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I've now hit the three-month mark as a full-time freelance writer (I've previously written about my efforts to set up a routine and my newfound leisure time/cookie baking habit), and the whole process has been a lot tougher than I expected. On some level, I thought that my side gig would transform magically into full-time employment, with assignments raining down from editors, every pitch garnering a positive answer, and a slew of lucrative content creation clients lining up for my services.
Obviously, this isn't what happened (which I should've known, given that I've been a freelance writer for over three years now). I am getting journalistic work, but exclusively from editors I already had relationships with—despite lots of pitching, I haven't managed to break into any new publications. Ditto on the content creation side of things, and none of the 50-plus part-time remote writing gigs I've applied for has panned out. Also, spending 11 hours a day on your own is tough, even if you're as introverted as it gets on the Myers-Briggs test.
So, those are the minuses, along with dramatically reduced income and having to navigate the ridiculously complicated IRS tax rules for the self-employed. On the plus side: I get to wear yoga pants whenever I want and I can spend part of the day working from coffee shops.
Another perk is that I'm traveling more, which is something I've dreamed of doing since I was a kid—I recently took a hosted trip New Ulm and Mankato and attended a blogging conference in Clear Lake, Iowa. In June, I'll be visiting Winnipeg on a press trip and taking a hosted road trip through southern Wisconsin, with stops in La Crosse, New Glarus, Kenosha, and Janesville.
I'm also getting the opportunity to write stories that are truly inspirational: about a fisherman-owned business that's bringing sustainable salmon to the Twin Cities, a woman-owned craft distillery, and an immigrant who's exploring issues of identity through pastry. The best part of my job is interviewing people who love what they do.
And I'm still blogging. This spinach and feta egg bake recipe from the Kitchn has been in my queue for quite awhile; it piqued my interest because it sounded similar to the egg bakes at my favorite bed and breakfast. Although it's probably intended to be a breakfast recipe, the fresh spinach and dill make it a nice spring dinner, too. If you're eating it as a dinner entree, it serves four, while if you're having it for breakfast or as a side dish it would serve eight. I love how well the tangy feta and Dijon mustard pair with the brightness of the dill, and I also appreciated the ample serving of vegetables (I actually couldn't fit all the spinach in the ingredient photo!)
The best part of this recipe, hands down, is the satisfaction of cracking an entire carton of eggs in one go. Be sure to use a large bowl (my 8-cup Pyrex measuring bowl was barely big enough)—a dozen eggs take up more space than you think they will. Also, I used whole milk since that what I had on hand, but the original recipe indicates that you can also use 2%.
Adapted from the Kitchn
Serves 4 as a main course, 8 as a side
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- (8-ounce) package baby spinach
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 12 eggs
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- (4-ounce) container crumbled reduced-fat Feta
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9x13 inch glass baking dish.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and tilt to coat evenly. Add the onion, bell pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and gradually stir in the spinach until completely wilted. Remove from heat and stir in dill. Evenly spread the vegetables into the prepared baking dish.
In a large bowl (preferably with a spout) whisk together the eggs, milk, mustard, pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt until egg yolks are completely broken and incorporated. Pour over the vegetables in the baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with the Feta.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until top is light golden-brown and a knife or cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
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