Happy Birthday to Me! (with Talenti Gelato)

I know I’m only going off a few hours of experience here, but listen: 28 is going to be a very good year.

And while I’d love to tell you about the way it’s started—with a leisurely brunch at Honey (a favorite local cafe about which, side note, I have some exciting news to share soon!)—or about the way it’s heading—leaving again for a Nashville weekend tomorrow!—one thing is especially important, given that birthdays call for celebration and, hello?, celebration calls for ice cream.

So let’s get to the good stuff: Let’s talk gelato (and sorbetto!). From Talenti.

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Roasted Tomato & Zucchini Quinoa Bowl

roasted tomato and zucchini quinoa bowl

Earlier this year, I was innocently wandering through the grocery store, filling up my cart, when I spotted a turquoise box with a picture of what looked like a rice pilaf next to a filet of grilled salmon, the words “gluten-free,” “cooks in 10 to 15 minutes” and “organic” staring me in the face. I’d heard of quinoa before, never tried it, and the whole idea intrigued me.

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Coconut Flour Cookies

coconut flour cookies

Turns out, the way I feel about coconut flour is pretty much the same way I feel about self-employment.

I mean, they both are kind of hard to get, in terms of effort and costs: about $6 per 16-ounce bag of coconut flour online; a variety of part-time freelancing gigs, two years of grad school and three years in a management-level desk job for the chance to work from home.

Compared with the costs, they both have a lot to offer in return: where self-employment promises to let you set your own schedule and own your life again, coconut flour is packed with protein, totally gluten-free and lightly kissed with the scent of the tropics.

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Spelt Carrot Cake

Speaking from a history of impatience, I can tell you it helps, at least a little, if you can mentally psych yourself up for the things you have to wait for. Like, it takes time to learn things, have you noticed that? It doesn’t matter if you’re picking up a new instrument, taking driver’s ed, meeting a stranger or experimenting in the kitchen: nine times out of ten, you’re not going to get it the first time—ten times out of ten, if you’re me.

Then there’s the post office. It will be crowded, trust me, no matter when you go, so bring your iPhone and catch up on Words with Friends games while you listen for your number to be called. Rush-hour traffic? We all know what that’s like. Expect delays or, you know, quit your office job to avoid traffic altogether.

Just knowing these things, simply anticipating the waits, makes it easier to push through them, easier to handle. At least for me. That’s why I wish I could always know time frames beforehand, I really do.

It’s kind of like this carrot cake.

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simple summer panzanella

Oh, summer. You are an expert wooer. Just the minute I want to hate you, while I’m pushing up another hill on my bicycle, sweat dripping down my neck while I slap a bug off my face, you hit me with a gorgeous sunset over wildflowers, the kind that makes me pull my massive camera out of my backpack, right there on the trail, while I literally gasp out loud.

You know just how to do it. Alongside a sticky night, in sidles a conversation about scraping snow off your cars. Just after a crazy rainstorm, there’s a farmers market packed with produce. On a lazy Saturday afternoon at home, you have me roasting grape tomatoes from a local farm.

slicing tomatoes

There are those who hate you, Summer, those who are immune to all your charms, who—very fairly—cite heat and humidity and insects and all that comes with those things, from big hair to body odor to incessant scratching of ankles, and I listen to them, I do, but look, between you and me: it doesn’t matter.

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Kombucha 101

You know, I was thinking, when my diet changed earlier this year, so did this place. And along the whole journey, from the early stages of removing refined flours and sugars, to the next steps of incorporating new ingredients (from whole wheat pastry to spelt to buckwheat flours), and even recently as I’ve started soaking flours overnight, you’ve stuck with me. You may have been shaking your head or laughing out loud, but at least a few of you have jumped right in, and those of you that haven’t: you’re still here.

I was telling my brother yesterday that I really value people who will stay, who will stick by you and not run when things get uncomfortable or hard to understand, who are willing to put a little effort into relationship. And while of course every relationship is valuable because every person is, I have to say: those people who will fight through the rough stuff? They’re few and far between. They’re the best ones. They’re you guys.

So that said, I’ve got a real treat for you today, one that friends on Twitter or Flickr will probably have already seen coming, and one that friends in real life have already heard about. Buckle up: it’s time to talk about kombucha.

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