I never meant to leave this space quiet for so long, but the respite that I gained from my silence here has been most necessary and beneficial. At the time of my last posting, I was at a place of mental and physical fatigue, often feeling that although words were flowing through my fingertips, I wasn’t really saying much at all. The chorus of a decade-old Switchfoot song replayed in my mind, and I was convicted. “If we’re adding to the noise, turn off this song”; I felt that I was, so I knew it was time for a break. I needed to slow down, speak less, and listen more.
Since the beginning of my blogging journey, I’ve heard other bloggers talk about the rewards of running a site like mine. The numbers don’t add up for most of us that seek to do it for a living, yet there are countless folks who say they do it “for the love of blogging.” These men and women often enjoy the writing and photography aspects and have been blessed with rich friendships with others in the blogosphere that share their passions. As much as I have tried to glean the nonfinancial rewards, I find that for me, they simply aren’t there. This isn’t to say that I haven’t met some wonderful people and gotten to do some really cool things. I have, yet it doesn’t make up for the fact that, for me, blogging about food strips away the joy of cooking it and serving it to those I love.
Last night, as I was scrambling to put dinner on the table after a hard day with the kids, I remembered the giant bin of fresh spinach that was taking up residence in my fridge. I had intended for it to be used in green smoothies, but alas, those never materialized. Though I’m supposed to be living dairy-free these days, I opted to indulge in a slightly naughty side dish of creamed spinach in order to use up the last of the greenery before it wilted into a slimy mess. Into my cast iron skillet went a too-large lump of butter; once melted, onion and garlic were thrown in and a satisfying sizzle filled my ears. I continued with the recipe, adding in the remaining ingredients, then toward the end, as the spinach simmered away in a bath of whole milk (we were out of cream), I took in the scene.
Dan was with the kids outside so the kitchen, for once, was quiet. Green and white bubbled together against the backdrop of the black pan while steam rose high. I paused to enjoy the sights and smells of the moment and was thankful that I wasn’t trying to capture it with a lens, stressing over the perfect angle and wondering whether the steam would damage my camera. Standing there against the stove, I was reminded of a line from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. At the end of the movie (which is a favorite in our household), when Frodo is getting ready to set sail to join the elves in a place of peace and rest, he tells his best friend, “We set out to save the Shire, Sam. And it has been saved… but not for me.” The process of working and giving his life to save the land he loved took from him the ability to enjoy it.
Now, I know it’s a stretch to make this analogy, and while food blogging can hardly be equated to saving Middle Earth from utter peril, Frodo’s words resonate with me. The process of capturing photos, writing, and managing a blog for others to enjoy empties me of the fulfillment that comes with chopping, stirring, and serving simple nutritious food. This isn’t the case for many bloggers I know; they seek beauty in the ordinary, they capture it, and it inspires them as well as their readers. For my part, I have tried to do the same, but in the end, my heart’s not there. My heart isn’t in the technology or the writing or the lovely photography – it’s in real life, in sharing humble meals with generosity and not worrying as to whether I seasoned a dish perfectly or not.
The way I was living my life for a long time was suffocating, and I probably don’t have to tell you that I’ve been making some changes. It’s why I’ve needed the break and why the blogging I have been doing has featured simple snapshots from my phone instead of fancy DSLR images. I’m grateful for the many talented and artistic food bloggers who provide endless inspiration (Not Without Salt and Sprouted Kitchen are two of my faves), but for me, the path leads elsewhere.
As for what lies ahead, I’m thrilled to share that next week I will begin a year-long program to train as a massage therapist. My goal is to start my own business as a postpartum doula with the purpose being caring for new moms in practical ways. Providing education, therapeutic touch, and nourishing meals will be part of how I do this, and though I’m a bit nervous as I stand on the precipice of this change, I feel confident that it’s the right move. I want to be in the trenches with new moms who may be struggling, caring for them and extending the encouragement that I wish I’d had after the birth of my own children. I’m so thankful for this opportunity.
If something comes up that I want to share here on the blog, I’ll do so, and in the meantime, I’ll leave you with an update on my family and a recipe for a velvety pureed carrot soup. Fall is coming, folks, and this soup is a great way to greet it.
Below is a snapshot from our 7th wedding anniversary back in August. Dan and I spent a casual evening at Delancey enjoying pizza and a salad that was dressed with the most amazing roasted tomato vinaigrette. As you’ll see in the photo, I’m now sporting braces. I was torn between Invisalign and traditional braces, but after consulting my orthodontist, I decided this was the route for me. Only 15 more months till I can get them off – or so they tell me.
Remember way back in April when I shared with you that Elijah was having seizures and surgery was a possibility? Well, it went from possibility to reality quite quickly, and our little guy had his benign tumor removed just a few weeks ago. We are thankful to report that everything went smoothly, and he was released from the hospital just two days after the operation. Thank you, Jesus!
The above photo was taken the day after the surgery. The swelling on his head was still pronounced, but he was already regaining his happy demeanor. When Dan posted the below photo to our personal Facebook, it was accompanied by the caption, “I’ll have one more Kit Kat please.” Silly guy.
And here he is on the same afternoon that he was released from the hospital. Love this kid!
Lastly, it feels wrong having everyone in our family featured in this post except for Eowyn, so here she is! This photo was taken this past Sunday on a visit to Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo with some new friends. She was “roaring” with the lion. Next week will bring lots of changes for her as she also starts “school” (aka daycare), which she is very excited about.
I think that about covers it. Thanks for reading, everyone. Be blessed.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 a large white or yellow onion, diced
- 1 large (or 2 small) clove fresh garlic, minced
- Kosher salt
- 6 cups plain, unsweetened coconut milk (from a carton, not a can)
- 2 pounds raw carrots, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon yellow curry powder, plus more to taste
- Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil, and once it is hot, toss in the diced onion and minced garlic. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of kosher salt, and saute for about 5 minutes until the onion begins to soften.
- To the pot, add the unsweetened coconut milk and carrots. Heat to boiling, then cover the pot with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the carrots are very tender (about 15-20 minutes).
- Once the carrots are tender, remove the pan from the heat and carefully use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. (You may, of course, use a blender for this part, but please be cautious to avoid burns and don't overfill the blender.)
- To the pureed soup, add the maple syrup, additional kosher salt to taste, and 1/4 teaspoon each ground cinnamon and curry powder. The amount of spice you add is totally up to you and your palate. I kept it on the conservative side for my kids, but by all means go crazy if you love these flavors; play with the various seasonings until the flavors suit you. You can also add some more coconut milk to thin the soup further if you like.
- Serve warm.