NYR (New Year’s Review)

Life is good. A box full of chocolates in fact.

I have recently picked up a podcast habit to explore various topics including creativity. My favorite is the Tim Ferriss show.

He sends out a weekly email too and this idea is from his year end edition. Instead of doing New Year’s resolutions, he does a New Year Review.

How it works: Look back at the past year week-by-week to identify the people that I spent time with that had a positive or negative impact. And how will I get more time this year with the positive list and less time with the negative?

I did this and realized from a people perspective that there are very very very few people on my negative list. That I am already investing time with people I enjoy. Even when that’s work related. What a gift that is!

But I wanted to dig deeper and say of the time I invested with others, what was most valuable, rewarding and memorable? How will I do more of that in 2019 WITH people that I enjoy?

Here’s my list for “more of” in 2019:

  • Explore new places (cities/restaurants here in MN). We have travel plans to New Orleans and Central Iowa (for a college swim meet) in the next 6 weeks. Omaha surprised me, surely I can find an interesting spot in Grinnell. Dinner reservations are already made for Nola and a few stop in for cocktails spots 😉. This family tradition has created an open minded sense of adventure.
  • Learn new creative skills (I found out I love beading this year!) A food styling Photography class or refreshing my graphic design skills comes to mind to improve the blog. Doing artist dates with friends in 2018 was awesome! I want to take a limoncello making class (which sells out fast every year) or perhaps something for craft cocktails. Local distillery Copperwing has become a favorite.
  • Get outside. Even in winter. Combining walks with new restaurants was a particular highlight this year. Summer days strolling by the creek and then stopping for a glass of rose on the patio, ahhh I miss July! The luminary Loppet ski race and beer garden is on my list (so long as it isn’t minus 5 like today) and watching to see where the Ice Art Shanty village lands. The summer options are endless.
  • Bring together my favorite people to explore food. Perhaps a cooking club? I can think of some fantastic conversationalists that I would love to bring together over food. Gotta get organized for that, surely there’s an app that can help me.
  • Continue learning and challenging how our family eats. I started exploring different ways to shop and cook, including local meal prep delivery, online grocery shopping and shopping more frequently. All in an effort to reduce food waste, eat more locally grown products and to save time. I have more exploring to do here to get us more efficient. Maybe a garden expansion or finding a new CSA.
  • Share what I learn here 😊

It’s easy to get motivated to think about planning fun food related experiences with my “peeps” that will help me grow in 2019, and equally rewarding to share it here with my virtual friends. Would love to hear what you have on your “more of” list.

Chocolate cheers to an awesome 2019!

Tomato soup (vegan)

Potpourri. Growing up that’s what mom called leftover night. I hated potpourri night. So now, beloved readers, I give you a potpourri post. A recipe, yes. But some other random food stuff since it’s been awhile.

Let’s start with something cool. I am trying out a new Twin Cities startup, Local Crate. It’s a food delivery concept involving ingredients from local farms and artisans. It’s not dissimilar to why I originally started blogging–to inspire people to explore what’s grown near them. It’s been an interesting and time-saving experience to have a couple meals pretty much prepped. I made vegan tikka masala this week!!

It doesn’t quite look like the picture but it tasted good. This is ideal for people who love to cook but hate planning and shopping.

In other food news, Alec is discovering how good he had it eating at home. “Why don’t they make spaghetti and meatballs?” The thrill of a cafeteria offering perpetual ice cream sundaes has worn off. He says he’s losing weight especially now that swim season has kicked in. He has 5:30am practice 3x a week. We look forward to feeding him at Thanksgiving!

Avery has really embraced the vegan diet. He’s even doing a biology research project on how plant protein impacts athlete performance. It’s the first time he’s gotten truly curious about molecular structure 😉

He’s also learning how to make vegan snacks for late night studying (nachos being a favorite). Yea for adaptability and learning!

Finally, here’s the recipe. This is so simple it shouldn’t really count, but sometimes simple is good for the soul. It snowed this week. Yes people. Snow. I am perpetually cold and it’s only October.

Tomato soup

  • 4tbsp olive oil
  • 3 carrots, sliced into halfmoons
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • Celery leaves, fresh oregano and thymes stalks
  • 4c vegetable stock
  • 28oz can whole tomatoes
  • Salt, pepper, basil

Simmer onion in oil until soft. Add celery, carrots and garlic and sauté another 3-5 minutes until onions are golden. Add tomatoes and vegetable stock. I added a few end pieces of the celery with leaves attached and some fresh oregano and thyme still attached to the stalk. This gave the flavor a bit more depth. Simmer covered for about 30 minutes. Remove the celery leaves and herb stalks (if you used them). Purée until smooth with hand blender, season to taste with salt pepper and basil (1/2 tsp is an estimate).

Endings and beginnings

With the HS graduation party behind us, I feel like this is the start of my summer! (And yes I am unmistakably crabby in the grad pic…7 valedictorian speeches, ugh!)

It’s an amazing amount of work to host these things and frankly, we crammed several years’ worth of “honey do” list items into one month. I am glad we did it, but we’ll be bribing Av to skip it or host it elsewhere. 😉

The menu was a Chicago theme (he’ll be attending Lake Forest College):

  • Chicago dogs (yes I had a vegan “dog”). We all agreed celery salt and tomatoes really are quite good on a poppyseed bun
  • Fruit kabobs
  • Veggie & hummus cups
  • Mini cupcakes
  • Chicago microbrews

Alec is fortunate through swimming (and his personality) to have many friends across not just our town but the TC area, and many ages. It was fun to see them all in one place. I was VERY thankful swimmers like to eat and we had no hot dog leftovers! ⭐️

It’s hard as an adult not to think about the closing of one chapter and the opening of another. Just yesterday he registered for classes and found out his roommate and academic advisor. Immediately the excitement of everything he’s going to get to learn about replaced any sadness.

Of course we’re very proud of his accomplishments, but really we just love having Alec around because he’s such a kind, thoughtful person. The next 8 weeks are gonna go fast, just like the last 19!