As a home cook, I spend a lot of my time in the kitchen everyday, and lately, I've been finding so much joy in trying lots of new things in the kitchen with items from our garden, ingredients purchased locally, or new recipes made with my sourdough starter.
Every January, I assemble a blog post of sorts that catalogs our year. Largely organized in list-form, I touch on the big and little things, events and thoughts and experiences that shaped our life over the last year. I do find this incredibly helpful as a sort of reflection, a glance back on the Lord's faithfulness, to show me, time and time again, that He is a good God. And with that mindset, I feel less encumbered as we continue on into the new year, more ready to face a full year of new, fresh days, with the heart attitude that regardless of what the days will hold, mundane or exciting, difficult or good, I can walk into the future with hope and trust in Him. Plus, I do enjoy looking back on a lot of the little details of our life, the ones that make me smile or think, Oh, yes! We loved that! What a little joy in our life.
Now that we're well into January, I'm sitting down to write and glance back at the last year. I'm not much of a resolution-maker (not fundamentally opposed, just not for me), but I do find it's healthiest for my heart and mind to reflect and then continue on into the next year. Like every single year, there are good, hard, and in-between snippets and seasons.
After an extended break from writing, it feels more natural to ease back into it with a list-based post. I've missed writing! And for the time being, as always, I feel most qualified to write about what I know about, and that's our little life. Here are bits and pieces of just that:
I did it. I hopped aboard the sourdough train. I've made exactly one loaf of sourdough in my life, once last year, just a few months before we moved across the country from Texas to Indiana. I've long been interested in fermented foods, and tried my hand at a few, namely, kombucha, yogurt, and sauerkraut. And sourdough has been one on the want to try again list. Necessity is the mother of invention, right?
The midday meal has always been tricky for me. When I was working 12-hour shifts, but even now when I run errands, oftentimes, the lunch hour comes and goes and I find myself famished and desperate. Enter: emergency food choice. I hesitate to use the word "bad," since I love a good burger or treat. But for me, desperate food choices are objectively not the best for me.
Every January, when many are looking forward to the next year, I like to take a few moments to look back. I dig into what the previous year meant for me personally and what it meant for me and Nicholas in the context our our family and community. After I've done that, I feel like the year has a sort of closure, and I can look forward with clearer eyes. As is usual with my annual year-in-review posts,* I've grouped everything by category and linked to previous pertinent blog posts. This was a big year for us! But I suppose every year feels rather big because every year, in it's own style, is a year of full, hard, beautiful life.
I love the cooler months for the feel of them, in every way. I love cold-weather clothing, and candles, and the idea of slower, soothing months, where life doesn't feel so hectic. I love the anticipation of Thanksgiving and Christmas. And I love a good comfort food meal, that you can start in the afternoon, and let it simmer while doing laundry or a pre-dinner tidy of your home. This chili is that food for me. It's not altogether pretty, but you could always add some color by way of green pepper or jalepenos, etc. It's very mix-and-matchable and well-suited to whatever you have in your pantry. For us, that's chickpeas and lentils, since Nicholas isn't a huge fan of pinto/navy beans, etc. These ingredients afford a "traditional" enough chili for me, with a texture he enjoys as well.
Baked PB oatmeal or just "PB oatmeal" as we fondly call it, serves as our breakfast at least 300 mornings of the year. I've mentioned it about one million times on the blog, since I've been making is for us ever since Summer posted the recipe almost exactly five years ago, but I've never actually shared the recipe and how I make it. Over time, I've adjusted a few things and tweaked it to it's current state. I adore recipes like this that I can make again and again. We eat a lot of eggs for any meal of the day, and so it's nice to have an egg-free breakfast option. And I really love the idea of a make-ahead breakfast that will reheat easily and fill us up with both protein and carbs.
These are quiet days in my life. Whenever people ask me, "What's new?" I'm not quite sure how to answer. The reality is that nothing is very new, but nothing is wrong, per say. People around us are having babies and moving and buying houses and starting new jobs. And we aren't doing any of those things. And while we're hopeful some of those things will change soon(ish), I want to wake up, with fresh joy for each day, knowing that this life is good too.