Well hello old friends! I guess you could say the last few weeks have been busy (aren’t they for everyone?!). Since my last post I went home for Thanksgiving, went to a conference (and on a long-weekend vacation) in Florida, finished my first semester of grad school (which included one doozy of an accounting final), and went back home for Christmas. Happy holidays!
I was feeling guilty about my recent lack of blogging, but then I spent some time browsing my last year of posts in preparation for this one. It felt good to see the progress I’ve made over the past year. A few weeks of no posts doesn’t undo that, no matter how much I might beat myself up about it. This time of year is a natural time of reflection, which can often morph into self-criticism. Hopefully we can also save ourselves from the criticism and give ourselves a break. In that vain, I realized that this time of year is busy for everyone, so I doubt many of you would have had time to read my blog anyway!
So in the spirit of reflection, resolving, looking back, and planning ahead, I give you the CLK Best of 2014:
1. Joining my first farm share.
This was, by far, the best decision I made for myself in 2014. There were a million reasons not to join one – which I wrote about in April, after deciding to take the plunge. My weekly box of vegetables was a center piece of CLK in my summer feature “Farm Share Friday.” 22 weeks of gorgeous vegetables expanded my appreciation and palette (throw back to the green chard that made me swoon and the green chard spring rolls that emerged). Farms are opening their shares in the next few weeks; give yourself a New Year’s present and sign up!
2. Discovering shakshua, winner of best dish of 2014.
Shakshuka is what happens when an ovlerload of farm share tomatoes and a food trend collide. This dish blew my mind; super easy, extremely satisfying, and perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I ate it in some form every week for about 6 weeks. I also forced encouraged a few friends to try it, and they found it equally gratifying. I’m saving some of my frozen farm share tomato sauce for a cold February day when I need a pick me up in shakshuka form.
3. Watching The Fed Up Movie.
Fed Up, a documentary produced by Katie Couric and Laurie David, is about the sugar industry and a big influence on me this year. We watched it at my office and organized a sugar free challenge among my coworkers, where we tried to go sugar free for 10 days. It describes how sugar sneaks into our diet and might be the true cause of the obesity epidemic. It made me a more mindful cook and shopper, and now I scour all ingredient labels to avoid those with sugar (by one of its 50 names) in the first three ingredients.
4. Welcoming my first guest posts.
This year I had my first guest posters – Jesse, Aka, and Brian – contribute to my blog. Looking back on the past year, it’s great to see the new energy and ideas that came from their posts. Plus, they helped me out in a pinch when I was going on vacation and didn’t have time to post –thank guys!
5. Owning my first juicer.
This feels very material, but I have to give my brand new juicer a shout out. My Mom bought me my first ever juicer for Christmas and I could not be more excited! To not want for juice is a luxury. As I made my first batch this week, I was warmed by the fact that this juicer will be with me for a long time. There is MUCH more to come in 2015 on this, especially once the farm share starts again.
Reading through my past year of posts made me very nostalgic. This time last year I was applying to grad school, now I’m in grad school and finished with my first semester. When I wrote about joining my farm share, I griped about not having a juicer, now I have a juicer! In November and December of last year my posts fell by the wayside as holiday festivities picked up – and that happened again. I hope you all take some time in the next few days to reflect on the past year. Like me, you’ll be surprised at how far you’ve come!