Wellness Wednesday: Small Space Feng Shui

#WellnessWednesdays-Flyer2 I’ve been in my apartment now for almost two and a half years. By Manhattan standards, I totally lucked out. My studio has floor to ceiling windows, newly renovated hidden cabinets, and modern appliances, including a full size fridge and a gas range – two things that made my broker laugh in my face when I told him my budget and said that they were non-negotiable.

But after the year two milestone hit, I started to get antsy. The things that I found so charming during year one were beginning to be overshadowed by all the unforeseen annoyances that come hand in hand with Manhattan rentals. Like the fact that the building heat gets cranked so high, in winter I can only survive the indoor climate if in a T-shirt and shorts. And the fact that I live above a Mexican restaurant that sells $4 margaritas, which leads to a lot of tequila-fueled lovers quarrels happening outside my window at 1am on a Tuesday.

And don’t even get me started on the sleeping loft…

This spring I’ve been overcome by a very New York-y state of ennui and paralysis. I know I’m not going to find anything better for my budget and the thought of moving makes me want to break out into hives. So all that’s left to do is make the best of what I have.

But with a small studio space, there aren’t a whole lot of furniture rearrangements that would make sense to a sane person. Unless you’re really really bored and the idea of having your living room in a 4-foot crawl space and your bed next to your stove sounds like an adventure. And then there’s my chi to consider. How am I supposed to find some sense of feng shui-ed out calm amidst all this small space restriction? Continue reading

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Feeding Friends: Roasted Carrots with Za’atar

Roasted Carrots with Za'atar

A few weeks ago I had my friend Rachel over for dinner. Her book Cooking Up a Business recently hit stands and is a must read for anyone who’s ever dreamed of launching their own food brand.

Since I didn’t go to culinary school and have never held an official food-related job outside the confines of my apartment, I don’t have a ton of friends in the industry. So I always look forward to getting together with my few food soul sisters and talking shop.

Heirloom Carrots
Roasted Carrots with Za'atar IMG_0261

Rachel and I met a few years ago right before my cookbook came out. I was doing the editor circuit trying to pitch concepts like “how to throw a semi-adult spring bread party” for magazine coverage. Rachel was one of the nicest and least intimidating of the bunch, perhaps because, even though she had a badass job as food editor of O Magazine, she was young and fun and hungry like I was.

Throughout the years, Rachel’s had me over to her place a few times – once for a potluck, and the second for a delicious and comforting bowl of green curry rice noodles. Her taste is rustic and homey (like mine), so I wanted to serve a meal that hit all those notes.

Roasted Carrots with Za'atar Roasted Carrots with Za'atar

Since St. Patty’s day was coming up, I made bangers and spinach mash for the main course. It had all the necessary food groups, but I still felt like the meal needed something fresh and girly – something worthy of a former food editor. These roasted carrots with sumac are what resulted. I used really beautiful tricolor heirloom carrots from the Farmer’s market and they had so many natural sugars that they became almost candy-like in the roasting process. Za’atar, if you haven’t used it before, gives vegetables a really magical earthiness without overwhelming the dish with any one flavor. Continue reading

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2 Years of Feeding You & A Celebratory Gluten-Free Lemon Curd Tart

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Feed Me Phoebe turns two this week! (Insert dancing twin emoji).

These virtual homes grow up so fast… especially when mommy is running around town slinging salmon burgers and trying to preach the gospel of peanut sauce without seeming like a crazy person.

I have so many ideas of where I want to go with this site and the ways I want to feed you. And I promise that none of them will be as terrible or tantrum-laden as life was the last time I turned two. Though I suppose, even on good only child behavior, the subtext will be the same. Hint: it involves attention.

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting this week on the time that’s passed since I bought this url. I reread my welcome post from two years ago and my first birthday entry from last April, and this most recent manifesto on why I love to cook – which is the first post where I really feel like I properly articulated the kind of food philosophy I stand for.

Lemon Curd Tart with Gluten-Free Almond Crust

Blogging has been such a central part of my road to self-food discovery. It’s what helped me land a book deal when I was 23. And it was the book that gave me the push I needed to quit my day job and pursue creative, heart-centered work – to take the leap from my “should” to my “must.”

My friend Elle Luna wrote an amazing piece for Medium last week about the crossroads of Should and Must, and how she transitioned from life as a tech superstar to a solitary painter. The article is kind of a hyper articulate sequel to a conversation we had in San Miguel de Allende back in March, when I joined a group of fellow creative entrepreneurs from different industries (including Elle) to talk about our Musts, amongst other things.

I love Elle’s description of Must as “our instincts, cravings and longings, the things and places and ideas we burn for, the intuition that swells up from somewhere deep inside of us.” Whereas Should is dictated by the expectations of others, Must is what we do when we are alone with our most authentic self. And sometimes in order to find clarity on our Must, we have to be willing to regress to a more childlike place.

There was a lot of talk in Mexico about finding a “sandbox” – a safe place to experiment and get messy. In many ways, this site has been my sandbox for the last 24 months. And I’m so grateful for your willingness to let me channel my inner attention-hungry 2 year old in your presence – to write and cook at you, and occasionally end up with sriracha mayo all over my face.

When I first started Feed Me Phoebe, I was recovering from two break-ups, and my heart looked something like a cross between a block of Swiss cheese and a pile of semi-sweet potato mash. Even though I knew in my gut who I was and what kind of cooking I stood for, it was hard to articulate it with my heart being in such bad shape. So I kept writing from some place between my gut and my heart–my liver? Nah, too much bile–and cooking for my own comforts.

In the process, I went from being a quarter-life cook to a healthy chef — from tiptoeing around my gluten intolerance to being an evangelist of the healthy comfort food that helped me heal my body in the face of autoimmune disease. Playing around in my kitchen sandbox in this way, made me realize how much health is part of my Must.

Gluten-Free Almond Crust Gluten-Free Almond Crust Lemon Curd Tart with Gluten-Free Almond Crust Lemon Curd Tart with Gluten-Free Almond Crust

Katie Couric recently said: “the single most powerful thing a person can do for their health is make food for themselves.” This is something I’ve always believed in my heart and my gut, even if I didn’t have the official report on “Why Frosted Mini Wheats Will Kill You” to prove it. Continue reading

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7 Recipes to Cook Sunday That Will Last All Week Long

Recipes-to-Last-All-Week

Now that I’m in my late 20’s, the cooking complaint I get most from my friends is that they can’t find the time in their busy schedules to make it a daily habit. They have the skill set now, and the money to invest in tricking out their pantry. But time still seems to stand in the way.

Even though I primarily work from home and spend a good chunk of the day cooking for a living, I still find myself up against these same challenges. When you’re running around like a mad woman, it becomes too easy to justify a seamless web order just so you have one less thing on your plate to worry about.

What people don’t realize, and what I often forget, is that cooking is a habit-forming activity – not at all unlike the gym. The difference is, unlike exercise, there are strategies that allow us to concentrate our cooking workout into one big chunk of time so we can let our bodies enjoy the fruits of our labor for the rest of the week.

I usually reserve Sunday nights for “me time” and that’s when I do the majority of my food prepping for the week. It’s a great way to decompress and dedicate some time to yourself, even if that time also includes marathons of your favorite bad TV show and/or singing along to Cowgirl Kiss-Off’s on songza. Continue reading

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Tastetrotting: Mushy Pea Toasts with Mint

Mushy Pea Toasts with Mint I’m one of the few weirdos who thinks that British pub food is a cuisine to be sought out and cherished. That’s partially because a good portion of the menu takes a bath in a deep fryer before ending up in front of you. But my love can also be blamed on the peas.

Mushy peas as a national delicacy could use a little rebranding. It sounds like something you’d find in a prison cafeteria. And most of the time, due to the quest for mushiness, it ends up looking like something you’d find there as well. But even in it’s most unappealing overcooked form, mushy peas are delicious.

Mushy Pea Toasts with Mint

Mushy Pea Toasts with Mint I don’t think I ever ate mushy peas as a child, but eating them now makes me feel like one. You don’t need molars in order to enjoy them, but due to the texture (or lack there of) I prefer using the peas as a condiment to slather on fish and chips. So toast, another childhood standby, seemed as good an option as any to carry a mound of green, mushy goodness.

Mushy Pea Toasts with Mint Mushy Pea Toasts with Mint Mushy Pea Toasts with Mint

Pub peas are best when fluffed up with a bit of butter. But since this dish came out of my kitchen I kept it healthier with some oil and very little else. When you buy good organic sweet peas (even frozen ones will do), you don’t need many embellishments. And if you cook them just right, they stay that vibrant green even after you mush them. Continue reading

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Meatless Monday: Asparagus Potato Leek Soup

Asparagus Potato Leek Soup

I can’t believe that I successfully made it though my 30 day detox. I hit a really dark patch on the third weekend, as I sat around the dinner table and watched my friends drink a nice decanted Vacqueyras while eating gluten-free chocolate cake. But other than that, the month kind of flew by.

The process of retox-ing this weekend with wine, chocolate, and green tea was almost as interesting as the elimination experiment itself. People talk a lot about mindful eating. But as I was faced with my first glass of grape juice in a month, I think I learned what mindful drinking feels and tastes like. It’s my goal to keep that kind of integrity in my alcoholism and transition from being an equal-opportunity drinker to more of a high minded dandy.

Asparagus Potato

Perhaps I was already on my way to earning my fancy pants. A few months ago I ridiculed my girlfriend Lydia for bringing over a bottle of Cavit to a dinner party at my apartment. It’s the bottle I usually cook with. But more importantly, it represents the larger scale industrial vineyards that I’m no longer interested in investing my taste buds and liver cells in. She was appalled that I would scoff at a $12 bottle of wine, because a few years ago, anything over $10 would have been seen as an occasion to break out the fine Ikea stemware. But I feel one of the milestones of late-twenties adulthood these days is graduating to the $15 to $30 wine bracket. For lack of more concrete accomplishments like, say, owning a home or being able to keep a plant alive for longer than 3 weeks, this is something we can take pride in.

Asparagus Potato Leek Soup Asparagus Potato Leek Soup Asparagus Potato Leek Soup

I went on a little tangent there. But one of the things I’ve noticed in my detox is the amazing halo effect all these limitations have had on my cooking. It’s really forced me to live my message. I’ve cooked for pleasure and eaten more meals at home this month than ever before. Sure, part of this is that not drinking and the fact that it’s been cold and gloomy most of March has turned me into a little bit of a hermit. But in the process, I’ve gotten back to making simple one pot meals that last the whole week, so they’re always something delicious, healthy and homemade in the fridge. And so that I never have to leave the house. Continue reading

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