Notes from the Road November 2017. A month of change and new adventures on the horizon, with a side of sunshine and sandy beaches.
November is one of my favorite months. It falls within the end-of-the-year October to December window when the colder weather is offset by fun holidays and traditions. The fall harvest celebration of Octoberfest, the sweets and scary monsters of Halloween, a rush of recipes leading up to Thanksgiving, the gathering of friends and family for December holidays, and then the excitement and renewal of the New Year. It’s a fun, but busy, time.
This November has been hectic (and at times frantic), but it’s also been a very exciting time for me personally as I have made a few big changes in my life that I will share more about in the coming months. But suffice it to say, it’s been a whirlwind month and I’m learning that while big changes are exciting, even “thrill seekers” life myself need time to adjust and focus on wellbeing. I’m excited to share more on the topic of wellness and living a green, sustainable lifestyle in the near future.
In this time of change I’ve also been thinking about the future of Fork in the Road and the type of content I want to share with you all. There are so many topics that interest me and that I’m passionate about, but I did some soul searching and have realized this: whether it’s food, life, or travel, I want to share how easy and fulfilling living a sustainable “green” lifestyle can be.
Because each of us can change ourselves, but together we can change the world.
November 2017: green eating & gratitude
If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s likely November is a month full of food and enjoying the bounties of harvest. Here in the United States we celebrate the harvest with Thanksgiving, which is one of my favorite holidays because of its focus on food, friends, family, and gratitude. And food (it’s all about the food).
November was a busy month here on the blog as everyone is scrambling to plan their Thanksgiving meals, and one of the most popular posts was my favorite side dish Brussels Sprouts with Maple & Mustard. Simple and easy weeknight dinners were also popular and I updated one of my weekly staple dishes (not kidding, we eat it every Thursday night), this Easy Lentil Bowl with Sunny Egg & Spicy Harissa.
In addition to updating old favorites, I also shared a few new green eating recipes. This Kale Persimmon Salad with Pecan Yogurt Dressing was a collaboration with Imperfect Produce to challenge me to create a delicious recipe from fruits and vegetables discarded by grocery retailers. And I switched up my usual savory dishes with an easy but gorgeous take on candy apples with this Pistachio Crusted Caramel Apples.
But the recipes didn’t just stop here on Fork in the Road, as I mentioned last month I am now a recipe contributor to 196 Flavors, an encyclopedia of traditional foods from around the world. This month I shared:
- Sweet Potato Casserole from the United States: a traditional Thanksgiving side dish, sweet potato casserole originated in the south and has now become a Turkey Day staple in many parts of the U.S.
- Calypso Chicken from Domenica: the tiny Caribbean island of Domenica is made famous by this flavorful chicken and rice dish
- Hokkien Mee from Malaysia: a delicious street food favorite in Southeast Asia, this recipe is Malaysia’s take on the noodle bowl
- Sopa de Lima from Mexico: a spicy chicken and lime soup recipe from the Yucatan Peninsula, which originally used native wild turkeys
- Dolma Qarnoun from Algeria: a traditional dish from the North African country of Algeria, these lamb-stuffed artichoke bottoms are served over a lamb and chickpea stew. Super flavorful!
And I was lucky enough to have my recipes featured by some amazing dietitian bloggers and food and wellness websites:
- Brussels Sprouts: A Roundup of Healthy Recipes on Liz’s Healthy Table
- 36 Dietitian-Approved Healthy Side Dishes on Sarah Koszyk’s Family. Food. Fiesta.
- The Ultimate Fall Squash Roundup by Bucket List Tummy
- 31 Healthy Pumpkin Recipes to Use Up a Whole Pumpkin on True Wellness
November 2017: green travel
While I love Thanksgiving recipe planning, cooking, and spending time with family, this is the second year in a row that we have escaped the country and spent the holiday on a beach in Mexico. And it just might be a new family tradition to break up the business of the holidays with a weekend stint in the sunshine.
First let me say, we are not usually “beach” travelers. Our idea of travel usually includes hiking the Andes Mountains and tasting our way through Peru, eating our way through markets in Mexico City, and exploring the alleys of Seoul. Obviously you can see a trend here – it’s always about the food.
But in 2016 we opted to spend a few days in Playa del Carmen after a fast and furious trip to Mexico City and we had to change our tune. Maybe there’s something about this “lay on the beach and do nothing” vacation style that we can adopt?
So this year we made a point to do a little of both. After spending two weeks in Korea in April we booked an all-inclusive resort in Cabo San Lucas for Thanksgiving weekend. And it was amazing, exactly what we needed after a hectic few months. Coffee with an ocean view, beachy reads by the pool, and all the Mexican food we could handle. We may or may not have jumped in the ocean with sharks, but that’s a story for another day.
But don’t think we’re totally reformed, we also booked a last minute trip to Colombia. In three days. More on that to come.
november 2017: green living + wellness
As I mentioned before, in the last few months I’ve been assessing my life, responsibilities, and future goals and decided to make some big changes. I think it’s important to stop and do a gut-check with yourself from time to time about how you’re living and decide whether you’re being true to your values. And if not, it’s time to shake things up.
Last year I spoke with fellow RD and minimalist Erin Hendrickson about living a minimalist lifestyle and what that means. While living in a “minimalist home” has been a trending topic lately (tiny houses? sparking joy?), getting rid of your second car or buying from thrift stores is not the goal. They are essentially actions that help you achieve a wanted feeling for your life.
So I asked myself some hard questions that I will ask of you as well: how do you want to feel everyday? What do you want to wake up and do? What makes you fulfilled? Are your goals helping you reach a place fulfillment and feeling or just ticking a box of what you “should” do? What areas of your life are causing friction? What changes can you make to feel the way you want to feel more often?
I don’t have all of the answers to these questions, but I do know one thing: we shouldn’t be waiting until we have that great job, get that degree, or make X amount of money to live our life. We only have now and we have to make the most of it.