Summer Days + Homemade Soft Serve

It's a bloody hot day in Nashville, a Wednesday, the kind of day where walking the 50 or so feet from your kitchen door to the mailbox means beads of sweat forming fast on your forehead and upper lip. Tim and I are inside, working, I at my laptop on the dining room table, he from his computer on the sofa. When I look up from the article I'm writing, I see him straight ahead; when I turn to the right, it's all blue skies and beating sunshine above our front yard. I want to be sitting in the grass, I want to be having a picnic, I want to be sipping lemonade while rocking on a giant front porch. Then I remember the heat, and I change my mind: I want to go swimming. "What time is it?" I say to Tim. He tells me it's half past noon. "Too bad," I answer back. "Wish we had time to go to the lake." And then we look at each other from across our freelance perches, and he says what we're both thinking: oh yeah, we do. So we finish our work and throw some towels in a bag … [Read more...]

Cherry Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream (+ homemade chocolate)

cherries cherries

It’s been two years---two solid years since I came over here to this little space, logged into my Wordpress dashboard and made the Big Announcement, alongside a recipe for cherry chocolate ice cream; two years since I’ve clocked into an office; two years since I’ve had coworkers nearby; two years without steady paychecks; two years with a much lower income (and two years with a much simpler life); two solid years since I did the thing I most wanted to do, which was also the thing about which I was most afraid; two years since I took one of the biggest leaps of my life: become a full-time freelancer. What I remember most about that hot and hopeful June of two summers ago, along with feeling free and like the future was wide-open before me, was feeling curious. From the moment I approached my old boss about becoming a contractor to the day I got into my car and drove away, for good, I remember wondering what would happen, where I would find work, if freelancing could possibly … [Read more...]

Grapefruit Honey Sorbet + the Ripe Cookbook

three grapefruits

It’s a quiet weeknight at home, and Tim and I are sitting Indian-style on the leather sofa, facing each other, our knees barely touching. I flip to a new page of the glossy hardcover on my lap, reading its words aloud. “People avoid chard,” I say to him, lifting the text from a dark green page opposite two criss-crossed leafy stems. “They see it at the market, with its big, imposing leaves, and think: If I bring that home, it’ll overrun the crisper and suffocate the carrots in their sleep.” The image makes us laugh, mostly because we know our own fridge is currently packed to the full with kale and lettuce and, indeed, enormous chard from our first week’s CSA. “Actually, you want these larger leaves for making stuffed chard,” it continues, “which is my favorite way to eat this pretty green vegetable.” We sit like this for a while, the two of us, reading page after page as if it were a novel and not a cookbook perched across my lap. That’s because this book, written by Cheryl … [Read more...]

Tim’s Mostly Raw Chocolate Ice Cream

When we started registering for wedding gifts last summer, there was one thing Tim really wanted to add: an ice cream maker. And where I (the impatient, get-it-done type) probably would have just clicked the first version I saw at Target or Williams and Sonoma and rejoiced to have checked something off my list, this man I married is different. He does research. So it was in those final few months before our wedding that we had at least three different conversations about ice cream maker options: the kind where you have to freeze the bowl ahead of time, the kind with the freezing mechanism already inside; small ones, large ones; ice cream makers from Cuisinart, ice cream makers from Italy. Because this was around the time when I was off for a weekend to Oregon, I even remember talking to Kim and Tyler Malek from Salt and Straw about the ice cream maker(s) they use and recommend and why, jotting notes in my notebook to share with Tim. My Tim loves ice cream. I mean, … [Read more...]

how we spend our days (+ announcement!)

"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives" (Annie Dillard) I read the above quote a few years ago, back when I was compiling a 25th anniversary scrapbook for my parents in which people wrote and told of gifts and memories and experiences they’d had with my mom and my dad, and I was reflecting then the way I’ve been reflecting lately, about what are the most meaningful things we do, about what we really want. I've been asking myself: How am I spending my days, since that’s how I’m spending my life? And then, is the way I am spending them good? Of course the easy way to define our days is by our full-time gigs, be it school or work or motherhood or something else that requires most of our time, and I’ve done that before: I’ve sat down to dinner with friends and explained my class load. I’ve called myself a copywriter. I’ve mentally calculated some kind of personal net worth. But the older I get, the more I see those things---while important---are not the only … [Read more...]

for expectations and hope (POM Orange ice cream)

Well, in case you haven’t already heard, it snowed here in Chicagoland last weekend. The snow itself wasn’t a big deal, just a light dusting on all the trees and cars and buildings, but the fact that it came, right after a week of warmth and sunshine and 60-degree evenings where I rode my bike like I was 12 years old again, was a grim reminder that no matter how late the sun stays out, no matter how many times I don’t need a jacket, no matter what the calendar says, it’s still not exactly spring yet. It still can snow. Now, fellow Chicagoans, I know, I know what you’re going to say: Hello? This happens every year! It’s only March! Last year, it snowed in April! I know. But listen, it’s still kind of a bummer. It’s like when you apply for that job you really want, the one close to home and with great benefits, and just when you’ve had your third interview and thought you’d gone and aced it, you get a rejection letter. Or when you’re ten years old, watching the snow outside, … [Read more...]