Chocolate & Zucchini newsletter // September 2018 edition
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How did the month of August go for you?
Did it fly by? Mine too!
I had plans to make progress on a couple of big projects — things like a new book, and an online class — and I did some work on them, but I also let myself just enjoy the slow drip of summer.
My family and I took a pretty emotional trip to the mountains, where my parents owned a house for 23 years that we are selling now that my father has died. It was wonderful and heart-breaking. I wrote a post about it on Instagram that may resonate with you if you've been through something similar.
Following this post, a kind reader sent me this poem on grief, and gave me the gift of a good cry. This song by Gilbert O'Sullivan works really well, too. My father liked it a lot.
In brighter news, we ended our summer with a wonderful weekend getaway at Relais Bernard Loiseau, a haven of green and good taste in Burgundy, where we got to splash around in the outdoor pool and enjoy the fine cuisine — I still dream of the langoustine dish we had, and the made-to-order Saint-Honoré. This was our last weekend before the kids got back to school, and it felt like such a special out-of-time experience to share with them.
Because yes, both of my kids will be in school now! My youngest is starting École maternelle, which goes from age 3 to 6, and my oldest is entering École primaire, primary school, for kids aged 6 to 11. We are lucky that both public schools are within a block of each other and of our house, so the morning routine should not be too much of a challenge. It feels like a big milestone for each of them when I think about it (pardon my cliché, but: where did my babies go?!?). That said, I can see they are ready and excited, so I'm ready and excited right along with them.
Life-Changing Meal Planning Service!
This back-to-school period can feel busy and hectic whatever your family situation, and I wanted to share with you this life-changing meal plan I've been using from my friend Jules Clancy, called Soupstones Meal Plans.
Jules has been running her food blog The Stone Soup for almost as long as I have, and we have become good friends over the years. I've always been drawn to her cooking style, which is very similar to mine: fresh ingredients and simple recipes yielding bold flavors. She manages to pack so much flavor in recipes using 6 ingredients or fewer, it's quite spectacular.
I've long been a proponent of planning your meals and I do it as often as I can, but sometimes that mental energy feels hard to find, and you kind of want someone else to do the deciding and the planning and the list-making for you -- which Jules does! Every week! Better than most people could!
In recent months, with everything that's been going on in my personal and professional life, I have found the Soupstones weekly meal plans and shopping lists to be amazingly helpful.
I don't always follow them to a T depending on my preferences and the availability of ingredients at my own organic store, but they form the backbone of our weeknight meals, and they have made my life so, so much easier. We have been eating much better than we would have, too, and I find a lot of comfort in these home-cooked meals.
In her weekly meal plans, Jules includes all the variations needed to adapt the meals to different dietary preferences, and keeps things extremely simple and approachable without dumbing anything down. She includes tips to avoid waste, prep-ahead strategies, and sends out a lovely weekly newsletter that's filled with inspiration. All recipes have beautiful photos and most include a video demo, so that would be an amazing gift to give to someone in your life who's wanting to get into the habit of cooking more healthy meals at home.
Save 33% and change your weeknight meals
I am seriously in love with it. If this is a service you'd like to try out for yourself or give as a gift, I have talked to Jules and together we're offering you a special price on your meal plan subscription. You'll save 33% (I know!) on the monthly or yearly subscription if you sign up before Tuesday, September 11, midnight Paris time, and you'll be locked in at that low price for as long as you want to remain a member.
Check out the details and all the bonuses that you get with your subscription, and see if you're keen to sign up before this promotion ends. You can cancel anytime, and Jules has a 60-day money-back-with-a-smile guarantee, so there's no risk. Jules is a wonderful person and a mother of two little boys, and I'm delighted to help support her business.
Oh, and as a bonus, you can get a feel for Jules' cooking style by downloading this free e-cookbook of 5-Ingredient Dinners that's yours to keep whether or not you sign up.
Let me know what you think!