Seven months! A lot has happened in the seven months since my last update. Those of you who follow on social media are more informed, but until now, I haven’t been able to find my way back to this blog.
What happened in seven months? I finished one semester of grad school and started another (now I am finally in my last year!) At work, we’ve had 3 different performance weekends, eight weeks of summer camp, and have closed out one school year and begun another. In life, we went to Maine for the first time, we got a puppy(!) and we bought a house!!
It has been hectic. And different. And the biggest thing I’ve learned over these seven months is that I am really, really bad with change. Even all of this good change, filled with cuddly animals and celebration. I finally feel like I am finding my footing once more, now that we have gotten through the summer. Minnie, our puppy, is almost six months old. We are beginning to see glimpses of rational dog behavior, rather than just chaotic puppy (although there is still plenty of that each day!) Most of the house is unpacked. It feels a bit more like home. And I am back to my school year schedule, which is always easier to manage than the summer camp schedule.
I am still trying to figure out our food. All this change in our lives led to a lot of change in our eating habits, our spending habits, my cooking time…everything. When I was last present on this blog, I was just finishing up a month-long round of AIP. I’ll be honest–I more than rushed my re-introductions. I threw any sense of restraint to the wind and just ate all of the various things I had avoided for thirty days (sweet, sweet eggs were back in the breakfast rotation.) My very last, 30th day of AIP was actually the day before we moved out of our apartment. Amidst the hectic move and deep-cleaning that followed, I ate whatever was available. I am very thankful that I didn’t have much of a reaction to any of the foods added back in.
The biggest effect of my AIP round was that my skin cleared up significantly. I don’t have a lot of acne, but I have pretty persistant acne around my chin. Judging as best I can, the triggers for it are likely dairy and sugar. While I have tried (with varying success) to watch my sugar intake, I am still completely obsessed with all things cheese, ice cream, whipped cream, yogurt, etc. So I am not making any serious moves to take out dairy yet. I’ve been rather lax about my skincare routine throughout my life, so I am going to try to be better with cleansing and caring for my skin first. Perhaps I can find more balance while still keeping dairy in my life.
After further research, I believe that most of my digestive issues (the reason I tried AIP in the first place) stemmed from side effects of my gallbladder removal and from stress. I am exploring my options for managing both in much better ways than I was last Spring.
I’ve been feeling a little stuck in my food habits lately, so I am refocusing on traditional preparations to liven things up. I’ve revived my neglected SCOBY to make my own kombucha and I am planning to make a second attempt at raising up a powerful gluten-free sourdough starter. I’ve got several bags of bones in the freezer, ready to be used in bone broth. I am also exploring ways of souring and soaking grains to make the nutrients more available. Frankly, we don’t yet have the food budget to cut all grains out (they are such a cheap way to pad out a meal), so I might as well try to make these foods work better with our digestive systems. I made a riff on Nourished Kitchen’s baked soaked oatmeal for our breakfasts this week and it has been amazing. I love the stodginess and comfort of oatmeal. M is not really a fan. But this baked oatmeal can be cut in bars and eaten like a cake, so he has enjoyed it as well.
In the same vein of traditional food practices, I am hoping to start fermenting more–M loves sauerkraut and it seems so silly to pay $9 for a quart of it when I can make twice that amount with one $2 head of cabbage. I am looking at our food budget and trying to come up with a plan that would allow us to invest in more sustainable and ethical meats and animal products. We’ll see how it goes! I hope to be back here more frequently!
In the meantime, here are a few photos of the important things (mostly dogs):
Let’s see, where to catch up? What happened this summer and fall?
The garden flourished! The only planted that never actually fruited for us was our poblano peppers. Now, we’ve pulled up almost everything and sown some kale for winter.
I also built a ladder-style herb planter for our patio. Did all of the construction and staining myself! I will post the dimensions & directions soon!
I started grad school. Oy. It has been so fulfilling to be back in the classroom, but things are starting to rev up as we reach the latter half of the semester and I am starting to feel the stress. I’m actually turning in my first paper today. Eek! I forgot everything about citations since I was in my undergraduate program. I’m worried I have too many citations (which, I suppose, is better than having too few). I’m starting to lay out a loose plan for my journey through the program. Due to my work being full-time and to tuition requirements, I’m set to take two classes per semester from here on out, and spend three full years in the program (possibly with one extra semester).
I sorted out my insurance (finally) and now I’m on my own through my employer. It took almost five weeks for my new card to come in, but now I am finally able to go to the doctor, if need be.
M and I celebrated our four-year-anniversary. Thanks to some miracle (it being Monday), we were both able to take off and we spent the day apple-picking and visiting a cidery, a winery, and a distillery down south. It was an awesome day with a wonderful man (and the dog)! I still have to make a pie or two with the last of the apples, but most of them went into apple butter.
Speaking of apple butter, I managed a fair amount of canning this summer. I’ve put up several quarts of apple butter, yellow squash relish, tomato jam, and refrigerator pickles (which M has decimated after realizing how good they are in bloody marys). I even tried my hand at a small batch of pickled watermelon rind. That had taken some adjusting…it is an odd flavor and texture combination. I might make a few more jams before the holidays or even try canning some apple pie filling.
I had my one-year anniversary at my salaried position, which was pretty cool as well. We are chugging along in our rehearsals and the shows are just starting to come together. The students are fantastic, as always.
I am finding more routine and balance, and feeling happier and more center than I have in a long time. Now, I’ve just got to keep these fuzzy feelings going through the long, dark winter. I am slowly working towards settling into my routine and adding new goals without losing momentum on others. So far, I am feeling pretty good!
I have a handful of recipes I am hoping to post soon. This summer really showed me how I use this blog as a personal recipe file. I came here several times looking for a recipe, only to find out that I hadn’t posted it yet! I need to get several of my standbys up, if only so I can pull the recipe up on my phone the next time that I am making it!
This is a beautifully written piece on a debate that is very close to my heart. Please take a few minutes to read it, and then, take the time to do something that you love: read a book. Write a book. Sing a song. Paint a picture. Design a dress. Sing. Dance. Create. Perform. Laugh. Live inspired. And offer someone else the opportunity to do the same: as you dance partner, as your audience, as the stranger who looks down on your sidewalk chalk art. Do something entertaining, artistic, even frivolous. Enjoy yourself. Take a moment and just exist within it.