This last month, my mom and her friend came to visit for two weeks! We spent the time doing mini quick trips to Multnomah Falls (see the pretty picture above), a weekend in Seattle, and outdoor dining at some of my favorite restaurants in Portland.

These trips mark the first time I’ve left Portland since the start of the pandemic. And even though they were baby travels (Multnomah Falls is only a 30 minute drive from my house, while Seattle is only 3 hours away), I’d forgotten how rejuvenating travel and a change of scenery could be. Pre-pandemic, I traveled at least once a quarter. My travels were both for work and/or fun, and took me to cities near and far like Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, London, Copenhagen, Paris, Manila, Seoul, Istanbul, and even Tel Aviv! I can’t believe how much I took that all for granted—sometimes I would even complain about my busy travel schedule! Wild.

Truthfully, despite being vaccinated, I still feel iffy about the “ethics” of traveling during a global pandemic. Even though I’m fully vaccinated, I truly believe that the pandemic isn’t over until it’s over globally, EVERYWHERE. And that will only happen if we continue to follow unpopular precautions and restrictions like masking, socially distancing, and restricting our travel for essential reasons only.

That being said, I also know that my opinion is unpopular. The last year and a half has been tough on everybody, and those precautions take a mental toll. Many of the older folks (cough, boomers, cough) I’ve spoken with about the pandemic feel as if it’s robbed them of the precious last few years of their life in which they are still physically and mentally able to travel. And if folks are vaccinated, restricting ourselves seems unnecessary. And I’m sympathetic to that.

I don’t know if I’m being dramatic, but to me, it feels like it’s a choice between two not-so-great decisions. Continuing to avoid things like travel, dining out, going to the movies and everything else means that I would be protecting my physical health at the expense of my mental health. But doing all those things again means the opposite—is 3 hours at a crowded movie theater, or 2 hours of dining in at a restaurant worth the risk of catching a breakthrough Delta COVID infection? Probably not, lol.

Anyway, these are probably heavier topics than you would like to see on a baking blog. So back to our regular programming:

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 new:

Below are pictures of the two most popular recipes from the month—Maple Pecan Muffins and NOT Cakey Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies—to inspire you:

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:

New Cookbooks To Try

Although summer is a slow month for cookbooks, I did receive a new one I’m excited about: Life Is What You Bake It by Vallery Lomas (a.k.a. @foodieinnewyork)!

Vallery won The Great American Baking Show, the American version of The Great British Bake Off. Unfortunately, her season never aired after several accusations of sexual misconduct against one of the judges. Yikes! I’m happy to see that Vallery is doing well though—her book is filled with amazing, classic baking recipes that I can’t wait to try!

Recipes and Resources To Save

And here are the recipes and cooking-related resources I saved these last few weeks:

Finally, On A Lighthearted Note

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.


Michelle holding Weeknight Baking cookbook covering her face.

buy the book
Weeknight Baking:
Recipes to Fit your Schedule

Over the past several years of running Hummingbird High, I kept a crucial aspect of my life hidden from my readers: I had a full-time, extremely demanding job in the tech world. In my debut cookbook, Weeknight Baking, I finally reveal the secrets to baking delicious desserts on a tight schedule.