Saturday, April 23, 2016

Blueberry Ginger Smoothie and Stuff I've Been Meaning to Tell You

I feel like it's been forever since I've sat down at the computer and just wrote to you guys.  As you can imagine, there's been a whirlwind of activity around here for the past 6 months, and I finally have a few quiet hours to chill in the morning light and just say hey.  The manuscript for my cookbook is in the hands of the publisher and very soon I'm going to get the edits back then the whirlwind of activity will resume - except this time I'll also be working a few days a week at my pastry chef gig and the phrase "how am I going to do it all?" flits in and out of my mind on a loop.  But, as they say, we shall cross that bridge when we come to it.

It's been 3 weeks since I've finished the manuscript and photographs, and already the process seems a blur.  Like, whoa.  I just wrote a book.  And I feel so lucky that I get to write those words - something that I was fully aware of while I was making the recipes, shooting the recipes and writing the recipes.  I didn't really begin to write anything until the beginning of November, though I had been testing recipes since I signed my contract way back in July.  The thing is, I didn't know where to begin.  I'd never written anything of this magnitude before, so I kept putting it off until I was finished my pastry chef job for the season and then I had no excuse.  So, on a cold morning in early November, in my typical outfit of stretchy pants, sweater and slippers, I made myself a pot of tea and just got to it.  Begin at the beginning, I told myself, and so that's what I did.  The first recipe of the first chapter, then the second and third.  Soon, over the course of the next few weeks, I developed a bit of a schedule.  Write for a full day, then bake and photograph for a full day and repeat this pattern for 5 months.  I very seldom would write and bake on the same day, as it's different zones of creativity for me.  Keep in mind that I also had to do freelance writing somewhere in there too, just to pay the bills and keep the grocery budget up (I went through SO much butter and chocolate!).  At the beginning of the week I would write out on a page of blank white paper what tasks I needed to accomplish on certain days, and I swear this is what kept me on track.   Also, the fact that I barely ever left the house, except to get groceries and to work on Sundays at the farmer's market where I sell wine for my lovely friends.  Yes, I was pretty much a shut-in with 4 cats all winter.  There wasn't a team of food stylists and photographers coming to my house.  It was all me.  And no dishwasher.  Some days I was on my feet for 12 hours, stopping to eat and have a tea break here and there, but a lot of the time I wouldn't turn out the kitchen light until 9, after all of the dishes were done and the counter was wiped down, then I would curl up on the couch with the cats and watch Jimmy Fallon and fall asleep.  And you know what?  I totally, I mean TOTALLY, loved those days.  When the recipes turned out great, and the photographs did as well, it was the best feeling of accomplishment and I may have high-fived myself.  Being a perfectionist, if I didn't love either, then back to the drawing board I went and the next time was better.  I think I made my banana bread 3 times until I got it to the point of really loving it.  And then I sent it to my testers and they loved it too.  Oh my stars, my testers.  I can't say enough about how important the testers are to me.  Like, they caught things I may have missed, and asked good questions and were generally so awesome with their feedback I don't know how I can thank them enough.  I had chefs, home cooks, good friends, bloggers, aunties, people I've never met in real life but know we are kindred spirits, test my recipes which I thought was important.  Everyone brought their own skill level and experience to the table, and it was neat seeing the recipes through their eyes.  The last few days before my deadline I went through the manuscript again and again, catching things here and there, and then when I was happy with what I had, my hands were shaking a little when I pressed "send" and away the book baby went.  I'm curious to see what the next stage will be like.  In fact, I think I'll be curious and freaking out (in the best way) until the book comes out next year.  Like everything else in life, I can't wait to see how it's all going to unfold. 

Seeing as I've just come through the Season of Butter and Sugar, there are a few extra pounds kicking around my middle, and now that I can leave the house freely, I'm going for long walks and moving around more than the 560 square feet of my house allowed me this winter.  It feels great!  Before or after such feats of activity, I've gotten into sipping on smoothies again.  Does anyone else avoid drinking cold things when it's cold out, or is that just me and my weirdo ways?  This blueberry ginger smoothie is one of my favourites.  I added turmeric and orange juice to brighten up the flavour, and because I had a small amount of coconut milk leftover for one reason or another, that went in there too.  Hemp hearts or chia seeds could replace the ground flax, and if you want to add honey instead of maple syrup, go ahead.  Switch up the berries to whatever you have on hand - raspberries or cherries would be gorgeous.

And now it's time for me to get going and tackle my list of things to do today.  But, I'm so glad we had this chat!

Blueberry Ginger Smoothie

1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup coconut milk
juice of 1 orange
2 tbsp ground flax seed
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp turmeric

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth.  Pour into 2 glasses and serve. 

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