This week for dinner: Sixteen years of seasons

Hello! It’s been a while. I succumbed to “December”, the month of birthdays, holidays, happiness and just not enough time. Then January came and with it an immediate business trip trying to get back to normal everyday life So many sick days. Dinner has always been ad hoc these weeks, a mix of pantry cooking, Hello Fresh meals here and there, takeout and sometimes (if we’re lucky) actual meal planning. Now I’m ready to post again, connect with all of you, and cook something, whether it’s pre-planned or not.

This is my acacia tree planted after my visit to Malawi with ONE and Heifer International. While in Malawi, the acacia trees were blooming across the country. I got home and planted one almost immediately. He’s doing great in Carlsbad, growing like a monster and making a big mess in the backyard. But every time it blooms, like now, it makes my heart so happy. Here is one of the flowers for you. Enjoy.

Fun fact: Today marks the 16th anniversary of this little corner of the internet! I started This week for dinner Simply as a way to share basic weekly dinner plans with my brother who was in college at the time. Since then I’ve had the opportunity to connect with countless magical people, both here in the comments and in person. It’s been fulfilling, both predictable and unpredictable, and I’m thankful for it every day.

Somewhere along the way, a (really wonderful, wow-I-am-I-lucky!) literary agent contacted me with a desire to write a cookbook. The result was a book about the women who have influenced my cooking and my life. The result was a book about how the food in our lives at any given time so often reflects the different seasons we live through. Andi-the-magical-agent is still waiting for my book proposal – the time to write is yet to come. But I’ve been thinking about the seasons all week as my blog hits another milestone.

When I started the blog, our oldest Cate was two years old. A few months later I got pregnant with Anna (yes, my blog predates two of my kids!). At this point, morning sickness was hitting me in a tremendous way and I was posting fake menus for a couple of months to keep my brand new blog going. Two-year-old Cate is now 18 and starting to get acceptance letters into college. Anna is 15 and Owen is 11. The time as a primary school mother is almost over. The time when part of my heart goes out into the world to embrace independence is upon us.

In my current short-term season, I once again find myself in an uncertain position in my working life. I have stayed here many times. In fact, thanks to the combination of an incredibly supportive husband and professional network, plus time to mentally prepare for potential change, I haven’t freaked out as much as I would have expected given the uncertainty. At this time of year, cooking dinner was a welcome activity. And it was interesting – lack of weekly planning usually causes me stress. But lately, that lack of planning has given me some much-needed mental flexibility. I have gone with the culinary trend and actually cook more than in other stressful times in the past.

Which brings me back to the topic of food and seasons. For me, my blog was a literal documentation of the different seasons that we experienced. I can see the food we’ve eaten over the years and how it reflects where we were at different points in our lives. Sixteen years ago I was still in the process of starting my own business as a chef. Then I got more confident. Then I got pretty good at cooking and writing recipes (beware! IYKYK) and there were years when I wrote here 3-5 times a week as well as regularly for other publications(!!!!). Since returning to Corporate America full-time in the last few years, I’ve only been posting once a week. I’m sure that the blog, like my life, will continue to evolve and bring new and unexpected opportunities and ways to connect.

No matter how long you’ve been there This week for dinner, Thank you for being here. I’m so grateful to be able to keep this little blog going despite the powerful social networks that have all but shut down blogging. I refuse to let it die! I will post menus until the internet explodes! And believe it or not, I actually owe you a few recipes, all photographed and all. See? I Am still cooking.

Best wishes for your 16th Birthday, This week for dinner!

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