It is freezing here! The temperature has been somewhere between 16 degrees and the low 30’s all week, for which I feel wholly unprepared. I didn’t have nearly enough time to try to fatten myself up for winter. Florence, one of my hens, is still half molting. Winter has just come a few weeks earlier than we mentally and physically prepared for.

Things are piling up… I have work projects stacking up on my desk this week and finals still to wrap up for school. And then my uncle died this week which left me with the unfortunate job of calling family members, including my dad, to break the news to them. Saying the words “I’m sorry Dad, but your brother just died” is really not fun for either party. I can feel the sides of my brain starting to buckle under the pressure. That sets off the little warning bells in my head that say “you need to eat good food now.”

Good food is my saving grace when the pressure builds. If my body feels healthy and comforted, I can handle much more. My first big meal was a rock n’roll vegetable pot pie – classic comfort food. (The only rock n’roll aspect was basically the skull and crossbones on the pie crust, which was actually not cleverly related to my uncle’s passing) I made the crust and filled the pie with frozen vegetables I had picked months ago on Sauvie’s Island. The pie was delicious, but it also fed me memories of hot summer days picking produce with good friends.

Next up was a very simple, yet totally delicious meal I shared with some friends. I made this really simple, really good butternut squash recipe that I plan to make over and over again. We served it over a bed of brown rice, which was dolloped with a slice of cambozola cheese. It accompanied a giant arugula salad with wedges of avocado and tossed with lemon juice.

And now I return to the mountain of work ahead of me. I may end up crawling through to the end of this week, but I can make it.

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Written by Renee Wilkinson