Out of the Kitchen: Intro, Inspiration and Into the Fire

By Jessica Hylton - - Updated

Jessica in a pink top smiling.

Hey friends! So this is a totally different kind of post, right? It’s one I’ve wanted to do for close to a year. After about three back-to-back podcast episodes of Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert (specifically her “Leap into the Fire” episode), I felt inspired to write, and picked up my laptop instead of waiting for the “perfect” moment to write. Here’s the funny thing about that: I write three times a week, for at least the last year, and overall the last seven years, so what really was I afraid of this entire time?

All I’ve wanted was a little section of Jessica in the Kitchen where I could share with you, maybe once or twice a month, what’s going on in my life outside of the kitchen and introduce myself a bit more. The things that shape who I am day-to-day, that make me laugh, cry, and what new things I have planned for the website! I have no real structure for this, so it may end up changing a bit as we grow together in this, but I hope you walk away from this feeling happier, a bit uplifted and ready to tackle your day/week/month! Also, I want to hear your thoughts too. So, let’s give this a try then!

Before I begin, Happy 15th birthday to my darling “little” over 6 foot tall brother Benjamin! Happy Father’s Day to the best dad in the world!


1. Choosing Happiness and Protecting my Mental Well-being

I have been making an active effort to choose happiness. No really, I mean daily, I am actively deciding that today is going to be a great day. I wake up, say a prayer for gratitude, set my intentions for the day, and then meditate. I say out loud that today will be an amazing day, and I base my actions around what is best for that to actually happen. That means doing yoga/some form of exercise in the morning, eating a healthy breakfast, making my plan for the day, and then sitting down to work. Part of that means actively protecting my mental well-being.

There is so much sadness/anger/negativity going on all across the world. Thanks to social media, it is very easy to absorb it all. Friends, please know that it’s okay to turn it off. Know you can still care without having all that negativity consume your whole day. Know that it is OKAY to protect yourself, and actively choose happiness.

What are you doing actively to choose happiness?


2. Podcasts & Audible Books

I’m a very visual person, so it came as a huge surprise to me that I actually thoroughly enjoyed listening to books and podcasts.  It kind of started after listening to Lilly Singh’s How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life. As an aside, you should read this book. It is empowering, magical and so relatable all at once. It completely won me over as an amazing, must-read book, and got me hooked on the spoken word concept of absorbing new enlightening and uplifting information.

If you have a busy day, and want more to time read, I love that you can listen to it during your busy periods, and go right back to reading it when you some down time. I have always loved learning, and to be able to be chopping in the kitchen, planting in the garden, or even during a shoot and listening and learning at the same is such an incredible experience.

My absolute favourite podcasts right now are The Marie Forleo Podcast, and Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert. Both of these are geared around being a creative person and from my perspective, building the confidence you need to truly explore your talent, which again, leads rights back to me daily choosing happiness. These podcasts really make me laugh, cry and smile, and I highly recommend them if you want a little boost in your day-to-day activities. I just bought Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear and I can’t wait to consume it. Being a huge Eat, Pray, Love fan, I can’t wait to read what she has in store.

What books are you reading now? How about podcasts? What do you recommend for me and fellow readers?


3. Meditation

I touched on this a little earlier, but my day does not feel right if I don’t meditate. Sometimes when people hear meditation, they immediately draw for a single vision of what that could possibly mean, but honestly, meditation is what you make it. I love using the app Headspace because it helps me to be a whole lot more mindful, which is something I truly struggle with. I suffer from intense anxiety, and while I make no claims that this is the cure, I’ve really seen a huge difference in how I handle my anxiety when it rears its head. If this is something that you struggle with, or you just want to feel clearer throughout your days, I would highly recommend this for you.

For me, meditation is as simple as taking some time out of your insane day to appreciate the world around you. Sometimes that means appreciating the beautiful earth that God created, or a more guided exercise of being here and now – not completely engrossed in regrets of the pasts, and fears of the future, but instead, actually just being here in the real and live present. I find that it really helps to put my day into focus, and gets me focused on the things that matter the most to me.

Have you ever tried meditating or ever wanted to?


4. My Garden

This one is a bit hilarious, because if you follow me on Instagram then you know that I am a plant mommy!! Gardening is a lot of work, but I truly enjoy it. It’s still so brand new to me, and so I am not pressuring myself to be perfect, but instead to be an active part of the process of growing something from seed to fruit/harvesting time. Right now I am growing spinach (and LOTS of it), tomatoes, three types of basil, mint, and rosemary. We want to move into peppers, and maybe even carrots. It’s been an amazing process, and trust me, when you see the time and effort that goes into your fresh food, you will eat it all! Sautéed spinach has never tasted better!

Do you have a garden or want to start one? What do you grow?

5. Quote

My current favourite quote is definitely from author of Love Warrior, Glennon Doyle Melton,

“The only meaningful thing we can offer one another is love. Not advice, not questions about our choices, not suggestions for the future, just love.”

In everything you do this week at least, offer love.


I’ve heard your pleas and yes, I’ll be introducing meal prep guides on Jessica in the Kitchen!! If you’re not familiar with meal prep, read all about it on my post where I go into some real detail about just how easy and useful it is. I’m still working on them, but I can’t wait to share them!

Also new, there’s a Jessica in the Kitchen Facebook friends group! We are growing everyday, and I’m inviting you to share your photos, recipe creations and what you’re making each day in the group! Come over and join us!



  1. This isn’t technically a read, but I just watched this documentary “In Defense of Food” starring Michael Pollan and it is a great documentary. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and Michael Pollan is very humorous,  so you’ll actually enjoy watching it. There are a few points that I don’t necessarily agree with, but I love it overall. It’s incredibly informative about how great natural food is for our bodies, especially in comparison to processed food.  Also, I had all walnuts, chia seeds and spinach seconds after finishing it.
  2. I love the points this article makes for limiting digital noise in our lives. Try to go even a few hours this weekend without your phone and see how magical and refreshing it feels!
  3. How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lilly Singh. Once again, this book should be required life reading! I love the casual yet seriously informative perspective that it is written from. I felt so incredibly empowered after finishing this book, and as if I could truly do anything. Think of it like a friend having their own TED talk with you, just in book form.



Overhead view of fruit salad with maple lime dressing in a white bowl with a golden spoon on the side.

Rainbow Fruit Salad with Maple Lime Dressing

If I could have this breakfast every single day, I would. It’s great for a summer, breakfast, brunch or a side to a BBQ. It’s probably one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever made, too. Three seconds after I finished shooting the video, we were all devouring this.

Happy Sunday friends! Let me know all your thoughts in the comments sections or even by email.

What do YOU want to see here?


All my love,




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leave a comment


  1. Pooja says:

    Thank you so much for this post Jessica. I really really needed this today. I have been feeling so down lately because of all the negative news, and what you said about protecting ourselves and actively choosing happiness really makes so much sense. I am like “why didn’t I think of it that way” :). I have heard a lot about meditation, you have inspired me to give it a serious try. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I hope you continue these type of posts. And of course your awesome regular food posts which I absolutely love.

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Pooja,

      Thank you so much for your kind comment!! I am so glad my post helped you so much. I hope you’re able to choose happiness actively <3 and that meditation really helps you. You're so very welcome by the way and I will definitely keep doing these posts!

      <3 Jessica

  2. MPaula says:

    You haven’t heard from me before but I do love getting your newsletter, even if I don’t read it religiously. I have to drastically pare down my email but I’m keeping yours. Thanks for the uplifting thoughts.

    • Jessica says:

      Hi MPaula,

      Thank you so much for your kind comment!! I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying my emails that much. You’re so very welcome!!

      <3 Jessica

  3. Andrea says:

    Jess! I’m so happy you started this!
    Oh and I’m happy you are putting your mental health first ? BTW I wanna start a garden but haven’t because I have the worst black thumb. I killer a
    A cactus. Don’t know how hahaha.

    • Jessica says:

      Hi darling!!

      Thank you so much for commenting!! I know we’ve spoken about the importance of mental health awareness so that means a lot to me ?.

      Also, I used to be like that (I’ve killed many succulents!!) but it’s like I got one plant to grow successfully then suddenly it totally flipped the other way!

      <3 Jessica

  4. Laura says:

    I knew from the first time I read your facebook recipe post, you are a genuine smart strong loving woman Jessica, I suffer from anxiety too, headspace is an excellent source. Your meals are wonderful to make and this post is what the world needs right now. Some great books I have been reading lately are The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield, fictional but powerful life lessons. I try to avoid any negativity on facebook and T.V. now. Keep up the positivity and great recipes.

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Laura,

      Oh my gosh, thank you for your kind comment! I love how much Headspace has helped me too, and I really hope it’s been helping you with your anxiety. I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying my meals and that my post was so meaningful to you, that means a lot to me! Thanks so much for the book suggestions – I’ll definitely check them out and I will keep it up for sure!

      <3 Jessica

  5. Holly says:

    I love everything about this post! It’s fun to learn more about you. I am definitely going to check out those podcasts you mentioned. I too love Elizabeth Gilbert – you are going to love Big Magic. I can’t wait to read How to be a Bawse! Sounds right up my ally.

    Keep this up! You may have just inspired me to do something similar! <3

    • Jessica says:


      Aww thank you so much for your comment! I can’t wait to get into Big Magic, and you’ll LOVE How to be a Bawse too!

      I’ll definitely keep this up and so glad I inspired you!!

      <3 Jessica

  6. Iriediva says:

    Love the post and will be checking out the books! I have given meditation a try a couple times and haven’t found “it” yet but I am a believer in manifestation, journalism and quiet time so maybe I’m over thinking it.

    • Jessica says:

      Hey Monique,

      Thanks so much for your comment!! By the way, I love that – “believer in manifestation, journalism and quiet time”. Why I love Headspace is because it helps you to do exactly that – not overthink it. That’s when it really helped me, so hopefully it helps you too! I’m so glad you loved the post!

      <3 Jessica

  7. Ava says:

    I love Marie Forleo too! She’s so positive and inspiring!
    I totally agree with you too – happiness is my only goal and terminal goal right now!

    Keep up the good work in the kitchen & out of the kitchen ?

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Ava,

      Thanks for commenting! Marie Forleo totally rocks!! I love that – happiness is so very important! Thanks so much and I will definitely keep it up!

      <3 Jessica

  8. You shouldn’t have waited a year to do this, because it’s a fabulous way for us to get to know you a little bit better! Thanks for all those podcast links… I love learning as I work too, and this would be a great way to enrich myself as I move through the day! <3 <3 <3 LOVE!

    • Jessica says:

      Awww thanks so much Tina for your kind comment!! <3 Now that it's here, it's here to stay. 🙂

      <3 Jessica

  9. Jean MY says:

    Love that you are reinforcing in your post that happiness is a choice! We all have obstacles to overcome and how we choose to approach them is the key. My two personal heroes are my grandfather and my husband because both had multiple obstacles to overcome, yet they did so with courage, strength and grace.
    I am REALLY looking forward to your posts about food prep. I know HOW to do it, but just don’t DO it very often. I hope your posts will inspire me to be more consistent.
    Like you I like listening to podcasts. I usually listen to them while I am in the kitchen cooking or cleaning up. I mostly listen to Stuff You Should Know and Ted Talks Health.

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Jean,

      Thank you so much for your kind comment!! I love that you have two amazing heroes in your life – they sound like amazing men. I hope my meal prep posts definitely help you – trust me, I understand how much consistency with meal prep can help your entire life! P.s. you can read this one here in the meantime: https://jessicainthekitchen.com/best-healthy-meal-prep-recipes/
      Thank you so much for those podcast suggestions!! I’ll definitely add them to my list!

      <3 Jessica

  10. I love this! Such a great idea

in the kitchen everyday