This Week's Bits & Bites - Kitchen Treaty

I love the fresh start of a new year. Even with the slightly letdown feeling of Christmas being behind us, the clean slate of both house (down with the kitschy decorations!) and intent buoys me.

I’m reading a book called “Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life,” by Renee Peterson Trudeau. I’ve actually had the book for nearly two years, though I had never delved that deeply into it. But after a challenging October/November (no sun + all work and no play = a stressed-out me), I was reminded of it and of the fact that my little family and their happiness is top priority. And my happiness is pretty crucial to their happiness. So I whipped this book back out and have been reading and ruminating on it these past few weeks.

One of the ideas in the book is to create a family vision board – each person brainstorms and narrows in on three words that reflect their dreams and desires for the coming year. So, even though it’s something that’s a bit out of our comfort zone, we created a family vision board on New Year’s Eve. And it was so much fun! We brainstormed our words then we plopped down in the middle of the family room with the dogs and cats and a big foam core board. We drew on it and snipped pictures, words, and phrases out of magazines and glued them on. Our overarching themes were togetherness, playfulness, health (for me, mostly) and exploring outdoors (see the wonderful wintery hike we went on a couple of days later, pictured above). Our daughter insisted on plastering a giant photo of sizzling bacon on the vision board, but for the most part, I think she got it. 🙂 The vision board, the family together time, and this book that’s helping me keep an eye on what’s truly important have been the perfect way to kick off 2017.

I really am excited for this year. After December’s theme of soul-searching, I settled on the fact that I just really want to focus my professional efforts on increasing my culinary knowledge. Hands-on school doesn’t make sense for me with a young kiddo at home, so I opted to sign up for Rouxbe Online Cooking School’s Professional Plant-Based Certification Course. It’s a fairly jam-packed 6-month program that starts in early February and while I’m nervous (see above about family and time with them) I’m also super pumped to start learning. I’m a self-taught home cook and while I gain more experience and more know-how in the kitchen with each passing year, sometimes I just don’t know why I’m doing “xyz” – I just know that I should. And, well, I want to know why. And how to do “qrs” and “tuv” while I’m at it. I want to back up and fill in the blanks and come away inspired with great ideas and rock-solid, super-inspiring recipes for my life, my family, and for Kitchen Treaty. Also, I think I’m going to get these kid’s knives for my daughter so she can learn alongside me. A friend told me about them (her son loves them) and I think we need them too.

Anyway! Speaking of inspiring, here’s what I am loving this week:

  • Celery Root Soup with Truffle Oil, a creamy dairy-free soup from Williams Sonoma. I’ve never eaten celery root. That needs to change NOW.
  • Vegan Cranberry Almond Biscotti from The Full Helping. Perfection.
  • Winter Kale Falafel from Well and Full
  • This Green Goddess Pizza, also from Well and Full, looks unreal.
  • Cinnamon Coffee Smoothies from Love and Lemons
  • I can hardly handle the amazingness of this spaghetti squash from The First Mess.
  • And these Mint Chocolate Power Bars from Green Kitchen Stories?! Get ’em. As in, I really want to.
  • Also, my friend Meg of the inspiring gluten-free blog Beard+Bonnet, has created a gorgeous new blog called This Mess is Ours. If you’re reading Kitchen Treaty because you have a mixed diet family, you’ll want to check it out! I love the “Meat and Three” concept – one meat recipe + three vegetarian recipes that can go along with. Perfect for when carnivores and vegetarians are at the same table!
  • Two inspiring bloggers, Kristin of Dine & Dish and Bree of Baked Bree, have launched the “365 Days to Rock Your Happy” movement, sending out weekly newsletters with daily prompts to rock your happy in the new year. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. Today’s prompt is “Finish,” and so I finished logging my tax receipts for the year. Boring as heck and not exactly Insta-worthy but yep, feels great to be done. Join the movement if you, too, are looking for more happy in 2017!
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