The holiday season breeds FOMO like a virus. And the condition worsens if you happen to also catch an actual virus, forcing you to leave your friend’s holiday party early or not attend at all. Such was the case for Charlie on Saturday night.
Now that I’m officially in my thirties, I don’t stress as much about the nights I elect to wear grey sweat pants instead of a cocktail dress. For me, the FOMO comes mostly in bite-sized form. Usually in the shape of a non-gluten-free fried potato or doughy chocolate chip disk. It’s not the type of FOMO that sets in when you’re home alone watching a Sandra Bullock marathon on AMC with a bowl of pad thai balanced on your chest. No—these days, I only get hit when I’m surrounded by friends in ugly sweaters and dogs in homemade dreidel costumes, in crowded rooms where the airspace is made up of 90 percent eau de latke. Such was the case for me on Saturday night.
When Charlie begged off early to drink mint tea and blow his nose, I decided to join him, knowing that I would carry the scent of potato grease home on my ugly sweater, but that at least there would be a few leftover gluten-free double chocolate cookies waiting for me when I got there. Continue reading
During my brief stint living in the burbs, I was the only kid on the block without a Christmas tree.
The neighbors would go all out with illuminated sleighs affixed to their roofs, wreaths on every window, gutters dripping with pine trim, and, of course, lights covering every bit of flora in the front yard.
Every year, I would plead with my Jewish father to let me get into the Christmas spirit.
But he seemed to look back upon his own stint of being the only kid on the block without an illuminated tree with masochistic fondness, and wished the same fate for me.
Feeling charitable and/or worn down one December, he finally agreed to let me decorate the lawn with a few lights outside the traditional color palette of red and green. “But you’re not allowed to put any on the evergreens,” he warned.
Since embracing my otherness with a few measly blue and white Hanukkah bushes wasn’t the end result I was after, I began redirecting my repressed Christmas spirit to my mother, who once upon a time had some herself. Continue reading
One of the reasons I started The Wellness Project was to try to figure out what products are actually worth the money we spend on them.
For years I felt like I was bleeding green on everything from foam rollers to green juice to magnetic back braces. My experiments were designed to cut the fat and focus on the bigger picture. But of course, despite my attempt to be discerning, I acquired lots of things along the way that, until my move in February, were mostly collecting dust in my hallway.
This year, I’m all for making holiday gifts about the practical things that will actually better your loved ones’ lives on a daily basis. No one needs more crap! Trust me, you will be a healthier human without drawers full of soon-to-be outdated gadgets, useless doodads and weird socks. (Though some would beg to disagree on that last one).
Though my year-round Pad Thai addiction has gotten considerably better since the wellness project, the time that my internal takeout monster is most likely to rear its ugly head is right after Thanksgiving.
For starters, I’m so over cooking. And after a few meals of exercising the microwave start button, I am subsequently so over turkey. And gravy. And American homesteading food in general. What I crave is the polar opposite. Exotic things like stir fried pork and green beans, sesame noodles, Vietnamese pho, or chicken tikka masala. Continue reading
A few weeks ago, I participated in holiday hotline twitter chat and was surprised to hear how many people were puzzling over what to serve all the gluten-free problem children at their family table—particularly, what to do for the gravy.
My mother has made our annual apple cider gravy using gluten-free flour for as long as I can remember. The recipe is from the Chuck Williams’ Thanksgiving Cookbook, and with a heaping amount of minced shallots and chopped rosemary, it adds a perfect ratio of sweet and savory to our flavorless table centerpiece: that damn turkey.
Since the holidays seem to be another case of culinary Ground Hog Day, every year my mom makes this gravy on Thanksgiving afternoon she has a least one meltdown about it being too sweet. We taste it together, thought bubbles emerge, and eventually we decide a splash of cider vinegar will do the trick before the pan juices get involved later in the day. Continue reading
Charlie and I have been in a holiday stalemate since we started dating. One that will for the first time be broken next week.
This is the first year we’ll spend Thanksgiving together down at his family’s house in South Carolina. And it’s only the second time in history that I won’t be gathering around the Lapine family table. I’d say it’s a compromise, but Charlie has also made it clear that he will return this favor never.
Charlie is as attached to his family traditions as I am mine, and sadly the jews in Connecticut may never be able to replicate some of these cultural differences. It’s true that our pre-dinner activities do not involve duck hunting. Our turkey usually isn’t shot on the property. And our family punch does not include sweet tea, though the main drink of choice in both families is Jack Daniels.
The main thing that I will miss is the stuffing. Every year, this is my task. And though the bread became a gluten-free loaf five years ago, it only meant I took my job of making it delicious that much more seriously. Continue reading
This sweet potato cauliflower soup has been with me through a lot in the last few days.
It filled my anxious, hopeful stomach on Monday night (covered with an H-shaped hemp seed logo) as Charlie and I made a plan to go to the polls together. It soothed the heartbreak and confusion I felt yesterday, when my nerves couldn’t handle anything more complex or indulgent in celebration of my birthday. And it’s what I ate for lunch this afternoon as I tried to puzzle through what role my voice plays in this national conversation, during my 31st year of life and beyond.
It was the first birthday that I dreaded waking up. But as the day went on, I realized how fortunate I was. It was a dark day for everyone, even for those who were on the other side of the outcome. There is no victory in the feeling of deep division. And I felt grateful that I was on the receiving end of so many notes of love and kindness, when I could have spent the day feeling even more defeated, hopeless and alone.
This gluten-free pumpkin tart recipe is sponsored by Whole Earth Sweetener Co. All opinions are my own (duh). Thank you for supporting the brands that make this site (and my low sugar dessert cravings) possible!
I am a very sensitive person.
And I’m not just talking about what becomes of my tear ducts during the first five minutes of any Pixar movie. Since The Wellness Project, that statement now applies to many parts of my body.
When I use shampoo at hotels, or dry my face with bleached, over-treated towels, my neck sometimes breaks out into a Woogie-level rash. A cup of strong coffee might cause my heart to drop a chest-shaking Tiesto remix. Even a small trace of gluten sends me into an early evening fetal position. And if I don’t get enough sleep, or have a few cocktails with dinner, it makes even simple, mindless tasks like online shopping feel like I’m studying for the GRE (sizing charts can be complicated!). Continue reading
After the last week (er, month?) of Halloween candy, I’m guessing we could all use a marinated kale salad recipe right about now.
I was the Demogorgon who stole Halloween this year, and am embarrassed to say that I didn’t even manage to secure the Pantone chips for a lame last minute 50 shades of grey costume. My Violette Beauregarde and Marsha Brady ideas will have to wait until next year (yes, I got the last one from Taylor Swift’s instagram…don’t judge me).
I did, however, deeply enjoy being a voyeur, especially now that I actually live in a building big and bougie enough to support trick or treating. When Charlie and I moved into our new apartment in February, the doorman said his nickname for our residence was “kids and dogs.” And while most of the time that combination just leads to a lot of congestion below knee-level in our elevator, it becomes an ideal setting on Halloween. Those dogs and kids did not disappoint! Continue reading