What’s Good This Week

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I lost my job this week.

It was the thing – or at least in the top three things – I’ve been most worried about happening, and now it’s happened and I suppose in some ways it’s a relief because I can stop worrying about it. But also, it really really sucks.

The company I work for was being proactive about trying to save the firm in a rapidly tanking economy, so they decided, among other tough decisions, to terminate anyone on probationary employment. I had nine days left on my probation period. NINE DAYS. 

this week sucked

I know it’s not personal, I really do, and several of the partners have made the time to reach out and let me know that nobody wanted to do this, I’m so valued and seen as essential for the company, blah blah blah, which is of course nice to hear, but doesn’t make the situation suck any less. All week I’ve been reading about companies laying off hundreds, if not thousands of people, and thinking how terrible it must be. And now I know. Yep, yep it is. 

The thing is, for me anyways, this was more than just a job. I mean, it *is* just a job and there will surely be other jobs in my future, maybe even this one again. But for me it was a symbol of hope. It was a new beginning, and bookmarked the transition out of a really, really tough couple of years for me personally. It was recognition of how hard I’ve worked over the past few years, and all I have accomplished.

It was security, and a good enough salary to let me make decisions about big things based on what the best thing was for me, rather than the most practical thing. It was my brain warming back up after a patchy maternity leave and being able to produce work I was really proud of. And, it was with a group of colleagues I genuinely really like working with.

So, it sucks. And having just nine days left in my probation period was a real kick in the teeth. But, ultimately, it is what it is. The world is imploding right now, and this is just collateral damage. I am not alone. 

I’ll have freelance work, so all is not lost, and I have this little ol’ food blog. Those annoying video ads you always click away? Those things are paying my bills! Unfortunately, and predictably, ad revenue is also tanking, so we’ll see what the blog can do, but it won’t exactly be my bread and butter. Well, it’ll definitely pay for bread and butter, but who knows what else. 

Swedes practicing social distancing

Man, I don’t know how things are where you live, but I feel like Sweden is not taking this shit seriously. In Stockholm we’ve been told to work from home if possible since community spread is on the rise, but as of today, our schools are still open. 

On Thursdays the park that is between Niko’s school and our home has a you-grill hotdog day where you pay around $1 for a dog that you grill yourself. So they set up the grill, put out the dogs and buns, and leave a box for honour-system payments. It’s a great community initiative and I love that I never have to think about dinner for the kids on Thursdays, but I was astounded to find it running this past week like business as usual.

It was a sunny day, the playground was crowded, and there were dozens of people milling around the grill, using the same tongs, reaching into the same cooler of hotdogs, etc. I had gotten the call about my job en route to daycare pick up and I was in no mood for the meltdown that ensued when I had to explain to Niko why he couldn’t have a korv (hotdog) like all of his friends were getting. 

Later that same night I broke protocol and went over to my friend’s place for some wine (give me a break, I’d lost my job a few hours before hand. I really needed the wine and the venting.). I rode my bike over rather than taking public transit, wore gloves and didn’t touch my face, and washed the shit out of my hands on both ends. We decided to get some takeout from a local restaurant because I know they’re hurting badly right now, but I was astounded when I went in to pick up our food and saw how busy it was.

Like, what? Are these the same people who are hoarding toilet paper and canned beans? I still can’t find any yeast (just want to make some dang pizza dough for my kids) and the city is wiped out of all kinds of essentials and people are just going out for dinner like it’s no big deal? Wtf, people! I *agonized* about whether or not to go to a friend’s place for dinner, and other people are just like, no bigs, let’s meet up. What is the world coming to?!

It’s so hard to know what the right thing to do is. It has been interesting to watch other countries with both better and considerably worse rates of infection going into full on lockdown while we’re carrying on pretty much like business as usual here. We’re pretty much in the middle of a giant uncontrolled experiment right now, and the feeling in uncomfortable to stay the least.

I hope you’re all doing your best to stay sane and healthy. 

Trainspotting

Has anyone else been emotionally eating / craving comfort food / having the munchies like woah lately? 

All week I’ve had this feeling like I just want to eat allllllll the cookies, which I was trying to placate by nibbling on dark chocolate, which of course didn’t work. Ignoring the craving just lead to mindless, all day long snacking that never really filled the void. (Related: A Mindful Eating Exercise)

On Friday I finally decided to do the only responsible thing in this situation and make a batch of Nordy Bars from my friend Sarah’s blog. I mean, if gooey, buttery butterscotch bars studded with dark chocolate, walnuts, and mini marshmallows isn’t going to do the trick, I don’t know what is. 

So I made them, and then I ate them until it felt right in my body. The perfect amount on Friday was three very large squares eaten warm and gooey straight from the pan, deliberately ignoring the instructions to wait until the bars were fully cooled before cutting into them. Who has time for that when the world is ending?

The perfect amount on Saturday was five or six much smaller squares, eaten in a sequence of rapid-fire return-visits to the large Tupperware container I’d stashed them away in. It was likely the same amount, more or less, than the night before, but I have no way of knowing that because each time I measured my portions only in terms of satisfaction. 

If you, too, are experiencing the munchies right now, my official Nutrition Lady advice is to go with it. These are crazy, unsettling, uncertain times. We are collectively not ok. Honouring your cravings and finding some comfort where you can is the right thing to do right now. 

I’ve also been finding comfort in walks outside in the sunshine (still allowed where I live) and movement in the form of online yoga classes (I’m doing a 30 day challenge by Yoga with Adriene). Find comfort where you can, how you can. Do not beat yourself up if comfort comes in the form of a tray of brownies. Maybe you want to try my Fudgy Adzuki Bean Brownies? Maybe you know that only legit butter and sugar will do. That’s how I felt  this week, and I’m glad I listened.  

A reasonable portion of Nordy Bars

Hey, I need your help! Does anyone have any tips for concentrating on audiobooks? I’m really enjoying listening to Do Less on Audible (looks like it’s on sale right now) but man, I have to go back and listen to most sections like five or six times to really grasp what she’s saying. 

It’s not just audiobooks, but podcasts too. I hit that “rewind 30 seconds” button so frequently my phone must wonder if I have a problem, because I’ll be listening and my mind wanders and suddenly I’m thinking about something that happened yesterday or what I’ll have for dinner tonight and then I realize that five minutes of audio has gone by and I have no idea what was said.

So, help? How do I focus better on this kind of thing?

Sunny day on a weird week

Lastly, I’ve received a lot of emails and sweet blog comments from you gorgeous people lately, which I have not responded to. In general, people not responding to stuff is one of my big pet peeves. Life has been a lot, though, and I’m doing my best to get through the day, keep my head above water with my work, not be too big of a dick to my spouse and kids, and keep this blog more or less running.

Something had to fall through the cracks, and lately it seems like that thing is responding to messages. I’m sorry. Please know that I do read each and every one of them, and that I love this community. I so appreciate your presence here, and your messages mean a lot to me. On a better week, in a better time, I’ll do better.

ON HEY NUTRITION LADY THIS WEEK

Another one-hit wonder this week, because that’s just the kind of week it was. I figured that many of you are doing much of your cooking with pantry staples these days, so I rounded up 12 Nourishing Vegetarian Meals You Can Make From Pantry Staples.

photo collage of vegetarian pantry meals

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. Turmeric Latte Mix. Obviously people are skipping the coffee shops these days, because this one topped the charts. 

2. Red Lentil Dal. A pantry meal you should get into rotation.

3. Slow Cooker Chickpea Curry. Vegetarian comfort food at its best. 

4. Black Bean and Quinoa Freezer Burritos. Gotta get a batch of these going for work from home lunches. 

5. Peanut Butter Oat Bars. An outlier in the top 5 this week! Gotta get those snacks in, though. 

COMMENT OF THE WEEK

Debbie left the following comment and 5-star review on my Ricotta and Spinach Egg Bake recipe:

Made this today for breakfast. My husband and I both loved it! As suggested I did remove it from the oven prior to the egg whites completely setting. I let it set out of the oven for a few minutes and once you stirred the eggs into the spinach ricotta mixture the cooking of the whites was completed and the yolk was still nice and runny. Just perfect for spooning into toast. So easy and yummy!

Thanks for the reminder, Debbie! I really must make this gem of a recipe again soon.

ricotta and spinach egg bake in white ramekins on blue plates

WHAT’S GOOD AROUND THE WEB

icon of globe with text "what's good around the web" 1. How to stop worrying about things you can’t control

2. From charities that support children to organisations that feed families, here are some ways you can get involved and help those in need

3. Hazard pay for grocery store workers, the heroes in our community. 

4. How to clean your phone to protect yourself. 

5. What to do with ingredients that are about to go bad



 

Comments

  1. Tatiana says

    First comment on here- your fudgy adzuki brownies got me through my maternity leave!! I’m sorry you’re having a rough go- but good karma is surely on your way <3 good that you are trying to practice social distancing. Keep us updated and know you are in our thoughts!

  2. Claire says

    Katie, that sucks, and I’m sorry you lost your job. Sometimes when my mind is wandering all over the place I just like to put on some familiar music and sing along. It reduces my anxiety overall. I have definitely been comfort eating more than usual. My saving grace is probably that I’m trying to continue to support our farmers since the market is now closed, which inevitably brings a lot of fresh produce into the house. Nevertheless, we have had more bread, chocolate, and noodles in the house than usual. It’s ok. I think it’s ok to be gentle with yourself. Maybe you need a bath and some gooey bars and to just give yourself some space to relax. I know that must be hard with two little ones. Just be gentle with yourself. Sending virtual hugs and virtual warm carbs.

  3. María says

    Dear Katie, this is my first comment on your blog and, first of all, I want to thank you for all the great recipes and batch cooking tips; they are a big help for me. I’m definitely going to try these Nordy Bars this week, they look delicious.

    I’m so sorry to hear you lost your job, we are all living uncertain times all around the world (I live in Spain) and, for better or worse, we are all together facing them and feeling (some people maybe for the first time) that we are all together on this planet.

    I would recommend you to read the book instead of listening to the audiobook, Anyway, I guess we are all having troubles with our concentration, but I believe that yoga, walking (when possible) , cooking, and whatever makes you be in the present will help.

    Take care, Katie and be safe. Big hugs.

    María

  4. Roos says

    Dear Katie, I’m so sorry to hear you lost your job. That just sucks big times and I’m glad to hear you’re allowing yourself some comfort food to process it. As for the audiobooks, listening to a book, and especially one that has to teach you something, takes energy to focus your mind. It sounds like your mind is in a ‘leave me be, I have too much going on right now’ state at the moment. If your mind is wandering, perhaps that is what it should do for now. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried meditation, but I recommend it to give your mind a breath and let it cool down. Then, once it has, you can get back to your books if that is what you want. I like the headspace app, and they’ve got a free section (next to their basic course which is always free) because of these Corona times.
    And I hope your can let go of the pressure to respond to every message, you got enough on your plate and I really appreciate the time you already put in the recipes and the weekly blogs (which I read every week btw, they’re awesome).
    Sending virtual hugs and comfort

  5. Cat says

    I”m sorry to hear about your other job, Katie. I do enjoy reading your blog and have tried so many of the recipes. I hope you keep them coming and you and your family stay well.
    Have you tried the 3 Ingredient Pizza Crust? Hugs, to you.

  6. Kate says

    Regarding audio books, I find if it’s non-fiction taking notes helps me to concentrate. Or listening while doing something else that doesn’t require much brain power, folding laundry, applying moisturizer. And just having a range of different books/podcast to listen to – eg. lighter stuff for those days I don’t get much sleep. I can return to the dense history novel on another day 🙂

  7. Anne Titcomb says

    I really can’t imagine loosing a job you love, through no reason, except that the world is in a mess right now!! And even in this time we find ourselves – you cut through it all and you are real!!! Huge hugs and if I could reach you – it would be me with one cookie in each hand for you!! Big Hugs!!

  8. Joyce says

    People tend to not take the corona virus seriously until the number of people infected with the virus and living in your city shows a significant trend upwards. For years I have gone to the pool for lap swimming at 6:30 am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I decided that March 14 would be my last day. The pool closed on Monday 3/16. I was going to work as an election inspector for the NYS Democratic primary to determine who people wanted to run for president against Trump, which had been scheduled for April 28. I pulled out of that, and when I called the Board of Elections to notify them, she said I was not the only one to do so. I suspect they will move the primary date. I did my last in-store grocery shopping on Saturday, March 15. Since then we (my husband and I) have been self isolating, and I think many others are doing the same given the mob that was also at the store loading their carts up. I am now going to shop online at my supermarket. We’ll see how that works out. My New York Times briefing today has such information as this–“Italy reported 793 virus deaths, the most in one day. The country’s missteps have underscored the importance of early, strict isolation measures”; and this–“The number of undetected cases is 11 times more than has been officially reported, researchers at Columbia University estimate. Their analysis offers a stark warning: Even if the country cut its rate of transmission in half — a tall order — some 650,000 people may still become infected in the next two months.” Schools have now been closed in Syracuse/Onondaga County. Do what you feel is prudent for your family. I don’t know how it will go in Sweden. Last I knew I think it has been less affected by the virus so far.

    I am very sorry to hear you lost your job and understand how gutting that feels. That combined with the unknown of how your area will be affected by the virus puts you in a real state of uncertainty. I find when listening to audio books, unless the story is really compelling, like a spy thriller, I tend to mentally drift to other things. I have better luck with books in hand and pages to turn. I am also finding that playing sudoko on my phone is, for me anyway, a great escape. That requires 100% concentration. If you are a numbers person, that might be an outlet. I can’t help but think that people throughout the centuries have experienced incredible, horrible, life-changing experiences that those of us have been largely free of thus far. For me, it has been brought to life over the years by visiting many Eastern European countries. Whether it is a viral or human invader, it can leave its mark. Last August we were in Warsaw (not the first time for us but the first for our daughters) and saw the large sewer lid monument to Poles, who transported food and goods to the Jewish sector. Old town Warsaw has been completely rebuilt. Looking out the window of our hotel, I would never have recognized we were in Warsaw, with the skyscrapers everywhere. Nothing like what I remember from the 1970’s. We then went to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia which experienced domination by the Soviets in the 1990’s.

    Be glad that you are all currently well. I truly hope you all stay that way! Thank you for the recipes.

  9. Mary says

    Katie I’m so very sorry about your job, I know you were happy and felt fulfilled. Life as we knew it is no more and we don’t know when it will return to normal if it does. Keep yourself and your family safe and well. Lots of hugs from a distance. Cousin Mary 🤗

  10. Melissa says

    I found your blog three days ago because I had a package of mung beans and wasn’t sure what to do with them, lol.

    But now I’m curious about chia Fresca, adzuki bean brownies, and more importantly, your perspective as you live and write from Sweden. I live in Connecticut, USA, and this coronavirus-prompted change in our lives is really something else.

    Stay well, and good luck with audiobooks. FWIW, I always pay good attention while doing dishes. Also, I cut my teeth on Serial, and Dr Death— both non-fiction, mystery-type explorations of true stories. HTH 😊

  11. Christine says

    I feel for you, thank you for sharing and continuing with your blog. Uncertainty is so difficult to manage and it makes it so difficult to stay ‘in the moment’.
    For me the only way I can retain focus on audio is if I am using my hands in a practical task – cooking, ironing, gardening.
    Hope you and yours stay safe and keep well.

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