Thursday Thoughts

Happy Thursday Dude

I’m overwhelmed by the total badassery and thoughtfulness of you beautiful people who read my blog. Thank you for the emails asking where I am and if I’m OK.

Yes, I’m OK! Pretty good, even. Potentially great! We’ve just been super-duper busy with photography for Well Fed 2. It’s kind of astonishing that it (a) takes so much time and (b) is so completely exhausting, both mentally and physically.

I’ve been holding off on talking about it here because it could sound like I’m complaining, and I’m so not. I’m delighted to be challenged creatively and feel so so so tired — in a good way — at the end of the day. But the art direction meetings, prop shopping, grocery shopping, cooking, food styling, and photography are consuming every brain cell and almost every moment of our lives just now.

Plus, my calendar for the next week, starting tomorrow, says, “Write your ass off.”

Yes, friends. That is my awesome plan for getting a big chunk of the text written: Write your ass off. Nevermind that I used to produce editorial calendars and schedules for writing teams. No! My professional plan for myself is “write your ass off.” How can I miss a deadline with a roadmap like that?!

Anyway… to make up for neglecting all of you so terribly, we’re going to pick out one of the new recipes and photos and share it on the blog tomorrow — something nice for you to cook this weekend. And in the interim… here are some Thursday thoughts…

1. Professional cooks are made of tough stuff…
…as is everyone who works in any area of food service. On photography days, we’re usually scheduled to take five photos, which means I’m prepping/cooking five different dishes and washing up in between to prepare for the next one. I’m usually on my feet for 10-12 hours on those days, with a quick 30-minute sit down for lunch in the middle somewhere. At the end of the day, all I can manage is reheating some leftovers and watching an episode of The West Wing. My respect and admiration (and empathy) for food workers — and anyone who has a physical job — now runs deep.

2. Lifting heavy is kicking my ass.
We just finished the third week of our weight lifting cycle, which means this week is deload week and our weights last week were Heavy (note the capital H). Any day that includes heavy-heavy lifting and food photography feels like an endurance activity. Maybe we should make t-shirts and finishers’ medals!

3. I have never needed kundalini yoga more.
My kundalini classes — and occasional meditation on my own at home — are an oasis of calm amidst the frenzy of Well Fed 2 mania. It’s mentally challenging to keep my commitment to the two hours of self care — 15-minute commute to the yoga studio plus the 75-minute class — but getting all satnam groovy is just as important (if not more important right now) as the heavy lifting and good nutrition. I’ve also been walking and/or running every other day to get some fresh air and Vitamin D, and I’m sleeping at least eight hours per night. (My favorite trick to bring a moment of clarity to a stressful day: reach overhead while inhaling, then fold forward to touch the floor while exhaling. Repeat for 90 seconds for rejuvenation and a fun head rush.)

4. I’m not Whole30-ing, but I’m very close.
I’m not obsessively eating Whole30 style — we’re eating out once in a while and there might be some high-quality dark chocolate making its way into my belly sometimes — but at home, everything is Whole30 approved because I’m striving to make all of the Well Fed 2 recipes compliant with the Whole30 guidelines… and I need to feel as energetic and clear-headed as possible while we’re working so hard, so eating clean is a key part of self care.

5. I’m ridiculously excited about Well Fed 2.
Despite not updating my blog this week, I haven’t felt absent from it because I think about you guys all the time. I can’t wait to share the new recipes with you, and there are some really cool, fun, easy, delicious things to eat that will expand your Hot Plates habits exponentially, like… eight new variations on homemade mayo and 13 sausage-inspired meatballs. Four soups. Three slow cooker recipes (that make lots of leftovers). New spice blends and a few salad dressings/sauces that will make you so excited to eat vegetables. I really can’t wait for you all to try them.

6. I’m speaking at TechMunch Austin Food Blogger Conference
This looks like it’s going to be a really cool event. You should come hang out with us!

7. And I’m doing a cooking demo at PaleoFX.
There are so many good presenters and yummy cooking demos, you should come hang out with us here, too.

8. This happened.

I was transferring  (crazy-delicious) “Old School Italian Meat Sauce” to a storage container after its big photo shoot, when kerplash! crazy-delicious meat sauce was everywhere. The feeling of lukewarm tomato sauce splattering against my thigh and seeping into my yoga pants was indescribably disgusting. You should also note that I was looking trés chic that day, non? Do you enjoy the pegged roll-up of my pants? How about the excellent fit on that sweatshirt? (I’ve since made more of an effort to “look cute” while we’re working because this photo was so painful to see.)

To redeem myself, I’ll be sharing the recipe for Old School Italian Meat Sauce tomorrow. Here’s a sneak peek that’s way more appetizing than the abomination above:


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  • Penny says:

    Can’t wait for tomorrow !!

  • Amy Drorbaugh says:

    I love you even more now that I know you watch West Wing re-runs. 🙂

  • Tim Huntley says:

    Hey Mel,

    Best wishes for a productive “write your ass off” week.

    And FYI, I don’t plan to make the trip to Austin for PaleoFx, but I hope you guys have a fantastic time.


  • I’m always spilling something all over myself in the kitchen. Every day.

  • LizzieMac1974 says:

    Thank you for creating such an amazing blog. It has been my savior for my first Whole30. You truly one bad-ass woman!!

  • Trish says:


    Glad you’re still here, Mel.

  • KellyF says:

    Glad to see you back! Soooooo looking forward to Well Fed 2, and I think it is fab to find someone else watching West Wing.

  • Dana says:

    Well, I’m glad you didn’t ruin anything “cute” with that spill. I have been doing some research on aprons that have sleeves and that come down to my knees. No joke. Found a simple, funky pattern, now too find some worthy fabric…

    So thankful for your tireless pursuit of deliciousness! For US to copy!! Woo! I KNOW your new book will be amazing! I wanted to eat those meatballs through my screen!

  • jeannine says:

    Good news! i was in Barnes and Noble (in Silverdale, WA) today and they had two copies of Well Fed on the shelf… a couple months ago, they couldn’t even order it for me! yeah, progress! 🙂

  • Lady A says:

    Awesome! And I am excited about Well Fed 2!! Your recipes are a guaranteed WIN every time. Thank you so much for all the hard work you put into keeping us well fed and happy!

  • Susan Bostic says:

    Can’t wait for the new cookbook!

  • Heather says:

    Thank you for working so hard! I’m so excited for Well Fed 2. You are inspiring!!

  • Leora says:

    Can’t wait for the new cookbook…but I will settle for the meatball recipe!

  • Sarah says:

    Yumyumyumyum. I am so excited for 1) tomorrow and 2) Well Fed 2. I’m using Well Fed multiple times a week, and can’t wait for even more.

    Also, I’m very glad you’re OK.

  • BikramJen says:

    You make me laugh! No, seriously. I am laughing my ass off at the spilled meat sauce incident, and love the fact that you have such a great sense of humor and are a real human! Being as open as you are with your readers makes you seem approachable, and your recipes have made the last 30 days super fun for me in terms of cooking and trying new stuff. Thank you!

  • Lisa Van Damme says:

    Badassery back atcha. Can’t wait for WF2. Are you going with that name or is it a working title?

  • Amy in Austin says:

    Definitely excited for Well Fed 2 and glad it’s going well! I played “you know how you could do that” with the Sheperd’s Pie recipe from Well Fed and some ground elk tonight – it was fantastic. Thank you for all your wonderful recipes and the hard work you put into making them so delicious!

    Side note: WHAT is that beautiful pot/pan holding the meatballs in the last photo?

  • Lori Murphy says:

    Just an idea: I’d love a “bundle” and would purchase Well Fed and Well Fed 2 if offered together.

  • Rossana Bogorad says:

    Well Fed is/was our first Paleo cookbook and still is our favorite book. We learned all about Paleo and transformed our kitchen with your recommendations.
    Can’t wait for book #2!!

  • Callan says:

    Well Fed is one of maybe… two or three cookbooks I have bought in my entire life. You better believe I’m looking forward to its sequel! Thanks for everything you do, Melissa. 🙂

  • Tara Miley says:

    So excited to try out some of your recipes, especially the meatball recipe (hubby is super picky but I think these will fly)! I’m starting my first Whole30 tomorrow!

  • melissa says:

    Glad to hear your update. Do wonder how things are going and I have to tell you your that Well Fed is in my food conversations almost daily!!

    Cannot wait for WellFed 2…

    Thanks for all you do each and every day!

    Stay healthy and keep writing!!-

  • Sandy G. says:

    Love your blog, love your recipes, buying your book. You rock!

  • Martha says:

    Melissa, I can’t wait for the second cookbook. The first is so great and I refer to it a lot – just made another batch of Ras el Hanout last night; I should know it by heart by now but I still get out the cookbook.

    I wanted to send you a copy of my husband’s first mystery (Purgatory Chasm by Steve Ulfelder); I think you’d like it as he writes in the style of some of your favorites. He’s got a 4-book series; books 1 and 2 are out and the third will be published this May by St. Martin’s Press. I’m hoping you’ve got a PO Box I can send to… I’m not trying to be a creepy stalker, just wanted you to have the book for your next free Saturday on the couch.

  • deb says:

    i can’t wait for WF2! I LOVE LOVE LOVE well fed.

  • Sherry says:


    ALBONDIGAS (Meatballs in spanish!) Can’t wait – I love your Moroccan ones!!!!

  • Elizabeth says:

    I’m glad you’re okay. It felt weird to email you ’cause, you know, I don’t actually know you (so I didn’t) but I was worried aboutcha. Hearing about the behind-the-scenes cookbook stuff is so interesting! I had no idea it was such hard work. If WF2 is half as good as the first one I’ll be in heaven … so excited!!

  • Kathryn says:

    I just love the term “food styling” – it makes me laugh!!

  • Isla says:

    Can’t wait for Well Fed 2. When people ask what I eat on Paleo, the food in your Well Fed cookbook is my answer. Also, I always look like that in the kitchen, or all my clothes would be ruined from my messes!

  • Katherine says:

    You are such an inspiration, and don’t we all slouch around in not-so-cute sweats sometimes? I am down with the worst (well, it makes the top 3) viruses of all time. It has not been the easiest 2013 so far as I feel like I’ve been knocked down at every turn, but there are plenty of positives, too. I just like feeling optimal, and when I get back to lifting heavy things next week and able to eat solid food, I’m sure the stars will feel aligned once again!

  • MC says:

    I was very glad to read that some folks e-mailed you to see if you were OK. It makes me feel not crazy that I considered doing the same thing!

    Yay for the new Well Fed! 🙂

  • Cathy says:

    Mel, before you publish “8 new variations on homemade mayo,” would you please just confirm your advice that mayo is good until a week following the date on the egg carton?

    It’s my impression that once an egg is cracked open, the date on the carton is somewhat irrelevant because the egg is no longer protected in its shell. Most other sources I’ve seen say that homemade mayo is good for about a week.

    I always date my container, and if there’s any left at 10 days, I’ll use it (it’s never been bad) but then throw the rest out just to be safe.

    Love your blog, and your book. Can’t wait for the new one!

    • Mel says:

      Hey, Cathy! I hadn’t heard that about the eggs, so thanks for sharing. Our mayo is usually all eaten within a week, so it never sticks around long enough to worry about it.

      Here’s a rule of thumb for ALL food: if it doesn’t smell like you want to eat it, don’t eat it. But your 10-day rule is also a great one!

  • Stompy says:

    I’ve been checking for updates regularly & was so hoping the lack of posts was because you were hard at work on Well Fed 2. All my dreams have com true! I am so excited & can’t wait until I’m cooking from it..

  • Devon says:

    Love the pic! You look happy, your hair is super shinny and under all that sauce I see a super hero in disguise!

  • Linda says:

    Yay! So glad you’re doing well. Thanks for the reminder about keeping up with yoga and meditation. I’ve been slacking lately and realized that’s why I was right bitchy yesterday! Self-care is the first thing I let go of when I’m busy (or, let’s be honest – lazy!). I love what you said about keeping your commitment in this area. If you can manage with your crazy schedule, then surely I can fit in something so important as well.

    • Mel says:

      And thank YOU for this comment because I really didn’t want to get out of bed to go to yoga this morning, but your comment motivated me to get up. And I’m glad I did — it felt great to move.


  • Mel says:

    Thank you, EVERYONE, for your sweet comments. You guys are totally the wind beneath my wings, and I meant that in both a cheesy and completely sincere way. Y’all are the best.

  • Beth says:

    I am SO EXCITED for Well Fed 2. Our copy of Well Fed is so warped and spattered, we need to get #2 in here and get it equally messy!

    So glad you’re yoga-ing and lifting. It’s awesome to read about someone who is working their butt off (and loving it) and is also keeping their body and mind healthy. It’s something I’m working on and you’re super inspiring!

  • Erin Mullen says:

    Rock on, sister. We LOVE LOVE LOVE your recipes…. and we have only just begun;)

  • Anita says:

    My co-workers are always astounded when I tell them we make our own mayo…when I tell them how easy it is they always want the recipe so I send a link to the recipe here! I hope I’ve gotten you at least 1 new reader with the dozen+ links I’ve sent! I feel your pain regarding your 12 hour an RN all my work days are at least 12 hours and there is no sitting…one word…ZENSAH!!…seriously…

  • Sheila says:

    I can’t wait for your new book! I have bought several copies of Well Fed to distribute to family and friends, even those who haven’t seen the light. I cooked from it all weekend long, and I’m well stocked for the week!

  • Aimee Frederick says:

    Yay! Finally making it over to your blog to check where you were! Busy girl!

    I am all for t-shirts and finishers’ medals. I have been training the oly lifts 2+ times a week for 6 months and I cook for my fam almost everyday, so yeah, let me know about those medals…

    Can’t wait for Well Fed II!


  • Megan says:

    Hi Mel! I am so happy because I just got my soft cover WELL FED in the mail! I thought it was high time I paid for all these delicious recipes that I have been enjoying free on your blog. I just finished my first amazing Whole30, with very large thanks to your wonderful, inspiring and delicious recipes. It is so generous of you to share and help people with this lifestyle.

    I am so excited to hear there is a 2nd volume coming soon! Listen up People: Melicous deserves compensation for her talents and the recipes we enjoy here on her blog- please support her! I encourage you to buy her books!

    • Mel says:

      Thank you SO very much for the support — awesome of you! And congratulations on your Whole30! That’s a kickass accomplishment; I hope you’re strutting at least a little bit.