Notes from the Road July 2017: A summary of travel, sustainability, seasonal weeknight meal recipes and musings on life lately. Coffee talk!
Ciao, buongiorno, hello. If you’re a new reader to Fork in the Road, welcome. If you’re an old reader, how do you like the changes around here? A lot has happened with the look and feel of the site in the last month and a lot of new content was posted in July, so I want to take a moment to connect one-one-one and have a space for a monthly coffee date to catch up on all thing life, travel, interesting articles, tips and (of course) food.
For those who are new, and possibly even those who have followed along for awhile but who don’t know, I’d like to give a little summary of the site and how it came to be, how it progressed into what it is now, and the vision I have for where it will go. I’m super excited for a lot of new content coming up and have many ideas for the future, but I also want to connect with readers and see what is useful to you and what you keep coming back for.
So, without further adieu, grab a coffee and let’s dig in.
Fork in the: Blog Updates
Fork in the Road: A travel blog? A recipe blog? An online cookbook? We’ll see where this fork in the road takes us.
I started Fork in the Road in November 2015. I’ve always had a blog of some sort, dating back to the early 2000s (I’m aging myself here). It wasn’t until 2010 or so that I started writing about food and recipes and it was around this same time that I married Francesco (the Italian Husband), moved to California from the American Midwest, and decided to go to school to become a registered dietitian.
The rest is a story for another day, but suffice to say I continued writing about food throughout my coursework and dietetic internship. However in November 2015 I decided to make it official and start a ‘legit’ food blog. I began on WordPress and then moved to Squarespace, which I absolutely loved. At this time my content was mostly focused on travel and a few recipes here and there, but as I paid more attention to food photography and became more interested in learning it and defining my own style, I posted more and more of my kitchen creations.
After becoming a dietitian and working as a consultant in sustainability, my interest in simple, seasonal and sustainable nutrition grew. I realized there was a strong interest in eating a more sustainable diet but many people didn’t know where to start. I began featuring mostly seasonal, plant-forward recipes (meaning a mostly plant-based diet, but not excluding any other foods) and writing about living a more simple and intentional lifestyle.
At this time I also started to feel hindered by Squarespace and decided to move back to WordPress so I could have more control over the website. I wanted to focus more on recipes by providing printable recipe cards and other features I couldn’t do before. The switch was a major headache and took most of the month of June 2017, but now Fork in the Road is settling in and I’m loving the look and feel of the site as a ‘digital cookbook’ in its current design.
What do you think? Do you like the current blog design? If you come across kinks or links that aren’t working, please let me know! I want to make the site as user-friendly as possible and you, as the user, are a big part of how it works. So please reach out with any feedback you have, you can use the contact form or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So what about the travel posts?
All past travel posts still live here on the blog and I absolutely plan to continue them in the future. I especially want to tie any interesting food stories and food culture information into future travel posts because one of my favorite things, if not my most favorite thing, about traveling is learning about a new destination’s food. And that was the initial premise behind this website, so I don’t want to lose track of that. Watch this space for travel posts in the future!
Fork in the: Life Lately & Wellness Update
At the risk of sounding incredibly corny, July 2017 was a doozy. From work load (I work at a nutrition communications/consulting agency), to professional group commitments (I’m President-Elect of my local professional group for dietitians and Director of Communications for a national group of nutrition entrepreneurs), blog photography and writing, and consulting gigs on the side…saying I’m busy is an understatement. All self-inflicted though, I have a serious problem knowing when to say when.
And on top of this, I went to have my hair done at the salon and walked out with blue hair. Long story, but yes…it’s blue. And no, it was not intentional.
So looking forward to August I’m making a commitment: self care. I’m a huge proponent of stopping to reflect and hit the reset button, especially when things seem to hit peak crazy. I’m someone who can have serious tunnel vision when it comes to work and my professional life and I have to learn (and relearn) how to take a step back for myself.
Even when it seems like you need to tackle the “storm of s@*!,” taking ten minutes to relax and recharge is vital to your ability to effectively move forward.
Looking forward to August I know this will be crucial because it will be a jam-packed month. Work trips, projects and exciting new collaborations are afoot but the ONLY way I will be able to handle it all is to take time for myself.
Looking to the month ahead, my August goal is to focus on wellness and self care, which includes:
- Mediation: I am a huge proponent of meditation but sadly I’ve fallen off the wagon from making it a daily habit. I am committing to 10 minutes a day using the app Headspace.
- Yoga: When I make it to the gym (which isn’t as often as I’d like) I usually keep to myself and don’t attend classes. However I’m committing to taking one yoga class a week this month because I never, ever regret it after. It’s just the getting there that is the problem.
Fork in the: Food! July 2017 “Weeknight Meals”
With the new blog redesign to a magazine-style format instead of a traditional blog roll, I decided to create monthly themes for recipes and content. There are so many topic areas I want to discuss here and creating themes helps me to streamline and really dig in to one idea, so I started focusing July 2017’s recipes with “weeknight meals.”
I’m a big proponent of meal planning. For years I went to the grocery store and chose ingredients “willy nilly” (yup, I just said that) and then opened the refrigerator every night hoping to find things that fit together into a decent meal. At the end of the week I would find myself with a cabinet of random leftover foods that would eventually be wasted because I had no plan for them and they were never eaten. Well, not anymore.
About a year ago Francesco and I decided to make a grid for the week, plan out each day’s meals and the ingredients we needed, and only shop from the list. And you know what? We saved $50 on groceries that week and didn’t waste a single food in the house. It saved us time each night because we already knew what we were eating so there was no stress over what to make. And we saved money by making enough from each dinner to save for lunch the next day.
Overall, it was a win-win habit to form and we never looked back.
After a year of meal planning we have a few go-to weeknight meals that use minimal ingredients, take 30 minutes or less to make each night, and will make enough for lunch leftovers the next day. And let’s not forget that they’re delicious, that’s a given.
Throughout the month of July I shared a few of our kitchen weeknight meal staples, including:
- Vegan Fusilli Pasta Salad, a super easy pasta salad with fusilli pasta and fresh veggies and herbs
- Summer Crudite Plattter, for when you want a pickable platter to taste a little of everything
- Smoked Salmon Bagels, an easy yet delicious “brunch for dinner” weeknight meal
- Black Bean, Corn & Farro Salad, one of “Francesco’s Favorites” and a weekly lunch staple
- Easy Lentil Salad with Asparagus & Sun Dried Tomato, a fresh summer take on a cold lentil salad
- Grilled Romaine & Burrata with Garlic Dill Dressing, an easy grilled vegetable summer salad
What about you? What are your favorite weeknight meal recipes?
FAVORITE “WEEKNIGHT MEALs” PIC THIS MONTH:
Looking forward to August 2017: Peak Produce!
As July is coming to a close I’m looking forward to August, but also realizing I haven’t taken advantage of summertime the way I truly should have by now! There are trashy books to read on the beach, wineries to sip rosé in, and farmer’s markets to explore.
And, most of all, summer produce to cook
So with that in mind, August 2017’s theme will be “Peak Produce.” August is the perfect month to explore the last of summer produce before the fall harvest vegetables come around (anyone else thinking about pumpkins yet??). In the month of August I will feature recipes with beautiful summer produce and hopefully will inspire you to include a few more plants on your plate.
How was your July? Did you accomplish what you set out to?
What are your health and wellness goals for August?
Any summer produce you need to take advantage of before the summer is through?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, leave a comment below or email me at email@example.com.