I didn’t grow up in a particularly crunchy household. Legend has it that my dad tried feeding me Oreos when I was three months old (guess that’s what happens when you give a 23-year-old dude a baby. Love you, Jay). The first thing I remember cooking for myself as a kid was one of those ramen blocks resembling Justin Timberlake’s hair from the ‘90s (sometimes I would get REAL gourmet and ditch the seasoning packets for butter and grated parmesan from the green plastic tub).
Now I’m not saying that my parents weren’t good cooks, or that they didn’t feed me veggies on the daily. But as two recent college grads trying to make a living in Atlanta, they had priorities other than making their own nut butters or raiding the bulk bins at the local co-op. My dad was working nonstop. My mom was in grad school studying her days away. Plus, they had a kid who would smear Vicks Vapo-Rub all over her body when left unsupervised (yep, I can confirm that it burns just as much as you would expect).
Hello, friend. It’s been awhile.
Over the past few months, I’ve been getting used to a different routine: waking early to move my body, heading to my new-ish job, writing and writing and writing, and then commuting home. Weeks pass quickly and it’s both exhausting and empowering. It makes me wonder where the time goes, and if things will ever slow down—but at least I’m making a life in that passing time. That’s a good thing.
Favorite things, April 2017:
- Wearing bandannas as neck scarves makes me feel like a cross between a Wild West bandit and an Old Hollywood film star. I’m not sure if it’s a look I’ll regret later (#tb to the time I had a bleached pixie cut with shaved sides) but I’m loving it right now.
- I always forget how much I love the Ultrabland facial cleanser from Lush. I started a new job not too long ago (!!!) and have been trying to be an ~adult~ with a ~skincare routine~ so I got out my Ultrabland again. It’s simple and glorious and it smells like baked goods in the springtime. Highly recommend. (Not sponsored, I just like having a soft face.)
- Roasted nuts on EVERYTHING. Seriously, just chop up a handful of raw almonds, stick ‘em in the oven on a high heat until they smell toasty and look golden, and scatter them all over your life. They make an appearance in most of my meals, especially the salads I pack for work lunches.
- The Man in the High Castle: Have you seen it? Do you love its mysterious plotline (Hitler wins WWII, crazy shit happens with parallel universes, Alexa Davalos is hot AF) and questionably shoddy acting as much as I do? I recently binged both seasons and now I’m mad I have to wait until God knows when to find out what the eff is going on.
I have a confession to make: when I was a kid, I HATED homemade mac and cheese. I had an aversion to cheesy things (and clearly some deep-seated issues) and would complain nonstop whenever Betsy announced we were having macaroni for dinner. She would make beautiful, super-cheesy baked mac and cheese, sometimes covered in breadcrumbs for that extra-crispy finish, and I’d turn my back on her like she killed my Tamagotchi.
Looking back on my younger self, I’m ashamed. Now, I spend long hours thinking of all the mac and cheese–eating opportunities I missed out on. I call my mom daily to console her heartache over the years of pain I inflicted on her from my homemade macaroni–hating ways. “Where did I go wrong?” she asks me, sobbing softly.
Through my own tears, I can only whisper, “That sh*t in the blue box.” ***
Earlier this year I decided to try out a vegan diet for a few weeks as a personal challenge. While I found it a bit difficult when eating out, I really enjoyed cooking vegan meals. Setting limitations on the ingredients I could use made me more creative, and I fell in love with a few dishes that I never would have made otherwise.
Before going vegan, I had never cooked lentils before (weird, I know). During the challenge, I made up for lost time, eating lentils nearly every day because they’re a great source of plant-based protein. One of the best things I cooked was a vegan shepherd’s pie that used lentils in place of ground beef. It was just as hearty as a traditional shepherd’s pie and I maybe managed to eat half a tray of it by myself because it was just plants, ya know?
I made nut roasts on Sundays, because Leo and I couldn’t bear to forego a Sunday roast. I stirred coconut yogurt into vegetable curry for extra creaminess. I even made my own pizza crust and sauce and had a vegan pizza night. Yup, no cheese.
I know what you’re thinking. Pizza without cheese? That’s not pizza. That’s just bread with sauce and vegetables. A few months ago, I would’ve agreed with you. But after I discovered vegan parmesan, the prospect of cheese-less pizza was much more appealing.