Books,  Cooking,  Vermont

a month of so off instagram & energy bites

Deleting instagram off my phone ended up being a delightfully simple switch-up for January. My thumb hovered over the vacant spot for the first couple of days. Soon my reclaimed moments seemed to accrue and I found myself finishing more books. I read so many good books that I am now posting my recent favorite reads on the sidebar of this blog! If you click on any of them, you will find a 1-2 sentence review on my bookshop page.

I also discovered that Libby, the e-borrow service that most libraries use, has a “Lucky Day” feature where requested books popup for quick rental. That was how I was able to read Samantha Power’s The Education of an Idealist, for which I had been on a seemingly endless waitlist.

I also experienced a faint untethering. In my mind I felt suddenly self-sufficient, wholly encompassed, like a human on a walk through a forest, or a swimmer on her own in the waves. Mentally things felt quieter and more expansive. It is the case with social media on handheld technology that neither the developers nor the users understand what exactly is going on. There is no easy division between participation and absence. It feels like we have to be aware of our own state, and make decisions on an ongoing basis for ourselves.

I did miss keeping up with people, in an old fashioned way—moves, babies, marriages, the news of their lives! I definitely felt less connected to certain people and missed having a visual, present sense of what their lives looked like. One evening I logged onto my browser, hoping to catch up on news, and I was flooded with posts from business accounts. It took ten minutes just to see another individual human that I followed. That surprised me–had I just been scrolling past these accounts all along? I unfollowed a bunch of those accounts on the spot.

In similar bite-size capsule theme, I want to share with you a recipe from the new Mennonite cookbook, Sustainable Kitchen. Sustainable Kitchen came out in September, and I purchased it right away because the authors are Vermont neighbors, and Mennonite cookbooks have had a place on my shelves ever since we were given four copies of More with Less when Joe and I married.

Sustainable Kitchen is a remarkable book. The authors intended it it to work as a stand alone resource, no background googling needed (in fact, one of the authors makes a point of not having internet access at her home). There are recipes for making your own tortillas, nut butters, tahini, basic canning techniques, and a guide to beginning a compost pile. It is a plant-based cookbook, and none of the recipes use white sugar, only a few use white flour.

The authors also make a strong case for valuing what you eat as an effective everyday way to impact climate change. The more I read about carbon sequestering and watch documentaries like Biggest Little Farm and Kiss the Ground, the more I realize how the time I spend thinking through menus and ways to waste less each week IS important and worth it.

I’ve made these energy balls a few times and dropped off jars of them alongside children for playdates, as a thank you snack for gluten-free, dairy-free friends. They are very kid friendly, but adults looking for a smart snack may very well eat them first. The touches of sweet, cranberry and mini chocolate chips, are absolutely delicious, and the texture is perfectly balanced.







  • NikaelA

    I have to say I’ve missed you on ig! But I very much know and respect the exact feeling you describe. As sigular whole human. I gave up my whole phone for January (checked Instagram on the computer once and a while). And now that I’ve picked it back up, I already miss the feeling. Xo

    • Rachael

      Nikaela, I’ve missed you! Let’s text some photos. I’m interested that you felt the same way–it wasn’t the feeling I would have guessed at.

  • Taylor

    I sometimes miss seeing my friends’ news. I know I’ll be back in there some day. For the most part, all the random moments I gained back to my own self (body and mind) are a rich gift! Now dreaming of planting flowers … I have a shady front yard and yet dreams for lush English gardens.

    • Rachael

      the longer I step away, the more I realize how powerful a tool for looping in with friends it is. It’s so easy for it to get diluted into keeping up with the whole world. But for those friends–priceless. Lots of gardeners are into just gardening in pots. If you have a sunny porch or nook, that can be satisfying too!

  • Lindsey

    I’m trying an IG break too, partly inspired by you. It feels brave to check out of such an inhabited part of the world, and yet I’m finding some similar delight in the vastness of quiet and mental steadiness that has come with a reprieve from the onslaught of opinions and ads. Would love to hear more of your thoughts about social media going forward!

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