Feeding a Broken Heart - Skillful Cook
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Feeding a Broken Heart

In the days and weeks after our son Afton passed away, I found myself unable to eat. How do you eat when you have a broken heart? Your body practically forgets. In my most emotional moments, I was often trying to swim through such a deep abyss of heartbreak that taking even a few bites of food became miserable. The anxiety, depression, and sadness of our situation made it nearly impossible to enjoy the one single thing that normally brings a body so much healing and joy: food.

So... What's This Series About?

Exactly one day after being home from the hospital, friends started showing up at our house with food. ONE DAY. They did not even wait for day two - they were there and they were ON IT. Pots of soup, pans of lasagna, curries, loaves of bread... every delicious thing you could imagine and more would be placed on our front doorstep over the course of the next two and a half months, sometimes accompanied by a visit and sometimes just left quietly in love.

This food was a lifeline. These acts of love put warm, sustaining food in front of me, and that food tethered me to real life. It was through soup, cookies, salads, and little cheesy homemade pizza rolls that I was able to find my way again, both physically and emotionally.

This post series - Feeding a Broken Heart - is dedicated to helping those who are hurting to find their way again through food. It's dedicated to all the helpers in the world who bring meals and beyond when life falls apart for their people.

And it's dedicated to the memory of our sweet baby Afton, whose short life has allowed us to experience the most intense love of our lives.

Recipes To Feed a Broken Heart:

1. Basic + Awesome Creamy Potato Soup

Comfy-cozy potato soup made with a simple cream base, carrots/celery/onions/garlic, and a nice crumbled handful of crispy bacon. This absolutely, shamelessly, 100% begs for a piece of buttered bread to dunk in it.

Click here for the recipe.

Creamy potato soup in a pot.

2. Baked Mac and Cheese

A classic recipe for THE BEST baked mac and cheese. Cheesy insides, crunchy outsides, and golden brown bread crumb topping. Perfect comfort food.

Click here for the recipe.

Baked mac and cheese in a pan.

3. Life Changing Instant Pot Beef Stew

Instant Pot Beef Stew! Served with crusty bread and a green salad? YES. Just 6 ingredients, 45 minutes, and done.

Click here for the recipe.

Beef stew in a pot.

4. Simple Enchiladas Verdes

Enchiladas Verdes made with a simple homemade roasted tomatillo sauce that will make your tastebuds rock out. Plus chicken and cheese and tortillas.

Click here for the recipe.

Enchiladas verdes in a pan.

5. Chicken Tetrazzini

Roast chicken, egg noodles, garlic mushrooms, and silky creamy sauce. Can't go wrong.

Click here for the recipe.

Chicken tetrazzini in a pan.

6. Spicy Instant Pot Carrot Soup

Spicy Vegan Carrot Soup made with coconut milk, onions, carrots, garlic, and curry paste. Easy, vegan, gluten free, awesome.

Click here for the recipe.

Carrot soup in a pot.

7. Everything Greek Pork Pitas

Peppery pork with tzatziki, parsley, sun dried tomato, feta, and lemon juice.

Click here for the recipe.

Greek pork pitas on a pan.

8. The Ultimate Wild Rice Burgers

6 ingredient veg burgers! Works on a bun, with cheese, or completely naked. So yummy!

Click here for the recipe.

Wild rice burgers on a platter.

How Can I Participate?

It would be such an honor to join with you, the food lovers, as we show up and share food with the people in our lives who are hurting.

Here's how you can be a part of this mini-movement:

  1. Think of someone who has a broken heart.
  2. Make them one of these recipes. Or if you don't live close, mail them a restaurant or meal delivery gift card. Snail mail them a chocolate bar. No rules here - just lots of love.
  3. Show us what you're doing by using the hashtag #feedingabrokenheart.

And if the broken heart is yours, you can and should make some of this food for yourself. That totally counts.

If you don't have a broken heart, and you don't know anyone with a broken heart right now, you can still make any of these recipes in memory of our sweet baby and you better believe we will love you majorly for it.

Over the next three weeks, we will round up some of your inspiring, love-filled stories and feature them right here on this page. Scroll down to take a look.

Stories From #Feedingabrokenheart:

My husband and I were both busy feeding broken hearts tonight, as inspired by a challenge from @skillfulcook. My husband took spaghetti to a dinner at the Hope Lodge (a place where cancer patients and their families can stay for free while they receive treatment) but he said his time visiting was much more appreciated than the food. I took this meal to a friend of mine who just brought home her rainbow baby after a scary pregnancy. It might not seem like she's broken-hearted in this miraculous time of rejoicing, but she lost a son at 5 months of pregnancy before, and I know from experience that she will always be a little bit broken-hearted, especially as she raises her new baby and realizes all that she missed out on with her son. It was so good to chat with her and love on her 6 lb bundle of joy. ❤ The beautiful thing about taking food to people is that it opens the door and paves the way to a visit, and that interaction is what really soothes a broken heart. In the deepest grief, sometimes all we want is the food and no conversation. But soon, very soon, we want to pour out our thoughts and feelings and we ache for a listening, caring ear. The recipe for feeding a broken heart involves giving of our soul-not just our soup- as we take time to listen and mourn with those who mourn. Its amazing how I leave feeling whole, even though THEIR healing was on my mind. If you're broken-hearted, take part in this challenge and go feed a broken heart. ???? #feedingabrokenheart #skillfulcook

A post shared by Faith Ralphs (@foodwithfaith) on

I'm posting this again in support of Lindsay and Bjork and their Feeding a Broken Heart #feedingabrokenheart campaign! They are the authors of Skillful Cook blog and very likely the first food blog I followed, where I learn with and from! They are healing after a tragic loss through food and memories...and a lot of friendship and love around them! I baked this cake for my mum on her first birthday without her ...for her love of cakes and flowers! My sister and I had almost the entire cake ... I believe we both fed our broken hearts that night.... for the days, months and years to come I will keep feeding the Open Hearts that surround our large dinner table! That's the magic thing about food.....❤️! #feedingabrokenheart #foodislove @skillfulcook How many broken hearts did you feed? Helped to heal? How many open hearts surround your kitchen table? #susanarandomss

A post shared by Susana Vitorino (@susvitorino) on

Getting serious here- This post is a tribute an amazing woman - that I don't even know. I've followed Lindsay of @skillfulcook for a long time now as her recipes are just as incredible as her feed (if you cook, you probably follow her as well). While following along I followed her on a journey that started with such excitement but then turned into one of the most horrific things that could probably happen to someone- her son coming into this world way to soon and exiting the world way to soon. Lindsay, so raw yet respectful and composed shared these deep personal moments through posts, IG stories and her blog. This part of social media is a part I'm still so unsure of and yet mesmerized by... as I followed along, I felt somewhat like a stalker- seeing so many personal details and feelings- wanting many times to share my love and condolences and tell her that my thoughts were with her, but I don't know her, she doesn't know me... and yet I felt like a friend who was so sad and hurt by what she was going though and was so proud of her courage for sharing her story/life publicly in such a beautiful manner. It wasn't till recently, when I opened my email box to “The best chocolate chip cookies” email from Pinterest and when opening the link... of course it was Pinch Of Yum's recipe! I took this as a sign that it was time for me to honor Lindsay and her son, Afton (in the most minuscule way I could). Lindsay- my thoughts have been with you and your family and will continue to be. Stay amazing and inspiring. You are a true admirable gem. #feedingabrokenheart . The Best Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies . . #chicagofooddork . . . . #???? #chocolatechipcookies #cookies #homemadefood #sweettooth #dessertlover #thekitchn #getinmybelly #devourpower #foodshot #glutenfreelife #feastagram #liveunscripted #satisfeed #yougottaeatthis #dailyfoodfeed #feedyoursoull #tastyfood #foodsharing #foodheaven #beautifulcuisines #tastespotting #eattherainbow #gloobyfood #huffposttaste #buzzfeedfood #foodgloriousfood #myfab5u

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Sweet Nice cream honoring sweet baby ???? Afton #feedingabrokenheart Out of all the parts in Afton's story published by Lindsay in her Skillful Cook blog, I like the part4 the most. Both Bjork and Lindsay chose the name for their baby boy in this chapter. The other reason I liked this chapter so much is because I could relate it to an incident in my life. In 2014 when I was pregnant, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. My life changed drastically after that. I changed my eating habit from a plateful of meal to a quarter plate of food and from carefree snacking to eating only protein chips. Well, apart from that and checking my blood sugar four times a day, I had to visit ob-gyn every week for a high risk ultrasound. While some days were “looks great”, many were anything can happen and you may deliver a premie. Amid all these, my husband and I completely forgot that we have to find a name for our baby ????. It was while we were watching a movie, suddenly we found a name quite interesting. I googled it to see its meaning and I loved it. The name Shanaya means gift of god, and we both loved the name. That's how we chose the name for our daughter. Dear Afton, although your presence on this earth was very short, your story inspires many many people around the world. I never thought that food can be so healing. Thank you Lindsay for starting this series in instagram. You are so brave and an inspiration. Earlier today while taking the pictures of these ice creams for my blog, suddenly the thought of sweet Afton came into my mind. I am participating in #feedingabrokenheart series for the second time to honor Sweet baby Afton! ♥️ Something sweet for sweet baby Afton♥️

A post shared by My Dainty Soul (@soulmydaintyc) on

I made another recipe for dinner last night for the #feedingabrokenheart series by @skillfulcook. This time I made a recipe in honor of my cat Granite who suddenly passed away a few months ago.???? ????I thought these sweet potato salmon melts would be perfect - I swapped the salmon for tuna because Granite loved to lick leftover tuna juices from the can.❤ . To be honest with you I didn't want to make dinner last night, I was tired. But I did it anyways partially bc we didn't have anything else in the fridge and bc I felt dedicated to sharing another recipe for the #feedingabrokenheart series. I'm glad I made the recipe because it brought back fun memories of Granite running into the kitchen the instant I opened the cans of tuna. I know he would have yelled and carry on until I gave them to him. I was sad when I didn't have anyone there to lick up the leftover tuna juices. Then when remembered how after licking up the tuna juices he would have sat back, licked his chops and been so satisfied it made me smile. And reminded me to find joy in the little things in life. - This recipe and super long post goes out to my spunky cat Granite who I miss each day. And to anyone who knows the special love we share with pets. ❤❤❤ - Tap @robustrecipes to get the link to the recipe. Or Google https://robustrecipes.com/sweet-potato-salmon-melts/ - To read my story of how we lost Granite search “For Granite” on my blog.

A post shared by Emily Koch (@robustrecipes) on

What an honor it is to participate in Skillful Cook's #feedingabrokenheart series. This healthy veggie filled soup from @cookingclassy was the perfect thing to share with a friend in need. Lindsay's story rings close to home having lost our own twin babies in a strikingly similar way just 3 years ago. Though I don't know her, I admire her for using her heartbreaking situation to #sharegoodness in her son's name. If you don't know about her mini-movement, check out her blog and join the movement by reaching out to someone you know who could use it! • • • • • #feedfeed @thefeedfeed #foodprnshare #foodblogger #foodblogeats #bhgfood #thekitchn #f52grams #foodgawker #tastespotting #huffposttaste #eeeeeats #yummly #callmebetty #callmebettyblog #buzzfeast #tasty #foodblogshare

A post shared by Amanda I From Scratch Foodie (@callmebettyblog) on

My grandma used to make this delicious millet dessert called Krapec (traditional Slovenian dessert) ????When she passed away a couple of years ago the recipe got lost forever - at least that's what we had thought. We all tried to recreate this amazing cake but we failed miserably every time. Last year we finally got it right and we decided to make it this year for Easter - to celebrate my grandma and her delicious dessert. ???? The base is a simple yeasted dough with a layer of millet cooked in milk and another layer of creamy yogurt and sour cream. It's incredibly tasty ✨Do you have any family recipes that got lost and you want to recreate them badly? ???? [The recipe for this millet cake is now on jernejkitchen.com, simply search for “millet cake” ] Have a wonderful weekend lovelies.✨ #jernejkitchen

A post shared by Maja & Jernej (@jernejkitchen) on

I made a batch of my slow cooker chicken and wild rice soup yesterday for dinner in honor of @skillfulcook's sweet baby boy, Afton. I am inspired by their #feedingabrokenheart series.???????? I have shead tears as I have followed along as Lindsay has bravely told her story about the loss of her son. ???? . In the feeding a broken heart series Lindsay does such an amazing job of reminding us about how amazingly healing food can be. This soup does just that it's comforting, nourishing and soul warming. Friends, I encourage you to help ease someone's pain (or yours) by making food and sharing it with them. Sending all my love to everyone who needs a little extra today!❤❤ . Don't forget to tag your recipe with #feedingabrokenheart so everyone can feel the love.???? - Tap @robustrecipes to get the link to the recipe. Or Google https://robustrecipes.com/slow-cooker-chicken-and-wild-rice-soup/ - #soupforthesoul

A post shared by Emily Koch (@robustrecipes) on

Today I made a meal for my friends Sarah and Jose. They've been through a lot the past several months. I saw @skillfulcook's campaign #feedingabrokenheart campaign a couple weeks ago and knew I was going to do something for it. @lindsaymostrom from @skillfulcook had her baby boy super early and he didn't live more than a few hours. Lindsay has shared very openly about their grieving process. It's been so moving because it isn't easy to share about and I think losing your baby has to be one of the most excruciating things to go through. About a year into my infertility journey, I realized I needed to do something. I needed to start focusing on helping others. I started making meals for all my friends who were having babies. Every time I did it, I felt my heart heal a little bit. It's so easy to focus only on your situation when you're hurting but when I started reaching out to others and helping mamas out, it was just as much a blessing to me as it was to them. Each time I do this, I spend time praying for my friend and whatever their going through and I pray for my own situation too. I find such joy getting to deliver a yummy homemade meal. Having received a few meals myself, I know that on the other end of having to not cook for a night or two is so nice. I tried my best at taking cool pictures like Lindsay but she does it way better. Go check her story out. Oh and I made Sloppy Joe Mac n Cheese. It looks so comforting! #bekshealingjourney #wemissduggie #feedingabrokenheart

A post shared by Bek Moody | Blogger (@alwaysbmoody) on

Vegetarian sushi rolls with quinoa for my bestie who lost her loved one recently! #feedingabrokenheart My dear friend who planned her most awaited trip to her home country to meet her family was devastated when she heard the news of her dad's sudden demise due to cardiac arrest. Her ordeal just didn't end there.. she couldn't even take a flight to attend his dad's funeral because her 4 yr old was not granted an emergency Visa.. healing from a loss of loved one is always hard. When I came to know about the #feedingabrokenheart series, I knew that I am gonna make something for my friend. For my sushi lover friend, I dedicate this dish of vegetarian sushi and I wish and hope this comfort food helps her to heal soon..

A post shared by My Dainty Soul (@soulmydaintyc) on

I am writing this with a heavy heart. Tomorrow I will be driving to Raleigh to comfort my son. His college suitemate and close friend passed away yesterday. He had an asthma attack on Saturday which resulted in cardiac arrest. He was flown to Duke Medical center and put in an induced coma. They discovered because of the loss of oxygen, he no longer had any brain activity. The family took him off support and let him pass on his own. I can't imagine what his family must be going through. So tragic to loose someone so young and who was just beginning to make his own mark on the world as a brilliant young adult. We will be going to the family's home town for the funeral, but first I will fill my sons freezer with some of his moms home cooked love. To feed his broken heart. I need to have him in my arms for a nice big hug and good cry. I will be making him my chicken tetrazzini, leaving him this creamy warm comfort food for when he just doesn't feel like leaving the dorm room to go to the dining hall. I hope he can take comfort in something from home. I have been moved and brought to tears reading Lindsay's ( @skillfulcook ) journey she went through loosing her baby boy. This is also to honer her loss and her #feedingabrokenheart series. I posted this recipe @earthfare's blog a couple months ago if you are interested in making it for someone you might know who needs a little extra love.

A post shared by Claudia | The Traveling Spoon (@thetravelingspoonchef) on

Story from reader Luisa.

Now more than ever, I miss my mother and I miss my country. Some of you may know that she's currently undergoing cancer treatment and it's been so hard on all of us, especially her because she is a woman of immense strength and temerity. I know she has the strength to slay the beast but that doesn't mean my heart is any less broken for her. June cannot come soon enough, where I'll be amongst the banana plants and their tender green leaves, the mango trees laden with green-golden fruit and the sound of my parents voices as they talk about what a terrible toddler I was. For now, I'll have to make to with eating these crispy hot “Chinese Rolls” as we call them in Sri Lanka (although oddly enough none of the Chinese restaurants back home actually serve these!) and drinking a strong cup of ginger plain tea. And I will now leave you with a small life hack on how to make these rolls as crispy as the Krest rolls we get back home (Sri Lankans will know what I'm referring to!): Always breadcrumb with Panko for the crispiest finish. Once the rolls are made, freeze them for 2-3 hours for firmness, and then fry them straight from frozen. Crispiest results ever! • • • • • #srilanka #srilankanfood #srilankancuisine #srilankancooking #foodphotography #food #foodporn #foodpic #foodphoto #foodpics #foodie #foodlovers #adelaide #adelaidefoodie #foodpornshare #foodstagram #feedfeed #buzzfeed #buzzfeedfood #vsco #f52grams #vscocam #vscofood #instafood #eatlocal #foodblogger #canon #chineserolls #feedingabrokenheart

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Today is a super windy day when this comforting soup comes in handy. Roasted Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Soup. It is creamy and delicious ! ???? * recipe link in bio ! I made a big batch of this for my churches women's ministries fundraiser. The fundraiser has become a tradition now. We take containers fill them up with whatever goodness we choose and sell them after service. The money goes towards the needs of the church or sometimes a community need . I love serving the Lord and especially through food! #feedingabrokenheart * * * * #dishitgirl #godisgood #feedfeed #spoonfeed #buzzfeedfood #foodbeast #marthafood #huffposttaste #forkyeah #eatfamous #eater #bhgfood #todayfoodclub #foodblogfeed #foodbloggers #satisfeed #beautifulcusines #feastagram #lovefood #instafood #nomnomnom #forkfeed #devourpower #theeverygirl #bloglovinfood

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{Slightly different style of post today...} We don’t always know what form our luck will take. Sometimes it’s a penny, sometimes it’s a four-leaf clover, and sometimes it’s one extra day with our loved ones. . Earlier this past week, my family and I flew down to San Diego for an unplanned visit. We've spent the past five days in the hospital, sitting around Grandpa’s bed while he slept, reminiscing and sharing as many stories as we could recall about him as we said our final good-byes. After a long and beautiful life, he peacefully passed away today. . As I reflected on the past, I realized that I inherited many of his traits—his perfectionism, willpower, dedication, slight stubborn streak, attention to detail, and love of food—that helped me turn Amy’s Healthy Baking from a hobby into my full-time job and income source. He was always so proud of my blog and cookbook, telling all of his friends about my career every chance he had, and I feel so blessed to have been his granddaughter. ♡ . I will be taking this next week off from posting recipes to spend time with my family. I’ll respond to your sweet comments and notes as soon as I can. I greatly appreciate your patience, love, and understanding during this time. ???????? .

A post shared by Amy (@amyshealthybaking) on

#feedingabrokenheart @skillfulcook posted a new blog this week and shared her deeply personal story of recently losing her precious baby boy, Afton. Her story resonated with me and I wanted to honor her mission of spreading health, healing, and wholeness through food and love. Grief is an exhausting and miserable journey that I'm still walking out myself. After miscarrying a few months ago, and being in the throes of loss, sadness, and grief, food was one of the most comforting things. Especially when someone would bless us a meal. If you know someone in need. consider bringing them a meal and blessing them with the gift of nourishment. It does the body and soul good. Tonight I made Skillful Cook's “No Knead Bread” and “Basic + Awesome Creamy Potato Soup.” They were delicious!!!

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Well folks we made it to Thursday and I'm thinking we all deserve a little chocolate, don't you? ????????I'm delivering these little 4 ingredient homemade chocolates to a friend of mine this afternoon because she definitely deserves a few of these after the ???? she's been through this week. They are crunchy, creamy, chocolatey and stupid easy to make! If you don't have heart shape molds you can use a mini muffin tin or make it into chocolate bark! . . Dedicating this post to my fellow Lindsay and food blogger pro (see what I did there????) @skillfulcook because she also deserves a few of these! ????#feedingabrokenheart #chocolate ▪️3 oz. chocolate bar (I used @alterecosf) ▪️1 1/2 T coconut butter ▪️1 T coconut oil ▪️2 T coconut flakes, banana chips (I used @baresnacks coconut and banana chips) or mulberries (or use a combo of each like I did here) Melt first 3 ingredients over a double boiler. Sprinkle a 1/2 t of the coconut flakes (or whatever you used) in the bottom of the molds or muffin tins. Pour the chocolate over the top and let set in the freezer for 10 minutes or until hardened. Pop out of the molds and try not to eat them all at once????. Makes about 7 heart shaped chocolates. If making it into bark, spread the mixture onto a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle the coconut chips over!

A post shared by Lindsay | The Fit Fork Feed (@thefitforkfeed) on

Tonight I am inspired by @skillfulcook to share my mo'olelo (story) of #feedingabrokenheart . Its been an arduous road and I've been asking God “Why do bad things always happen to good people??” . As you see a bowl of spaghetti carbonara juxtaposed in front of some vitamin and medicine bottles. A couple of years ago, in the last year of my college career, my mom wrongfully lost her job. In that year a new “boss” was flown in from Okinawa and then immediately transferred to a different department after he let her go. Little did he know, in January 2017 she would be disgnosed with a cerebrial meningioma (brain tumor) the size of half a grapefruit on the front of her brain. The slow growing tumor took over 20 years to develop & limits many abilities from sense of smell, memory and ability to reason. And so within months I watched my independent mother transform into a different person. Now the day has finally come. Her surgery is tomorrow. Not the most special day, but this will be the start of the greatest journey towards a life of good health! And so tonight we celebrate my mom's last meal with homemade spaghetti carbonara. I made this dish the night before my dad & I did the Honolulu Marathon, and so I wanted to give my mom the same power booster that we used before we did the longest walk of my life. Make sure you tell your loved ones you love them to pieces every chance you get! Please keep my momma in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow and send as many good vibes towards good health. Aloha au iā ‘oe e Māmā!! #feedingabrokenheart #teamhealth #shakafornamaka #talesfromthekitchen #foodie #oahueats #hawaiieats #localkinegrindz #meningioma #braintumorssuck #foodandwine #foodnetwork #health #spaghetticarbonara #eatlocal #hmsa #hawaiipacifichealth #ohana #hawaiihealth

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