Small wins? Big wins? One and the same?

Small wins? Big wins? One and the same?

I was sitting at the table working when my son (13) asked for some water. He couldn’t seem to find his usual glass. He walked by my work station and asked if he could have some of mine, which of course he could. . . About 15 minutes later I look up and my water glass is full.


Did my son refill my water glass after emptying it and replace it? Yes. Did he make note of doing so? No. Did it take me 15 minutes to notice because I was deep in work? Yes! Did this make me happy beyond measure? I think you know the answer.


Adolescence is often associated with selfish behavior. Their worlds seem to revolve around them, their needs and wants. I’ve been seeing more glimpses of maturity and thoughtfulness lately. So often our children are also our teachers and his simple act certainly made my day as a parent. It also was a reminder, as cliched as it sounds, of being mindful, noticing the little moments.


These days are hard and fraught with so many (local to global) challenges. In order to show up every day and be of service, and care for those I love, for strangers and for myself, I have to find daily moments of joy. Moments of seeing the people around me fully. Seeing them without my baggage of what I assume they will do or say.


Cooking continues to bring me joy and I am interested in how cooking is working for you these days. Can you bring fresh eyes to it? I’ve been in bit of a creative slump but yesterday popped out of it with a fabulous adaptation of jambalaya that was full of vegetables (and a little meat) including a whole savoy cabbage (recipe coming soon). Ah, the little things that make me smile!


The other great joy I have is connecting with people. I’ve started teaching public virtual (live) cooking classes and have one this Wednesday evening at 5pm PDT. You can kick back with a favorite beverage or cook along and have dinner ready by the end. I would simply love to have you “in” my kitchen as we cook and find some moments to notice the little and big stuff!


With great fondness,





8 thoughts on “Small wins? Big wins? One and the same?”

  • Jayne Cronlund says:

    I have been recovering from a long standing illness (not COVID) though a virus. So, I haven’t had extra energy in months. This last few weeks, I have started feeling more energy to cook. What a welcome relief! Today, I put a whole chicken in the slow cooker. My first ever attempt at this way to cook a chicken. To some, this may seem like a small win. To me, just the effort to complete a new recipe was and is a huge win. No matter how the chicken actually turns out!

    • cookwithwhatyouhave says:

      I’m sorry you’ve been so sick, Jayne. But hurray for cooking that chicken. I can imagine the relief and being able to do these little/big things again and the renewed pleasure of them after not having been able to. I with you continued healing.

  • Sharon Kaufman-Osborn says:

    I agree that the celebration of moments are worth noticing, one after the other. Yesterday I roasted some of my last little tomatoes (Juliette and Chocolate Cherry), with chopped garlic, olive oil, fresh rosemary and salt, of course. I mixed them with Banza’s garbanzo flour pasta, fresh burrata mozzarella, some of the pasta water, and served with chopped fresh basil and a little parm. I was transported back to a trattoria in Florence. Today I am harvesting rosemary, thyme, mint, and oregano after making my last batch of pesto to freeze and ordering little sparkly lights to get through the Walla Walla winter :). My senses are awake and I am filled with gratitude.

  • I love this post. I am noticing the same thing with my 19 yr old son. Moments of joy are so precious now it’s nice to bask in them! I made the cauliflower steaks and yogurt sauce from one of your last emails – yum. Gonna mix it with potatoes & brown rice for lunch. How do I sign up for cooking class on Wed?

    • cookwithwhatyouhave says:

      Aren’t (our) children amazing. It is such a gift, as hard as it often is. And your cauliflower steak lunch sounds fantastic. Link to sign up for class is in the post above. Would love to have you!

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