Looking back through old posts reminded me that with hard work, perseverance, and practice you can do most anything. I learned this about 10 years ago when I decided to train for my first 5K race, but it’s a lesson that I sometimes forget. Believing that I would never be able to actually run a 5K, I painstakingly started out running for one minute and walking for two, for a total of twenty-one minutes. Over ten weeks I gradually built my way up to just over 4km. Despite my diligent preparation, I was terrified—even on race day—that I wouldn’t make it to the finish. But I lined up at the start line, bib pinned to my tank top, friends cheering me on in the sidelines, hoping and praying that I would somehow pull through. To my complete surprise I crossed the finish line! Sweaty, ecstatic, and in disbelief of what I’d done, there I was. I wasn’t super fast, but I also wasn’t all that slow (also to my surprise!). I kept decent pace, felt good the whole way through, and was chatting and laughing with my running buddies every step of the way. As it turned out, I loved running that 5K so much that I decided to run a 10K, and then a half-marathon, and then another half-marathon, and rest is history. What I learned through this experience is that if I’d set out on the first day trying to run a half-marathon, I think the task would have felt too overwhelming to complete. But step-by-step (literally) and minute-by-minute, the goals were manageable.Sure, there were a couple of injuries along the way, including a pretty serious knee injury two weeks before my second half-marathon that prevented me from climbing the stairs and walking without a hobble. I was devastated, mostly because I’d trained through the depths of the Edmonton winter. (Apparently, running 17km in – 23°C with vaseline smeared all over your face to prevent frostbite can make a person bitter.) But my physiotherapist and I agreed that if my knee was feeling better by race day, I could try to run it with one catch: If it started to hurt, I’d have to stop. And so, race day came, and again I hesitantly lined up with the other runners, fearful again that I wouldn’t cross the finish line. Instead, I ran the whole thing. All the while, my good friend Mark—who could have easily lapped me—ran supportively by my side.
Reflecting on my running experience—always a go-to when I feel like I can’t do something—is how I feel about this blog. When I look back over the year at my photos (ooh gawd!) and writing (cringe), I am humbled. There are measurable changes that show me what I’ve learned and just how much I’ve improved since the beginning. I took A LOT of terrible photos before I started to see ones that I liked. (My first post was done on my iPhone because all that I could manage to do with my DSLR was turn it on.) When I think about where I want to take this little piece of internet land, I know that there is a lot that I still have to learn and do. Trust me, the lists are endless! But I’m getting there, step-by-step, mistakes and injuries along the way. I loooove that I get to do this. To have a space where I get to express my creativity and share my love of eating good, real food is a gift.
While things aren’t perfect, I continue to have big dreams for this space. If it wasn’t for you, I might not feel so encouraged or inspired to keep trekking. I want you to know that am elated when you comment, I am humbled when you share my posts with people that you love, and I am moved when you contact me to share that you’ve been inspired to cook a little more and eat a little healthier. I feel so honoured to be a part of your journey. I am thankful on a daily basis that you choose to come here and connect with me! For that I offer you my deepest gratitude.
Truth be told, I wouldn’t have even begun to build this space if it wasn’t for L’s endless encouragement, constant tech support, and the thoughtful gift of a URL for my birthday two years ago. Much love to you for the nudge, Babe. But as I was still grappling with thoughts that I wasn’t ready and it wouldn’t be good enough, I happened upon this post by Shanna. Her words gave me the confidence to take that beginning leap… and look where we are one year later!
This past year I turned 35 (!!), finished my second year of med school, wrote up 46 recipes, attended the most wonderful blogger retreat and the very first Food Bloggers of Canada conference, ate lots of chia pudding and veggie pizzas galore. I reconfirmed my views on healthy eating, among other things, and broke bread and shared boozy delights with some amazing new blog friends. It’s been a good year, I’d say.
So in celebration of a happy one year, I made you the most delightful roasted apricot ice cream. It’s inspired by this gorgeous concoction (everything that Carey makes is gorgeous), which I modified to make dairy-free so that L could eat it. I tried to make the streusel with coconut sugar and I would not recommend it. This might be a case of go big or go home. But the flavour of the fruity apricots was so perfectly delicious, tasting of real, in-season apricots, that I think I might have loved it even more just like this. If you don’t have an ice cream maker and are thinking about buying one, I can tell you that I have this one and I love it (great price, great quality!). If you’re not yet ready to invest, don’t fret! David Lebovitz shows you how to make ice cream without one here. Whatever the case, the apricots are here and you shouldn’t miss out. After all, this is for you.
One year ago: Cucumber Mint Lemonade (I’m so excited to be able to do this!)
- 1 lb of ripe apricots
- Coconut sugar (for roasting)
- 3 tbsp raw honey *To make vegan sub in agave or maple syrup. You may need to adjust the amount.
- 1 cup of almond milk
- ½ cup of full-fat coconut milk
- 2 -3 drops of almond extract
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 tbsp vodka, optional *Alcohol doesn’t freeze, so it helps to keep the ice cream softer. Also, in terms of taste, the vodka is undetectable.
- Fresh, local strawberries (or other fruit) for serving, optional
- Preheat oven to 425°. Halve and pit apricots. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet and top with a sprinkling of coconut sugar. Bake for around 20 minutes, or until very soft and a little browned.
- Add the roasted apricots and the honey to a food processor or high-powered blender and purée until smooth.
- Add the lemon juice, almond extract, almond milk, coconut milk, and vodka, if you’re using it, and blend once more. Cover and refrigerate until mixture is completely chilled.
- Freeze in your ice cream maker following the manufacturers instructions.