Over a year ago I dropped off the face of the earth. I was busy, blogging wasn't fun, I had no time to cook. But really, one of the main reasons I stopped cooking was that I moved out of my mom's house into an apartment with my then-fiance, Kevin. Suddenly:

BILLS

Not only bills, but for the first time in my pathetic adult life I was responsible for purchasing my own food. Sure, Kevin helped out, but he was paying rent. So I quickly learned that buying duck and lamb and scallops and saffron and truffles (ok, I never bought truffles) with my own money was ENTIRELY different  from using my mother's credit card. I tried to shop more frugally, still spending way too much money each week at Wegmans, but living more within the means of a 20-something working at a tech start-up.

Enough about that: Here's what happened AFTER the move:

I got married! (Don't worry, a billion more posts about that to come, because Dammit I DIYed a beautiful wedding and I'm going to pin it!)

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I went on my honeymoon to Jamaica and ate ALL the food and did ALL the scuba diving.

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We got a PUPPY! His name is Rowdy.

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That puppy grew up and became a lot of work.

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I got Lasik. Obviously I have to redo my blog header now! Although I still miss my glasses...

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I got depression and my grandfather died and there were a couple of super shitty months. I'll go into these more in depth as well. I obviously don't have any pictures of me bumming around the house wearing a blanket over my head, so here is a picture of my ghetto Hanukkah set-up because I left my menorah at my mother's house.

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*edit* I found a picture of me at a New Years Party wearing my Chewbacca Onesie, which I wore a lot during the winter. 

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Things slowly got better. I got a raise and Kevin got a new job, so we began looking for a house.

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We packed up our apartment and moved in with my mother (I know, it feels like a backwards leap to me too. But financially it made the most sense while we waited to...)

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Close on our house! Which should be happening next Friday, assuming everything goes to plan.

Picture to be added REALLY FRACKING SOON!

So that's my life. The depression really grabbed my by the balls this time. It's something I've always struggled with, to an extent, but this year it became unbearable. Couple that with my anxiety, my grandfather dying, my new role as a wife, the dog being crazy, and the crappy winter...I was incapacitated for several months.

I was embarrassed. I was reluctant to seek help. I wanted to fix it by myself. But it got to the point where I couldn't. So I started seeing someone who has been very helpful at getting me to recognize my feelings and not try to suppress them, and also live with less guilt, fear, and anxiety.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not cured. I'm still all shades of fucked up. I get into moods where I retreat into a room with an audiobook or the Hamilton soundtrack and a monotonous task and just stop thinking. Or play solitaire for three hours. Or take a nap. And my husband has been so wonderful to me this year, despite this not being the ideal first year of marriage. The honeymoon period came to a crashing stop after my first full-blown panic attack. But he's been by my side the entire time, and I'm excited to start the next chapter of our lives.

Just, maybe with less panic attacks. And more fuzzy onesies.

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I'm back. No idea what direction this blog will take me, but I need to work through some stuff, need to write more, need to share things I've created, need to reach out to readers and other bloggers who are going through similar things, or would benefit from hearing about my experiences.

My life is in flux right now and things are crazy, so maybe using blogging will be a therapeutic outlet for me. An excuse to close the door on my husband and my dog (I have a husband and a dog now!) for an hour or two and have some me time.

I had been pulling back from blogging for a year or so before I actually went on a break, because I wasn't getting satisfaction from it. It felt like a chore, something that I wasted my evenings doing and got no feedback on. Similar to my book writing. Once the reviews and comments all but stop, the emotionally needy person (me!) thinks, "what's the point anymore?"

But not having many readers might work to my benefit. I have always struggled with living inside my head and ignoring emotions and feelings, or trying to analyze myself scientifically. For example, here is my genius step-by-step method when faced with, let's say, sadness:

  1. Sad
    • I am sad. Sad is bad. This is a waste of time, who wants to sit around and mope and cry?
  2. Why sad?
    • Lets use the scientific method to figure out why I am sad
  3. Fix sad
    • Fix whatever was causing me to be sad in the first place
  4. Happy!

As you can imagine, this does not work. Not only does it not work, but I need to stop punishing myself for feeling sad in the first place. Trying to figure out where the sadness is coming from is helpful, but not for the purpose of "fixing" the sadness.

So, what the fuck. Let's blog about emotions and shit. With an occasional recipe or pinterest-y craft thrown in for good measure. Wish me luck!

It's pretty obvious that I've been a terrible blogger this past year. And in the past month I've been non-existent. It's not like my life has changed much in the past few years to excuse my absence, and yet absent I was. I think a lot of it can be attributed to a shift in my attention: away from things that take a lot of time to set up, plan, execute, organize and complete. You know, like blogging, photography, cooking, and writing extensive novels.

And it's not that I don't enjoy the process, because at times I still do. I still get pride when I really nail a food styling session, or make headway on a book. It's just that the external rewards for completing these tasks are so few and far between that they don't motivate me to keep going.

When I worked at a job where I spent all day on my computer, I had nothing better to do than blog and comment on other people's blogs, read up on photography and food styling, and work on my social media presence. I had a lot more blog traffic, and I would get comments on things I spent time on, making me feel good about myself. I'm a sucker for positive reinforcement. 

Things have slowed down almost to a complete stop. I can go 6 months before someone comments on my blog, traffic is down, and the only excuse I have is that I'm not putting in the effort. I feel stupid for being so bitter about it, but it's like, why put in the effort when no one reads it or cares?

So I guess I've been in a funk. My motivation has been lacking, and I can't convince myself to strive for something when the reinforcement isn't a given outcome. Like in...

Video games. 

My brain feeds off of accomplishing goals and being rewarded for them. And it turns out that leveling up or beating a boss is a fucking fantastic way of making me feel good. At the end of the day, I might feel better about my life if I created a gorgeous recipe with stunning pictures and wrote a witty blog post. But I'll be happier and have more fun if I play four hours of video games, level up twice, and unlock a new part of the map.

Games are FULL of goals that I can achieve. I might not be able to breeze through a boss battle in one go, but I can walk around an area and do repetitive tasks that bring me closer to getting money, weapons, achievements, trophies, and other fun things.

And now I'm babbling about video games. Therein lies the problem. But the point of this post is to remind myself that I can write, and that I should keep cooking and posting recipes. At least so that I don't succumb fully to the dark void that is video games.

Stay tuned for new recipes coming up!

toasted, grilled, brie, cheese, sandwich, multigrain, whole, grain, healthy, strawberry, fruit, chocolate, dark, milk, butter, creamy, messy, lunch, dinnerIt's well known that I suck at lunch. And breakfast, actually. And I'm not really that great at dinner, either. Why the hell do I have a food blog?

But on occasion I'll see a recipe on Pinterest that I just HAVE to shove in my facehole. One of those most recent ones was this orgasmic take on a grilled cheese sandwich. It's kind of messy, and the prep is slightly more labor intensive than a cup of easy mac or a bowl of cereal, my normal lunch options. But it's so good! Who could argue with this winning combo?

toasted, grilled, brie, cheese, sandwich, multigrain, whole, grain, healthy, strawberry, fruit, chocolate, dark, milk, butter, creamy, messy, lunch, dinner

You will need: ...continue reading

316555_2099719257179_804100154_nI am obsessed with Disney world. I always have been. I have stress dreams monthly about not going back. I tried to convince Kevin that Disney World would be the perfect honeymoon location, but he didn't go for it. Not even the promise of super sweet R2D2 Mickey Ears hats could sway him.

But, like the incredibly sweet and awesome and handsome guy he is, he kept his eyes open for deals. Which he found for this upcoming January, 5 months before our wedding. All of this backstory is irrelevant because...

I'M GOING TO DISNEYWORLD!!!DSC_0148

And what's amazing is that now they have so much more stuff than the last time I went, like a whole new area of Magic Kingdom, and the super cool wrist bands that are your tickets and fastpasses and stuff. I'm really excited, obvi.

So to pump myself up, and try to get Kevin more than just moderately excited to go, we whipped (get it?) up a batch of Dole Whip, one of the most amazing snacks you can get at Aloha Isle in the Magic Kingdom.  ...continue reading

pita, homemade, pita bread, pockets, falafel, hummus, israel, israeli, mediterranean, jewish, easy, simple

After getting back from Israel this summer, I was thrilled to discover it wasn’t that hard to find decent falafel, hummus, and even shawarma if you knew the right places to look. However, locating perfectly poofy pitas that could hold a pound of food without cracking or ripping proved to be nearly impossible.

So my fiancé and I rolled up our sleeves one afternoon and made our own from scratch, surprising ourselves with how easy it is. And there’s nothing better than fresh, straight-out-of-the-oven pitas.

You will need:

pita, homemade, pita bread, pockets, falafel, hummus, israel, israeli, mediterranean, jewish, easy, simple ...continue reading

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hummus, home made, chick pea, tahini, garlic, lemon, Israel, Israeli, Mediterranean, Jewish, KosherYeah, yeah. We know you went to Israel, Sarah. Will you shut up about it already?

No I will not. Not until I finish posting these recipes for awesome Jewish/Mediterranean/Israeli food. I already shared the shukshuka, and now I'm going to share two in a row. Because, really, what is homemade hummus without homemade pita bread?

Both recipes are so incredibly simple, I swear you're going to laugh. There's no excuse for buying premade stuff (except for laziness, which is always a viable excuse for me), but after you taste the homemade stuff and experiment with spices and flavors, the tubs will lose their appeal.

Now, there are a billion hummus recipes on the internet, but this one is special to me because it was the recipe on the back of the business card for our Israel Experts group coordinator, Erez. He was a funny guy, and he told us his favorite brand of Israeli beer and gave us chocolate, so I figured he knew what he was doing as far as hummus went.

You will need:

hummus, home made, chick pea, tahini, garlic, lemon, Israel, Israeli, Mediterranean, Jewish, Kosher ...continue reading

Thanks to my awesomesauce fiance for fixing my computer and figuring out why my photos weren't uploading! I can go back to regular posting, including getting through this big backlog of recipes. shukshuka, shakshuka, shakshouka, israeli, jewish, eggs, tomatoes, garlic, poached, breakfast, hot, spicy

Being in Israel this summer opened me up to so many new culinary flavors and opportunities, while also reminding me that no matter what, there are some things I will always find repulsive. Cucumbers, being one of those things. And tomatoes.

Or so I thought, until I tried Shukshuka for lunch. It turns out that when you break down the tomatoes and simmer them with spices and garlic, and then poach a few eggs in it, it doesn't taste like slimy fresh tomatoes.

Not only is shukshuka a fun word to say, but it’s an awesome dish that can be adapted to suit your preferences. The three main ingredients are tomatoes, spices, and eggs. It’s basically eggs poached in tomato sauce, but it makes for a hearty and delicious meal that I never get sick of.

You will need:

shukshuka, shakshuka, shakshouka, israeli, jewish, eggs, tomatoes, garlic, poached, breakfast, hot, spicy ...continue reading

  • I'm paying for my wedding photographer today...using checks from 2005 that have puppy dogs and kitties on them.
  • My to do list has, in three separate and distinct entries, directions for doing laundry:
  1. do laundry
  2. fold laundry
  3. put fucking laundry away
  • I'm wearing batman underwear beneath my fancy work dress
  • I think I'll eat halloween candy for lunch
  • I can't figure out why wordpress isn't letting me upload my pictures so I can finally get rid of the huge backlog of posts I'm sitting on!

so for your amusement, until I can get my shit in order, hang out on buzzfeed.

 

In Starting from Scratch (which is selling pretty well on Amazon, btw, and has gotten more than a couple emails from happy readers!), there is a scene where Emily finds Maw Maw's spaghetti sauce recipe on the back of an old photograph, and challenges herself to cook it. The recipe tied her story together with her grandmother's, bridging the generation gap a little bit.

I wanted to post a stellar homemade pasta sauce recipe that Maw Maw would be proud of, but I don't have any! And rather than throw together a recipe and claim it's an old family favorite or that I've made it dozens of times to great success, I figured I could gather a bunch of recipes from equally talented bloggers, and let you pick and choose which ones to try.

Top Row:

Pasta All'Amatriciana from Livliftoo
Easy marinara from twopeasandtheirpod 
Fresh tomato sauce from theviewfromgreatisland

Second Row:

Pasta Bolognese from theviewfromgreatisland
Bolognese sauce from tasteloveandnourish
20 minute tomato sauce from runningtothekitchen

Third Row:

Quick and fresh basil tomato sauce from chocolatemoosey
Lemon basil marinara from ingoodtastemag
Spicy 30 minute tomato sauce from nutmegnanny

Bottom Row:

Slow cooker vodka pasta sauce from the frugalfoodiemama
Italian tomato sauce from kitchentreaty
Spaghetti and sausage ragu from ErrensKitchen

Be sure to let the authors know you tried and loved their recipes, let them know you found their link from my site, and don't forget to get your copy of Starting from Scratch!!

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