2021 Eating: A Non-Exhaustive List

2021 Eating: A Non-Exhaustive List

Every year, I complete a fussy year long review that takes me a few weeks of compiling – a pages long list organized by category, which I find particularly cathartic, even – or particularly – in difficult times (and this year was full of truly great things, but also particularly shitty for me, losing my dad, one of my number one eating partners in crime.) I write about my full process here.

For some folks, a review of a year that is complicated or traumatic (hello, most of us in a pandemic) isn’t particularly appealing, but I find it to be one of my most satisfying activities. In part, because a full 50% of it is my re-living of my meals – the things may be going down in flames, but “at least, I ate!” approach. And ate, I did.

Here is my non-exhaustive list. Honestly, there was more than this, but I may have forgotten to snap a photo, or it really wasn’t worth eating. These are loosely organized, but the whole thing is a little chaotic. I can’t say that all of these things were great, but I’ll bold some of the things that I’d recommend.

Good Cooking

Items I cooked at home, either from recipes (I’ll link those I have) or ideas. Also, items cooked by friends.

Food from particular places, or quick items by theme

  • Other good food:
    • The Zahav Shortrib extravaganza in February from Goldbelly in NH with fam
    • Matzoh Ball soup with a massive matzah ball (Zahav)
    • Stone and Skillet English Muffins
      • As: egg sandwich; or with chicken liver pate, or with salmon caviar
    • Favorites From the Farm Share (Farmers to You – a consortium of small farms and food companies in Vermont who deliver to the Boston area – let me know if you want a referral discount!):
    • Favorites from Star Market (over the Mass Pike!): dark chocolate cake (three layers), Cape Cod Cafe Pizza (hands down the best frozen pizza!!), Bubbe’s passionfruit mochi, Stouffers stuffed peppers (don’t knock it), CRISPY LETTUCE
    • Wegmans: California Rolls (why are they so good?), bacon cheddar sliders on arugula salad, pumpernickel rye bread (with caviar!) or chopped liver!
    • Desserts of note: Roasted chestnuts with rum from Silvia downstairs – topped with rum, oatmeal chocolate chip cookie from Great Harvest; apple fritter from Love Bird, cinnamon roll from Formaggio; citrus from formaggio, sticky toffee pudding – sticky toffee pudding, co., and the warm chocolate pudding; sutlaç; macerated strawberries with oats and ricotta and brown sugar; meyer lemon and marrionberry ice cream from Red Rover Creamery
    • Favorites from Formaggio: robiola incavolata, old favorite Cabot Clothbound, Big Sky Grana (dear lord!), the Passionfruit curd, beet tzaziki, Fly by Jing Sichuan Chili Crisp, an overpriced emergency bottle of Kewpie
    • Favorites from Eataly: saffron and black pepper cheese ‘guffanti piacentinu di ena’, a perfect promotional melon – “buy prosciutto, get a promotional melon” (August 24th)
    • Smoothies and protein shakes of note
      • Blueberries and chocolate and spinach
      • Key lime: vanilla protein powder, cauliflower, pineapple, lime juice, coconut milk**
    • Whole foods: popcorn chili shrimp bowls; thai peanut tofu, elevation cake slice; pesto, cinnamon coffee cake, chicken scallopine (good!)
    • Trader Joe’s Items of Note: Hardwood Smoked Tuna, Kung Pao Chicken, Peppermint Hold the Cones; Mochi Cake; honey aleppo sauce; grainless granola; kibbeh; green goddess dip; kung pao mochi; plantain croutons; just chicken (ate a lot, sometimes convenience wins over quality); chicken drumellas, Calabrian tomato soup; spicy lentil wrap; Cacio Pepe pasta – with lobster! (or brussels sprouts!)  Bambino Pizza (thanks, Danielle!); frozen salmon including bbq plank, cauliflower gnocchi; bazaar mix; Saag Paneer; shrimp burger; meatloaf; crispy champignon mushroom snack; chicken piccata, frozen Mexican corn; fermented bomba (on Josephs’ lavash with cheese and egg), peanut udon noodles; french fries; Portuguese egg tarts; seafood cioppino; chicken sausage egg burrito things; Matcha Green Tea Japanese Noodles; southern peach crisp ice cream; cooked octopus; strawberry-oat ice cream bars; tangerine cream bars; fish sticks; ube mochi pancake mix; corn and cheese arepas; chickpea masala with pickled vegetables; cheese crisps; SPINDRIFT, bbq chicken, thai chicken kabobs, organic vanilla bean paste, breakfast egg frittatas, korean cinnamon filled pancakes (Hotteok), Gingerbread Coffee, Shade Grown Espresso Blend
    • Cottage cheese with various things
      • blueberries; oats, maple
      • passionfruit curd from Formaggio
      • olive oil, salt and pepper
      • on an OMG english muffin
      • peaches and cinnamon sugar
    • The Air Fryer! (Ninja 4 Qt. Would Recommend!)
      • Air fryer fish over “sushi rice” with furikake; tomatoes
      • Cauliflower
      • Red’s Calamari with Cocktail Sauce
      • Cheesy bagels; bagels with butter
      • Meat: Cubed ham; Perfect pork chops; TJ’s shawarma beef
      • lots of chicken strips
      • Chickpeas
      • An entire roasted chicken
    • Scottie dog shortbread
    • Rancho Gordo Bean Share: BEPS, Coronas (twice), pintos with honey, Popcorn, yellow eye beans, black lentils with onion (and red wine vinegar) – need to really start eating down the stash.
    • Hot cocoa with mini marshmallows
    • From John, specifically: Aldi goat mac and cheese, Elephantine Easter Lemon Curd tartlet, LEVAIN COOKIES (coming to Boston and I’m IN TROUBLE), Indian Pudding Ice Cream from Lagos, Poppyseed cake, from Zabars, lots of good things from Elephantine, Eggs and Maple from White Gate Farm
    • Tahini Faux-reo from Sofra
    • Turkish greek beans
    • The Starbucks Oatmilk Brown Sugar Latte (2) – I normally drink only black coffee?
    • Star Market Sushi (…not good, but I ate more of it than I’d admit)
    • Costco Bibigo dumplings
    • Overnight oats, particularly: Peach Overnight Oats; Cookie Dough
    • Skate Picatta
    • Hoisin Chicken and Asparagus
    • April 22nd stew of some kind with potato (no idea!)
    • Marinated lamb with cauliflower and tomato salad
    • Ikea Fish Balls (so easy!)
    • Frozen Passionfruit at Whole Foods
    • Baked beans and bbq jackfruit with cheddar
    • May 7 in Rye Beach: Roasted Chicken and Manti
    • Rasbpberry/Lemon Pucker Upper Sorbet and Limeade slushie
    • A waffle FISH with matcha and red bean ice cream at Seaport at Taiyaki
    • Momofuku Noodles and Chili Crisp
    • Hello Fresh Southwest Pork Tacos, cabbage slaw, sour cream

Mostly Local Takeout

  • Good Takeout
    • NYE Sushi dinner from Super Fusion 2 (With Tamago!)
    • Sakanaya Bowl
    • Shake Shack Korean chicken sandwich
    • LeDu Pad Kee Mao and Green Papaya Salad; crab rangoon***
    • Shan a Punjab Butter Chicken with Masala Chai; kheer and bubs licking the container (5 times)
    • Sandwich shared with my sibling from Monicas
    • Lunar New Year: date  Nian Gao + 8 Treasure Rice, sweet sesame balls (Feb 12), lo mein, and an orange (sent in cold hands for my walk home)
    • Lazuri Cafe – Iskender Kebab and Sutlaç
    • Cottage Lobster Sandwich and Burger
    • Shake Shack (more Shake Shack)
    • Chicken and Rice Guys (that garlic sauce!)
    • Vietnamese Bun (from pho-1 Brighton) – it’s no Pho So 1 Boston!
    • May 28th: Thistle and Leek
    • June 4 – Taqueria Mexico
    • June 6 – first Lobster roll of season at Beach Plum (10 oz.)
    • June 17 – Carriage House with Mom
    • June 19 – Eataly with Lizzy, Sofra, Legal Seafood, Rye Beach Lobster Rolls, Pho So 1 Boston
    • Lakon Paris – Thai Tea and AMAZING chocolate chip hockey puck thick cookie
    • McDonalds Pineapple Mango Shake (post-workouts)
    • A very good Chile Verde burrito from Los Amigos
    • August 21 end of season lobster roll in NH
    • Hugo’s Restaurant Week (Houston), with Julia, Hector, and Caro
    • Kolache Shoppe breakfast kolache
    • Sushico ($50.. for a tiny chirashi bowl; but decent. Would be WAY better in house)
    • Mr. Kim’s – meat and kimchi on rice with a fried egg, and papaya salad, and noodles, cheesecake with blueberries and lemon meringue (and a noodle kugel from mom)
    • October 24th. [Celebrate Dad’s Life] Barnacle Billy’s Steamers and Chowder
    • Dragon Star: HUGE AMOUNTS OF FOOD after the private funeral – pupu platter, etc.
    • Wild Willy’s Burgers
    • Cafe Sushi and Boba Milk Tea from next door
    • Zheng Garden Beef Noodle Soup
    • The chicken sandwich in Springfield from Granny’s Baking Table with pimento and jam
    • Clover Lunch (x4) – new around the corner from my house!
    • Tatte (with Caroline): egg sandwich (and she had mushroom shakshuka)
    • Cake from Cake Boss (don’t judge.)
    • Christmas Eve: Lobster Wok – wonton soup (amazing!) crab rangoon, shrimp lo mein
    • Max and Leo’s – Pepperoni Mushroom
    • Cranberry Curd Tart from Elephantine
    • A small bowl of ham bone soup from Somchay
    • Fresh Oysters from Island Creek

Take-out Adjacent:

During the months of September and October, I had the worst two months™️ as my dad was dying of cancer. I needed to feed myself, and wasn’t doing a good job of it. I also didn’t have the energy or desire for most takeout. So I went for a few prepared options, that were truly my saving grace during a hard time. I chose Diane Sanfilippo’s Balanced Bites meals for my freezer – high protein, high quality ingredients. My favorite meals were the spaghetti squash bolognese, egg roll in a bowl, and sloppy joe chili. And for a local delivery option, ordered from WeCo Hospitality, a few times a week.

  • WeCo Hospitality – started at the beginning of October, and so many great meals. Some of the standouts include:
    • Shrimp scampi fettuccine: lemon + garlic marinated shrimp in white wine + butter sauce with blistered cherry tomatoes and torn herbs; hand cut fettuccine, shaved parmesan, roasted broccoli
    • Soba + Dumpling Bowl: edamame + roasted shiitake dumplings, buckwheat soba noodles, miso-marinated eggplant, pickled carrots + ginger and roasted sesame dressing
    • Roasted Eggplant and Farro Bowl (top!): roasted eggplant with black garlic + wood ear mushrooms over poached farro + barley with blistered cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, field greens, feta cheese and meyer lemon vinaigrette
    • Salt Roasted Beet and Burrata Bowl**: salt roasted Applefield beets, watercress, golden quinoa, toasted pistachios, tarragon dressing and creamy burrata
    • NY Strip Steak Au Poivre: peppercorn crusted marinated strip steak, four peppercorn + cognac sauce; paprika roasted yukon potatoes, black truffle parmesan butter, blistered broccoli with smoked garlic honey + pickled shallots
    • Pumpkin Soup
    • Curried Orzo and Braised Chicken Thigh
    • Roasted Carrot Salad
    • 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 and marinated egg
    • Foragers Bowl: shredded duck confit over barley with roasted mushrooms, rehydrated pickled mushrooms, roasted asparagus, carrots, and pesto
    • Roasted chicken biryani: yogurt + curry marinated chicken breast, basmati rice cooked in shorba with saffron, onion, mustard seed + coriander; sweet potato korma braised in coconut milk with chiles + spices; cucumber + red onion raita with mint + dill, naan
    • Oolong Tea Braised shortribs with charred alliums, sichuan peppercorn honey jus, toasted farro with maitake + oyster mushrooms, dried cherries + tahini brown butter; roasted cauliflower + broccoli with sweet chili garlic crunch, charred kale + arugula salad with torn herbs + candied orange; matcha vinaigrette
    • Baja Shrimp Tacos: citrus poached shrimp with guajillo-agave glaze, fresh mango salsa, pineapple-chipotle mayo, cilantro-lime rice, crunch napa cabbage slaw with shaved veggies + citrus, pickled red onion + lime
    • Desserts of note: Cranberry + Apple Crumble with pecan brown butter crumbs, Weco COOKIES, Carrot Cake, blueberry cheesecake with oat crumble

What’s next?

Here’s to great eats in 2022! I’d love to hear your favorite 1-3 recipes or meals. I’ll add them to my list for next year!

The Second Lunch Kitchen Resolutions 2020

julia child in her kitchen

One of the key insights of the past decade: if I write it down on a list, I’m more likely to do it.

Lists enable me to dream and achieve in ways that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to. They are the structure that enables me to envision more and do more. I keep master lists, reading lists, home projects, work lists, and more. Some are written as a way to to plan, others as a way to acknowledge achievements – one of the highlights this year was my “movie consumption list” – my goal to watch 52 new to me movies! (I even have lists of lists.) 

One of my favorite lists to come back to each year is my Kitchen Resolutions: my commitment to spending more time doing the things I love: cooking, reading about food, talking about food, and eating…. all of the food.  

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

First, here are some of my previous resolutions I’d like to continue with: 

My weekly meal planning process – this has gone through different iterations over the years – waffling back and forth between digital and paper, depending on mood. Currently it’s a revised template that ends up either in my Evernote or paper journal (which I then snap a photo of before heading to the grocery store.) Each week I sit down and assess the things in the fridge or freezer that need to be used up, plan out things to batch cook, and dream up my dinners, lunches, and snacks. Then I shop.

Bucket list restaurants – I can count the number of times I ate out on my two hands in the past year. While I’m all for home cooking, I’d like to continue to eat my way through some of the local gems we have in this area. (To that end, I use the Eater 38 as a guide.) 

100(0) fruits, nuts, and seed to tryhere’s my list; quite a few of these I’ve definitely eaten (but can’t actually remember eating…. hello aging) so I’ve left them on my master list to actually re-try for the record. A good friend is on a quest to fall in love and try new vegetables, so I might rope her in to some of them and see how we do. 

Minimize the amount of stuff on the counter in my kitchen  – I generally like access to “all the things” in my kitchen. That doesn’t mean that they have to all be on the counters everywhere. This year I added a handful of new pots and pans without getting rid of other stuff, and it’s clear that I need a better storage solution for everything. (I did however add spice racks to my kitchen, which was a good move!) 

Cooking recipes from cookbooks – while I’ve never been one to actually cook recipes from cookbooks regularly (I usually read, learn, and adapt), Alison Roman’s Dining In: Highly Cookable Recipes had SUCH great recipes that I cooked many of them this year, and will concede that sometimes it’s fun to let someone trusted “take the wheel”. I’ll make an effort to add at least one cookbook recipe to my weekly meal plans, and combine this with some favorite cookbook re-reads:

What other resolutions are on the docket for 2020? 

Blogging my weekly Good Things: yup, back on the wagon. I’ll note that one of the biggest differences between writing each week and not writing each week (hello, crazy back half of 2019!), was that without the suggestion of public accountability, my meals got much more boring, and not in a good way

Cookbook Dinners: over the past few years I’ve made some half-hearted attempts to form a cookbook club, but I think I’ll take it up again this year, even if it’s only me doing the cooking. The last one I did was Zahav, and it was a good time for all. (Despite the recipes needing more seasoning, but I digress.) My goal here will be a minimal and doable 3 times this year

Revise my backup list: (a version of it here) even when I meal plan, some days, I just want comfort food that requires little effort and really only muscle memory. A bowl of rice with yogurt, a box of Annie’s macaroni and cheese, or gasp – TJ’s chicken nuggets. I’m going to peruse Dinner: A Love Story, because I seem to recall that she has good inspiration here.

Food memoirs and literature: while I made it through more than 52 books in 2020, there was NARY a food memoir or food history, and boy do I need to change that. It’s one of my favorite genres.  To do this week: add a handful of these to my January reading list to get off on a good start.

Garden 2020: this year I made the effort to grow more in my pots and had ample fresh herbs. I also weeded and tended to the back plot – and grew some medium-happy potatoes (I’ll probably go for bigger ones next year), an outsized rosemary, lavender, and more. 

Other notes: taking a new stab at a Kitchen Projects list, having people over for casual meals more often, cooking with my Turkish spices more often, making a batch of ice cream every so often, baking pumpkin chocolate chip cake.

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

Edible adventures: 1000 new fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds

I added a new list to my list of lists this week: one of my kitchen resolutions for this year – a thousand new fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, stretching both my culinary chops, shopping habits, foraging opportunities, and encouraging and indulging my travel bug. I suppose this is more of a lifelong quest to eat with curiosity. I don’t exactly plan on trying a thousand new foods this year, but hopefully I’ll get a good start. Game, on!

The full list (or at least the start!) is here.

Have you gone on any epic culinary quests? Traveled the world to try a new food? I want to hear about it!

The Second Lunch Kitchen Resolutions, 2017

julia child in her kitchen

Well yes, it’s that time of year again! I’ve spent the better part of the weekend taking stock of my kitchen resolutions – really, the only resolutions I make each year!

Some of my 2016 and previous years’ kitchen resolutions included:

:: to use my large/fancy appliances more often (done!)
:: to do a weekly assessment of fresh produce in my refrigerator (done, and was significantly less wasteful!)
:: to cull the pantry (did a decent fridge cull, pantry is still overwhelmed)
:: to take better care of my cast iron (nope, yikes!)
:: to not use the wrong lid on the wrong pot (learned my lesson and stuck with it)
:: to not season directly into the pan (took this one to heart!)
:: to read my new cookbooks cover to cover before buying several more (fail)
:: to wash all dishes and wipe down counters before going to bed each night (mostly)
:: to keep a running kitchen journal (for the most part, electronically this year)

In 2017, I’m doing things a little differently. My word of the year is share, and so this year I’m focusing my kitchen activities on content creation. I thought it would be a good year to get a head-start on two of my cookbooks that I’d like to write. I’ve had these bubbling for the past decade, and thought that it’s a good time as any to get crackin’.

This year I’d like to write two cookbook proposals – one for a Turkish cookbook with family recipes and a love letter to Istanbul, and another for an everyday eating cookbook, in the style of Nigel Slater, Anna Jones, or the Leon cookbook.

Create two seasonal healthy cooking e-books – with meal plans to take advantage of the seasonal bounty, fresh produce storage tips, easy dinner ideas, and suggested pantry upgrades.

Continue with my weekly meal planning – I was quite consistent in 2016 writing my meal plans, and I’d like to continue the trend. I’d like to write more about how I go through the process of meal planning, the resources that I use, and how I simplify the process of making weeknight meals.

I’d like to start eating my way through some restaurant bucket list restaurants – as part of an overall goal to start traveling more. Since moving back from California, I can count my exquisite dining experiences on about one hand these days. We’re not talking all Michelin, but really experiencing the work of some notable chefs and global cuisine to continue my lifelong education in food.

Start working my way through at least 100 new fruits and vegetables – and come up with my list of 1000 to try. This is more complicated living in New England, but it occurred to me that I’ve been lacking in novel food experiences lately and need a good place to start. I’m going to be compiling a list by sitting down with Elizabeth Schneider’s Uncommon Fruits & Vegetables, Alice Waters’ fruit and vegetable tomes, Deborah Madison’s Vegetable Literacy, and some of my River Cottage Guides, and researching vegetables and fruits unique to specific global cuisines in some of my regional cuisine specific cookbooks that I already own.

Write out a list of challenging cooking experiments to try, and add in a good weekend cooking project at least once a month. My default in the kitchen is quick weeknight meals, and there are some great projects that I’m missing out on.

A short list of cookbooks that I already own and love that I’d like to re-read and cook a recipe from this year:

January – 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer
February – Zuni Cafe by Judy Rodgers
March – The Nordic Cookbook by Magnus Nilsson
April – French Feasts by Stéphane Reynaud
May – The Italian Baker by Carol Field
June – Into the Vietnamese Kitchen by Andrea Nguyen
July – Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce
August – Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin
September – The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen by Paula Wolfert
October – My New Orleans by John Besh
November – Japanese Cooking by Shizuo Tsuji
December – Around my French Table by Dorie Greenspan

Do you have any kitchen resolutions this year?

Things that Spark Joy

heath serving bowl ottolenghi tabbouli

With winter in full force today, I’ve been working on a list of things in my life that spark joy to ward off the winter blues. This is a variation of a gratitude exercise that I do with my coaching clients – and something I try to revisit on a semi-regular basis.

I often have difficulty reminding myself what things spark joy when I’m feeling symptoms of depression and anxiety. Many of my friends and clients do as well.

So it helps to do this exercise when I’m on an upswing, and be kind to myself when these things don’t seem like they’ll help. Sometimes the act of making the list is enough to spark positive feelings.

I write out a combination of big things and little things – when I don’t have the energy to travel or adventure, I may still find joy from slicing carrots with my sharp knife, stirring a pot of beans, or cuddling with my sweet puppy. The act of doing something small but satisfying helps to start a positive domino effect in my daily life.

Here’s my list this week.

My red Heath serving bowl, a birthday gift from Devon. And filling it with greenery, such as the parsley tabbouleh picture above. It’s this Ottolenghi recipe.

Chopping and slicing things with a very sharp knife. I purchased a new Kyocera knife as a replacement for one that chipped. At some point, I’ll get a new one with their warranty, but after stalling for a while, I finally just decided to bite the bullet and spend the $30 with industry discount at Sur La Table.

Planning trips, and traveling. I had a few big trips on my to do list this year: my favorites were Florida (twice) and Denver, Colorado! Every year I go with a small group of friends on a spring excursion. We’ve done DC, London, Disney World. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed Disney. I’d like to go back this year. Bonus points for silly out takes from warm beaches.

Sam Tackeff

Helping other people find their passion in life. Life is too short to be drifting down the wrong path. There is a world to explore, and people in need to be of service to. For you Wellesleys out there: Sed Min for the Win.

The feeling of having written something. I do wish that I enjoyed the writing process more – but it’s often difficult to feel like I’m in the zone. That said, the joy of having written is strong!

The ocean. I’ve been blessed to have lived most of my life near the ocean. I love the vivid color of the sea, the lapping of waves, gathering sea glass and worn rocks. It’s a perfect place of contemplation. I like walking past others who walk on the beach alone, a brief nod of solidarity and of knowing.

Acquiring new books at my local bookstore. Or even the non-local ones – I like getting books on trips, and visiting bookstores in different places.

Adding a finished book to my Goodreads “read” list. It’s really nice to see everything I’ve read in one place, and to see the virtual shelf growing. Even on days when I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing, I can see that I’ve read and haven’t given up on learning and exploring.

My sweet bean, Bertram the Frenchie. I adore getting to spend time with him, head into the outdoors on adventures, and see him taking true pleasure in chowing down on whatever is in front of him. He likes sitting on my lap and watching the world. He loves people – it’s actually quite nice to have a social puppy that is different than my own nature.

Bertram the Frenchie

What would you put on your list?

From my new corner office

ikea home office

Welcome to my new office! Now that I’m working from my home several days a week building my business, I finally decided that I needed to get off the couch and get myself a desk. It feels so good to have a place to strategize, dream, and create! I made a big trip to IKEA and went wild. All I have to do now is add some art, plants, a lightbulb in my new lamp, and I should be good to go.

cart: raskog // tabletop: linnmon 59” // trestle: finnvard // side leg (out of shot) kallax bookshelf // chair with sheep

I have a secret goal to write a list every week in 2016 and publish it on The Second Lunch. One of the key ways to build a successful goal is to share it with others! So here you go. I’d like to hold myself to this practice, at least for the next month, when I’ll sit down and re-evaluate if it’s a thing I really want to do! I hope it is!

Here’s what’s happening over here:

cooking

I have a friend Traca who cooks multiple incredible recipes a week for a project she’s currently working on. She’s really pushing herself consistently to learn new things, taste new ingredients, and try new techniques. Each week she posts the list of her global conquests – Mole Colordito Enchiladas, Sichuan noodles and pork shoulder chop, complex recipes from Ottolenghi, Naomi Duguid, and more. I cook a lot of simple meals around here, and it’s really inspiring me to up my game! This week I’m doing the chicken thighs with caramelized onions and cardamom rice from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem.

shooting

This week I’m taking a ten day natural light shooting challenge with my accomplished friend Kristin Tatem. She has a stunning studio in Lexington, KY – if you are local, consider taking a class with her! She also has online courses! It’s a good excuse to get some practice, and she’s such a capable teacher!

learning

I’ve started a new EdX course – Berkeley’s The Science of Happiness. It’s a 10 week self paced course that delves into the science of happiness, exploration of global and cultural happiness practice, and helps add to your own happiness toolkit. I’m looking forward to sharing some of my learnings with my clients!

reading

I made my way out to an independent bookstore for a book group this week, one of Book Riot’s read harder book clubs. I follow the organizer Jessica on Twitter, and I’m glad she tweeted about it! It’s an “any book book club” which actually works out great, because you get to talk about all different kinds of books, and we all got Book Riot Read Harder Challenge printables. Mine is going up on the wall!

I’ll also be participating in the Newtonville Books reading challenge, working my way through the Man Booker long list, and slowly working my way through the BBC Big Read – a long term project that I started a few years ago.

This week I’m reading: How to Cook a Moose // M Train // On The Move