What’s Good This Week

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two boys eating ice cream cones on a sidewalk

After a couple of days back in the city, we got together as a family and headed back out to the archipelagos for a couple of nights at a friend’s summer house. Paul and Niko slept in a tent they pitched in our friend’s yard, and Odin and I stayed inside. 

It was Niko’s first time sleeping in a tent, and although I don’t think it was a very restful couple of days, I think that they had a great time. We hadn’t set up that tent in nine or 10 years, so I was a little uncertain whether it would still be useable, but other than taking three times as long as we remembered to set up, it worked out fine. 

So now we’ve shifted into the “summer in the city” portion of the 2020 summer vacation. No real plans, but a week or so to kill before the kids start school again. Nothing on the agenda but puttering around, checking out playgrounds, and finding bits of water to splash around in. It’s strange, but it’s also just fine.

two boys in a splash pool

I finished reading Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay a couple of days ago. I bought this book, which is a collection of essays on gender, race, sex, rape culture, and feminism, after reading Gay’s memoir Hunger.

Some of the essays were about books or movies that I hadn’t seen and so I ended up finding a few of them kind of boring and skimming through them quite quickly, but mostly I really enjoyed it.

I’ve been reading mostly non-fiction lately and am feeling the need for something a bit more fluffy or made up to get me out of my own head, so I’ve downloaded Emma Straub’s newest novel, All Adults Here. I haven’t dug into it just yet, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed her other books The Vacationers and Modern Lovers, so I’m optimistic this will be a good read as well. 

What are you guys reading this summer? Any recommendations? 

a woman wearing a pink robe standing on a rock on the beach

Hey, I’ve got a question for you guys: if you sleep on your side, where do you put your bottom hand? I usually end up stuffing it under my face, so I’m sort of holding my cheek, but lately that’s been bugging me and I don’t know what to do with it. 

I feel like my hand is pushing my head up at just enough of an angle that it’s bugging my neck a bit, so now I’m flailing around in bed trying to find different positions, but haven’t yet come up with a good one.

I also think that my hand is making my face hot, and I just don’t like the way it feels. Is this what middle age is? Not being able too sleep because you don’t like the way your hand feels?

a boy on the bathroom floor with toothpaste smeared on the floor and his feet and hands

When you wonder why it’s so quiet…

I haven’t done much cooking lately other than grilling vegetables and veggie dogs, but when we got back to the city I decided to pull out my Instant Pot and try making Sarah’s Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe, which ended up being a bit of a comedy of errors. 

The recipe calls for elbow macaroni, and all I had was penne. It also called for a full pound of pasta, and what I had on hand was 400g, so about 2oz shy of a pound. Then, she calls for a blend of cheddar and mozzarella, but I only had sharp cheddar. 

Nevertheless, I persisted. The pasta is cooked in the Instant Pot with water and butter. I used the full amount of water, thinking that the penne would perhaps be thirstier than elbow macaroni, but that ended up being a mistake and I needed to drain off a considerable amount of water. 

When I flipped the valve on my IP to venting, it did this crazy thing that I’ve NEVER seen happen before, where not just steam, but water and melted butter were spewing out of the pot and all over my counters. 

Then when I added the (full amount of) milk and cheese, it seemed insanely liquidy. I was live-texting Sarah during the whole thing and she was like, “girl, if you make all of these modifications and leave me a one-star review I’m going to kill you. My 10-year-old can make this recipe!”

For the record, the mac and cheese was delicious, my kids scarfed it down, and the leftovers are insanely creamy and delicious. I also know that Sarah had this recipe tested by a variety of people with different Instant Pot models, and I’m the only one who has managed to screw it up this badly. 

The whole thing made me reflect on all the times someone leaves me a comment letting me know a recipe didn’t work out. Without us standing there in the kitchen with you, it’s usually impossible to know why. If you make a bunch of modifications to a well-tested recipe and wonder why it didn’t turn out, well… that’s on you. 

It’s also hard with different climates, altitudes, ingredients, brands, etc. But more often than not, even when you completely screw up a recipe like I did, it’s still pretty delicious. 

ON HEY NUTRITION LADY THIS WEEK

We kicked things off this week with my easy and delicious recipe for Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps. Stuffed with spicy sesame tempeh, these are fresh, crunchy, and tasty AF. 

vegetarian lettuce wraps on a white plate topped with green onions and red peppers

Next up is one of my favourite recipes at this time of year, a Vegetarian Frittata with Corn and Tomatoes. It’s cheesy and delicious, and makes a perfect meal at any time of day. 

a vegetarian frittata in a cast iron pan with a plate of frittata and a bowl of chimichurri sauce on a grey background

WHAT’S TRENDING ON HNL

Yeah, yeah, we all know that Mung Bean and Coconut Curry is in number one. So let’s look at what else is trending.

1. Chia Fresca. Yup, on top yet again. 

2. How to Cook Mung Beans. Still climbing the ranks!

3. Black Bean and Quinoa Freezer Burritos. Mmmm. So good. 

4. Turmeric Latte Mix. Always a crowd favourite. 

5. Peanut Butter Oat Bars. Can’t argue with that!

COMMENT OF THE WEEK

Pamela left the following comment and 5-star review on my Chia Fresca recipe:

So good! I didn’t have any lemon or lime, but I DID have store bought margarita mix, so I just added a splash of that for flavour. So refreshing. I’m having a Chia Fresca daily now!

Such a good idea with the margarita mix! 

A glass of chia fresca with lime and cucumber and a glass straw, with a jug of chia fresca in the background

WHAT’S GOOD AROUND THE WEB

icon of globe with text "what's good around the web"1. Gut microbes might keep malnourished children from growing

2. This chef is buying land to help black farmers preserve their foodways.

3. Yikes: More than 600 sickened by parasite in bagged salad mixes.  

4. When you move less, so does your poop. But walking for digestion is easy

Comments

  1. Lynne Janbergs says

    I’m a side sleeper too. I usually put my bottom hand under the edge of the pillow closest to my face, or next to the pillow. Or sometimes on my husband’s hand/arm/shoulder if he’s close enough.

    I find my biggest challenge to sleeping (at 65 am I still middle aged??) is that my brain really wants to sleep on my right side, but my right shoulder and hip get unhappy after 10-15 minutes on the downhill side. Then it’s a big production to roll over and find a comfortable position for the unhappy hip when it’s on the uphill side (how straight or bent, placement of the between-the-knees pillow just so, etc.).

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