For better or for worse, the last few weeks feel like we’re returning back to “normal”. In the past month, I’ve started to slowly open up my world again. I had brunch and dinner with friends I hadn’t seen IRL since last year, and I’ve started attending a couple of new outdoor HIIT gyms in a new neighborhood. And this past month, for the first time in a long time, Erlend and I had future plans to look forward to—a new puppy (more on that in a second) that arrived this past weekend, and his parents upcoming visit in mid-June for me and his dad’s joint birthdays. This will be the first time that they’re seeing our new place, too!
But truthfully, even despite these plans and activities, I still feel a little weird about being out and about. For me, it’s been hard to shake the cautious measures I implemented from the last year. I still actively cringe when I see folks inside one of my new gyms without masks on, or see Instagram Stories of folks at crowded events like weddings and food festivals without social distancing and masks. I legit audibly gasped the first time I walked into a bar and saw some maskless clientele, lol.
I know it’s a little irrational, especially since most folks I know are vaccinated, or are in the process of doing so. Erlend has been fully vaccinated since February, while I’ve been fully vaccinated for close to a month now. However, I did read somewhere that it’s difficult for our brains to suddenly flip the switch from “survival” mode and back to “normal.” Some even likened it to a mild form of PTSD!
So for now, I’ve been trying to wean myself back by visiting a new coffee shop (in fact, one of them even inspired the ube latte you see in the picture above!), and/or committing to going out to dinner in an outdoor patio at least once a week. I’m hoping that my skittishness will pass soon, and that this summer will be the best ever.
So tell me—how are you guys doing?
Meet Biscuit, our new puppy!
Meet Biscuit! He is a 6-month-old rescue puppy. His momma was found with a small litter of pups in a field in Texas. We *think* he’s around 6 months old, and is maybbbbbeee a mix between an American pitbull terrier and an American Staffordshire terrier. Maybe some Catahoula Leopard, too? We don’t know, but we’re excited to find out!
While many folks adopted a pandemic puppy at the beginning of the pandemic, we did the opposite and adopted one at the end of the pandemic, lol. It’s weird, I know! But we waited for a variety of reasons: we worried that there would be a flood of animals being returned as the world reopened and wanted to rescue one (though this mostly seems like it’s NOT happening, which is good!); we wanted to be able to socialize Biscuit properly with other folks beyond our household; and finally, well, it was time.
When I left my corporate job in 2017 to work on Hummingbird High full time and write my first cookbook, I didn’t realize the full extent that Hummingbird High would take over my life! Running a small business is no joke. I work longer hours developing recipes, creating content, and answering your questions for Hummingbird High than I ever did at any of my tech jobs (which are notorious for having long hours). But that’s okay with me—I’ve always been somewhat of a workaholic, and most of what I do for Hummingbird High doesn’t *feel* like work because I love it so much.
However, prior to making Hummingbird High my full-time job, I used to come home and look forward to working on it as my creative release and hobby. It was such a great break from the dry, technical things I did at my corporate job all day. But now that it’s what I do ALL the time, I realize I don’t really have anything else anymore. My days are just the same: workout, work, work, work, WORK, sleep, rinse, repeat. It’s leading to burnout and anxiety about all things Hummingbird High. Especially since, looking back on the last year, I realized that I haven’t taken a break from anything since January 2020!
I’m hoping Biscuit will encourage me to break out of my rut and my workaholic ways by helping me get out of the house more often. Indeed, it’s already happening! Before he even arrived, I scheduled weekly puppy lessons with him at puppy school, and future play dates with friends’ and acquaintances dogs. I’ve also started planning hikes and bike rides to take him on. And most importantly, I scaled back my summer content so I can focus on Biscuit and make sure he grows up well-trained, well-exercised, and of course, well-loved.
So what does that mean for Hummingbird High? Don’t be surprised if you don’t see much of me this summer. After this month, I’m planning on only posting a handful of recipes for July and August. But don’t worry! I’ll be back full force in September, just in time for the best seasons and holidays to bake.
In Case You Missed It: New Recipes and Posts on Hummingbird High
And in case you missed it, I published the following new recipes and posts on Hummingbird High. Here’s a round-up of everything:
- Air Fryer Churros
- The Best Mother’s Day Brunch Recipes on Hummingbird High
- Texas Sheet Cake Recipe for 9 x 13 Inch Pan
- 6 Inch Victoria Sponge Cake Recipe
- Hummingbird High’s New Kitchen Reveal (If you’ve ever wondered about where and how I develop my recipes, check out this post—I give you guys a tour of my new kitchen!)
- Rhubarb Pavlova Roulade
Food For Thought
This past month, I also spent a LOT of time thinking and reading about food beyond the baking recipes you see on this blog. Here are the ideas and issues that resonated with me:
- “No-Knead Bread, Revisited.” I really enjoyed this deep-dive by Kenji Lopez-Alt (of Serious Eats fame) into Jim Lahey’s famous No-Knead Bread recipe. If you’ve ever made No-Knead Bread, it’s likely that you’ve made this recipe (or one adapted from it!). It took the world by storm in 2006, and continues to influence baking today.
- “Starbucks Baristas Are Sick Of Your Ridiculous Custom Orders.” Whenever I watch TikTok, I always get served a few videos showing folks gushing about their Starbucks custom orders. I feel so lame because I’ve had the same Starbucks order since I was in high school: a tall iced caramel macchiato, lol. Can you tell I’m not a Starbucks person? Recently, inspired by this article, I tried customizing it by adding some sweet cold foam on top. The barista gave me SUCH a look of judgement… probably because the drink ended up looking and tasting like a milkshake, lol. I never went back to that Starbucks again after that.
- “Your Least Favorite Gross Viral Food Videos Are All Connected to This Guy.” Speaking of TikTok, I also get served a bunch of BANANAS food videos showing off hot ladies making a candy slurry drink in a toilet bowl, or making a pie stuffed with Spaghetti-O’s and Wonderbread kneaded with her forearms. Yeahhhhh, turns out all those videos are fake. The recipes aren’t made in good faith and are simply for “entertainment.”
- “How Viral Recipes Shut Out BIPOC Food Creators.” If you only have time to read one article today, please read this one! This author articulates something that I’ve been feeling for a while but haven’t ever been able to articulate clearly. In fact, I’m just gonna leave you with this quote from the article: “Viral food trends feel like the equivalent of submitting your essay at 11:59 p.m. because you just had to have something turned in regardless of it being any good or not. The lack of intention behind these foods irks me. BIPOC chefs and cooks like me aren’t able to do things half-assedly and get far in this industry.”
- “Your Body Survived a Pandemic. Don’t Punish It With Diet Fads.” A friendly reminder that the last year was incredibly hard, and it’s absolutely, 100% okay if you’re coming out of it looking a little different than before.
Recipes and Resources To Save
And here are the recipes and cooking-related resources I saved these last few weeks:
- The New York Times’ 11 Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes! So happy to see one of my all-time fave CCC recipes (by the famous chocolatier Jaques Torres—you can see my version of it on this blog, which I plan on updating soon!) and my friend Sarah Kieffer make the list.
- OMG, Heather’s Cheesecake Factory Copycat Celebration Cheesecake is SO freaking epic. It looks better than the real thing!
- I’ll admit—the inside of my freezer is an absolute DISASTER. I definitely bookmarked this handy guide to help organize your freezer from The Kitchn.
- “Renovating Your Kitchen? Here Are All The Reno Mistakes To Avoid – Crowdsourced From Our Readers Who Have Been There & Done That.” YES! I am planning on a “light” remodel of my new kitchen next year (I’m insane, I know) to make it more functional. I am all about these tips!
- Whitney’s guide on how to make and decorate cakes ahead of the big event/special occasion they are for is ABSOLUTELY my jam. 100% Weeknight Baking vibes!
Finally, On A Lighthearted Note
- Speaking of kitchen remodels: “18 Cool Things Other People Have In Their Houses That Make Me Feel Extremely Broke.” These are mostly kitchen related and I am BEYOND impressed at some of these customizations!
- Every month, Eater does a deep dive on a “genre” or region of food. This month? They’re focusing on FOOD FROM GAS STATIONS! I have had a soft spot for gas station food ever since I biked across the country (yes, I BIKED from New Hampshire to Washington state, to this day it’s one of my most impressive accomplishments) and stopped at many gas stations along the way to fuel myself with snacks. It sounds gross, I know, but there are hidden local gems out there!
Okay, whew! That’s all for now, folks. I hope you all are staying safe and healthy! Please let me know how you’re doing in the comments below, and feel free to share the ideas and issues that are floating around in your heads, too.