I’m holding consistent with my last post – it’s soup season! This makes a large batch, so it’s perfect for dinner now and freezing half for later. Or, if you’re cooking Thirty-Two Project style, ideal for feeding your family, and another family! Sometimes, I wish the current pace of my life lent to more leisurely cooking, instead of bordering on my near frenetic speed in the kitchen. I know this is a season. Audrey already plays more independently than she did a year ago, and soccer practice for Aidan means a wave good-bye, not parking myself in a lawn chair for an hour and a half to watch. But there’s not as much margin in my schedule as I’d personally like, and moving slowly throughout the kitchen is a luxury I’m not often afforded. This Quinoa Chili is not only a hearty, healthy meal, but ideal for those times when concentrated focus at the stove is minimal.
I mean. If that title is reeling you in, we’re already friends. These bars are my idea of perfection – they’re not too sweet, so they seem equally appropriate for brunch with tea, or when you want a treat after dinner but don’t want to feel too full. If you’ve already made my Raspberry-Rhubarb Bars, you’ll notice several similarities! The base is very much the same, but I’ve swapped out a few key ingredients so they taste quite different. In Michigan, the blueberries are starting to get a little more sour – the particular variety I used for these bars is called Elliot. When peaches are ripe and need to be used that day, their juicy, luscious flavor makes a perfect complement to the little blue jewels of late summer.
I mentioned in the last post that I have lots of recipes in the queue, and one of my frequent issues is not having the photos to go with. I would be so much more productive if someone could just follow me around and take pictures (and, um, clean up after me) while I rip through the kitchen like a tornado on a mission. Soup is cooking! Start chopping kale and shredding carrots! Put the pistachio-honey crumble on the bars and get them in the oven! Let’s go! In fairness, my husband is remarkably loving and generous when it comes to cleaning up my kitchen messes. I apparently just need a photographer to really be productive with getting recipes out to you, ha! Since I don’t have that, I’m thankful I had the time and light to take pictures while preparing a meal for The Thirty-Two Project yesterday. This sweet and spicy poblano-corn chowder is one of my all-time favorite summer soups.
I really love to feed you. In this space, it’s mostly with recipes. It’s why I crawl on the floor in search of the last sliver of natural light for pictures as the sun sets. It’s why I absolutely destroy my kitchen on a weekly basis. My deep-rooted desire to nourish people with food is what has me typing blog posts after the kids are in bed, and I should probably be sleeping, too. It’s pure passion for me, one without expectations. I just hope to encourage people to get in the kitchen, support local farmers with their food purchasing habits, and create community by preparing the food they eat and share.
For my birthday, I’ve decided to do something a little different. I’ve never been one for material gifts, instead preferring to travel and experience life as a celebration. I love to remember birthdays this way – when I turned 29 we dressed up and went to the Arlington Million horse races in Chicago. Last year for my 31st , my son and I flew out to Colorado for hiking, exploring, and watching his favorite band at Red Rocks. When my husband turned 30 I surprised him with a trip out East – we visited friends in Washington DC and Philadelphia, stayed at a B&B in Baltimore and ate as much good food as we could possibly handle.
This year (today, in fact!), I turn 32. I’d like to introduce you to #thethirtytwoproject.
During the year following my 32nd birthday, I’m committing to feeding 32 families in my local community. (Those of you outside this area – read on! There’s a way for you to get involved, too!) I’m counting on you to help nominate the families. Here’s how it will work:
- Fill out THIS FORM. It asks questions like the family’s contact information, number of people in the family, any known allergies, if you’d like me to drop off or if you’d prefer to transport the meal, etc.
- Your reason(s) for nominating a family in this community can be limitless! Maybe someone you know lost a job or has been experiencing tough financial times. Maybe they were diagnosed with cancer. Maybe they recently had a baby. Maybe they had a baby several months ago, but they have postpartum depression. Maybe they don’t have great eating habits and could use a healthy meal. Maybe it’s your widow neighbor, your affluent friends who need the gifts of love and food, or that hard working family down the way that could really use a break. Maybe it’s the single mom who is working two jobs while finishing school and has a child, home and mortgage she is solely responsible for her. She, I KNOW, would love a meal, because I used to be her.
- What I’ll provide: The family will receive a free, healthy, vegetarian meal made by yours truly. I will source as much of the food locally as I am able. Everyone else will get the recipes, as I’ll post them here on The Kitchen Beet!
- I will schedule these dinners in the order I receive them. If you nominate someone right now, they might get a meal next week! If you nominate in a few days or weeks, their meal might come in February. (No need to tell them now; we can wait!)
That’s it. Simple. I’m in the process of reaching out to local farms and requesting food donations from abundant crops that might otherwise go to waste. I’m also working on the container side of it – if you know of a restaurant that might donate take-out boxes, or if you’re a rockstar thrifter who wants to hook me up with casserole dishes and bowls, please e-mail me at kitchenbeet.penelope [at] gmail [dot] com!
For those of you outside the Holland/Zeeland, Michigan area: please join the fun! Using recipes I post, or your own favorites, make a meal for a family in your community! Use the hashtags #thethirtytwoproject and #kitchenbeetgives so we can all see what you’re creating and giving.
I really cannot imagine a better birthday present than knowing people are being loved and fed.