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July Coffee Date

Hello, hello! I am sneaking in at the end of the week for a coffee date because I just looked at the calendar and it is the end of July! Like, who is in charge of time around here?

It has been a month of sun, and outdoor lunches and dinners, and walks around the lake, and book reading (maybe we’ll hit that topic next time)! And in the drink department, things have stayed pretty consistent:

I still love lemonade.

I still love green smoothies.

I still love decaf iced coffees, lately with a pinch of sugar AND salt. I know.

One small development that you should know about, since this IS a coffee date post, is that we got a new bubble tea shop in by our house this month, and it has some of that really good Thai tea or royal milk tea that is kind of milkshake-level sweet and creamy. Know what I’m talking about? It’s just kind of ridiculous and so very good. I’m just drinking water at the moment (sad) but I’m going to PRETEND it’s a dreamy Thai tea with those big fat chewy pearls.

One other development is my newfound obsession with the fluffiest blueberry pancakes (pictured). You must make them, and SOON.

What about you guys? Drinks of choice today? Whatever it is, grab a coaster and settle in. Coffee date starts now.

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Cold Press

A small jug of half-caffeinated coffee.

Drink-obsessed much? I’ve been making cold brew for the last month or so, and the short story is that it’s awesome.

Okay, I know there are rules about “grind your own coffee” and stuff, but honestly, I am scrappy. I have a bunch of pre-ground coffee right now, so that’s what I’m using. I mix 4 cups of water with about 1 cup of ground coffee and let it sit overnight (12 hours). Then I run it through a paper filter (or a tea filter, or lately, a filtering pitcher) in the morning and voila! Cold brew ready for the week.

I do one batch of decaf or half caf and one batch of regular, and honestly, having it waiting for me in the fridge makes waking up feel like a small party. I love it.

Cold Brew Tools (not essential, just some of my faves):

(These are affiliate links on Amazon, just cause we have them and use them a lot. ^ Feel free to search them out on your own if you ‘d rather not give us any referral credit! No prob.)

Do you guys make cold brew? Am I criminal for using pre-ground coffee?

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Pedicures Are Life

Feet of a woman having red nail polish, wearing sandals can be seen on the green grass.

I’m sorry in advance for a foot pic – I just need you to know that this month I spent $25 on a pedicure.

I probably haven’t had a pedicure for, like, 2 years, but WHY WHY WHY do I not do this every month. It was so wonderful. I sat and read my book in a massaging chair while my feet got beautified. This needs to become a new ritual. Absolutely worth $25.

Are you Team DIY nails or do you go get them done?

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Staycation Vs. Vacation

A man and a woman smile in front of a dock.

This month Bjork and I took two days off of work to try to celebrate summer… even though we can’t go anywhere (pregnancy / travel restrictions) or do anything (pregnancy / activity restrictions).

Staycation, we said! It’ll be so fun, we said!

And then it rained both days, and we ended up doing semi-sad things like eating Jimmy John’s for lunch while watching Parks and Rec at home instead of going on scenic drives and lakeside picnics.

Spending time with Bjork is always a win for me, and I’m more than happy not to push any of my travel or activity restrictions to have a healthy pregnancy, so I really can’t complain at all. I guess I just felt like maybe I’d come away from the experience loving staycation, and I think I more came away from the experience loving vay-cation a little more.

Are you guys staycationers? Maybe you can teach me how to do it better next time.

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Freezer Meals

Ziploc bags full of different dishes having labels over them.

Ooh, classy! Love a raw meat pic.

Okay, here’s the deal. I’m kind of thinking about prepping some freezer meals for maternity leave, but, uhh, I don’t really DO freezer meals. Or I haven’t before. I’m trying to learn, and so far I feel pretty proud of my stash, but there are so many things I still don’t know.

Questions that linger:

  • What is the best general method for freezer meals? Crockpot? Instant Pot? Sheet pan? Lasagna every time?
  • Right now, I have the meats/sauces frozen, and then the thinking is that I’ll build a full meal by adding extras (potatoes, rice, salad, etc.) at meal time. But is there an easier way? I kind of want stuff that’s just, like, ready to go.
  • Thawing. It’s kind of annoying (planning ahead is really hard for some of us, okay?!) and I get nervous about food safety. What are your tricks?
  • Related: is there a resource that you like for freezer meals that are NOT a 1 can + 1 package of chicken kind of thing? You guys KNOW I love easy meals, but I’d rather make these an easy meals meets real food kind of thing, and I have had a hard time finding recipes that are both.
  • What else can I use to store this stuff besides gallon plastic bags? Anything glass or reusable?

Thank you in advance!

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Maternity Leave, Blog Posts, And Your Thoughts

Daisies (white with gold center) close together on a bed of greenery.

Hey! Speaking of.

I’m planning to take a maternity  leave this fall, and I am so excited.

I really want to protect what I think will be a really special and disorienting and un-showered time. As a result, I’ve decided not to post during my maternity leave. I’ve also decided not to stress myself out in between now and then by drafting 900 posts in advance.

I’m just keeping it simple – working like normal till baby comes, taking a leave, and coming back in January.

So here’s my question: What would feel good to see on the blog during that time?

Currently we have a few post series in the works that continue to bring valuable content to YOU, except instead of being written by me, it’d be coming from others on our team and in our community. What are your feelings on that? Are you excited / not excited to see new photos, new voices, and new types of content here? Sometimes I feel like my role here is not only content creator but “protector of POY,” which really means “protector of POY readers,” and making sure that everything that gets shared here is valuable and interesting and REAL and fun for you.

Gimme whatcha got!

A Few Words From Sage

Sage has one more thing to add.

A brown dog lying on a soft chair with green plants nearby.

She would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the value of a nice rest.

There’s only so much pushing forward, hustling, getting-it-done-ing that a person can do from day to day and week to week. We have limits. I mean, look at her. This is a girl who KNOWS her limits. She is straight goals with her limits.

She wants to remind you to take a rest when you need one. You’ll probably come back to your job, your kids, your stress and your difficult situation with a renewed energy to be awesome. We can’t all go, go, go forever. Breathe, close your eyes for a second (or a month), and watch a dumb TV show just because.

Rest is good.

Bonus – Come Work With Us!

A group of people posing for a photo.

Oh, hey! PS. We’re hiring! Sage wanted you to know in case you wanted to apply OR send the job posting to someone you know who should apply.

This is a remote, part-time position for Food Blogger Pro (our awesome membership community for food bloggers) and it involves helping people and being friendly on the internet! Fun stuff. You need to be a good writer because we do all our communication online, and, obviously, you need to be a nice person because you’ll be supporting lots of FBP-ers.

You can check out the official job posting here!

That’s all for today! See you next month for the last coffee date of the summer months umm SAY WHAT?! I can’t even talk about that right now.

Live your life! Eat that popsicle! Enjoy the sun!

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  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hey Lindsay,

    So good to hear from you! Wishing you a peaceful and fantastic maternity leave! Only condition, while you are away, we want pictures of your family periodically. Please.

    Having a Sencha tea bar (and Trader Joes) close to home is my ideal location.. enjoy it! I drive out to MoA just for their bubble tea and it is on my things-to-do at MN list with all visiting family/ friends.


  2. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Lisa V

    A blog that I love for freezer meals is Thriving Home. They go into detail with all the how tos, they’ve already tested the recipes, and they are nuts about food safety.

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    If you get lots of tips on freezer meals, can you do a blog post on it? I’m expecting my first baby this December and also want to prep a bunch of freezer meals… but don’t want to be stuck with a bunch of lasagna and chili. Real food meals and tips would be great!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Same here! I’m expecting my first end of September and would really appreciate a post on this! So great that you are taking maternity leave. I’m most looking forward to your post in January where you tell us how you have been doing 🙂 (and yes staycations are nice but even just a weekend an hour’s drive away is also very nice, especially without tv and internet. I find it easier to reset that way than at home)

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        I’ll be the third request for a freezer meal post! We’re expecting our first in early October and I’m hoping to do some meal prep/freezer meals ahead of time, but I don’t want it to all be heavy casseroles. I’d love to know which of your recipes are freezer friendly! Thank you!!

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo

          I’m on maternity leave now and beyond the lasagna and soups (so many soups!) I found freezing components of meals to be helpful. I made a bunch of shredded chicken in the crockpot and then portioned it out into one meal portions. Then I can toss it with BBQ sauce, taco seasoning, whatever for a protein. We also always have frozen corn, frozen peppers and onions (thanks Trader Joes!), tortillas, etc. so we can toss together a Mexican feast. I also froze veggie burgers, refried beans, and baked beans for protein sources. Some convenient items from the store helped too- Trader Joes has frozen brown rice, lots of veggies, etc. The day I got home from the hospital I used Amazon Prime Now to have Whole Foods delivered- an hour later fresh produce was at my door!

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    If freezer cooking isn’t your thing, consider stocking up on pantry staples that will make you post baby arrival grocery shopping quicker. Do this also for things like soap, toilet paper, dog food. Even with amazon prime and clicklist, sleep deprivation will make these thing harder to get done.

    Enjoy your maternity leave.

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Every parent deserves time off after they give birth. That being said, I do feel that you probably post the least new content of most food bloggers I follow (though for the post month or so this has not been the case!), and give yourself the most vacation time. I do appreciate when bloggers prep posts for while they are gone, obviously not at the same frequency as their usual, but part of any job is planning ahead in that way and it is normal to have to work harder before vacations or leaves. Sally from SBA is amazing about this – she had posts all through her maternity leave and she probably works harder than any other food blogger out there. Having others post for you is certainly one way to do but it will not get you a fraction of the traffic and will definitely not satisfy your readers in the same way. I’d suggest prepping maybe one post for every 2 weeks of your break, especially since you’re giving yourself such an extended leave. Just my two cents, since you asked!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Wow. Are you not aware of Lindsay and Bjork’s previous experience with pregnancy and childbirth? That’s the only reason I can possibly think of to excuse, at least a little bit, your sending this kind of message to them. She asked for input, not a lecture, for heaven’s sake. What on earth compels you to be so judgmental, insensitive, and, yes, snarky? You’re entitled to your opinion but there are vastly better ways to voice it. Maybe you should have just kept your two cents in your pocket this time.

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          Thanks Laura and Ashley 🙂

          To Lindsay & Bjork, I say do whatever makes it work for YOU and your new family. That’s your absolute top priority! Take all the time you want and need, and we’ll be here when you get back, promise.

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        A thank you to Marsh as well, that comment has been bothering me as well, since I first read it, and I wasn’t sure how to address it. Well said. Lindsay , enjoy this time and a wonderful maternity leave.

    2. Pinch of Yum Logo

      This comment from Anna is so unnecessary, rude, condescending, etc. I love this blog and really appreciate all the hard work and heart that Lindsay et al. put into it. Some people need to be reminded of the childhood lesson, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

      Lindsay, I hope you enjoy the rest of your pregnancy and maternity leave. It is a truly special time for your family and I wish you nothing but peace and happiness. The blog (and your readers) will survive for a few months and we’ll be here when you get back. But a few pics of the family would be nice. 🙂

    3. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Hi Anna,
      I understand you think your response was asked for. However, it sounds like you are trying to say that there is one set of rules for food blogger posting frequency and trying to shame Lindsey into posting more or prepping significantly before a well deserved maternity leave. Food bloggers are all different and post at different frequencies… other food blogs have nothing at all to do with POY. People come to POY for Lindsey’s unique voice and we will be happy for her to have as long a break as she needs and will return when she returns. I also hear you shaming Lindsey for taking “the most vacation of any food blogger”. I say, YAY LINDSEY! Yay life balance! Yay enjoying this ‘one, wild and precious life’. We should be follow my Lindsey’s example, not shaming her. I can’t imagine what made you feel that this was a helpful comment and I hope you can learn to be kinder in the online community and in life. We as women should be supporting each other, not tearing each other down by comparison and expectation.

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        Hear hear! I’m a lot older than most of the readers here, I expect; therefore, I can guarantee from experience that every point you make here, Kristin, is SO important, not just at moments such as maternity leave or whatever, but for all of one’s life. Big problems can come later if you allow negativity, trivial nonsense, and imbalance to take over. Seen it way too often. Embrace the good stuff!

      2. Pinch of Yum Logo

        Beautifully said, Kristin! I believe Food bloggers do not “owe” us anything – not their time, not their insight and knowledge, not their stories, not anything. I feel spoiled by Lindsey to be getting all of this amazing POY content (recipes and general life stuff I didn’t know I needed to hear but absolutely love love love), FOR FREE.

        Thank you, Lindsey, for everything you do for your POY readers. Take all the time you need worn the number one most important thing in your life, your wonderful family. The rest of us will still be here for you when you return in January!

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Enjoy your leave! I have been praying for an easy, uncomplicated pregnancy. So glad it seems to be going well. Do post pictures of the new family! Can’t wait to “meet” the new addition.

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Here’s a great site for freezer meals, all the recipes I’ve tried of hers are good. https://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/healthy-freezer-meal-prep-dinners-for-new-moms/
    In terms of what I’d want to see when you are on maternity leave (so,so excited for you) I’d love to see some “oldies but goodies” recipe posts. I started reading your blog regularly a few years ago and will do a random search once in a while to find new stuff but I’m sure there are gems I haven’t discovered. And of course I know we will all want to see pictures of the baby!!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I second the oldie but goodie content if time permits before the baby arrives.

      My experience with freezer meals is limited to leftover soup, but regardless it’s wonderful. Every new parent who has done this thanked themselves.

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        I third the oldie but goodie content! And I think it would totally make sense to have that shared by other members of the POY staff so you can spend time with your family. There are so many of your recipes I love and it would be fun to “rediscover” great ones I may have missed or forgotten about!

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Check out Once a Month Meals. They have a big variety of free recipes available and a lot of freezer cooking tips in their blog. I’ve used it for a resource many times.

    I also make double batches of things that hold up well in the freezer like chili and wild rice soup. Then you can just heat and eat.

    Trader Joe’s and Target have some freezer sides that I keep on hand for sides.

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I am expecting a baby in November and have done a lot of freezer meal research! Smitten Kitchen has a lot of freezable options including pastas. I’m also doing some soups and hearty stuff since I think brothy things like beef stew will be good for my body postpartum and it’s going to be winter. Meatloaf, short ribs, meatballs will be on the list.

    I’m also first time mom and have heard from expert moms that it’s helpful to have a lot of things to eat with one hand since you’ll be holding a baby a lot. So I’m thinking of freezing oatmeal squares, granola bars, energy bites, muffins and banana/other sweet breads. You could make your own pop-tart type things and freeze them I bet as well. How Sweet Eats has a lactation cookie recipe if you’re planning on breastfeeding plus other good breakfast cookie recipes that are oat-based and freezable. Your salmon burgers are on my to-freeze list!

    One thing to consider (this happened to a friend of mine and I’ve heard it elsewhere) is if you’re breastfeeding some babies end up getting early lactose and/or soy intolerances. It passes with time but the bottom line is if you freeze only stuff with dairy… there’s a possibility you won’t get to eat it. I’m trying to vary what I have just in case.

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Enjoy every second of your maternity leave, and don’t worry about us…we’ll be here when you get back 🙂 Just post the occasional picture or two, please!

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        Agree! Enjoy your time together and share a picture or two when you’re ready. 🙂

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I’ve been LOVING iced coffee right now and I make it just the same way you do. I also have recently been introduced to the Toddy…heard of it?! It makes the most amazing cold brew espresso which then makes the most amazing cold brew lattes…especially if you make your own nut milk sweetened with dates…OMG! And yes, enjoy time with your baby! I’d love to see whatever snippets of life you want to document and share on the internet:)

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo

    First of all congratulations on your pregnancy and on taking a maternity leave: I took 8 months with each children (2) which is the maximum allowed in my country (Portugal) and it was the best decision. Besides the great suggestions you already had, some popular “all in one” meals to freeze around here are duck or chicken rice, baked fish and potatoes, shreaded meat or fish in between layers of mashed potatoes. You do have to leave in the fridge for the night to unfrost it and then pop in the oven with shreaded cheese (rice), cream or bechamel (fish and potatoes) or beaten egg (mashed potatoes) and heat in the oven. But I believe any sort of stew or casserole are great options to freeze.
    And yes, pedicures are awesome! 🙂
    Wish you and your family all the best!

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Take all the time you need! Praying for a healthy baby and mama. I think it’s absolutely fine for your team to post in your absence during your maternity leave. You deserve that time. However, I love your voice above all else so I’d like to see you back when that time is over 🙂

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I’m a second year vet student and I’m about to have lecture 8am-5pm straight again, so I have been trying out freezer meal prepping too! I’ve really liked https://thefamilyfreezer.com/ for her freezer meal prep recipes. She has tons of variety and even writes out the shopping list for you. I feel like a squirrel storing food for winter, but I’m so stoked about it.

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Smitten Kitchen’s Everyday Meatballs! I really don’t like freezer meals, and this is one of those things you won’t even be able to tell.

    You can empty the total frozen bag into a pot and turn the pot on low. When it’s done, you have meatballs that can just be served with bread, salad, anything easy. They are so so so good!


    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Second to SK’s Everyday Meatballs! If you freeze them on a sheet pan first you can pull out as many as you need. I made a triple batch before I had my first one.

      I didn’t do as many freezer meals with my second, just vastly recalibrated what I considered “dinner”: protein, healthy stretch, veg. Some days it’s simple sheet pans, others I actually make a recipe.

      My biggest suggestion is for you to have single-serving meals frozen because breastfeeding/post-partum hunger is REAL and COMES ON VERY FAST. I’ve eaten more Hot Pockets at 3am these past 7 weeks than any college frat guy. And I don’t even like Hot Pockets!

      Regarding freezer storage: I follow the Pioneer Woman’s suggestion for casseroles to line the container you’re using to freeze in, then when frozen, wrap tightly with plastic wrap. When ready to reheat, remove plastic, return to same pan, and voila!

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Freezer meals are fantastic for after baby is born. Marinated meats are easy, enchiladas, soups, pasta sauces. I really liked having breakfast options too, like baked oatmeal or muffins.

    I think the key is to make meals that are partly from the freezer stash and partly fresh. Otherwise it can just feel like eating a lot of frozen leftovers.

  17. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I love the idea of hearing more from your team / community members (and um still please the occasional baby and dog baby pics 🙂 Enjoy your maternity leave – it’s such a wonderful time!

  18. Pinch of Yum Logo

    We are all really excited for you and Bjork. Enjoy your maternity leave and do not worry about POY, as many have said, we will be here when you get back. Whatever you guys decide about the blog while you’re out will be perfectly fine!

  19. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Veggy stews with patato puree on top. In a glass oven dish with matching plastic lid.
    You do need to put iT in the fridge the night before. And in the oven About half an hour before eating. Maybe sprinkle some cheese on top.
    Be fancy, put Some lentils in de veggy stew. Niceeeee

  20. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hey Linsday!
    Kristin from Iowa Girl Eats just did a blog post about prepping meals before a new baby arrives. Check it out here for meal ideas and tips:
    Also wanted to add that I love your coffee date posts plus the one’s about Sage in addition to all the food obviously. Still eat korean bbq beef burritos at least once month! I think it is wonderful that you will have the chance to be on maternity leave until January. In the meantime, I would love to see guest posts from others but do whatever feels most natural. Love watching Baby Ostrom continue to grow!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I was just coming down to see if anyone had mentioned IGE! She’s great! Her blog and yours are the two I read most!

  21. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Freezer meals. I often store in plastic zips but thaw overnight in frig. If last minute, most of the time sitting in bowl of room temp water for an hour or so will do it. I never, ever microwave in plastic or use plastic bags in boiling water. There is always take out if you forget!!!! I wish for you and your husband a beautiful and safe delivery.

  22. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Love the idea of you taking time off completely. That’s what a maternity leave should be! We are gutting our kitchen in September and will be “kitchen-less” for close to three months. So I’m prepping for that, and it’s kinda CRAZY (putting it mildly). BTW, I’m drinking cold brew with milk and a touch of sweetener. 🙂