What I Love This Week

crepes before filling

I hope James is taking notes (and not the kind that he’ll use to emancipate himself from me one day) because in the past two weeks, we’ve learned how to bake about a million things thanks to the Great British Baking Show. We’ve mastered two kinds of cakes, crepes, a proper swiss roll…It’s been really fun. It’s exciting to learn something new, to bake without expectations. I find myself falling in love with baking all over again. And it reminds me of all the things I love doing that I’ve slowly dropped, one by one, over the past ten or fifteen years. I used to make cards for people. Birthday cards, Christmas cards. I used to be pretty good at drawing. I took a cake decorating class. It’s interesting how surprisingly easy it is to lose touch with your hobbies, isn’t it? Maybe we can chalk it up to getting older. You become an adult and think it’d make more sense if you did something productive with the time and energy you have (and there’s less and less of both). But this baking bender I’m on is a good reminder of how worthwhile it is to just thoroughly enjoy myself without also wanting to or needing to have something to show for it. I’m going to do more of it.


The Problems That Home Cooking Can’t Solve

I like the idea of sitting down to a family meal every night as much as the next guy, but I know very well that for so many people, it remains just that: an idea. Maybe you work evenings, or maybe you pull a double shift a few nights a week, or maybe you get home at 6:30 or 7 and while the thought of a nice home cooked dinner is appealing, you haven’t seen your kids all day and they need to go to bed soon, so you find yourself having to choose between making a meal that takes at least 30 minutes (and the kids aren’t the only ones who could use some rest) or spending those 30 minutes playing with them, helping with homework, or giving them a bath.

And if none of those describe you—if it’s not time you’re short on—then it’s money.

“This idea that if we all make time for food and cooking good food at home, we’ll be healthier and stronger families—it’s an empowering idea. It gives us the sense that we can transform something in our lives. But it overlooks how so many aspects of family life are really thrust on to the shoulders of women. They may be doing more in quantitative ways—in the sense of minutes they’re putting into food—or they may be doing the same amount as men but feeling more pressure to get it right. This argument offloads this larger responsibility to bring families together for a meal at the end of the day onto individual families who are already really strapped for time and money.

That argument also overlooks how families who have more resources have more options when it comes to making food from home, with whole ingredients, and assembling the family around the table every night to eat it, than do families who are working shifts, have unpredictable hours, don’t have control over their schedules, or are just barely making ends meet on two or three minimum-wage jobs.”

The Feynman Technique: The Best Way to Learn Anything

I had a teacher in high school who taught me that in order to really know whether or not you’ve fully learned something (a skill, a historical event, a philosophical argument…you get the idea), you should try explaining it to someone else.  

“There are two types of knowledge and most of us focus on the wrong one. The first type of knowledge focuses on knowing the name of something. The second focuses on knowing something. These are not the same thing. The famous Nobel winning physicist Richard Feynman understood the difference between knowing something and knowing the name of something and it’s one of the most important reasons for his success. In fact, he created a formula for learning that ensured he understood something better than everyone else.

It’s called the Feynman Technique and it will help you learn anything faster and with greater understanding. Best of all, it’s incredibly easy to implement.”


Over My Dead Body

In “Tally,” the first season of Over My Dead Body, Dan and Wendi are two good-looking attorneys whose wedding is featured in the New York Times. But when this “perfect” couple falls apart, it leads to a bad breakup, a worse divorce, and a murder case involving a menagerie of high-priced lawyers and unexpected co-conspirators. From the team that brought you “Dirty John” and “Dr. Death,” “Tally” is a story that says as much about love and marriage as it does about justice, revenge, and the lengths some people will go to get what they want.


Free Solo

Free Solo just won the Academy Award for best documentary feature. It follows climber Alex Honnold as he becomes the first person to ever “free solo” climb Yosemite’s 3,000 ft high El Capitan wall. If you google pictures of El Capitan you’ll see that it is, indeed, just a wall of stone—a harrowing climb, especially when free soloing with NO ROPES and NO SAFETY GEAR WHATSOEVER. It’s considered the greatest feat in rock climbing history and yes, it will give you heart palpitations. (You can rent it on Amazon.)


Baked Spinach Mushroom Quesadillas
Toasted Coconut and Pineapple Granola
Healthy Avocado Chicken Salad
Spicy Basil Chicken Stir Fry
Cajun Salmon Burgers
Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie



3 thoughts on “What I Love This Week

  1. Kate

    Free Solo is amazing! I thought I had mostly gotten over my fear of heights, but apparently that is not the case, as I thought I was going to have a heart attack when the camera looked right over the edge at him.

  2. Gail Lammers

    I wonder if the family which is already “short on time and money” should do a “money makeover” along the lines of Dave Ramsay or some similar reputable financial counselor. For most of us, being short on money means we have overcommited and are living above our means. Yes, I do know about medical emergencies and lay-offs but Ramsay points out that you can climb even above those contingencies if you plan effectively. Money planning sure beats living on the edge of money worries every day.

    BTW, eating homemade food as opposed to fast food, restaurant food, or heavily processed food can easily save you 50% or more on your food budget.

  3. Denise Vermillion

    I highly recommend The Kitchen Counter Cooking School. It’s a great read and inspired me to cook from scratch and save money.


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