The last time I wrote on my blog was a little over a year ago and things have definitely changed since then. Maybe I’ll talk about that later, but for now I’m just going to post some of the things that have been reviving me lately:
I have a food routine these days and it includes 5 fuelings and 1 Lean and Green meal. More on that later (maybe). One of the things that has stuck for me is being consistent, structured, committed, and being less afraid of a tried and true routine. My go-to dinner includes: 7 ounces of 99% fat free ground turkey breast with low sodium taco seasoning, 1 cup butter lettuce, 1 cup of cauliflower rice, Bitchin’ Sauce, and Everything But the Bagel seasoning.
I also had a revelation after meeting some friends at Delbar in Atlanta this weekend: I LOVE Joojeh Kabab ba Holu! Well guess what happened this morning? I opened up my email this morning and Kim Severson includes a recipe for it in the New York Times “What to Cook Now” newsletter! I will be making it soon and will share it with y’all once I do! I’ve also decided I need a pizza oven or some other device that will scorch said chicken and vegetables at some point in my life, but that’s a different topic for a different day.
I also cooked Half Baked Harvest’s Simple Coconut Chicken Meatball Curry with Rice Noodles and the family (minus the 7-year-old) loved it. I’m also loving her Nine Favorite Things list (which inspired me to write one of my own today).
If you need inspiration this week for menu planning, here’s what I’m cooking: Ground turkey bowls (see above) for me, Ginger Lime Chicken for all of us, Korean Beef and Rice for them, and Chocolate Chunk muffins for breakfast.
Been double cleansing every night just like Dr. Dray says to do. I typically use a cleansing oil first and splurged on the The Camelia Cleansing Oil by Tatcha, but quickly moved over to e.l.f.’s Holy Hydration! Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm when it ran out. I follow that up with either Vanicream™Gentle Facial Cleanser or CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser. Then, I put on some dermatologist-prescribed ointment for my rosacea. Finally, I use Neutrogena® Hydro Boost Hydrating Lip Treatment (another fabulous Dr. Dray recommendation).
You are going to see a trend here, but I found the best sunscreen EVER thanks to Dr. Dray’s recommendation (seriously, she’s rarely wrong): Black Girls Sunscreen for Kids SPF 50 Sunscreen. I use it every single morning and my kids did too over the summer. It is probably the best sunscreen find thus far! I also use Black Girl Sunscreen Make It Matte™ SPF 45 Sunscreen. It has transformed my daily routine and I don’t even use moisturizer anymore thanks to the texture and protection it provides.
Okay last but not least, I am 1000% in love with Drew Barrymore’s FLOWER Beauty makeup collection. Specifically: Light Illusion Foundation (Nude), Light Illusion Full Coverage Concealer (Fair), Light Illusion Perfecting Powder (Nude), Blush Bomb Color Drops for Cheeks (Pinched), all the eye shadows, and the Warrior Princess Mascara.
The work I do at Jones Valley Teaching Farm constantly challenges me to do and be better and the following articles have been solid in helping me do just that:
Demographic portrait of grantees: What we’re learning and doing to support inclusion and improve our practices
Making Purpose Real
Working poor to upwardly mobile: Merit America’s formula for change
How to fall back in love with reading
The crisis of leadership — and a new way forward
Long Reads That Stand the Test of Time
Op-ed: Reconnecting Communities Separated by Freeways Could Fight Food Insecurity
Former grocery store transforming to support Black farmers in Georgia
Voices of Rebirth: A Reading List on Being Indigenous in America
As I mentioned earlier in this post, it’s been over a year since I last posted. A lot has changed and I’m grateful for that. Normally, I’d beat myself up in this post and apologize for being absent or not making time. Not this post. The professional and personal work I’ve been doing since my last post has left me with a lot of gratitude for these last 13 months.
At Jones Valley Teaching Farm, we’ve been spending a lot of time asking how we can collectively create food-resilient communities. We’ve decided that we plan to tackle that question by focusing (mostly) on youth and young adults. We do it through education, skill-building, employment, and by growing, cooking, and sharing food with and for community. It’s been an intense couple of years as we completed an $8.1 million dollar capital campaign to purchase the downtown campus and then build a Center for Food Education on it. We were forced to consistently shift and pivot during COVID, but we did it and we learned so much and I trust we will be a better organization because of it. We also have been piloting camps and field trips in our new Center. I could probably write a book (or two) on the lessons I’ve learned in the last 8 years and I can only hope that I continue to grow, unlearn, learn again, and do and be better with each year. I’m so proud of our team and our community and funding partners and the young people who continue to show up no matter what. I’m also reflecting on something a friend said to me recently, “Stay present, Amanda, and appreciate what’s been built.” It was a powerful statement that I needed to hear as I’m always living in the “could’ve, would’ve, should’ve” and the “what’s next” departments rather than the “what is” department.
Personally, I’m much healthier than I have been in a long time. I’ve made a lot of changes to my daily routine that I hope to talk about in the future, but for now I’m trying to stay present in what I’ve accomplished thus far. I’ve lost 53 pounds since February 6th, I drink 100 ounces of water a day, I get plenty of sleep, and I have gained energy, clarity, consistency, and focus.
That same friend I mentioned earlier also told me to get a hobby. She’s right. After going back and reading some of my last posts on this site and sitting down to write this post, I realized that I already have one and it’s felt good to write again.