Welcome to another edition of Saturday Sun! It’s a long weekend here in Canada as folks celebrate harvest time and an offering of thanks. We hosted my family last night and it was nice! I made a mushroom tart that was honestly a total flop and I reallllllyyy overcooked the green beans, but there were plenty of other sides/goodies to go around. We’re getting started on some Fall garden cleanup projects this weekend, and I’ll probably get up to a tiny bit of work too.
There are so many new cookbooks out this time of year, and they’re all so inspiring! I’m hoping to take a solid hour at some point this weekend to flip through them and bookmark some recipes to try. I mentioned this on Instagram recently that over the last couple years I’ve really struggled with making dinner in general. As someone who creates food content, it feels wild to admit that. But it’s real! I will find any number of ways to get out of making dinner. I find it borderline irritating some days! Overall, I’ve just built up this mental block around it.
I know that the last 2-3 years with the pandemic has made some of the simpler things in day-to-day life suddenly seem hard. This is definitely a factor for me. But also just doing food creation as my primary job for over 10 years… that’s a big part of it too. Sometimes I catch myself entertaining these out-of-left-field career pivots, but I eventually come back to earth. Having some new cookbooks/culinary perspectives around is definitely helpful, and also just hearing from folks that are dealing with the same thing.
5 Things I’m Reading:
- America’s Lost Crops Rewrite the History of Farming
- Started this week: Bending Reality
- ‘Romanticizing Your Life’ Can Be a Legit Form of Mindfulness
- Horizons with Chris Ferreiras is an excellent newsletter.
- “This is a new generation that has been born into and come of age under a moment of resistance, and they are showing incredible courage by speaking out despite the high stakes.”
5 Things I’m Enjoying:
- Really loving Cynthia Kesington’s Pilates workouts and Jess Wood’s guided meditations in Deliciously Ella’s Feel Better app.
- The Vegan Chinese Kitchen is one of my favourite cookbooks this year. I’ve learned so much about ingredients that I use often (like tofu), and also how plant-based eating plays a role in Chinese culture. It’s also stunningly beautiful.
- I finished this series based on Michael Pollan’s book a couple weeks ago. I learned so much, the animations were immersive, and it moved me to tears at some moments.
- I always finish my daytime and nighttime skincare routine with a face oil. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been using Wildcraft’s Regenerate Face Serum for that step and it’s sooo hydrating and calming. I have a 10% discount code for them as well! It’s: thefirstmess
- Center for Plants & Culture is a top 10 Instagram follow for me.
- Plant-based on a budget tips? So many vegan options are so expensive.
I find that the most expensive vegan grocery items are specialty things like vegan cheese/yogurt, vegan “meats”, some of the frozen options, some styles of sauces, pre-made juices and other beverages, fancier nut butters, granola/cereal stuff etc. I love all of those things, but mostly enjoy them occasionally. We base so many of our meals on grains and beans that we buy in bulk, potatoes/sweet potatoes, and whole grain pasta. From there, my effort is spent working vegetables and greens into the meals, and luckily my partner and I enjoy almost all veg. So when I’m at the store or market, I usually just grab what’s on sale that week or what’s in season and suitably well-priced. I’m also an avid sales flyer watcher, which is helpful for scoring the pricier vegan stuff for less. I use the Flipp app to amalgamate all of them from my local shops. I also try to make things like hummus, pesto or granola myself if I know that I’m in a phase where I’m really enjoying those things.
- How do you stay hydrated in the colder months?
I drink so much hot herbal tea! I just make cup after cup all day long, often re-steeping the same bag multiple times. It keeps me warm, there’s so many different kinds, and it’s a little more fun than plain water.
- What keeps you motivated to keep creating when you don’t feel creative?
If I’m in a creative rut with food/recipe creation, I focus on a different, non-food related creative pursuit that’s more appealing to me at that time. Or I’ll just do backend/admin stuff with my site to keep busy. Eventually the pursuit of the other thing (whatever it is!) feeds back into my food creativity again. And sometimes I just embrace the rut and don’t force it.
- What is your go-to meal to cook when you’re tired/don’t have a lot of energy to cook?
I toss some chopped veggies with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast them until soft. Then I combine that with cooked whole grain pasta, finely minced olives, maybe some ground chillies, jarred marinara, a handful of chopped spinach or kale, and some chickpeas or white beans. Heat that all up, sprinkle nutritional yeast on mine, and enjoy! It’s comforting and I can make it without having to think too much.
- What are your favourite apple recipes?
For sweet, I love these vegan apple crisp muffins, and also just simple homemade applesauce with lots of cinnamon. For savoury, this butternut squash galette with apples and shallots is tops, and also this apple kale salad with miso mustard dressing.