Confession: I’ve been avoiding my birthday list.
My birthday was more than two months ago and I hadn’t looked at it since I posted it in March.
I’m not sure why this is. Probably because my life has felt full of to-do lists. Working overtime. Writing my book. Managing this site. Planning our wedding. Settling into our new flat. Growing my business. I’m constantly checking lists, ticking things off, and adding more on, so managing my free time by a list hasn’t felt very appealing.
I’ve been craving adventure and spontaneity, so I’ve just put my birthday list to the back of my mind and even considered ditching it completely.
I was excited by the idea. It was a simple way to tick off one of my birthday goals. And it was something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, hence why it’s on the list.
That’s the thing about birthday lists. They look like a to-do list but they’re all about prioritising the experiences you want to have and being intentional with how you spend your time. I take a pretty flexible approach to them, trying to tick off a couple of things a month (when I’m not avoiding it completely) but not getting stressed out when I don’t. I add things on when it feels good and forget about those I’m no longer keen on. And then there’s usually a marathon stretch of trying to do as many items as possible in the weeks leading up to my birthday.
Avoiding my birthday list wasn’t bringing me more spontaneity and adventure because when I take a break from the to-do lists, I just want to crash. The list is a gentle nudge to fit in those non-essential things that bring more joy and variety to my life.
They’re an intimidating vegetable with their spiky leaves and inaccessible fleshy heart. Neither Matthew and I had ever eaten one that didn’t come out of a jar first. But we watched this video and learned that the whole thing is rather simple, if a bit labourious considering how much you get to eat.
- Start by peeling the stem with a vegetable peeler and trim it to around an inch.
- Cut the spiky ends off the large leaves and then slice off the end to take the spikes off the smaller leaves.
- Steam or roast for up to 40 minutes. Check on it regularly after 20. When a leaf pulls out easily, they’re done.
I hadn’t realized how little of the plant you eat. You just the scrape off the fleshy part of the leaf with your teeth and discard the rest. You can also dig out the hairy choke to eat the soft heart underneath all of the leaves.
We dipped ours in hummus and a truffle balsamic reduction, and then used the heart for a salad.
Have you ever cooked an artichoke? Would you like to give it a try?