Uncategorized

Jack Koman’s Law

Sup, world....

Jack Koman’s Law: For every positive blog post a person writes about pregnancy, shit will go completely haywire.

Today is October 23rd, Jack’s due date, however he’s been here for almost three weeks. Here’s the tale of wtf happened to speed up his arrival into our lives.

Let’s review how I (sorta) imagined my birth story:

Around 12:30 am on Monday, October 30th, one week after my due date and halfway through the semester, I’d awaken to early labor waves. I’d remain calm, communing with my child, telling him how excited I was to meet him. I’d let Jay sleep because as so many blogs/articles told me, it’s not necessary to wake your partner yet. Maybe I’d even sleep, floating in and out of dreamland with each contraction.

My doula would come to the house the later that morning, where we’d mostly labor at home. Candles would be lit. Oils would be released. A Beyoncé fan would breezily blow my hair back. A few hours later,  we’d head to the hospital where I’d settle into a tub and deliver the most perfect child within 2 hours of being admitted.

It did not go like that.

If you read my other post, you’ll remember that I ended it saying that morning we learned Jack was breeched. At that morning’s appointment, my midwife advised me to spend some time on SpinningBabies.com and see a chiropractor for the Webster technique, which turns babies in utero. She casually mentioned a procedure called an External Cephalic Version (ECV), which I’d never heard of – when a doctor manually turns the child head down. She said this would be something we’d consider over the next couple of weeks if other attempts did not work. “Read about it online,” she said, “But don’t read too much about it.” (which should be pregnancy’s catchphrase).

I left my appointment annoyed, but not too concerned. After 37 weeks, this was the first piece of “bad” news we had received and it wasn’t even that bad. However, an hour later, my midwife called and proclaimed, “Good news – I managed to get you an ECV appointment tomorrow (Wednesday) morning at 8:30! Do you want it?”

“Uhhhh,” I thought. I had barely had a moment to look into the procedure. On one hand, I thought we had plenty of time to use the other methods to turn him naturally. On another, I was really trying to avoid a c-section and its required recovery. I asked her if she thought I should do it and she enthusiastically said yes. The head midwife agreed. I accepted the appointment, knowing that after consulting with Jay and scouring the internet, I could change my mind.

After discussing with a few folks, we decided to move forward with the procedure. Jay needed to go to work so my newly relocated mother came with me. I will spare you the details of what it’s like to have two doctors trying to turn your fetus through your stomach, but uncomfortable isn’t a strong enough adjective.

During the short procedure, I felt a gush and quickly notified the doctors. If you look at my paperwork or talk to the doctors, the ECV was successful! They turned the baby head down!

They also tore my placenta.

“Text Jay right now,” I said to my mother.

Result of Jay rushing to us. They say babies are expensive…

Fortunately, after a day of wondering if I’d be rushed into an emergency c-section, Truffle Babe wasn’t showing any fetal distress except for occasional heart rate dips. The medical team eventually decided a c-section didn’t seem necessary, but deemed that because of the torn placenta, Baby K might be safer out than in (at 37 weeks, he was considered full term). The induction would start that evening around midnight.

We sent Jay home to collect some items. Mind you, when I came to the hospital that morning, I had planned to be there for about 5-6 hours, not 4 days.

While Jay was gone, I casually watched the Goldbergs, emailed professors updates, and chatted idly with my mother. I was trying to remind myself that things were fine, even though everything felt like it was off the fucking rails. Having Baby’s heart rate be constantly monitored was the one thing giving me peace of mind. Suddenly, out of nowhere, 8 doctors walked into my room.

They had become concerned that Baby’s heart wouldn’t do well during labor. They wanted to perform a contraction stress test to see how he would fair. If during this test his heart rate dropped, they wanted me to be ready to be whisked away for a c-section. The damn c-section was a zombie, back from the dead and refusing to go away. The very thing we had been trying to avoid by doing the ECV was rearing its surgical head again.

“Text Jay right now,” I said to my mother.

When he returned, we got the rundown of what would happen if the caesarean was needed. We met with the anesthesiologist. We signed paperwork. They talked about the dreaded Foley catheter. And I wanted none of this.

“I don’t know about you!” chimed one of my nurses after the c-section brigade left, “But I’m still planning for a vaginal birth tomorrow, okay?” I nodded at her. And then I talked to my baby.

“Hi kiddo – I know it’s been a crazy day and I’m sorry for that. Yeah, those people really flipped you upside down by hand! We’ll discuss that later, but for now, I just need you to do one more thing for us – can you do that???”

And boy, that kid passed his contraction stress test with flying colors. He hadn’t even made it earthside yet, and I was already one proud mama.

So began the induction. The plan was two rounds of Cervidil (which softens and dilates your cervix) and then a round of Pitocin (which gets contractions started up). I really DID NOT want Pitocin. I knew it increased the intensity of contractions and likelihood of getting an epidural. But chances were low that my body would begin to contract on its own, thus its necessity. And so, the first round of Cervidil went in Wednesday, right before midnight, to be removed 12 hours later.

When I woke up on Thursday morning, the mood felt better. There was no Beyoncé Breeze blowing, but my midwives were more involved than the previous day, my doula, Karelia, had arrived and I had a room with a tub, that my baby boy would make his debut in.

Karelia also did not love the idea of Pitocin and told me we could do this without it. I knew chances were slim, but she helped me to remain hopeful.

At noon, they removed the Cervidil and reported minimal progress. We’d proceed with round two as discussed. I showered, ate, round two went in, and we sent Jay home to get more things because there wouldn’t be any action until around 1am – right????? Ha. Silly us.

Around 2pm, my body apparently decided it also didn’t want Pitocin and my contractions started on their own. Shit got really real, really fast and poor Jay got his third text message of the week telling him to high tail it to the hospital.

My brain never really processed that this baby was en route. All I knew was that I needed a break from these contractions (sorry, “birthing waves”) and there was only one way for that to happen.

Karelia was amazing. When I just wanted to lay down and do nothing, she wouldn’t let me. Walked me around, sat me on an exercise ball, one leg on the bed, deep squats. She did a move that Jay swears saved me an hour or two of labor. I really, really disliked her for 5 hours, but Lordy, is she great at her job. I’m eternally grateful for her energy and support.

Around 6:45 pm, I asked if I could finally get in the tub. The room went quiet. “Well,” the midwife said, “the tub takes 30 mins to fill up. And that baby is going to be here before that.”

“WHAT are you people talking about???” I asked before being thrown into another contraction. And that’s when I realized, Jack was actually about to be here.

At 7:11 pm on October 5th, 2017, I pushed one final time and heard the entire room cheer. I was so confused by this. What are you people cheering??? Have you been here for the past 5 hours???

You will hear a lot of different adjectives describe the aftermath of childbirth. Mine was shock. I knew what had happened, but hadn’t grasped the magnitude. Apparently, I took a phone call about 10 minutes after he was born.

Right after he arrived, someone plopped him on top of me and my first thought was “Oh my God, is this a really small baby??? This baby is really small, right?”

The answer is yes, he was super teeny – 4 lbs and 15 oz to be exact. Even though he was full term, he needed those few weeks to pack on those extra pounds. I suddenly heard someone mention their concern about his body temperature and how skin-to-skin with me would warm him up. Shock and all, momma mentality kicked in and I commanded my body to become a furnace and warm that baby up, which it promptly did.

Jack Charles Koman is tiny but mighty. Those first few days, I questioned every decision I made that led to his early arrival, wondering if my decision-making would have long-lasting effects. But like so much of life, I made the best decision with the information I had.

 

Jack, however, scoffed at my second-guessing of myself, passing every single test the hospital gave him, including having to be in his car seat for 90 minutes (what fresh hell is that?). His pediatrician reassured us by telling us he’s perfectly healthy – he’s just small! He is currently eating us out of house and boob, reminding me that this tininess will be short-lived. Also, both my giant brother and dad were 5 lb babies, so…..yeah.

Jack’s unexpected arrival felt like a quick tutorial on parenthood. You can plan as much as you want, but you gotta learn how to be flexible and roll with the punches as they happen.

Those punches just might result in the sweetest little nugget you’ve ever laid eyes on.

I should probably change the name of this blog, shouldn’t I?

Candace

It’s Okay to Talk about the Good Stuff

Let me start by saying I wrote this in two parts. I started it in July when I was 24 weeks along. I held off on posting it because I wanted to see how things would progress and I was wary of appearing as though I’m “bragging” on my pregnancy. But after so many conversations regarding the negativity surrounding pregnancy, I decided to share my experience. Because I know that short of my son becoming a serial killer, nothing can take away the past 37 weeks.

Also, I have been incredibly fortunate to have had an easygoing pregnancy. I absolutely understand this is not the case for everyone and many people have a very difficult time. I send love and light to all of you growing your family, however that may be.

For the past 33 years, I’ve been lied to. Duped. Had. Fooled.

As most of you know, Jay and I are expecting Baby Boy Koman at the end of October. I never understood why people would tell you they are over the moon, but reader, we are absolutely over the moon.

I always knew I wanted to be a mother, but I’ve always DREADED the idea of pregnancy. Getting fat. Destroyed vagina. Hideous stretch marks. Hormonal cranky mess. These are the images that pregnancy conjured up for me. I used to joke that if we could afford it, I’d get a surrogate in a heartbeat (or wait until science figured out how Jay could gestate the baby).

Y’all, the past 9 months couldn’t be further from what I had imagined.

At times, I felt strong. And powerful. I ran a 10-miler. I squatted a bajilion pounds. I beat people in flywheel sprints (while still coming in a respectable top 10 in the class). I became more connected with myself, both mentally and physically.

My and Jay’s relationship has grown stronger. I have loved watching him be excited, supportive, scared and build nursery furniture. This time has been a wonderful reminder of why we chose each other. We shockingly loved our 3-hour weekly Hypnobabies dates. We have managed to keep our cool, save for some occasional snapping which is usually fixed by eating (you guys know that food fixes everything in this house). My hormones have shockingly been more in check than when I’m not pregnant.

Yes, things are sometimes uncomfortable. My tailbone quit around week 12. My digestive system is a mess. Around 33 weeks, my body decided it was no longer meant for spin bikes (I am nowhere nearly as active as I was as when I wrote that earlier 10 miler/flywheel/squat BS paragraph a few months ago – how annoying is that person???). Yesterday, I thought my skin was going to stretch off my body. Random nerve pain. Back pain. Sciatica. Lightning crotch.It’s all happening. He’s been super chill in utero which caused SO. MUCH. WORRY.  I am QUITE anxious about what baby’s arrival will do to my semester. And I’m concerned that I’ve underestimated the pain of actually pushing this person out of me.

What I’m saying is that like anything else in life, nothing is perfect. I am full of discomfort and worry and aches and fear of the unknown. Not to mention, I’m bringing a Black and Jewish child into 45’s America….we’ll save that for another day.

But goddammit, I am SO excited. Every time this kiddo pokes his butt through my belly (he get it from his mama?) or stretches his legs or shake his big ol’ head, I am filled with delightful anticipation of what’s to come. I wonder who he’ll be, what he’ll look like, what we will teach each other. Will he have his parents’ annoying extraversion or will he keep more to himself? Jay’s gnarly feet or my perfect toes? Armstrong neuroses or the Koman varietal??? These thoughts subdue my angst and my cold heart thaws a bit more.

How cute is my lil nugget??? That nose!

Monday, October 2nd  marked week 37 aka Baby K is officially full term, which is surreal. Reproducing is the most basic thing you can do as a being, yet there is still something so magical about it. I know I will miss this feeling. I sometimes think about the hollowness that will exist afterwards. And then I remember all of the love that has already flowed into this child, that I hope he’s able to give back to the world around him. It reminds me: why worry about feeling empty, when my heart is already so full?

(Because life is full of irony, the day I posted this, I found out Baby K decided to flip himself into a breech position. When he arrives, he’s immediately grounded.)

 

Candace Gatherings Global Cuisine Holiday Komanfest Thailand What I ate in....

We Survived the First Year of Marriage….and all we got was a trip to Thailand!

Photo by Julian Mackler, Rockhouse, Negril, Jamaica, Day after Blewish Wedding

People LOVE asking newly-married people the same question:

“How is the first year of marriage???”

That is QUITE the question. Do you give the expected, “It’s been wonderful!” and go about your merry way?? Or do you keep it (too) real with the “It’s mostly great, except for the times I want to kill him/her!” and laugh like it’s a joke even though you really mean it? I tend to go with a big ol’ grin and say “We made it!”

So, you’re probably wondering, how WAS the first year of marriage??

It was beautiful. It was terrifying. It was heart-breaking. It was educational. It was earth-shattering. It was hard. It was easy. It was enlightening. It was full of breathtaking highs and gut-wrenching lows. But most importantly for us, it was a strong and enduring partnership between two people who (thankfully) really, really like each other.

I can’t and wouldn’t want to give people marriage advice because every relationship is so singular. But I do have a couple of suggestions. These might feel painfully obvious, and if so, use them as needed reminders:

  • Regardless of who you are with, those highs and lows will happen. Be with someone that you can’t WAIT to celebrate those amazing moments with and who will never leave your side during life’s darkest days.
  • Take some time to learn who you are and how you operate within your marriage/relationship. We are all constantly learning and evolving as individuals, but I had to understand what type of a partner I am. Be patient with yourself and your significant other as you learn how to function as a team. Don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t organically happen immediately.
  • Spend time with each other and if you can, get the hell out of dodge! Maybe you don’t have the time or credit card points to go across the world (what, you thought we actually had the money to go to Thailand??); so road trip an hour away to a B&B or shut out the world for one night by turning off your phones and computers, make dinner, and talk to each other.

So yes, we SURVIVED the first year of marriage. If I’m being honest, I think I love Jay a little more than I did in April of 2015. And that, to me, is the biggest indicator of a successful first year of marriage.

SOOO….THAILAND????

IMG_0624

Okay, yes, Thailand, the important part!  Our wedding anniversary is the same week as both of our birthdays (I know, so obnoxious, right???). So for our first anniversary and 32nd birthdays we went to Thailand!! I wrote a very, very, very long post about our trip, so I’ve broken it up in parts.

Want to read about what we ate and loved??? Check out the Thailand Eats post.

What to read about what we drank??? Thailand Boozing!

Want to read about the most disappointing $450 meal ever at the TOP restaurant in Asia. Read on about Gaggan. Be warned, lots of snark.

 

 

 

 

Ethnic Food Global Cuisine Komanfest Restaurants Thai Thailand What I ate in....

What I ate in….Thailand!

For two weeks, Jay and I ate our way through Thailand to celebrate our birthdays and first wedding anniversary.  We stayed in three gorgeous hotels, that I’d HIGHLY recommend in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket.

As for food, we ate EVERYTHING. We ate fancy, we ate cheap. We ate the unidentifiable and the things we still don’t know what they were (Mal, babe, that was def chicken feet). We had a lot of hits, one major miss and only minor stomach issues, so as far as a food-based vacation, I’d consider it a win.

Let’s start with the bad. The bad was so disappointing, it has its own post. We were so excited to eat at Gaggan, the #1 restaurant in all of Asia (do you know how big Asia is?). It’s also #10 in the world. The horror….the disappointment….the amount of money we spent on it. So much sadness. Click here to read about it.

But this is a happy place – so let’s talk about the things I ate that made me HAPPY. My top eats in no particular order:

Continue Reading

Bars Booze Global Cuisine Komanfest Thailand Travel What I ate in....

Thailand Drankin!

Mekhong!

Like most big cities, Bangkok is a great drinking town. Want a cheap beer to beat the heat, there’s plenty of Chang. But there are also plenty of other kicked-up cocktails to be discovered.

Before heading to Thailand, I had read a lot about how Bangkok has a thriving cocktail scene. On our first night, we ended up going to two of the most innovative bars – Tep Bar and Teens of Thailand. Tep is a neighborhood bar full of locals, with a few of us foreigners sneaking in. There we got to experience Mekhong, aka Thai whiskey, which, as you can see below, has some very inventive names. If you like stronger liquors as we do, the Mekhong makes some great cocktails.

Our server encouraged us to check out Teens of Thailand, which I had heard about, but hadn’t realized was nearby. We loved the first couple of drinks at TOT, but as we neared the end, our sweet, gentle giant server approached us and asked if he could make us something special.

I had no idea that Gin and Tonics were such a force in Thailand. I spent most of my early drinking years believing Gin and Tonics were these horrific, overly junipery things that I hated – until I experienced DC’s Jaleo and Estadio and learned what a real G&T was like.

Back at TOT, our server brought me a Thai Tea Gin & Tonic, which was one of the most delightful drinks I’ve ever had. It had the citrus notes of a thai tea, but was herbal and just a tad sweet. I loved this drink so much. Namsaah Bottling Trust, which served great food, also had some herbaceous and fragrant Gin and Tonics as well, including a lavender infused drink which was incredibly refreshing during the hot Bangkok nights.

Thai Tea G&T

We spent a couple of nights at the enjoyable Hyde and Seek which has one of the largest cocktail menus I’ve ever seen. Close to our hotel, it was the perfect spot for a nightcap. Vesper also has a delightful cocktail scene and we loved Smalls‘ atmosphere (and they had Titos!).

One of the most fun cocktails I had was the Tom Yum Cocktail at Sri Panwa in Phuket. Our Phuket hotel was one of the most beautiful places on earth, and while it had some great food, I found many of the cocktails a bit too sweet. That was until I discovered the Tom Yum cocktail, which was a play off of tom yum soup. When I ordered this, I didn’t realize it’d take 10 minutes to make, but it was worth every second. The cocktail packed a spicy punch, as they used real chilies, with hints of lime and a little bit of sweetness. It was the perfect poolside vacation drink.

So, have no fear, discerning drinkers! A lot of vacation spots have a bad reputation of fruity, boozeless concoctions that leave you with a headache and not much else. Thailand, fortunately, is not one of those places. Whatever you are looking for to whet your whistle, you’ll be able to find it in the Land of Smiles.

Ethnic Food Global Cuisine Komanfest Restaurants Thailand Travel What I ate in....

Gaggan-tic Fail

I’m not quite sure how to put our experience at Gaggan into words, but I’ll try.

Words we used that night were “challenging,” “awful,” “um, no,” “oh, dear, that texture,” and “why couldn’t everything have tasted like that??” Let me start from the beginning.

When planning our trip to Thailand, we learned that Bangkok has not one, but two top 25 restaurants in the world. One, Nahm, we knew about and had planned from early on to check out. But Gaggan was new to us. It was also recently voted the #1 restaurant in Asia. That’s huge. We had to go. We booked a reservation a month out and eagerly awaited. Lauding Trip Advisor reviews and high critical claim stoked our excitement

Gaggan describes itself as a “progressive Indian” menu. A set menu at 3500++ baht is a lot for a meal in Thailand, but when you’re talking the top meal in a continent, $100 pp is easy to excuse.

We arrived at Gaggan, a colonial style white house hidden down a dark alley. Awash in uplights, it was a gorgeous setting against the dusky Bangkok night. We walked in giddy. I wish future me had been able to warn present me.

Continue Reading

Drinks Restaurants Richmond Travel What I ate in....

What I ate in…Richmond!

I love Richmond. I’m not sure why. I’ve been three times in the past couple of years and each time I’ve only stayed for one night. But during each brief visit, I’ve had great meals, discovered some good shopping and found some quality cocktails. This past weekend was no exception.

I met my best girl Brittany, who lives in Raleigh, there on Saturday. The halfway point between DC and the Triangle, it was the perfect meeting spot for us to hang for a night.

IMG_0201

As great of a time as we had, we could have hung out in a Motel 6 in east bumble and it would have been perfect. With all of our “busy” schedules, I personally value the time I get to spend with my friends who live near and far. Although it was just one night, I think we were both happy to leave the kids (hers, real and human; mine, furry and canine) with the husbands and just focus on ourselves. Brittany and I went to college together, and as much as our lives have changed since our Tar Heel days, our friendship has grown stronger with time. I’ve loved watching her become the woman she is today and am eternally grateful for her friendship.

But enough mush – here’s what we loved!

IMG_0195 2

Where to stay: We shacked it up at the brand new Quirk Hotel. Beautiful rooms, comfy beds, great bar. Because of our new overlord, Rain, we didn’t get to check out the rooftop, so that was a bit of a bummer. But the hotel was charming and full of….yes, quirk! They also have Nest soaps and lotions and now I’m totally buying the Sicilian Tangerine soap because it smells amazing. Quirk Hotel, 201 W. Broad St.

Where to shop: You know when you set out to “go shopping”, but not actually buy anything?? We attempted to do that, but failed due to the cuteness of mod&soul. The shop owner was darling and had JUST opened her brick and mortar store. I bought this shirt and this dress, which has strategically placed lines and a deep-V, aka my two favorite clothing features. This dress is begging to be worn on a beach….if the sun ever decides to show itself again. mod&soul, 323 W.Broad St.

 

IMG_0209

Where to eat dinner: Food and drinks at Heritage were delicious. I advise grabbing a reservation as it is small and popular. The food Gods smiled on us and we got seats at the bar fairly quickly (which I actually love doing at restaurants). We chatted it up with owner and bartender, Mattias Häaglund, about Richmond, his restaurant and his 3-month old baby boy who he was smitten with. The Pork Fries were really good, but the Fried Broccoli and Thai style Soft Shell Crab stole the show. Served with a Japanese Mayo, the Fried Broccoli crunched and basically melted in your mouth. The soft shell crab special was two perfectly fried crabs served with a sweet, spicy Thai curry sauce and bok choy. Absolutely loved it. Heritage, 1627 W. Main St.

IMG_0205

Where to drank: Richmond’s cocktail scene is having some fun and I sampled way too much of it for one night. Mattias at the aforementioned Heritage made me a Belle Isle Brace Up, created with Belle Isle Honey Habenero Moonshine, a local product, and mixed with lemon, lime and rhubarb bitters. It was way too drinkable. I loved it. Damn you, moonshine.

IMG_0211

They steered us to Balliceaux for some Thai-esque cocktails (I promise, I eat/drink things that aren’t Thai-inspired). My Kampot in 1806 was a good twist on a Manhattan, but Brittany’s Rap Game was so fun. The rum-coconut concoction felt familiar, but mixed with root beer and served with a salty pretzel that muted the sweetness, this made me wish I was on a beach. Apparently, they have K-pop dance parties in the back which we sadly missed out on. Balliceaux, 203 N. Lombardy St.

We stopped at Saison for a final nightcap. I kept it simple with a rye old fashioned but it was well-made and $6. Perfect end to the night. Saison, 23 W. Marshall St. 

Where to order late night food: Because I obviously needed a second dinner, I called room service to ask if they were open. They were not, but directed me to J. Kogi, aka KOREAN DELIVERY. You know how most late night delivery is shit?? This was legit amazing. I got the soy garlic wings, which avoided the dreaded delivery sogginess and were surprisingly crispy and a bulgogi rib eye bowl with bacon kimchi fried rice. As Britt slept, I ate three wings, took two bites of the ribeye bowl, declared it amazing and promptly passed out. I hope I never change. J Kogi, Wherever you need it to be.

Where to brunch: Okay, so, DON’T go to where we ate. I won’t even mention it. Do check out the Roosevelt instead. We were told to eat brunch there, we did not, we regretted it. Learn from my mistakes. Apparently, Heritage also has a great brunch, but we thought it’d be a bit excessive to do dinner and breakfast there (although, I’d definitely try it on my next go round). Roosevelt, 623 N. 25th St.

Where to caffeinate: Before I hopped on 95 to join the masses heading north, I grabbed an iced red eye, French Bun and Almond Croissant from Whisk. Surprisingly, both pastries made it back to the District and Jay and I split them. Flaky, buttery, awesome. An adorable coffee shop and bakery. Whisk, 2100 E. Main St.  

So, my lovelies! Do you have any Richmond spots that you love? What’s your favorite easy road trip from your house?? Tell me, tell me so I can check them out, I’m always up for an adventure!

xo

Chicken Healthyish Pork Recipes

Dirty Whole30

Just interested in the recipe for Slow Cooker Carnitas with Apple Slaw and Guacamole? Click here!

For most of March, I did the Whole30 Program (mine was more of a Whole28, although I did quit drinking a few days before it started).

Wait, what’d you do???

There’s a million books, blogs, articles, websites about what the Whole30 is, but it’s basically 30 days of no dairy, booze, grains, legumes, sugars, soy and other foods.

Why did you do this???

Well, a bunch of my badass friends had just done it and inspired me. I started the Whole30 because I needed a food reset. Years ago, I firmly lived in the food as fuel space. It was sad and depressing. I now live in the food as delicious fun space, which is satisfying, until my pants don’t fit. I thought this would help me find the balance between food as energy and indulgence.

And it did. I became so much more cognizant of what I was putting in my body. We all know that sugar is in everything; but it’s not until you’ve embarked on something like Whole30 that you realize SUGAR IS ACTUALLY IN EVERYTHING.

This program (and others like it) require a TON of time, planning and cooking. If you think you’ve cooked enough, cook more! Yes, you could do the Whole30 by eating roasted veggies and chicken every night. But I know I personally wouldn’t make it and would end up face-down in a pizza by day 7.  I cannot do anything where I’m bored or hungry, so that wasn’t an option for me. So, yes I ate well. Look at these perfect little compliant lamb chops Jay made me.  Continue Reading

Komanfest Non-Food Thailand Travel

Beauty in the Unexpected

I wrote this on the way to the airport to head back to the United States. I have written other iterations of anniversary posts, honest and loving, emotional and far too real. This one feels the most right. Don’t worry, food posts are coming soon. I haven’t forgotten what this blog is about. xo.

“What’s going on? Is everything okay?” He asked, a few feet ahead of me.

Walking down the streets of Phuket Town, I had suddenly paused. The afternoon was hot, muggy, and scented with sun-kissed seafood. Both of us tired and cranky, he understandably wanted to keep moving.

I stared down a…manhole? A sewer? Some sort of drainage? I’m still not sure what exactly it was. But it was a large hole that I could peer over the edge and stare into its abyss.

“Wait, come here. Come look at this,” I responded.

Walking next to a dried out creek that smelled of drought and refuse, he had assumed I’d stumbled onto something upsetting. That I was grossed out and couldn’t look away.

He walked over and joined me in looking at the most amazing, blossoming scape of bright green plants and lily pads that were both beautiful and shocking. Unexpected, but exactly where they were supposed to be.

“Oh. Wow. That is not what I expected to see. Should we take a picture?” he asked.

I thought about it. Of course we should. “No,” I surprisingly said aloud, “Not everything needs to be captured and shared. But it’ll be nice to remember. And it’s nice to find beauty in the unexpected.”

I can’t think of a better way to sum up the first year of marriage.

Healthyish Recipes Sides Soup Thai Vegan Vegetarian

Thai Curry Sweet Potato Soup

Snow storms do not make me excited. I am from the south.

Snow storms that interfere with a fun weekend meet-up in Richmond with my best friend, Brittany, make me especially unhappy.

Snow storms make Jay VERY excited. He is from Boston.

If you pray, pray to the God(dess) of your choice for us.

But as usual, we take lemons and make amazing vodka lemonades. So, let’s look at the bright side!

We are safe and cozy and warm. Jay is currently making amazing homemade meatballs (GIVE US THE RECIPE, JAY!) We kidnapped Emily and Deuce for a weekend-long slumber party. Cara needed a last minute place for Ziggy, so we have THREE dogs in the house, who love each other and are having a blast.

Processed with VSCO

Exhausted doggies. Queen Rosé in the middle on her throne amongst her men.

And most importantly, Relay Foods delivers groceries and I did not have to step foot in a grocery store. Thank GOD! (Want $30 bucks off??? Click here! Be lazy like me).

When Jay said he was going to make meatballs, it got me thinking about what my storm comfort food is. It’s cheese. Not cold cheese, but melty, oozey casserole cheesiness. So I’m definitely making artichoke goat cheese strata tomorrow. I also made Food Lab’s Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies to have on hand. You should do that. NOW. I’m also drinking rye whiskey with club soda and homemade ginger simple syrup – it’s delicious, but excuse the typos.

Processed with VSCO

Things snow is good for: keeping whiskey cold.

But let’s talk SOUPS.

I hate when people who cook say the following, but I’m going to say it – I just threw this soup together real quick. It actually is that easy. And because we give credit where credit is due, it is a riff off of How Sweet’s Thai Butternut Squash Soup. I changed a few things to make it my own, but regardless, you should go spend a lot of time on her site – she makes amazing things.

This soup can be vegan or vegetarian. You know fish sauce = umami, but if you’re being strict, you can omit.

What are your storm survival techniques?? What are your go-to comfort foods?? Did you lose power? Do you like snow storms (if you answer this, respond with where you are from – you know my psych brain makes everything research).

Be safe. Be warm. Be loved. And make this damn soup to be happy.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 diced onion
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 3 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 2-3 tablespoons brown sugar (I like mine on the sweeter side. Start low and add more later if you want.)
  • 4 cups uncooked peeled and cubed sweet potatoes
  • 3 cups stock (chicken, veggie, beef, whatever your flavor!)
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon of red miso (optional, but I used it tonight for the first time and it’s a game-changer – especially if you’re a vegan and not adding fish sauce)
  • 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon sambal or srirarcha (optional, but great for heat)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Fresh cilantro for serving

Steps

  1. In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, add coconut oil over medium heat. When oil has melted, add onions, garlic, ginger and red curry paste. Sauté for about 7-9 minutes, things will start smelling REALLY DELICIOUS. Add brown sugar, and sauté for another 4 minutes. Get those onions translucent. Don’t burn your sugar, turn it down if need be.
  2. Add sweet potatoes (butternut squash works as well, per original recipe) and sauté for another 5 minutes. You want the carbs coated in that deliciousness.
  3. Pour in the stock and fish sauce. Cover and simmer on low to medium for about 15-20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft. Check occasionally. (If you have kaffir lime leaves, throw them in here – but this isn’t worth stressing about).
  4. When potatoes are soft enough (remove kaffir lime leaves if you used), using a normal blender or immersion blender, puree the entire mixture. Transfer back to pot on medium-low.
  5. Add coconut milk, juice of one lime, miso and sambal or sriracha (if using. You should.) Stir and let simmer for 5-10 minutes for flavor to develop.
  6. Add salt, pepper to taste, serve with cilantro and more sriracha, and a smidge more lime juice if you have – and live your best damn life possible.
Processed with VSCO

Thai Curry Sweet Potato Soup!

Note: Emily added avocado in hers at the end, thus the avocado in the pic. Not my style, but a great add if you like! Also, she’s vegan, she needs the protein!

xoxo