Saturday Sun 04.20.2024

Created by Laura Wright
A jack russell hound mix dog is laying on a patterned carpet and looking up at the camera.

Hello and happy Saturday to you. My partner came back from his trip with a nasty flu, which I’ve managed to dodge so far. Honestly I was a bit thrown off all week (is there some major astrological thing happening?!), but thankfully things feel like they’re returning to center. Also, apologies that there was no new recipe this week. Even after all the conceptualizing and testing, sometimes a recipe just isn’t hitting right!

I dove into some organization and spring cleaning projects in the kitchen this week. A couple times a year, I’ll have this realization that the way I’m storing or organizing cookware/ingredients is not serving me at all, and I just feel called to change everything. In Atomic Habits, James Clear discusses why setting up your environment to aid in good habit building is a crucial step. This principle definitely applies to cooking! I abandoned my bread baking hobby a while ago and there were a few factors at play, but the main one? The drawer with all of my baking ingredients was a disaster. I did a full clean out and purge, got some containers for all my go-to flours/components this week. Now I truly can’t wait to get back into the bread zone this weekend!

I hope that you’re keeping well out there. It’s a return to chilly temps for us this weekend. Hopefully a little bit of gardening with lots of hot tea breaks is in store :)

5 Things I’m Reading:

  1. Many coral reefs are dying. This one is exploding with life.
  2. A Little Bit of Dirt Is Good for You
  3. Many birds are named for enslavers, colonizers and white supremacists. That’s about to change
  4. Come Home to Yourself
  5. On Audible: Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha

5 Things I’m Enjoying:

  1. Good Food, Healthy Planet by Puneeta Chhitwal-Varma
  2. Aikenka Matcha is delightful! They sent me some as a gift and I’ve been truly revelling in my afternoon matcha latte. Also of course I’m a fan of the dog-inclusive branding 🐕
  3. Learned so much from this two part conversation with Alyssa Olenick, PhD on Simon Hill’s podcast! Episode 1: How Should Women Approach Exercise? + Episode 2: Exercise, Nutrition And Recovery For Women
  4. Baked this Crusty Cranberry & Pecan No Knead Bread for my family last weekend and it was very well-received! This weekend I’m making King Arthur Flour’s ciabatta. Epic veggie sandwiches are in my future.
  5. I just love following Zoey Xinyi Gond, RD on Instagram. The TCM goodies at the Shanghai Costco and Sam’s Club locations blew my mind.

5 Questions:

  1. How do you decide what kind of thickener to use in a recipe (arrowroot, tapioca, cornstarch, flour)?
    It mostly depends on the dietary requirements of the recipe I’m working on or who I’m cooking for. Arrowroot and cornstarch are pretty much interchangeable to me as far as crispy coatings for something like this air fryer tofu. You do need to double the amount of arrowroot if swapping for cornstarch in a recipe! Arrowroot is also more friendly to the folks with corn allergies. I’ll use flour or cornstarch as a thickener for our cooking at home if I know that I’m going to have leftovers that will be reheated (no gluten sensitivities in our house). Sauces and soups with arrowroot as a thickener tend to thin out and not reheat well. Tapioca starch is not a thickener that I use too often if I’m being honest. I’ve incorporated it into the coating of a veggie “nugget” before and used it in grain-free pancakes, but that’s about it.
  2. How do you decide how to prepare garlic for a recipe? Do you chop, mince, press?
    I’ll do sliced garlic if I want to slowly infuse oil with the flavour at the start of a recipe and then I’m following that up with a slow simmer (sauce or soup) that will make the garlic melt into the final product. Also, sliced garlic for garlic chips on top of a veg side is delightful. I do minced garlic for almost everything else! And for dressings/sauces, I’ll run the garlic cloves over a Microplane to almost “liquify” them into the end result. I tried to get into a garlic press, but it wasn’t for me. I found it so annoying to clean! Anyone else?
  3. How many hours does it take you to walk 9 miles!
    The days that I get 9 miles in (tracking on my Apple Watch), I’ve typically taken the dogs for a 1-hour walk, myself for a minimum 1-hour walk, and I’ve done some gardening (which involves a lot of walking at our house). It needs to be said that I typically only hit the 9 mile mark on weekend days! I average about 6-7 miles on weekdays right now with a solo walk first thing in the morning and then a dog walk after supper (and all the moving around in between). It is a solid time commitment, but being consistent with this has helped me sleep so well–like straight through the night multiple days a week. If you’ve been reading here for a while, you know how major this is for me! I don’t think I can go back now.
  4. What are your go to meals when you’re feeling unwell stomach wise/bloated?
    I tend to go for porridge-y things like a plain risotto with maybe a little bit of sautéed veg, steel cut oatmeal (done up sweet or savoury), dal with loads of ginger and fennel, a plainer version of my one-pot rice and veggies (again, loaded with ginger and fennel), or anything potato/sweet potato-based.
  5. What breed are the pups?
    We’re not completely sure on either of them, but the organizations we adopted from told us that Cleo is a Jack Russell and hound mix (sometimes her face has a pit bull look to us though), and Mickie is a chihuahua whippet mix. Both 100% perfect angel babies all the way through 😉


  • Monica

    I’m not sure if this is where I can post a question for the 5 questions column but here it is anyway!

    How do you know if you’re a good cook? This sounds simple; people will say ‘this is delish!’ or roll their eyes back with ecstasy as they eat. I know how to cook for myself and my stronger palate and often modify recipes for my taste, but my kids will try my meal and say ‘it’s not for me.’ I want to make things for them too! But to appease their palates, I can’t get the flavour I like, which is probably stronger or more experimental than they like. When you cook for others, how do you know when it’s just right for everyone? Is it about confidence or is it simply following a recipe to the letter?

  • Melissa

    I love these Saturday posts! I totally agree with you about the garlic press. Too much of a pain to clean for any time it saves from chopping.

  • amy

    thank you as always for your newsletter. fingers crossed that the flu continues to dodge you! i have a question that i’m hoping can make it into a future issue. have you used your Zojirushi to cook any other kinds of grains, and if so, what measurements have you used as a guide? i’d really like to try doing barley or farro but can’t decide whether it’ll work or not. curious if you’ve given it a go!

  • Sidne

    I’ve been fitting in a half hour fourty-five minute walk a day and it’s amazing how much of a difference that makes!

  • Elizabeth

    Thank you for these Saturday Suns. I look forward to them every week! I struggle with sleep and understand how life-changing it can feel to sleep through the night – even just once, let alone every night. I just got a dog and have therefore been doing a lot more walking. I’ve also had some nights that I sleep straight through. What a gift! I’m curious where you walk – around your neighborhood, hiking trails, elsewhere?

  • Joy

    I enjoy these Saturday reads and have gone in some interesting directions based on what you have complied here. Thank you for that.

  • JOdie

    Thank you for these Saturday morning posts! I look forward to them every weekend and have been reading them since you started them. I value your opinion and even though I’m not vegan, I trust your recipes and make them often(they are delicious and sooo good for us). I know that if we lived close to each other, we would be great friends!❤️