • How to Enjoy Art by Ben Street (2021, 160 pages)
  • Better Living Through Criticism AO Scott (2016, 282 pages)
  • Look for new:
    • Cal Newport
    • David Epstein

Fitness and Health / Mindfulness / Brains

  • Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism by Amanda Montell (2021, 291 pages)
  • Listen Like You Mean It: Reclaiming the Lost Art of True Connection by Ximena Vengoechea (2021, 337 pages)
  • Unmasking Autism by Devon Price (2022, 304 pages)
  • The Body, A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson (2019, 491 pages) owned on audible
  • The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life by Piero Ferrucci (2007, 354 pages)
  • The Comfort Book by Matt Haig (2021, 231 pages)
  • Why Fish Don’t Exist by Lulu Miller (2020, 256 pages)
  • Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend (1992, 324 pages) (updated version on Audible)
  • Codependent No More by Melody Beattie (1986, 278 pages)
  • The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz (1997, 163 pages)
  • Look for new:
    • Mary Roach
    • Bill Bryson

And that’s a wrap! Will I get to all of these? Absolutely not. Will I try to expand on the diversity of my thought and add things along the way? Yes indeed!

What’s on your shelf this year? What’s up next? Here’s to a year of good reading!

xo, Sam

The Second Lunch Kitchen Resolutions 2023

julia child in her kitchen

🔪 Kitchen Resolutions 2023

Every year I sit down and make some resolutions for the kitchen. Given that food is one of my favorite sources of joy, novelty, and connection, it’s a favorite practice of mine to spend a little bit of time making this space more useful, and my time spent in the kitchen more meaningful. Having people around my table (even figuratively) is how I show love, and bring people together – and although we can’t do much of that these days, I’m thankful to be able to take the time to feed myself well.

I’ve been writing these resolutions for more than a decade, and some of them pop up year after year – affirm doing good things that work – and a handful are new each year. You can take a peek through previous years here:  (2012) (2016) (2017)  (2018) (2019) (2020) (2022)

Re-Commit to Consistent Kitchen Habits:

Particularly the habits that keep me consistent in other areas of my life. I find that most things in my life depend on me eating well.

  • Weekly Meal Planning: one of my home court habits in my “Let’s Eat” spreadsheet. I also make a weekly Evernote note with my shopping list on there as well.
  • Update my “Anytime Shopping List” ie: regular groceries list (favorites, protein, don’t leave the store without this!) — got a head start!
  • Update my “New Recipes To Try” list (with at least 52 stellar recipes for the year and beyond); and a weekly Turkish recipe

AND: Dishes cleaned before bed, coffee maker set. Coffee cup next to the coffee maker, ready to take on the day. (After a year + without a working dishwasher, this is now so much easier with a working one! Another reminder to tackle nagging tasks!)

Remove Clutter:

While some people find a perfectly spotless and minimalist kitchen ideal; I actually need to be able to see appliances or pantry items in order to be inspired to use them.

  • Do a systems audit for blockages
  • Make what I want to use more obvious
  • (New) Schedule a quarterly KITCHEN PURGE.

Quest for Best:

This is one of my personal values – I get a lot of satisfaction out of keeping track of the “best of”, like your own neighborhood consumer reports.

  • Do a pantry audit, and re-stock pantry with “best of” items, update my spreadsheet
  • Seek novelty: Bean of the Month Club, Spice Club, new item at Trader Joe’s or one new item at Formaggio each trip! (NEW: Noma R+D club shipments, an Omsom Everything box.)

AND: Update my 1000 new fruits/veg to try list! (By *season* if possible)

Assorted Culinary Miscellany

• Get your knives sharpened. Just do it! (China Fair does it for a dollar)
• Review storage containers for more sustainable options
• Re-Read a classic cookbook every month
• Read more food writing (and memoirs) – added to reading list!

AND: Write a new travel (and local!) bucket list of restaurants. (Currently in my Ideas Doc)

Make Memories in the Kitchen

  • Update Friends + Family Favorite List so I can cook in honor of my people and think about them (or cook for them!) If I haven’t solicited some from you, drop your favorites in the comments for me!
  • Monthly: Update Seasonal Favorite Cooking List (in my Ideas Doc)
  • Monthly: Update my list of “Big Cooking Projects” (in my Ideas Doc)
  • Zoom Cooking classes with friends! (In 2021, I had a great time taking a truffle making course, and a Lamb Biryani from Pondicheri – looking forward to choosing a few great options to take with friends and family!)
  • NEW: Pick two signature cooking gifts (something to perfect and send to people)
  • NEW: “The Weekly Bean” – I have a subscription to the Rancho Gordo Bean Club that leaves me with a very large stash of beans to eat. I aim for a bag a week. I was very inspired by a picture in the Rancho Gordo Bean Club facebook group of a woman who had a nice running list in a bullet journal of her weekly beans. 

Restaurants in Boston I’d Like to Visit

Yes it’s not *technically in my kitchen* (also generally working my way through Eater 38) Pammy’s • Oleana •  O Ya •  Fox & The Knife •  Kava Neo-Taverna  • Contessa •  Menton

New Cookbooks in 2023:

My bare minimum of reading/rereading starting point – I read a lot more cookbooks generally, but my specific resolution is to add recipes I want to try to my running doc!

Do you have any kitchen resolutions this year? I’d love to hear about them!

PS: ICYMI: my non-exhaustive list of food I ate in 2021 and food I ate in 2022!

xo, Sam

2022 Eating: A Non-Exhaustive List

Welcome to my year of eating!

At the end of December, I spend a few weeks in self review mode. I spend a lot of time thinking about what went well, what didn’t, and dreaming up what I want to improve. It’s part gratitude, part exploratory, part strategy. I write about my full process here.

I make it a point to look through my entire roll of photos (I take many!) and one of the most fun parts of my review is simply writing out a list of all the food that I’ve eaten. (This isn’t as difficult as it seems, because I keep regular journals, a “let’s eat!” spreadsheet, and meal plans for just about everything.) Since the pandemic upped my delivery frequency, I look through my various apps for a history of what I ordered from where as well.

Making a grand old list of food is a wonderful way for me to re-live a great meal. It also helps me to expand on what I’d like to eat in the new year and is a great way to help me meal plan. I start seeing patterns (you’ll notice a lot of butter chicken). (You can see last year’s list here.)

Home Cooked Turkish Beans

One day I aspire to write a kitchen diary cookbook as robust as Nigel Slater’s, or something like Ruth Reichl’s My Kitchen Year. For now, there’s this list!

In 2023, I’m hoping to be a little bit more creative in the kitchen! More recipes, more projects, more cooking with friends and family. More Turkish cooking. (I’ll be working on my kitchen resolutions this week – but here’s the 2022 version.)

It’s broken down a few different ways: Good Things I’ve cooked (very few recipes, but when I use them, they are linked). WeCo Meals (a local prepped meal delivery service) gets it’s own long section this year. Good Takeout (roughly once a week). A section for treats eaten at any time. And a miscellaneous section at the bottom.

I’m sure I’m missing lots of things in here, but here’s the non-exhaustive list:

Crispy Corona Beans (in the Air Fryer!)

Good Cooking in 2022

  • 1/1 Marcus Samuelsson’s Black Eyed Peas with Coconut Milk and Berbere (Perfection)
  • 1/3 Hello Fresh Cavatelli with Ground Pork and Biscuits
  • 1/5 Chili at home
  • 1/8 Sheet Pan Chicken and Cauliflower, pickled Red Onions
  • 1/10 Ground beef, rice bowl, chopped cucumbers
  • 1/11 Chicken, rice, pesto
  • 1/12 Greek baked fish with tomatoes and onions NYTimes (great!)
  • 1/16 Rye toast egg in a hole (Caroline had similar); Hello Fresh Tacos
  • 1/16 Cantonese Poached Chicken (Woks of Life)***
  • 1/16 Cooksmarts Asian Meatloaf
  • 1/19 Taco meat bowl with pickled onions
  • 1/22 Crab, Avocado, Grapefruit Crispy Lettuce Salad (+ star californias)
  • 1/23 Tomato soup + toast with liver paté
  • 1/24 Candied Grapefruit Peel, Alice Waters Fruit Cookbook (incredible)
  • 1/29 Leftover Lamb Biryani from the freezer (Pondicheri cooking class)
  • 2/1 Jasmine rice at home + TJ’s bbq chicken
  • 2/3 Steel cut oats with nuts and Formaggio Kitchen passionfruit curd
  • 2/12: Pot of rice, chicken, chili crisp
  • 2/13 A great beef chili with guajillo salsa
  • 2/15 Turkish Cranberry Beans and Rice
  • 2/23 Hello Fresh Tacos
  • 2/25 Manti
  • 2/27 Grilled cheese, tomato soup, chicken and pickle
  • 2/27 Baked Black Bass sushi bowl; cottage cheese with saffron cheese and pesto
  • 3/8 Shredded chicken, mango, avocado green beans and chili crisp
  • 3/19 Air Fryer pork chops, crispy lettuce salad with mango, tomato, cucumber
  • 3/20 Thick avocado toast; lamb chops, roasted cauliflower and hummus
  • 3/26 Salmon asparagus rice bowl
  • 4/2 Shawarma and rice, roasted carrots, cucumber
  • 4/4 A fun shape of curly pasta, sauce, cheese
  • 4/5 Air fryer pork chops, rice, cucumber and avocado salad
  • 4/6 Shrimp, pork, beans under some pumpkin curry
  • 4/10 Cape Cod Pepperoni Pizza (Natalies orange and pineapple juice)
  • 4/20 Chicken Nugget “Donburi” rice bowl
  • 4/30 Rye sandwich with Schwartz’s smoked meat and sauerkraut and mustard
  • 5/1 Miso Crunch TJs salad and chicken nuggets
  • 5/2 Fish Rice Bowl with avocado and cucumber
  • 5/3 Pork from Montreal and pinto Rancho Gordo beans
  • 5/5 Salmon Rice Bowl
  • 5/21 Rice bowl with TJs birria, mango, cucumber salad and lime
  • 5/22 Peanut noodles with chicken scallopine
  • 5/25 TJs gnocchi sorrentina, chicken sausage, ricotta
  • 5/26 Roasted a half chicken in the air fryer, huge bowl of mac and cheese; bambino pizzas
  • 5/30 Bowl of caballero beans (and avocado and cheese)
  • 6/17 Surimi rice bowl with avocado and tomatoes
  • 6/19 Home made mac and cheese, little burgers with cheese, tomatoes
  • 6/25 Pork cabbage onion
  • 6/26 Sardine rice bowl
  • 6/26 Soft Shell Crab in air fryer over salad
  • 6/27 Falafel with yogurt (chicken soup with dill and yogurt)
  • 6/29 Salad with rotisserie chicken, egg, slice of toast
  • 7/10 Rice bowl with chicken thighs, peppers, cucumber, dill
  • 7/14 Arugula salad with variety chopped meat and bagel croutons
  • 7/15 Pork and onion of some kind, cucumber salad and mango
  • 7/23 Baked white fish, miso crunch salad, fresh tomatoes; PROFITEROLES!
  • 7/24 TJ’s Crunchy Slaw for lunch (add chicken)
  • 7/31 TJs egg fritatta on cheese on tortillas, iced coffee with cinnamon at home
  • 8/7 Salmon rice bowl
  • 8/12 Mac and Cheese
  • 8/13 Skate wing lemon butter over tomato salad; bowl of peaches
  • 8/14 Roasted chicken, roasted zucchini, corn, mozzarella balls
  • 8/15 Chicken meatballs, roasted broccoli, watermelon
  • 8/16 Air fryer chickpeas, cucumber and peppers, chicken
  • 8/16 Liver, peppers and onions
  • 8/18 Bowl of fresh corn, watermelon, mini mozzarella
  • 8/21 Steamed fish bowl, cacio pepe gnocchi, tomato cucumber salad
  • 8/22 Grilled scallops in butter, zucchini, momofuku noodles
  • 9/3 Marinated mozzarella and peaches
  • 9/4 Rancho gordo yellow eyes (marinated) cucumbers, butter toast
  • 9/9 Lobster on salad with Wegman’s california rolls
  • 9/10 Chili with zucchini; mini peppermint cones
  • 9/13 Salad with TJ’s Kibbeh and leftover Singhs
  • 9/20 Annies and Roasted Cauliflower
  • 9/21 Kibbeh Rice bowl with tomato and avocado
  • 10/2 Pork Chop, roasted cauliflower, toast, and slaw (from Volante)
  • 10/3 Pot of Chili!
  • 10/5 Fila Manila Kare-Kare chicken with bok choy
  • 10/6 Hamburger Helper and a fennel slaw salad (partly from Volante)
  • 10/7 Corona Beans with chicken meatballs, fennel and pesto
  • 10/8 Bucatini with sauce; cucumber salad
  • 10/9 Air Fryer Corona Bean patatas bravas (thank you, Bettina!!)
  • 10/10 TJs Bambinos and salad
  • 10/11 Sardine Rice Bowl with Avocado
  • 10/11 Somchay feeds me tacos and we have a Cider Donut eat-off
  • 10/13 Kibbe, white bean puree, eggplant over rice
  • 10/14 Good and Gather Butter Chicken and Chickpeas over Rice
  • 10/15 Big piece of liver, tomato and arugula salad
  • 10/18 Tteokboki at home! (added eggs like shakshuka)
  • 10/21 Miso Crunch salad with breaded shrimp in air fryer
  • 10/22 Mac and cheese and leftover chili (from freezer)
  • 10/23 Half a cape cod pepperoni pizza and salad
  • 10/25 Sardine rice bowl
  • 10/26 Air fryer panko calamari from farm share, green salad
  • 10/27 Some sort of meat/salad/rice bowl
  • 10/28 More of that butter chicken from Target with chicken thighs
  • 10/29 Pork chop in air fryer, any day microwave bok choy, cocktail sauce
  • 10/30 Air fryer pierogies, salami, lettuce, burrata
  • 10/31 Salad with marinated chickpeas, salami, applekraut
  • 11/1 Butter Shrimp with cauliflower, rice, and tamarind sauce
  • 11/2 Cooked fish, TJs mexican corn, roasted cauliflower
  • 11/3 Rice, pork chop, Donal Skehan’s brussels sprouts
  • 11/4 Kibbeh rice bowl with yogurt
  • 11/5 Lamb stew with tomatoes and chickpeas over rice
  • 11/6 Burrata Salad with squash, kraut, etc.
  • 11/8 Fennel salad with burrata and avocado toast; baked a single large cookie
  • 11/9 Half a cape cod pizza
  • 11/12 Steak, honeynut squash, steamed greens
  • 11/13 Corn chowder with fish hello fresh
  • 11/15 Pork chops, roasted potatoes, brussels sprouts
  • 11/25 Butter chicken at home
  • 11/26 More brussels sprouts; big salad with leftover smoked turkey and french onions
  • 11/28 Salami reuben with sauerkraut
  • 11/28 Kibbe rice bowl with cottage cheese and chopped cucumbers
  • 11/30 Three Good Toast dinner – avocado, muhammara, pimento cheese
  • 11/30 Monkfish with chili crisp, rice, bok choy
  • 12/2 Pork pineapple Hello Fresh tacos
  • 12/3 Most amazing TOAST with muhammara and sardines
  • 12/4 Annie’s Shells with White Cheddar
  • 12/8 Pork chop in air fryer and broccoli cheddar; amazing star market chocolate chocolate cake
  • 12/9 Salmon Broccoli Cheddar Rice Bowl
  • 12/10 Birria with rice bowl
  • 12/11 Miso crunch salad with steak and burrata
  • 12/12 Salmon Rice Bowl
  • 12/13 Beef, asparagus chili; made some air fryer crispy mushrooms (bettina); black and whites from TooJays
  • 12/14 Miso crunch salad and salami with eggs
  • 12/14 Tuna rice bowl
  • 12/15 Stone and skillet, eggs, Canadian bacon
  • 12/17 Shrimp cocktail and broccoli with blue cheese and balsamic (very good!); Kestane
  • 12/18 Chicken Scallopine and Garlic Swiss chard
  • 12/19 Broccoli cheddar, crispy lettuce, cucumber, tomato, chicken thigh, blue cheese
  • 12/20 Broccoli cheddar, beef kebabs, avocado, cottage cheese, mozzarella
  • 12/21 Pierre Franey’s Bass Provencal; latkes with sour cream
  • 12/22 TJ’s Kung Pao Chicken (just the chicken) with broccoli, blue cheese, balsamic
  • 12/23 Kare Kare Chicken Thighs, Bok Choy, Korean Rice Cakes
  • 12/24 Pork chops, latkes, brussels sprouts, sour cream
  • 12/25 Braised Beef, Home Made Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus
  • 12/26 TJs beef kebabs, Allison Roman Seedy Carrots on Yogurt, salad
  • 12/27 Lobster Salad with Mozzarella and Tomatoes
  • 12/29 Boiled Chicken, Rice, Lemony Salad
WeCo Citrus Marinated Shrimp

Good WeCo in 2022

WeCo has absolutely saved me for the better part of the year. I lived for a LONG time without a working dishwasher, and having prepared and delicious “home cooked” food was a lifesaver. Bolded some of my favorites! Most times I’d order a dinner and a kid’s meal for lunch the next day, or split a meal over two lunches. I’ll note that WeCo’s vegetarian and pescatarian meals are *awesome*.

One other thing to note: from the end of March for many months, I experienced a near total loss of taste from COVID for some time, and dampened for several more months. I was mildly afraid to cook lest I burn the house down, and gravitated towards as bright colors and textures as I could. (WeCo totally delivered!)

  • WeCo New Years Lobster Pasta; Duck
  • WeCo Dunn-well Detox Green Juice
  • January
    • 1/4 Roasted Eggplant + Farro Bowl
    • Broccoli Cheddar Soup
    • 1/6 Steak gyro
    • Cobb Salad
    • Beet, quinoa and Burrata (SO GOOD)
    • Bowl of green things – peas, etc. over arugula
  • February
    • 2/2 Duck Confit
    • Citrus marinated shrimp, mango + papaya salad
    • Street corn chowder
    • Kit’s cheesy hot pocket
    • Tropic like it’s hot
    • 2/4 Pork belly miso ramen
    • Tofu Truck
    • 2/8 Veggie lasagna
    • Citrus steak
    • Cannoli
    • Tickle me pink (Drink!)
    • 2/10 Fresh bucatini with crispy bacon
    • Cajun chicken + charred corn salad
    • 2/11 burrata panzanella
    • Charcuterie + cheese board
    • 2/16 mushroom lo mein + duck confit
    • Curried coconut butternut soup with shrimp
    • 2/17 soy marinated salmon
    • Roasted eggplant + grains bowl
    • Cheesecake
    • 2/18 Sweet chili shrimp + rice bowl
    • 2/25 Hot oil udon noodle bowl
    • Kids grilled cheese + tomato soup
    • 2/22 Carnitas burritos
    • Curried veggie + cumin rice bowl
    • Broccoli cheddar soup
    • Maple walnut bread pudding
    • 2/23 Butternut brown butter + pumpkin ravioli
    • Shrimp fajita bowl
    • 2/28 Roasted beet + feta salad
    • Cream of mushroom soup
    • Kids bbq meatloaf
    • Carrot cake whoopie pies
    • The floor is guava
  • March
    • 3/2 bacon wrapped pork tenderloin
    • Cacio e pepe cauliflower
    • 3/7 Shrimp truck
    • Caprese salad with roasted chicken breast
    • Monkey bread
    • Pear necessities
    • 3/10 Pea + fava bean cavatelli
    • Cajun shrimp salad
    • Kids beef enchilada
    • 3/11 Roasted eggplant + farro bowl
    • 3/29 Carne asada tacos
    • Burrata + spring veggie bowl
    • Mezze plate
    • Get it juiced
    • 3/31 Tamarind chicken
    • Crunchy spring salad + harissa garlic shrimp
    • Kids beef + broccoli
    • Caramel cheesecake brownies
  • April
    • 4/11 Fresh bucatini with crispy bacon
    • Adobo + lime shrimp salad
    • Nuts about you
    • 4/14 Chickpea tikka masala
    • Roasted asparagus + prosciutto bowl
    • 4/20 baja style shrimp salad
    • Baked apple crostata
    • 4/22 Tofu truck
    • 4/25 Shrimp truck
    • Tuscan chicken breast + toasted orzo bowl
    • Flourless chocolate cake
    • 4/28 Sweet chili shrimp + rice bowl
  • May
    • 5/4 Citrus marinated shrimp, mango + papaya salad
    • Key lime smarts
    • Spelling bee buzzer
    • 5/10 Braised lamb fettucine
    • Mezze plate
    • 5/13 Roasted Chicken Ramen
  • June
    • 6/14 Paneer Tikka masala
    • Roasted veggie + lamb bowl
    • Shrimp Cocktail
    • Tickle Me Pink (YUM)
    • 6/15 Curry Crusted Cauliflower + Braised chicken thigh
    • 6/28 Steak Gyro
    • Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Salad with the crunchies!
    • Gazpacho with corn, crab, sweet pepper salad
    • Tiramisu cupcakes
    • Daquolada
    • Lobster Roll
    • Beet + Ricotta Salata Bowl
  • July
    • 7/7 Shrimp Ravioli
    • Tofu Truck
    • Almond Palmer
    • 7/8 Crunchy summer salad + harissa garlic shrimp
  • August
    • 8/1 Lamb Cavatelli
    • Summer Halloumi Salad
    • Crab Dip (VERY GOOD!)
    • Coconut Lime cookie bar
    • 8/3 Chicken Marsala + Fully Loaded Baked Potato (THIS I HAD TO TOSS BECAUSE I WAS CAUGHT AWAY FROM HOME FOR SEVERAL HOURS AND IT WAS A 90+ degree day and i had forgotten my cooler bag! Tragic!!)
    • 8/5 Roasted cod + chorizo
    • Beet + ricotta salata bowl
    • Mezze plate
    • 8/8 Birria Tacos
    • Cajun shrimp salad
    • Thick-mint sandwich
    • 8/10 Chickpea tikka masala
    • smoked salmon + asparagus salad
  • October
    • 10/24 chicken tinga tacos
    • Beet + burrata bowl
    • Bloody hell
    • Coconut cinnamon rice pudding
  • November
    • 11/1 butternut squash and coconut curry + harissa shrimp
    • Turkey meatballs + couscous
    • Wedge salad
    • Edamame dumplings
    • 11/8 Lamb biryani
    • Crab + avocado toast
    • Dry-tai
    • Chicken noodle soup
  • December
    • Lamb kofta + tabbouleh
    • Citrus marinated shrimp + papaya salad
    • Kids chicken ramen
    • Curried coconut butternut squash soup + roasted shrimp
Grandma’s Kitchen Wonton Noodles

Good Takeout in 2022

Having Grandma’s Kitchen open up around the corner from my house was a BOON at the end of this year.

  • 1/9 Pupu Platter, Chicken Wonton Soup
  • 1/26 Wonton soup + sesame balls from Lobster Wok
  • 1/28 Chipotle and Green Juice
  • 2/14 Cafe Sushi Valentine’s Day TREAT BOX
  • 3/3 A latke
  • 3/4 Lobster Wok Dumplings and Chicken Wonton Soup
  • 3/5 LeDu Pad Kee Mao and Papaya Salad
  • 3/30 LeDu larb and tom soup (trying desperately to taste SOUR), sticky rice with condensed milk
  • 4/3 Le’s Extra Large Beef Noodle Soup, Fresh Limeade
  • 4/9 Shan a Punjab butter chicken, naan, masala tea
  • 4/17 Hen Chick Rice (half and half)
  • 4/24 Rod Dee 2 crispy Chicken pad thai, thai iced tea, pad kee mao noodles
  • 4/28 Hen Chicken Rice: The Mix, Thai Iced Tea, the mango, daikon soup
  • 5/7 Shake Shack Burger
  • 5/14 Birthday Super Fusion 2 – rolls, tamago, shumai, and crab rangoon!
  • 5/15 Gustazo Ropa Vieja
  • 5/27 Oppa Sushi (chirashi special; tamago, egg, fish); Gong Cha Milk Tea
  • 6/10 Ethiopian Cafe: Meat Combo (and a side of Kung Fu bubble tea)
  • 6/16 Pho O Sha: Bun Grilled Beef
  • 6/20 Dim Sum Jumbo takeout: salt and pepper squid, turnip cakes, steamed U-choy, har gao
  • 6/23 MIDA pepperoni pizza
  • 6/24: Kung Fu Tea: Pina Colada Slush (Devon), Thai Milk Tea
  • 7/2 Steamers Lobster Roll and cape cod chips and pickle
  • 7/3 Lunch – sashimi and tamago from Sakanaya
  • 7/3 Lobster Roll + clam chowder from Legal
  • 7/6 Ginger Exchange: Korean Beef, Mama’s Homemade Dumplings
  • 7/9 Legal Seafood: Whole Fried Clams
  • 7/11 Chinese takeout from Dumpling Daughter for lunch with John
  • 7/13 Thonglor! Moo gratiam and thai iced tea. VERY GOOD!
  • 7/15 Cava Lunch after haircut
  • 7/16 Tsurotontan: Nabeyaki Udon, 3 roll combo
  • 7/20 Thonglor: Pad Kee Mao
  • 7/24 Korean Tacos from Bonchon
  • 7/29 Ate at MIDA (Amatriciana)
  • 7/31 Lee’s Burger Cheeseburger and fries
  • 8/6 Shan-a-Punjab Butter Chicken, Naan, Gulab Jamun
  • 8/13 First trip to Mochiko (chicken sandwich)
  • 8/19 New Ginza Japanese takeout (sashimi bowl, salad, miso) (eh)
  • 8/20 PEKA skirt steak takeout, ceviche, taro chips
  • 8/22 Beach Plum lobster roll with Mom
  • 8/30 Boston Kebab Waltham: Turkish Takeout – köfte kebab dinner, Sütlaç
  • 9/2 Amazing Japanese bowl from Tora (Uber cost a fortune)
  • 9/11 Hen Chicken Rice: Daikon Soup, The Ishan, Chicken Thigh
  • 9/12 Mixed Grill, Momo, Gulab Jamun from Singhs
  • 9/14 Mochiko kahlua pork bowl (the CABBAGE is so good!)
  • 9/15 Vaisakhi: Butter chicken and naan, gulab jamun
  • 9/22 Little India: Butter Chicken, Garlic Naan, Gulab Jamun, Raita
  • 9/23 Chicken Noodle Soup – Le’s
  • 9/26 Tonkotsu Ramen – Hakata Ramen
  • 9/27 Butter Chicken
  • 9/30 Khao Soi + Thai Iced Tea from Thonglor
  • 11/12 Pad KeeMao, Papaya Salad – LeDu
  • 11/17 Grandma’s Kitchen opens!! Taiwanese beef noodle; saved pork noodles for next day, beef roll, mango drink
  • 11/29 Grandma’s Kitchen – pork wontons (amazing), popcorn chicken
  • 12/6 Grandmas Kitchen Chicken Noodle (and two stewed egg)
  • 12/16 Cafe Sushi Weekend Box for 1 (expensive but good)
  • 12/28 Grandma’s Kitchen Wonton Noodles, side of green veg
Salmon Caviar on Rye Toast

Good Treats 2022

  • Good Treats:
    • 1/5 Red Caviar on Rye Toast
    • Amanda brought me David Lebovitz Gougeres!
    • Market Tiamo opens – their PROFITEROLES!
    • 1/18 CITRUS BOX from Mark Bittman x Birite “The California Citrus Experience”
    • Ricotta, mini chocolate chips, clementines + amaretto
    • Asian Pears
    • 1/19 Mom made miso pb cookies
    • 1/29 Cannoli filling from the Star Market freezer
    • 2/6 Chocolate Cherry Marzipan from Russian Market (mom’s credit card)
    • 2/12 Maple Pie from John in Montreal; Cheese St. Viateur Bagels, Romados Egg Tarts
    • 2/17 Box of assorted cookies from Red Rover
    • 2/20 KRAFT DINNER
    • 3/3 Mad Mini’s ice cream sandwiches
    • 3/22 Tortilla with melted string cheese and sausage from buccees
    • 3/22 Rancatores Chocolate Shake
    • 3/23 Ttokboki from TJs with chicken and cheese
    • 3/24 Nutty granola and cream; Kraft Dinner; a mango/orange McDonalds shake
    • 3/25 Cauliflower gnocchi with pesto; a Lobster Sandwich from the Cottage
    • 3/28 Pineapple with Tajin (can’t really taste at this point); banza noodles with cheese and chili crisp
    • 3/29 Can sort of taste the dark chocolate WeCo desserts with cream but everything is mostly gone
    • 4/25 Toast with smoked salmon cream cheese
    • 4/27 Momofuku noodles
    • 4/30 Levain Cookie
    • 5/3 Mikan juice from Whole Foods
    • 5/4 Dunkin Donuts Corn Donut
    • 5/13 Rancatores chocolate shake
    • 5/14 Elephantine cinnamon roll
    • 5/14 Mom made me a strawberry rhubarb crumble for my birthday – SO GOOD
    • 5/16 Levain again
    • 7/5 Caroline sends me INCREDIBLE tahini cookies and cheese crackers from Ottolenghi from her London trip
    • 7/5 Bagel with pimento cheese
    • 7/14 Pancakes with nutella
    • 7/15 Bagel with pimento cheese and salami
    • 7/20 Pimento Cheese toast and nutella toast
    • 8/2 Lemonade at HOME
    • 8/4 TJs Jamaican Beef Patties
    • 8/20 Strawberry rhubarb fruit soup with yogurt
    • 10/1 TJs sticky toffee pumpkin pudding
    • VOLANTE: slaw, and other good stuff, Dutton Berry Farm Apple Cider (great!) – good to know they just have really nice prepped vegetable salads of all kinds!
    • 10/12 Roasting mini honeynut squashes
    • 10/14 Toast with white bean dip (chopped apples from Volante)
    • 10/21 Post Shift Pilsner
    • 10/31 Barrio Salsa Matcha, Applekraut (eh), Not Just Salad Dressing Gochujang
    • 11/11 Acai bowl and cottage cheese
    • 11/11 Biscuits
    • 11/20 TJs amazing cinnamon bun kettle corn (including a huge piece of crunchy sugar in it!)
    • 12/7 Che Beef Empanada (very good)
    • 12/9 Kodiak cakes; niblets and eggs
    • 12/12 My neighbor’s home made dolma
    • 12/13 Matcha protein shake
    • 12/13 John brings 3 black and white minis from TooJays
    • 12/15 John brings CITRUS from Florida
    • 12/15 Little breakfast sandwiches with stone and skillet, Canadian bacon, cheese
    • 12/24 Christmas cookies (and brownies) from both sets of neighbors!
    • Shout out to Trader Joe’s mini mousse desserts in the freezer section.
    • 12/29 a perfectly ripened persimmon
Alice Waters Candied Grapefruit Peel
  • Other good food:
    • Prep of note: soft boiled eggs frequently, lots of bagels with cheese
    • Novelty: Burlap and Barrel Spice Subscriptions, Rancho Gordo Bean Club, Kishibori Shoyu Soy Sauce, Bonne Maman advent calendar
    • Star Market: dark chocolate cake (three layers), Crispy Lettuce, Grape Nuts, Joseph’s lavash (they seem drier these days), banded cannoli cake slice
    • Desserts of note: Cranberry curd tart from Elephantine, apple crumble from WeCo, thin mints from freezer (2/26), Honey Pot Hill Cider Donuts (11/4) from Somchay, Trader Joe’s Mini Frozen Mousse Cakes
    • Formaggio: Beet tzaziki, Pimento cheese dip, Big Sky Grana, Muhammara, Passionfruit Curd
    • Whole foods: Evolution chocolate cake slices, their oreos, Naan Toastie (okay), Iggy’s Francese Bread, Shrimp Cocktail, bang bang shrimp bowls, pb tofu, Superfrau!
    • Trader Joe’s Items of Note (Not my favorites list*): kahlua pork things (okay), bread cheese, limeade (although my palate is shifting on this one), oven baked cheese bites, gluten free cinnamon muffins, cacio e pepe gnocchi, taiwanese pancakes (air fryer), lamb vindaloo and cottage cheese for lunches, vanilla bean paste, gingerbread cookie sandwiches
    • Cottage cheese with things: cottage cheese, soft eggs, olive oil (and ripe tomatoes in the summer)
    • Rancho Gordo: All the beans.
    • Volante Apples of Note: Topaz!
The Steak Salad at Keen’s Bar (Perfection!)

2022 Amazing Travel Meals

The final category: I generally speaking avoided restaurant meals in person unless I was traveling. Some notable favorites:

Texas (2x):

  • Kolache Shoppe – the perfect bacon egg and cheese
  • Golfstromen – the best bite of dark bread and smoked butter
  • Tiny Boxwoods – an excellent burger
  • Buccee’s – Jerky and Sausage on a Stick
  • Le Colonial

New York City (2x):

  • Le Privé – Steak Frites, asparagus with white anchovy
  • Magnolia Banana Pudding
  • Spanish Diner – Patatas Bravas, Pan con Tomate, Lettuce with white anchovy, Flan
  • Zabars – bagel with Smoked Salmon, Sable, Gazapcho
  • Keen’s (at the bar) – Steak Salad (best deal in New York!)
  • Sip + Co – great breakfast sandwich on a bap

Wellesley Staycation:

  • Eataly, Breakfast Sandwiches at Tatte, Alta Strada
Bertram Knows What He Likes

Bertram’s Treats of Choice

  • Bully Sticks (odor or non-odor; 12 inch)
  • Polka Dog Bakery Snacks
  • Chicken Strips from Trader Joe’s (crispy)
  • Treats at the Beer Store
  • Treats at the Bank
  • Treats at the Toy Store
  • Bacon from Mochiko*

Here’s to more great meals in 2023!

xo, Sam

The Winter Good Things Guide

Hello hello! I hope you are keeping warm this winter so far. After having fun doing another end of the year review, one of my winter projects was creating my winter intentions list for myself – a list of Good Things to take advantage of in the coming season across a range of topics.

I do this kind of planning for myself not because I want to jam-pack my days, but because if I think creatively when I’m in good headspace, I’m more likely to take advantage of my own wisdom in the dark days when I’m not. It’s a kindness that I try to practice for myself regularly. (As is updating my list of lists!)

I thought this year I’d write up my guide to share, so you can now download the Winter Good Things guide here for yourself! This 20-page resource is full of lists and ideas to inspire and motivate you during the colder months. 

This guide covers a range of topics to help you feel your best, including:

  • Feelings: Tips on how to process and manage your emotions, as well as resources like the Feeling Wheel and Emotion Sensation to help you better understand and express your feelings.
  • Food: From cooking and pantry-stocking ideas to finding joy in the kitchen, plus an “all the time shopping list” plenty of goodness to keep you nourished and satisfied.
  • Products: Looking to make your life a little easier or more enjoyable? This mini-gift guide includes suggestions for products that can help, things that bring joy, (as well as tips on how to avoid overspending).
  • Curating Inputs: Want to find new movies, TV shows, or books to enjoy? This guide includes recommendations for all three, as well as ideas for curating your inputs for maximum enjoyment.
  • Movement: Whether you’re looking for enjoyable activities to keep you moving, ways to stay accountable with your fitness, or inspiration for what good looks like, I’ve got you covered.
  • Activities: From activities to do with friends to solo pursuits, plenty of ideas to keep you entertained and engaged. (Including some Boston area specific ones)
  • Giving: As the end of the year approaches, the guide offers ideas for giving back to your local, national, and global communities, whether through money, time, or effort.
  • Rest: Finally, some thoughts on the importance of rest and self care, as well as ideas for physical rest and self nurturing to help you recharge and feel your best.

With so much included, the Winter Good Things guide is sure to have something for everyone. So why wait? Get yours today and start making the most of the winter season!

It’s currently “Pay what you want!’ which includes FREE (but the suggested price is $7.42)

Happy Winter!

Weekly Meal Plan – 7/24/22

Here we are in mid-summer! I’ve been working off a “Joy in July” list which includes things like “eat a lobster roll”, “sit by the water”, visit museums, and hiking, etc., to focus on experiencing good things in what has been an otherwise mildly stressful summer.

Yesterday I found myself making it to Farmers Market for the first time this season (only a month late!) and was overjoyed to find myself actually inspired with vegetables and fruit for the first time in a while. My summer meals are a lot of assembled salads, and I keep Mark Bittman’s standby Summer Express 101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less from the early 2ks bookmarked.

I was pleasantly surprised to find how much I could get at Farmers Market at a reasonable price in these times of inflation, and ended up coming home this week with lettuce, a boatload of tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, a bunch of zucchini, fresh basil, peaches, and raspberries. Grabbed some of the very good OMG English Muffins. Our farmers market has a great fresh fish vendor, too, although I was an hour late for the variety! I grabbed some of the last of the local haddock, which was delicious.

Weekly Meal Plan – 7/24/22

For the past few weeks, I’ve been having trouble with decision fatigue around food – and most other things – so this week’s meal plan includes more detailed options for lunches and breakfasts as well. I always feel comfortable swapping out if I’m craving something in particular in the moment, but having *something* planned helps me from stalling out on on my eating an actual meal.

Sat: Crunchy Slaw with peanut dressing, poached haddock, sliced tomatoes

Sun: Bonchon tacos (I’ve been hearing about these for weeks. Big decision will come down to bulgogi or chicken)

Mon: Red Sox Game – eat at the park!

Tue: WeCo roasted chicken ramen soy marinated roasted chicken breast with hoisin + ginger glaze; shiitake mushroom + spring onion broth; spicy miso paste; spring beans + peas with curry leaves + wilted spinach; fresh wavy noodles; scallions + pickled mushrooms + marinated egg

Wed: Smitten Kitchen grilled zucchini ribbons with pesto and snowcap beans

Thu: WeCo SHARK-cuterie board! 6 jumbo shrimp with WECO red cocktail sauce, Matiz organic mussels in olive oil & vinegar, Squailly’s bluefish paté, piquillo jam + pickles and a sleeve of Ritz crackers

Fri: gnocchi cacio pepe (new! from Trader Joes)

Sat: Fresh catch fish, boiled potatoes, steamed greens, a bunch of lemon

Lunches include: a pot of Rancho Gordo snowcap beans, Trader Joe’s Lamb Vindaloo, and Spicy Lentil Wrap, tomato and cheese sandwiches, some adobo seasoning chicken thighs, and assorted vegetables.

What’s cooking this week for you?

xo, Sam