Welcome to Life, Inspired — The Weekend Review. This is the weekly column where I take a step back from the recipes so you can have a wider look at what’s been inspiring me, moving me, or just catching my fancy out there in the life beyond my kitchen.
Happy New Year!
It’s here! It’s here! 2015! My wish for you is a healthy, vibrant, joyous and prosperous New Year, with lots of deliciousness on your plate everyday.
I was eager for the new year to arrive, with its promise of new beginnings and good things ahead. I sometimes struggle with how much to share in this space, so I will just say that along with some great adventures, the past year also brought me more than its share of loss and heartbreak. While I know I can’t just shake that all off because the page has turned on the calendar, I feel more gratitude than ever for all that’s good in my life, of which there is so much, and also for the ability to face and learn from the challenges that life places in my path.
There is so much to look forward to in 2015, especially the arrival of two more grandchildren (one imminent, one soon). I am blessed that my family is nearby and I can enjoy the company of my little ones frequently. Becoming a grandparent is not sometime we have any control over, and I’m grateful to have been given this experience relatively early in my life. That said, being a vibrant Nana has nothing to do with age!
Although in the course of life not every day will be bright and shiny, I feel that this will indeed be a happy new year.
We had a green Christmas this year, with temperatures over the holidays getting as high as 7℃, which means I was able to get out for some great walks. On January 2 I walked into the village to meet a friend for coffee. Although the temperature was crisp that day, the sun was brilliant and the sky was the shade of blue we dream about, with fat white clouds like dollops of whipping cream. I stopped in the business district of independent retailers and eateries to take this photo. For some reason when I look at it I feel like I’m in Jolly Old England. Maybe some of my readers from there can tell me if I’m on the mark about that!
Writing (Or Not)
Apart from some blogging, I more or less was on break over the holidays, and it was very nice. I know that last weekend I said I’d be getting back to my normal routine, but that didn’t happen. Instead I treated myself to another week of R&R. A good decision I’d say. The idea was that I would tackle a daunting decluttering project. Well, I didn’t do that either, and I still feel somewhat daunted, but my daughter Meredith said she’d help me sort through the things that have been crammed/jammed/stuffed into my spare bedroom over the course of the past year. We’re going to get at it as soon as I’ve published this post. Hmmm, I seem to be writing very slowly.
All that walking last week, along with a couple sessions at the gym on the treadmill (oh, someone needs to give me a medal!) meant that I was back to listening to podcasts. There is a dual purpose to this: one is to combine physical activity with learning and/or entertainment, and the other is that the ear buds keep the cold wind out of my ears when I’m outside. So there you go, listening to podcasts expands your horizons and prevents earaches.
I’ve listened to a couple of episodes of The Raw Food Podcast by Laura-Jane The Rawtarian (I talked about her blog in an earlier column). In one of them, she interviewed someone new to me, Shawn Stevenson, an author and nutritionist. which led me to his podcast, The Model Health Show. He explores health and fitness in an engaging, upbeat and interesting way.
I’ve been a fan of Cheryl Strayed for some time, having read a book of her Dear Sugar advice columns last year as well as Wild, her gripping memoir about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail solo (I can hardly wait until the movie opens here in London). When I heard that there is now a Dear Sugar podcast, I signed up for it right away, and listened to the first episode on the treadmill last week. She and co-host Steve Almond respond to readers’ letters with concern, compassion, raw honesty, personal experience and no holds barred. I definitely will be listening to future episodes.
I’ve also found a BBC World Service podcast called The Food Chain, which explores the ‘economics, science and culture of what we eat.’ I haven’t listened to it yet, but it’s queued up and ready.
Here’s to good listening!
I served up two healthy recipes on the blog last week (such a cliche for this time of year), but I think they’re recipes that make you look at healthy eating in a new way. First there was this vibrant take on Braised Lentils, Beets & Squash, followed by some snackilicious Roasted Curried Chickpeas.