A Day in the Life of a Peaceful Dumpling Editor: Jennifer Kurdyla

September 14, 2015

7:00 AM: I wake up a bit later on weekends than weekdays (6:15 AM), luxuriating in the few opportunities to get a full eight hours of sleep. Every Sunday’s a bit different, but it always involves going to mass. Today, I wake up to sunshine streaming through my window (a surprise after last night’s rain storms), and enjoy breakfast at home with some leisure reading (on weekdays it’s The New York Times), lemon water (room temp is best for my body first thing, I find), and a steaming cup of tea. I treated myself to a more substantial breakfast of fluffy quinoa (1/3 cup) topped with cinnamon, strawberries, a handful of almonds and hemp seeds, more cinnamon, a dash of raisins, a drizzle of raw, local honey, and almond milk. This breakfast kept me going throughout the morning, and I made enough quinoa to recreate it on busy weekday mornings.


A most complete breakfast to be sure!

9:30 AM: After mass, I head to the grocery store to get as much of my weekly food needs as possible (when you live in New York, what you buy is as contingent on budget as it is on upper body strength!). I’d stopped by Trader Joe’s before mass to beat the crowds (is every Trader Joe’s always insanely busy all the time? Jeez . . .) to get some stock items–oatmeal, rice vinegar, and a few other treats–but got my main produce at a smaller, local market. With my job I often get to go out to lunch for “business” with literary agents, but this week I’ll be mostly brown-bagging. But I should be prepared now to make enough healthy meals for the week.


10:30 AM: My main job is a book editor, which means I work seven days a week for most of the year. As such every spare moment when I can catch in some reading (ahem, meal-times included) counts! I start the day evaluating my piles of books and manuscripts, and setting up my desk to be comfortable, efficient, and mostly positive-feeling for the day ahead. (A nice cup to tea helps with this immensely.) Above my desk is an inspiration board (not shown)0 that I peek at every so often, to give my eyes a break and get inspired by poetry and photos that put a smile on my face.

home office

11:30 AM: Sometimes I’ll go to yoga on Sunday mornings, but today I have an appointment, and on the way there I stop by my local farmer’s market to drop off compost and some textiles I’m getting rid of (let the fall wardrobe purge begin–yay!). This market is here every Sunday and is just a few blocks away from where I live, which makes it easy to enjoy the smells and colors of local produce even if I’m not buying any. As I stroll down the block, I pick up some samples, too, which serve as a mid-morning snack: slices of peaches and honeycrisp apples and, my ultimate summer indulgence, juicy tomatoes almost too beautiful to eat.

farmers market

The farmer’s market is a great place to get inspiration and a jolt of local color.


How can you eat just one?

1:30 PM: After my appointment, I prepare a simple yet filling lunch. I think of myself as a good cook, but really most of what I eat and make consists of various kinds of produce assembled in a bowl with an accompanying dip or sauce and grain. Today I went all raw–celery root, beets, apple, carrots, and radishes–with some black-eyed peas for protein. The slices were dipped in a home-made concoction: 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, 1/2 T. tahini, 1/2 T. white miso, and enough apple cider vinegar to make it a dip-like consistency. I spiced it up with some harissa and ground mustard seed. Yum!

lunch bowl

2:30-5 PM: More work reading and editing took up most of my afternoon. Today I needed to use my computer, so I stayed home; but if I can bring my reading with me (without causing back pain), I sometimes work in a cafe and treat myself to a big ice coffee. Don’t feel too bad for me that I worked most of the weekend, though: I did take some breaks to browse Pinterest for recipes and store websites to make a list of future/wished for purchases inspired by my shopping trip yesterday with Juhea 🙂

6:15-7:45 PM: Since I didn’t go to yoga this morning, I head to an evening class that’s blissfully restorative after all the sitting and thinking I did today.

8:30 PM: Tonight’s dinner is a hodgepodge bowl (notice a theme here?) of salad with various toppings–new produce, some produce left from last week’s farm share delivery (my office has a great CSA program with Katchkie Farm in upstate NY), and fridge staples. I tossed a heaping bed of kale with lemon juice and tahini, then layered in some alfalfa sprouts, beans from lunch, fresh corn cut from the cob that was sauteed with onion, garlic, and sesame oil, and raw cashews.

dinner bowl_kale salad

9:00-11:00 PM: I wind down in the evening from the very full day with more leisure reading and my at-home weekly pedicure. I’ve been dying to use a new fall color despite the persistent warm weather (hello, it’s mid-September!), and this shade, Pepper by Zoya, fits the bill just right. Dinner was pretty filling, but I still have a craving for a light snack: another cup of tea and apple slices. My rule for night-time eating is only to leave one hour for digestion before bed, though I don’t like to go too heavy on the snacks even with this time buffer. I keep a pretty regular bedtime–not hard to enforce, as I’m pretty tired by 11 most days (sometimes earlier . .  .)–and today is no different. I have a busy Monday in store at the office, but feel prepared after a productive weekend.

Zoya nail polish_pedicure

Nothing beats an at-home pedicure!

Also by Jennifer: 5 Ways to Spice Up Your Yoga Practice

More Day in the Life!: Molly Lansdowne

Mary Hood Luttrell

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Photo: Jennifer Kurdyla

Features Editor Jennifer Kurdyla is a New York City girl with Jersey roots and a propensity for getting lost in the urban jungle. An experienced publishing professional, yoga instructor, home chef, sometimes-runner, and writer, she adopted a vegetarian lifestyle in 2008 and became vegan in 2013. She has written for The Harvard Review Online, The Rumpus, and Music & Literature and maintains a wellness-based website, Be Nourished, which features original writing and recipes. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram @jenniferkurdyla, Twitter @jenniferkurdyla, and Pinterest.


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