The meal planning website Plan to Eat. Last January, after years of attempting to meal plan by hand and failing miserably, I finally remembered I live in the 21st century. At the time we signed up for the Six O’Clock Scramble and it is not an exaggeration to say IT CHANGED MY ENTIRE LIFE. It worked wonderfully for us for many months but the recipes, while mostly delicious and reasonably healthy, didn’t match the way we want to eat in the long term. We want to eat more beans, less dairy, a wider variety of ethnic foods, and have the flexibility to use any recipe, not just the ones in their database. Enter Plan to Eat. It doesn’t make meal plans for you but it makes it ridiculously easy to make your own, dare I say even FUN? At least as close to fun as meal planning can get. It is basically just a very smart, clean interface for organizing all the recipes you collect from anywhere (their Save Recipe browser button automatically imports any recipe you find online, others you can enter in yourself very easily), which you then drag and drop into your calendar and then compile a shopping list. They have a 30 day free trial, after which it costs $39 a year. Try it – I dare you not to like it. (Clearly this post is not sponsored – who in their right mind would sponsor someone who blogs bi-annually?)
Stop Podcasting Yourself. I have been a fan of podcasts for as long as I’ve had an iPod, which is some number of years that I’ll certainly underestimate because that’s what happens when you get old. I can’t read on the bus without feeling like I need to hurl, so podcasts are my company and my stranger-chat deterrent. I have my classics that I’ll always love – The Savage Lovecast, This American Life, Planet Money, and The Bugle – but recently a new podcast entered the mix and quickly rose to near top status: Stop Podcasting Yourself. It’s just a couple of Vancouver comedians, usually with another comedian guest, shooting the shit. It’s like being the fly on the wall of a conversation among professionally funny people. Actually it is exactly that. They are my age so have lived through the same cultural experience – the same music, same TV shows, the same infiltration of the internet into every facet of our lives. Warning: listening may cause embarrassing episodes of audible snickering at inopportune moments on the bus, in elevators, in waiting rooms etc.
Meeting bloggy friends. I exclusive read the blogs of smart, witty people so the rare time that I actually get to meet one in person is truly exciting, as it was last Saturday when I got to meet Jenny of Adventures Along the Way for a drink! She made me simultaneously curse the fact that teleportation hasn’t been invented and thank my lucky stars that the internet has. I also have her to thank for the push I needed to finally post something. ANYTHING.
The book The Poisonwood Bible. I’ve read it before but have wanted to read it again basically as soon as I put it down. I have carried vivid images from the book with me for years. This weekend I finally picked it up again and am so happy I did. It is beautifully written and eye opening in the most unexpected ways. I’m appreciating it even more the second time around.
My new purse. I am not a purse collector – I am a purse committer: I pick one and use it for YEARS. My old purse was starting to show serious evidence of that so I splurged on a new one. It’s a lovely deep green leather (the picture doesn’t quite do it justice), just the right size, and has both a shoulder strap and an over-the-body strap, which is undeniably brilliant.