Quarter Life Panic Mode

So here’s the thing. I have no idea what I want to do with my life. I am a person who has WAY too many interests. I dream of being a farmer, a nutritionist, a yoga instructor, a vegan chef or Rick Steves… What would be practical would be to pursue a career in non-profit administration, as that is where I am now, and what I could potentially make into a career.
Now here is the question: do I go with what is practical? This is where my parents are shaking their heads yes. Yes, yes, absolutely yes. They have watched me pursue a myriad of interests, flitting between them like nobody’s business. I can imagine it drives them bonkers. Being the magnificent parents that they are, they just support me and encourage me to be smart in my decisions.
Isn’t there a job where I can be in the kitchen all day, writing about food in the evening, taking care of the vegetables, goats and chickens in the morning? Where is this life, and how do I go to there?
It is pretty incredible how many quarter life crisis’s have managed to squeeze into my 24th and 25th year. This all could be stemming from the fact that it is currently 75 degrees outside and I am stuck at a computer at work, with little to do. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job. I love the people I work with; I love that I can come to work and know that I am supporting a great organization. However, I know that I wouldn’t be happy to stay in this position forever. I just want more. All the time.
I had a moment this morning where I decided that my heart was set on moving to Austin, TX. Then I decided I should move to Kauai. THEN I decided I should move wherever there was an awesome job waiting for me. This all happened within an hour. Sheesh, I need to get my head screwed on a little bit tighter.
You know how some people can look ahead 5-10 years and know where they are going to be? They have it mapped out. They want to have a baby by 28, own a house and be in a job that supports their family. Me? Not so much. Do I want to get married—who knows. Do I want kids? Meh… I can go either way. Do I know where I want to be career wise? Obviously not.
I think that I over think things, think myself into circles, get exhausted by all the potential awesome that I could make happen in my life and then I sort of drop out of pursuing any of it. There is nothing logical about it, but here I am. Same sort of situation—round #7.
Here is what I do know. And this is what grounds me when my mind starts to play the, “what if…” game. I know that I love food more than anything. I know that being in my kitchen is my therapy. I know that five hours can pass by without my noticing as long as I have a good podcast and fresh ingredients on hand.
Food is my sanity.
This is why I always end up in the kitchen when things get out of control.
What can I say? I eat my feelings.
But you know what has happened this week? All I have in my kitchen is popcorn. Literally. And my dog is out of food. I am a hot mess. I have every evening booked, my room is literally covered in clothes, glasses and far too much laundry.

Big ol’ sigh.
So I decided to pass my recipe desires to my step-mom. She, like me, loves to be in the kitchen. She, also like me, is a vegan. Let’s just say we make the perfect pair when it comes to food.

This recipe had me drooling at the title, then I looked at the beautiful pictures (Sprouted Kitchen, you’ve done it again) and it was all over—I must have it. Now.
So with plans up to my eyeballs, and a lack of an ice cream maker, I have asked my step mom to make it. I can’t wait to shove it in my mouth. Especially as we approach strawberry season.
Eating my feelings can sometimes result in a beautiful thing…

Roasted Strawberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Adapted from Hungry Girl Por Vida

2 pints strawberries, hulled and quartered

2 tsp. natural cane sugar

2 egg yolks

1/3 cup natural cane sugar

3 Tbsp. maple sugar (or just more natural cane sugar if that’s what you have)

1 13.5 oz. can coconut milk

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

2 oz. dark chocolate, optional


Preheat the oven to 300′.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Pile the berries in the middle, sprinkle with the 2 tsp. of cane sugar, pinch of sea salt and toss gently to coat. Spread in an even layer and bake on the middle rack for 25 minutes. Turn off the heat but leave the berries in there to cool slowly. They need to be completely cool before adding to the ice cream machine. This step can be done in advance.

Set a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water, but do not let the bowl touch the water. Add the egg yolks and both sugars and stir to warm. As the sugar melts, it will become smooth and shiny. If these two need a bit of help melting, just add a spoonful of the coconut milk to get things moving along. Stir the mixture for about 5 minutes. Add the can of coconut milk and whisk everything to combine. As everything warms, it will get smoother. The custard will start to thicken just a bit. Stir in the vanilla, turn off the heat, strain through a fine strainer to remove any eggs bits and transfer the bowl to the fridge to cool completely.

Add the coconut custard to your ice cream maker and churn according to instructions. Meanwhile, if using, melt the chocolate in a double boiler (glass bowl over simmering water). At about 75% finished, add in a cup of the cooled, roasted strawberries and let it continue. In the last-minute, slowly drizzle in the (not super hot) chocolate if you wants some chocolate chards or chunks in the ice cream.

Transfer to a container and freeze until firm.

**it has been in the mid 70s all week-long, which is unheard of in Seattle. The air tastes like summer, I want to walk around in bare feet, spend my days at the ocean with a hound dog that loves to chase seagulls and drink my body weight in iced tea… too bad it is supposed to rain all next week. 😦 In celebration of ice cream and sun, I give you a picture that sums up what I do when I get home from work. He is my everything.**

3 thoughts on “Quarter Life Panic Mode

  1. I want some of that ice cream! Sigh….life IS complicated. I wish I could tell you that decisions come easier as you get older. But I have found that isn’t true. However, I have found that it gets easier to appreciate life and not to sweat the small stuff. You are amazing and will find the right path. I believe in you!

  2. I’m going through a quarter-life crisis of my own. And I remembered your blog. I scrolled through and must have known subconsciously that you were having one too not too long ago. I had to laugh about your plans to move to Austin and then to Kauai because I went through the same exact thing and then moved to Honolulu… Quit my job, moved out of my apartment, left my friends and Green Lake and moved. And then, after a month, I moved back.
    I just wanted you to know that I love your blog and it inspires me to do more yoga and more vegetarian/vegan cooking, even though I was not formerly a fan of either (the jury is still out with cooking…). And it makes me feel good to know that I’m not alone in my quarter-life struggles. Thank you, Chelsea!

    • Oh man Amanda. I am in love with this whole comment. Honestly, it is so good to know that we all go through this crazy time. Who knows, I think that is what life is all about though. If you don’t know what you want, you don’t know where you are going and you aren’t happy with what you are doing– make a change. Life is just too damn short. I highly recommend watching my brother in law’s poem, Shake the Dust. I like to watch that and his poem Come Into This (so much so that I have it tattooed on my body) whenever I am feeling down about life and choices. Thanks for reading Amanda!!

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